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An important part of Stoicism is developing moment-to-moment awareness that allows you to take a step back, look at the situation objectively, analyze your impressions, and proceed with what’s constructive.
Understand what is precious
Your loved ones? The woman or man you love? Your kids? Your dog? Your time? The time you can spend with those loved ones? Your life? Being alive to enjoy the whole myster y of life?
Stoic philosophy helps us deal with life’s challenges.
Understanding our place in the world.
Every annoying person is a chance for patience, kindness, and forgiveness. Every challenging situation is a chance for perseverance and hard work.
Don’t set your mind on things you don’t possess as if they were yours, but count the blessings you actually possess and think how much you would desire them if they weren’t already yours. But watch yourself, that you don’t value these things to the point of being troubled if you should lose them.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.27
We label people on the basis of very little information. We’re prejudiced. Oh, he’s a teacher. Oh, she’s a woman. Oh, look at those shoes he’s wearing. We judge others constantly. We find flaws in others as if it’s a game. It’s not really that we always want to judge them. It happens automatically, these judgments pop up almost magically in our minds.
This is one of my favourite Stoic ideas:
Starting with things of little value—a bit of spilled oil, a little stolen wine—repeat to yourself: ‘For such a small price I buy tranquility and peace of mind.’ – Epictetus, Enchiridion 12
Is it not madness and the wildest lunacy to desire so much when you can hold so little? (Seneca, Consolation to Helvia, 10)
We act surprised by what happens
The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them. That’s all you need to know. Nothing more. Don’t demand to know ‘why such things exist.’ Anyone who understands the world will laugh at you, just as a carpenter would if you seemed shocked at finding sawdust in his workshop, or a shoemaker at scraps of leather leftover from work. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 8.50)
We are puppets on strings
If a person gave away your body to some passersby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?
(Epictetus, Enchiridion, 28)
How to live a good life? This classic philosophic question stands at the origin of the primary concern of Stoic philosophy: How to live one’s life, or how to master “the art of living.”
Dear stranger... the things that seem to stand in our way, maybe they are here for us. Not against us.
Fear of death is irrational - There’s nothing we fear more than our own death. Yet this fear is irrational, say the Stoics, nothing but rumors from the living.
Are we listening? Once you start observing conversations, you’ll quickly recognize that most people are terrible listeners.