Stoicism is a way of life that strengthens a person’s character and well-being. It’s so beneficial that people have practiced it since 300. BC. It’s still popular today, so you know it must be awesome.
The stoic way of life is admired all over the world. Imagine what you’d be like if you lived with more Stoicism and tranquility. You’d always be calm, cool-headed, and undaunted by mayhem. And there’s been a lot of that craziness this past year.
You’d never lose your temper or cause drama. People would find you more likable and mysterious. They’d wonder, “What changed about them? I’ve never seen them this way before.”
But your little secret is that you’ve been practicing the art of Stoicism. As a result, you’ve become more easy-going and nonchalant. The things you used to worry about are in the past. Your mind and soul are now serene and at ease. You’ve built incredible mental strength to handle anything. As a result, you’re more courageous and determined than ever.
No wonder Stoicism has thrived for so long!
Stoic philosophers followed four essential values in order to enrich their character and morals.
The main virtues of Stoicism:
- 1. Wisdom: Learning from experience and looking at life rationally.
- 2. Temperance: Having moderation and self-control.
- 3. Justice: being fair to everyone, no matter what.
- 4. Courage: being brave enough to deal with life’s obstacles.
The following is what happens when you bring Stoicism into your life:
1. When you follow Stoicism you journal every day
“First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.”
The famous stoic philosopher, Epictetus, taught his students the importance of writing about life and their philosophy of it every day. In fact, all the great minds of that time journaled daily.
Journaling is a great habit of reflecting on what happened that day and the lessons you learned. Putting everything out on paper clears the mind and helps to better absorb memories.
Journal before bed, and you’ll have an amazing, restful sleep and make better choices the next day.
2. Stoicism helps you let go of everything that you can’t control
“Receive without pride, let go without attachment.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Stoics know that it’s pointless to worry about the issues they can’t control. We can’t fight against the Universe when it serves us something we don’t like. The best solution is to accept it and move on with your day.
Difficult times will happen in everyone’s life. It’s self-sabotage to worry about things you can’t change, control, or influence. So, the stoics discovered that you’d save yourself from a lot of pain if you accept problems you can’t fix. Otherwise, you’d be fighting a battle you can’t win. So, they find it’s best to acknowledge it happened and let it go.
So, don’t hold grudges or resentments. It’s useless. Besides, you’re not teaching your enemy a lesson by obsessing about them and what they did every day. In reality, you’re torturing yourself.
“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”
Inside your realm of control, you’ll find your thoughts and your behaviors. However, the outcome of your efforts will not be there.
So, you can pour your blood, sweat, and tears over a project, but that still doesn’t guarantee it’ll be a hit. Accept that, but continue to strive towards your goals anyway.
Your true stoic empowerment begins when we direct our focus towards what we can affect.
3. Stoicism helps you become more resilient to difficulties
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”
Stoicism is often described as “the endurance of hardships without emotion or complaints.” But if you’ve been sheltered and never had to deal with these issues, you’ll be a wreck when something bad happens.
“It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it.”
It’s a lot easier to endure hard times if you’ve been through it already.
Practice being uncomfortable or whatever you fear becoming (poor, cold, hungry, tired). The more you are in these situations, the more you’ll realize you can survive them. Then they’ll lose their power over you.
This exercise helps to prepare you for any future obstacles or misfortunes. So we learn that mistakes and failures are only another part of life.
When you accept that life doesn’t play by your rules, it’s best to be prepared for when it throws some chaos at you.
4. Stoicism makes you more mindful of your thoughts
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
— Marcus Aurelius
When you practice Stoicism, you learn the power of your thoughts. Your thoughts can take over your behaviors. Therefore, you train yourself to be conscious of them so you can guide your actions toward success.
5. You love everything about your life (even the bad parts)
“It isn’t events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgements about them.”
Experiences in life are a gift, even if they’re sometimes wrapped in filth. Even the worst times have valuable bits of wisdom for you.
Accept rather than fight against every little thing that happens in life.
Think of a bad time in your past, and find the hidden benefit or lesson you received from it.
Learn to not only be okay with the negative event, but grateful for it, love it, and be better because of it.
6. Stoicism shows you how to focus on others
“Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it. Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate. How small a role you play in it.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Let’s say you’re floating around the Earth on the ISS (International Space Station). If you peered out your window, you’d see quite a sight. Earth, you’d be looking down at 7.5 billion complex human lives. It was on this planet that all wars, weddings, divorces, births, deaths have happened.
You are a tiny fragment in this world, and you’re only here for a short time. Not to be harsh, but the Universe doesn’t care about your feelings. You are only the center of your world, so that can distort your perception. Try to get out of your head more often, and remember to focus on others and how you can benefit the world.
7. When you practice stoicism you make the most of your time
“The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
Here comes some more blunt truth. Don’t worry; you aren’t going to die from thinking about your death. It’s a part of life, and you know it’ll happen to you someday.
Seneca taught that we should think about our inevitable deaths. We should remember that when we go to sleep, there’s a chance that we might never wake up again.
This helps us to not waste our days away with mindless activities. Plus, it’ll add a sense of urgency for you to get to work on reaching your potential before your time runs out forever. Because you never know when it will.
Imagining that you only have six months to live will motivate you to accomplish your life goals.
This is why stoics never waste their time. They live life to the max because we are all only here for a tiny amount of time.
How to practice Stoicism today:
- Journal every night before bed.
- Fast for a day to practice misfortune.
- Don’t let external circumstances or people affect you.
- Practice moderation. No excess of anything.
- Refrain from drama and embrace logic.
- Remember how tiny our problems are in the big picture. Keep perspective.
- It’s not what happens to us but how we react that matters.
In short, Stoicism will make you more calm and confident in any situation.
You’ll be grateful for everything you have in your life. Furthermore, you’ll no longer torture yourself by wanting what you don’t have.
Stoicism teaches us to prepare for any situation. Life can be like a roller-coaster. Some days you’re on top of the world, and everything is great. Others … not so much. Remember always to try your best, but realize that the outcome is not in your control. So, don’t stress out about it.
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2 Replies to “Stoicism: What Happens When You Actually Live by It and How to Start”
Sheryl, Thanks for another great post!
I can relate very well to stoicism, as I’ve personally endured a few monumental challenges throughout the years. As a result I am stronger, and can overcome virtually any obstacle in my path.
Favorite quote: “Stoicism teaches us to prepare for any situation. Life can be like a roller-coaster….always try your best, but realize that the outcome is not in your control.”
As much as I’d like to think I’m in total control of every situation, over the years I’ve learned to accept an outcome, even if I don’t like it. With much practice, and a touch of stoicism, I am able to clearly see future outcomes and begin the acceptance “process”. This allows me to save my energy for other priorities, and to stay focused!
Hope everyone is staying warm & safe during these cold weather times 🙂
All the Best,
Thanks, Trent! I relate to Stoicism a lot too. It’s a really beneficial philosophy! I think it’ll always help people as long as they use it in moderation.