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What is Stoicism? | The Distilled Man

What is Stoicism? | The Distilled Man

“Life’s a bitch and then you die.”

This lyric from American rap artist Nas would ring simply as true to the traditional Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers 2,000 years in the past because it does at the moment.

Life is very troublesome.

The Stoic thinker Seneca went so far as to say: “Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage.”

Nevertheless it doesn’t should be one thing you view negatively.

Stoic philosophy can regulate your mindset, improve your happiness, and offer you extra management over your life. You’ll be able to nonetheless be content material even when issues don’t go the best way you need them.

Whereas we will’t all the time have management over the occasions in our lives, we will management how we strategy them.

On this article, I’ll train you a bit about what the Stoics  believed. Then I’ll present you how one can apply stoicism to trendy 21st-century life.

The four Core Virtues of Stoicism

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.Picture supply

The historic Stoics had 4 core virtues that they held above all else.

Temperance – One other phrase for this is self-discipline. This implies  exercising self-restraint and moderation in all areas of your life.

Some Stoics believed that meals was one of the simplest ways to check your self-control and temperance. Meals will get introduced to us daily. It’s needed for all times, however not for pleasure.

Stoics believed in consuming to reside, not dwelling to eat.

Sensible knowledge – This implies being able to navigate difficult conditions in a logical, knowledgeable, and calm method.

Somewhat than attempt to think about a perfect society, Stoics select to cope with the world because it truly is.

Additionally they targeted on the small issues and prevented vainness.

Justice – Treating others with equity, even once they have accomplished mistaken.

Braveness – Stoics seek advice from this as fortitude. They didn’t simply consider in braveness in extraordinary circumstances. They believed in dealing with your every day challenges with readability and integrity.

Stoics believed that failure is pure, however that remorse is silly. Additionally they inspired individuals to reside every day as if it have been their final.

four Workouts To Get You Considering Like A Stoic

Cartoon about stoicismCartoon about stoicismPicture supply

1. Apply misfortune or unfavourable visualization

Typically you’ll be able to construct issues up in your head a lot worse than they might truly be in actuality.

Seneca believed in taking time every month to apply poverty. He would placed on his worst garments, depart the consolation of his house, and eat little or no meals.

That’s a reasonably excessive instance.

Writer and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss shares some stoic workouts which are a bit extra tame. However they’ll undoubtedly nonetheless accomplish the objective of creating you uncomfortable. Getting somewhat uncomfortable is perhaps precisely what it is advisable develop outdoors of your present consolation zone.

In the event you’re discovering it troublesome to even final from lunch to dinner and not using a snack, you possibly can attempt fasting for 24 hours as soon as a month.

When you have social nervousness, attempt asking for a 10% low cost the subsequent time you order a espresso at Starbucks.  Or for a good harder problem, lay down on the ground in public for a minute or two.

I choose to maintain the train a purely psychological one, versus forcing myself to truly undergo the bodily struggling and cringe related to truly appearing it out. For most individuals, this alone is a really highly effective train.

All it takes it imagining issues in your life going fallacious or getting taken away from you.

Should you mentally put together for all the unfavourable outcomes that would occur in your life, you’ll be higher ready for when issues do go incorrect. On the brilliant aspect, conditions virtually by no means go as badly as you think about.

When confronted with stress or nervousness a few state of affairs, I wish to ask myself three questions:

  • What are the worst attainable outcomes?
  • What can I do to stop these outcomes from occurring?
  • If all these outcomes have been to happen, how would I get well?

2. Ask “Is This Within My Control?”

Perhaps an important stoic follow we will use is to distinguish between what we will change and what we will’t.

There’s no level getting upset a few visitors jam. No quantity of anger or yelling will get the visitors shifting any quicker. The truth is, making an attempt to information issues outdoors of your management can typically make the state of affairs worse for you.

Some individuals waste hours every day complaining on Fb about issues they will’t management. However what does that change for themselves, or for the world?

Concentrate on choosing battles that you could truly win, and issues that you’ve management over.

Stoics took this to the acute of Amor Fati, which suggests “love of fate.”

Altering an occasion is exhausting.

Altering your opinion about an occasion is a lot simpler.

One other well-known Stoic thinker named Epictetus  as soon as stated “seek not for events to happen as you wish. But rather, wish for events to happen as they do, and your life will go smoothly.”

Stoics referred to as this the artwork of acquiescence. Meaning accepting issues as they occur, quite than making an attempt to struggle them.

Nonjudgement: Don’t decide occasions that occur. Simply settle for them for what they’re.

Nonattachment: Individuals and issues can come and go. Don’t get too hooked up to them.

