Stoicism is having a huge comeback in popularity. A quick search on Amazon turns up dozens of self-help books describing the philosophy as a sure-fire path to happiness, success, and tranquility. So, what is stoicism? Below is the brief version of stoicism to help you get started in understanding, and more importantly, applying this ancient wisdom in your daily life.
What is Stoicism?
Zeno founded the philosophy of stoicism in the 3rd century BC. He taught me that the best way to deal with difficult situations was to remain calm and rational. People who followed his teachings were known as Stoics.
The philosophy of stoicism teaches that you should always try to be reasonable and logical, no matter what is happening around you. You should never let your emotions get in the way of your decisions, and you should always stay calm under pressure.
To put it simply, you don’t have to react to everything.
Principles of Stoicism
The stoic philosophy teaches that you must control yourself, even if everything else is out of control. This means never letting your emotions rule over your mind. When you act on emotion, it’s usually because something horrible has happened, and now you’re reacting to the horror instead of the facts.
You can allow yourself to be happy after doing a good deed or experiencing a positive result from a goal you’ve been working toward for some time – but only then! Don’t buy into temporary joys. Temporary joys are distractions that separate those with passion from those who like the idea of being passionate.
The stoic philosophy teaches a simple lesson: don’t be a slave to your emotions. When something bad happens, remind yourself that this is not the end of the world; it’s simply an event. Then use your mind to analyze why this happened and how you could have prevented it. And if nothing can be done, then accept it and move on.
Do Stoics have emotions?
You should feel emotions, too; they make you human. But you should never let them control you because doing so will prevent you from living your life to the fullest extent possible. So instead of acting like an animal whenever something good or bad happens, use your head first.
Your emotions are powerful forces, but they also cloud your judgment. Before doing anything important in life – whether you’re speaking up for yourself at work or asking someone out on a date – always ask yourself how you would act if there was no possible negative consequence. You will never get anywhere being timid!
I’m in control, now what?
To have a fulfilling life, you must do more than merely exist. In other words: get off your rear and do something already! Either get busy with your goals by using your head and acting logically, or get a busy living by using your emotions appropriately.
Great men are not born great; they grow great through hard work, responsibility, and getting out there to create the opportunities necessary for growth.
Stoicism and Pleasure
Pleasure is one of the most dangerous things because it is fleeting. But if you can transform your pleasure-seeking drive into an energetic drive for fulfilling important goals, then you will be unstoppable! Whatever is most pleasurable in life becomes average over time, but whatever you use to push yourself toward accomplishing something that excites you will provide endless enjoyment.
The stoic philosophy teaches that nothing great is achieved without some kind of sacrifice – whether it’s money, time, effort, energy, blood/sweat/tears, or something else. Most people fail to do something great because they want everything at once and free of charge.
If you want to have a big house with a white picket fence, then you must be willing to put in the effort required to buy that house and work hard enough to keep it clean, well maintained, and inviting for guests (or perhaps extra bedrooms if children are in your plans). If you don’t like what’s available in your price range, then save up faster; don’t complain about how difficult it is!
Stoics always try
The stoic philosophy teaches that the only real defeat in life comes when we stop trying. The countless hours of lost sleep missed opportunities, forgotten words during an argument, etc., are nothing compared to the reward of living life on your terms. If we give up on ourselves and our dreams (whatever they may be), we might as well have died even before our bodies did.
So, set yourself free. Don’t let yourself be controlled by your emotions. Do not allow yourself to be a slave to your passions. And never forget that you only get one chance at this thing called life, so make it count! Live in the present and continue to push yourself for better each day.
The stoic philosophy is a powerful tool to help us live our lives to the fullest. It teaches us not to be controlled by our emotions and instead use our heads first before doing anything important. We must do more than merely exist; we must get off our rear and take action! Pleasure is fleeting, but if we transform it into an energetic drive to fulfill important goals, we will be unstoppable. Nothing great is achieved without some kind of sacrifice, so be willing to put in the effort required for your dreams. The only real defeat in life comes when we stop trying, so never give up on ourselves.