What lessons can we learn from Stoicism?
Change what you can and forget the rest :
There are so many things that are out of our control. Trying to gain control over them is only going to make us miserable. Focus on only the things that are in our control and let the rest be. It will all work out in the end!
Be grateful at all times :
Seneca wrote to his friend Luculias, “In all things we should try to make ourselves be as grateful as possible.” No matter what happens in life, there is always plenty to be grateful for. Make it a point to write down things that you are grateful for.
Nothing can break you
Epictetus said, “You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” The human spirit knows no bounds. No matter what life throws at you, you have it within you to fight it and emerge the victor.
Go within yourself :
“Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging.” Marcus Aurelius. Everything is inside us. Instead of looking outside and walking the path of someone else, look within and forge you own path.
Be Kind always :
Marcus Aurelius has said “For what can even the most malicious person do if you keep showing kindness and, if given the chance, you gently point out where they went wrong — right as they are trying to harm you?”
Being unkind and cruel as the masks that people wear hiding their own inner conflicts and pain. Anger is way to dissipate pain. Instead of taking it out on someone else, go within and work on it.
Be aware of your Mortality :
It is important for one to know their mortality. The fact that they will not live forever. Sounds grim but in fact it is the most beautiful and liberating thought since it will force you to take action now!
Proactively do good deeds :
Marcus Aurelius has written, “Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.”. We humans believe that as long as we are not doing evil, we are considered to be a good human.
Accept your fate :
“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will — then your life will flow well, ” Epictetus.
We often try out best to change the flow of how things are doing to meet our expectations and when things don’t go our way we are stuck in the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety. Let go of trying to control what you can’t and accept the things just the way they are.
Seize the day :
Seneca has said “As each day arises, welcome it as the very best day of all, and make it your own possession. We must seize what flees.”.
Don’t set out to accomplish everything at the same time :
We have a huge list of goals that we would like to accomplish but often times we put way too much on our plate at once which leads to burn out and overwhelm.
“Don’t set your heart on so many things,” says Epictetus. There is nothing wrong in wanting things. Just remember that you can have it all just not at the same time!
Always be prepared :
Life is the ultimate endurance sport. It will throw curve balls at you at the most unexpected times. It would be wise to train and prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for whatever life throws at you.
Most people go through life unprepared and when life knocks them down they shatter like a deck of cards. “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, because an artful life requires being prepared to meet and withstand sudden and unexpected attacks.” Marcus Aurelius.
Be empathetic and selfless :
The stoics teach us to share the happiness and sadness that comes with the success and failures of others. Seneca said “rejoice in all their successes and be moved by their every failure.”
Believe in yourself :
Through the inner reflection and introspection the stoics ultimately inspire us to believe in ourselves. Once you find your path, trust that it is the right path and keep walking on it.
Along the way you will get distracted by opinions and doubts, keep believing and walking the path.
Want to read more? Here are 100 mental models. Mental models are the most important ideas of each science: philosophy, mathematics, physics, statistics, engineering, chemistry, biology, psychology, economics and history.
You need to know and connect them.
These models do not tell you what you think, rather they teach you how to think, and encourage you to think critically. 100 Mental Models
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