Nonresistance: Actuality is what it is. Don’t want for it to be another method.

Stoics had a metaphor for this involving a canine that was leashed to a shifting cart.

Both the canine can fortunately run alongside the cart and sustain with it. Or it may possibly wrestle towards the leash, however it’s going to discover itself dragged behind the cart regardless of its greatest efforts.

Stoic cartoon, showing before and after stocismStoic cartoon, showing before and after stocismPicture supply

three. Memento Mori

In Latin, this actually means “remember that you have to die.”

Why would you need to cease and take into consideration dying?

You may assume that pondering your personal mortality sounds miserable. However a Stoic would consider that somebody with these sentiments is severely lacking the purpose. To a Stoic, the idea of “memento mori” is one thing that may encourage them, not make them really feel unhappy or hopeless.

It’s a software to re-adjust your perspective. To offer which means and precedence to your life once more.

Whenever you take time to keep in mind that you’re going to die at some point, you achieve perspective on the larger image of your life.

All of the sudden each second turns into necessary.

You don’t have infinite time to waste on petty arguments or watching Netflix.

You could have a whole lot of stuff to get achieved, and never that a lot time left to do it. Stay your life to the fullest and don’t waste a second.

four. Zoom Out to Achieve Perspective

Roman emperor and Stoic Marcus Aurelius referred to as this taking a view from above.

Think about your self within the third individual. Now, begin zooming out. Maintain your self on the middle, however maintain visualizing your self rising to a better and better perspective.

Visualize the roof of your home. Then your road. Then your metropolis, your nation, the world, and so forth. Stretch so far as you’ll be able to visualize your complete universe.

Earlier than lengthy we’re only a tiny speck. Or not seen in any respect.

This provides us perspective on how insignificant our day-to-day issues actually are.

Once we take a look at the size and timeframe of the whole universe, our issues all of a sudden grow to be very trivial or non-existent.

How a lot does asking a woman out and getting rejected actually matter within the grand scheme of issues? In a few hundred years at most, it’s unlikely that anybody will even keep in mind that you existed.

It’s simpler to beat apprehension and any emotional hurdles we’d face once we see issues from this excessive perspective.

The Main 3 Big StoicsThe Main 3 Big StoicsPicture supply

Summarizing Stoicism

We will sum up the fundamentals of stoicism like this:

Life is onerous. Typically dangerous stuff occurs to us.

This causes adverse feelings like nervousness and anger. Unfavorable feelings make our life worse.

We will’t cease dangerous issues from occurring to us, however we will management how we react to them. And we will admit that life is finite and too priceless to let dangerous stuff destroy it.

Controlling our reactions to dangerous stuff occurring in our lives lets us extra effectively use the little time we’ve alive. We don’t should squander it on petty stuff or feeling dangerous for ourselves.

This sense of urgency has a lot of constructive results. It will increase our work ethic, self-awareness, generosity, and extra.

Finally it lets us be comfortable on the within no matter our exterior circumstances or how dangerous life will get.


Actually? Is that this dude asking me to consider my very own demise and embarrass myself by laying on the ground in Starbucks as soon as a month?

On the floor, it’s straightforward to assume that stoicism is all about not feeling feelings and embracing struggling. However, it may truly be the other.

Stoicism places an emphasis on the facility we’ve got to regulate our personal minds. It exhibits us that we’ve free will. Regardless of all of the seemingly unfair and unjust issues we see and face on the planet, it provides us a method to rise above.

Life is exhausting, however that doesn’t should get us down. By simply adjusting our mindset and the attitude from which we view the world, we will grow to be happier.

Within the phrases of Marcus Aurelius, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but by your estimate of it. And this you have the power to revoke at any moment .”

In case you’re fascinated about studying about stoicism extra in-depth, I’d advocate a couple of books:

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – My favourite on the subject. It’s the private journal and ponderings of the world’s strongest man on the time, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. He wrote most of the musings on this work from his tent after an extended day on the battlefield.
  2. Letters from a Stoic by Seneca – One other stoicism OG. Seneca took his personal life on the request of emperor Nero, despite the fact that he possible wasn’t responsible of the crime that he was accused of. That’s stoicism for you.
  3. The Every day Stoic: 366 Meditations on Knowledge, Perseverance, and the Artwork of Dwelling by Ryan Vacation – This one is by a up to date writer and is a bit simpler to learn. It’s additionally damaged down with the intention of you solely studying a few paragraphs per day. I like the way it devotes an entire month to totally different subjects. For instance, January talks about readability, February about ardour and feelings, March about consciousness, and so forth.

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