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What is Stoicism? 6 Great Reasons to Care

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Stoicism may be an ideal tool to manage the stresses of life and lead a meaningful life, but what is Stoicism?  It is a philosophy practiced in ancient times, that may provide a way to help you improve your life.  It resembles Buddhist and Christian teachings in how it teaches its proponents to deal with the world around it and to live a virtuous life.  In addition, it shows how one can stay calm in the face of challenges. It holds a lot of appeal for those who want to be more resilient, practice more effective mindfulness and exhibit sharper focus. Keep reading to find out what Stoicism is and the six ways it can help you regain your edge.

 

QUOTE

Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.

~ Marcus Aurelius

 

What is Stoicism?

Origin and History

Stoicism was founded over 2,000 years ago by Zeno of Citium in ancient Greece.  He taught these ideas in Athens and had many followers through the years, including historical figures like Seneca, Epictetus and the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Their writings on Stoicism have inspired people across the centuries and continue to be followed today.  Some more famous followers of Stoicism include George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and podcast and lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss.

 

Core Principles

The basis of Stoicism rests on its four main virtues: Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Temperance. These virtues guide how Stoics think and act.

 

  • Wisdom: Making smart choices and understanding what’s important.
  • Courage: Being brave and facing challenges head-on.
  • Justice: Treating others fairly and doing what’s right.
  • Temperance: Controlling desires and staying balanced.

 

Rationality and self-control are also important to Stoics. They believe in using reason in understanding the world and making decisions. They also believed in controlling their emotions so that they aren’t overwhelmed by them.Stoicism teaches the merits of calmness in the face of chaos by [1];

 

  1. Focusing only on what you can control
  2. Guarding one’s time
  3. Not worrying about the acceptance of others
  4. Remaining focused, in spite of distractions
  5. Doing away with ego or vanity 
  6. Thinking about the worst that can happen to remove fear
  7. Writing down your thoughts and reflections,
  8. Staying resolved and principled when faced with argument or conflict, and
  9. Accepting that everything changes

 

4 stoic virtues

6 Ways Stoicism Can Help You Regain Your Edge

Stoicism isn’t just an ancient way of thinking; It is a philosophy practiced today by many looking to make sense of the world and their place in it.  It’s a great guide for anyone who wants to regain control and improve their life. Here are six ways it can help you achieve your goals and  improve your life.

 

1. Builds Mental Toughness

If you are looking to improve your personal and professional life it is important to develop mental toughness. Stoicism shows you how to focus on what you can control and ignore what you can’t. By cultivating this mindset you can face challenges directly without being overwhelmed.  It helps you stay focused on your goals and remain resilient when faced with setbacks in life.

 

2. Improves Productivity

Stoicism encourages rational thought and decision making as well as self-discipline, This ensures you spend your energy on what is most important.  As a result it allows you to emphasize prioritizing your time and efforts more effectively.  This leads to greater productivity and efficiency, helping you accomplish more in less time.

 

3. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

One of the most  significant hurdles for people today are the effects of stress and anxiety on their lives.  With Stoicism, a calm and composed mindset is supported through the use of a technique to manage destructive feelings. This involves negative visualization by imagining the worst thing that can happen. By doing so this reduces fear of the unknown and allows you to focus only on what you can change, reducing anxiety and improving your life.

 

4. Improves Emotional Intelligence

Being in control of your emotions is necessary for success.  Stoicism puts emphasis on self awareness and emotional control.  By reflecting on your actions/reactions and keeping a balanced outlook, you can improve your EI (emotional intelligence). This helps in personal relationships but improves your leadership and team oriented skills.

 

5. Strengthens Character and Integrity

Being principle-oriented is similar to how Stoicism encourages one to live according to their principles or values.  By adopting and improving on virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance you develop a strong character. These values are important in gaining trust and respect from others, in both personal or professional relationships.

 

6. Promotes Lifelong Learning

Stoicism encourages, by placing value on, continuous personal improvement. The Stoic mindset leads to the desire to continually learn and grow. This Stoic trait of being committed to personal growth helps one become more competitive and adaptable, important in our constant changing world.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The name Stoicism comes from the Stoa Poikile, or painted porch – a colonnade decorated with old battle scenes, on the north side of an open market in Athens where the first Stoics met and taught philosophy.

 

Marcus_Aurelius - What is Stoicism?
Marcus Aurelius

How to Start Practicing Stoicism

Daily Exercises

To start practicing Stoicism, try mindful reflection during the morning and evening. In the morning, plan your day with a Stoic mindset, and in the evening, reflect on what went well and what you can do better next time. Mindfulness and remaining in the present are also essential Stoic practices.

 

Reading Stoic Texts

Reading Stoic books is a great way to learn about Stoicism. Books by Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius are great places to start. Their teachings offer insights into living a Stoic life. Reading books by modern Stoics can help put Stoicism into today’s context. More recent books on or about Stoicism include: 

 

  • “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living”, by Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman, et al.
  • “The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual”, by Ward Farnsworth, John Lescault, et al.
  • “The Stoic Mindset: Living the Ten Principles of Stoicism”,  by Mark Tuitert
  • “The Beginner’s Guide to Stoicism: Tools for Emotional Resilience and Positivity”, by Matthew J. Van Natta, Steve Rimpici, et al.

 

Applying Stoicism in Everyday Life

It can be easy to use Stoicism in everyday life.  Be grateful, stay calm in the face of chaos,  and focus only on what you can control.  These changes can make a huge difference in your life and help you adopt a Stoic mindset.

 

Keep Calm: Life is full of drama, minimize its impact on you by avoiding things that can cause anxiety and stress. This isn’t always possible so consider the worst thing that can happen to help put things into perspective, ease your mind and reduce your fear, and prepare you for negative outcomes.

Focus on Control: Be clear on what you can control and what you cannot. Focus your efforts on the former and let go of the latter.

Practice Gratitude: Make sure to remind yourself regularly of all the good things in your life. This mindset can greatly improve your mood and outlook.

 

QUOTE

Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.

~ Marcus Aurelius

 

Conclusion: What is Stoicism? A Way to Improve Your Life

In summary, Stoicism provides a path to leading a better life. It helps you improve mental resilience, enhance decision making and manage your emotions.  It also encourages you to focus on personal growth and promote social cohesion. Through its teachings of calmness in the face of chaos it provides tools for personal improvement. The six ways Stoicism can help you regain your edge along with a deeper study of its teaching can be an invaluable approach and basis for overall improvement. It’s piqued my interest and will hopefully help me on my journey. I have the same hopes for you.

Check out Ten Standard Rules of Life that are Unbelievably Easy

 

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Daily Tip

Alcohol? Red Wine is the Better Choice

Pouring a glass of red wineChoose red wine when drinking alcohol for a number of health benefits. First, it contains antioxidants like resveratrol, which support heart health by improving cholesterol levels and blood flow. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that boost overall health. Plus, moderate consumption of it may help improve gut health and support longevity. With these benefits, it stands out as a healthier option compared to other alcoholic beverages. So, next time you want to drink alcohol, choose red wine for its health benefits.

Check out Easy Choices Hard Life, Hard Choices the Best Life.

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