Stoicism is an ancient philosophy of living a fulfilled life. Though it originated centuries ago, the wisdom taught by this philosophy is still useful in our modern world.
Stoicism helped Nelson Mandela survive 27 years in prison, later bringing out a revolution in South Africa. The same philosophy helped the great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius to win wars while bearing the grief of the death of his sons.
How did Stoicism originate?
Once a wealthy merchant lost his fortune in a shipwreck near Athens. With nothing else to do, he wandered in the city library, reading the virtuous words of Greek philosophers. Luckily around that time, most of the philosophers that we admire today walked down the streets of Athens. He met many and then finally established his own school of philosophy called Stoicism.
Today, the word ‘stoic’ is used for someone who remains calm under pressure and avoids emotional extremes. But this explains only a fragment of stoic philosophy.
Stoicism rests on two pillars. The first being the Dichotomy of Control. This states that we don’t have control over all things that affect us in our life. But what we do have control over is how we approach them.
The Four Cardinal Virtues
Practical Wisdom: knowing what is good for you and what’s not.
Courage: physical courage and the moral courage to stand up and do the right thing.
Justice: this helps you determine what the ‘right’ thing is. And it teaches you the virtue of dealing with people and treating them fairly, even if they’ve done something bad to you.
Temperance: which states that you should always do things in the right measure. And how not to overdo or underdo them.
How to practice stoicism in everyday life?
Stop worrying about things that are out of your control
You have an important presentation tomorrow but you’re worried if it’ll go well or not. Or if your boss will like it or not. But that’s not under your control. What if your boss had a pretty bad morning and he’s pissed off already?
Stop worrying about such things. Worry about what you can do to give your best for the presentation. The outcomes are not in your hand.
Change your perspective on failure
Failures are the worst. It’s pretty natural to see them negatively. Well, why not, you gave your best. But did you? Ask yourself: where did things actually go wrong? How you could’ve prevented them from going such a way?
Remain calm under pressure
There’re a million reasons to lose your peace of mind in your daily life. But is it worth it?
Measure your options, formulate your chances, and then act accordingly. But if you panic, you’ll lose your chance to set things right.
Be peacefully present and aware of what’s occurring around you.
Being in the present also means paying attention to that boring conversation that you’re having. You never know when you miss something interesting and valuable.
Be prepared for the worst-case scenarios
Let’s just face it: life doesn’t go the way we want it to be. So be mentally prepared for everything that might come in your way. But this doesn’t mean you jeopardize your present moment worrying about the future.