I imagine my toughest competitor as myself in the parallel universe.
Since it's me in that universe, I then believe I can do it. It becomes my life's mission to beat my own achievements and records, not just wear them like a title.
So to simply put in Einstein's words,
Stoicism is an ancient concept followed by leaders like: Cicero, Epictetus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and also contemporary visionaries like Gandhi and Steve Jobs. My father is too some extent a Stoic and inculcated those values in me.
1. Think about thinking
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius.
Only an attentive mind can filter and revoke unhealthy thoughts, and subsequently, unhealthy behaviors. Stoicism taught a clear distinctionbetween your thoughts and behavior.
2. New day, new beginnings
"Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca.
or "Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever" - Gandhi
Stoics saw each day brimming with opportunities. Remember, it only takes a single event, a single
conversation, to completely change the trajectory of your life. A new day, a clean slate. Put a stop to the domino effect before your little errors turn into a major crises.
3. Purposed action
“If a person doesn’t know to which port they sail, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca.
The Stoic wakes up and knows exactly what they want from their day — a clear destination and clear goals.
4. There’s a season
“No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus.
Ambitious people live ten years in the future. Patience isn’t our greatest virtue.
5. You’re already there
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient. – Seneca.
We all believe achievement and success brings happiness but, surprisingly, the equation can be flipped — happiness brings success and achievement. Modern science has recently clued into what the Stoics knew for centuries.
Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor shared his research during a Ted Talk.
“Were I a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; were I a swan, the part of a swan.” – Epictetus.
It’s so important to have mentors and role-models. But emulation can easily turn into imitation, and all you produce is a second-rate product.
References and Further Reading
a. Collections of Stoic texts
b. Online Resources
I'm a thinker, dreamer, doer and a strong follower of stoicism. I have a passion to learn and apply that to make the world a better place.