The philosophy of Stoicism finds in roots in a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Its ‘’founding father’’ is considered to be Zeno of Citium.
In short, Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics that enables the individuals who follow it to not be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using their mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.
10 BASIC PRINCIPLES TO GET YOU STARTED.
- Your mind is in your power. You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelius
This first principle simply puts everything this way: by controlling your mind you’re able to live a happier, more peaceful life. Be self-aware. All you have control over is your own mind. You can influence outside events more or less, but everything comes down to your opinion about what happens around you. By learning to master your thoughts, you’ll master your life and realize a power far greater than anything outside yourself.
2. Be grateful for what you have. Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours. – Marcus Aurelius
Gratitude is know to make you happy today. However, most Stoics spoke of its power ages ago. You should always be happy for what you own. Being grateful shifts your way of thinking from ‘’I wish I had more’’ , ‘’I need this’’ , ‘’I wish I was like him/her’’ to ‘’I’m glad that I have this and that’’, ‘’I now appreciate my stuff better’’ , ‘’I should never be obsessed with other’s material life’’.
3. Time is your most precious resource. ‘’Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and able– be good.’’ –Marcus Aurelius
Our life is finite. When you’re young you don’t really listen to the old folks that say ‘’life is very short’’. Everything is evanescent around you. The world as you know it is in complete change and it seems like time flies by quickly. Remind yourself regularly that time is your most precious resource. You only have so long to live, so strive diligently to live in a way that will leave you with no regrets. Don’t waste your life with people that pull you down, don’t accept every situation you’re in and quit that job that you hate.
4. Don’t look for happiness in the material. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca
Excessive materialism is just another sign that something inside of us is missing, that we need acceptance from others, and so we try to fill it with material stuff. Happiness should come from within. Sure it’s nice when you buy a new watch/phone/car or a simple T-shirt, but remember: Every material good is temporary, it degrades slowly everyday. Don’t be obsessed with material goods.
5. Change your perspective on failure. “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Epictetus
Reaction to failure matters much more than the actual cause that made you fail. For some people it’s natural to see failure as a negative. However, remember your goal: to become the best version of yourself possible. If you look at things in that way, each failure becomes a valuable opportunity for personal development, an opportunity to use as a stepping stone to almost inevitable success.
6. Reflect on your productivity. “It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” – Seneca
Very related to number 3, on any given day, how much time do you spend towards what matters most to you? Try to spend more time with your family, on your crafts or on taking care of yourself. Successful people tend to be great at prioritizing what is most important to them, so reflect on what you spend your time doing and make the necessary changes to realize the life of your dreams.
7. Always remember WHY. ‘’At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being?’’ –Marcus Aurelius
I think this quote is enough to make you understand this principle.
8. Have a role model. “Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.” – Seneca.
It’s hard to measure your progress as a human being without anything to measure it against. Similarly, it’s bad to measure yourself against people who are not positive role models. One should compare himself with the best people but also with the least good people, this way one can exactly now where he is ranking. You need to find someone that inspires you because of their great character, who represents the qualities you find most desirable. Once you’ve found someone you can aspire to be like, you’ll have a benchmark you can consistently use to gauge your progress.
9. Choose your own path. “What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself?” – Seneca.
You may listen to other people’s opinions but always choose whatever you feel it’s best for you. Certain people will give you good or bad advice but they’ll never get trough your experience. At the end of the day, you are the one who matters the most. Be rational, make good choices.
10. Apply what you learn. ‘’Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.’’ – Epictetus
It’s easy to get into reading or watching self-development videos or even reading this list to get good knowledge. Always try to have a strong correlation between gathering knowledge and actual achievement. Take notes from what you read and plan to apply your knowledge. By doing this with every material you consume, this will become a habit. Eventually you’ll soak up useful information in no time. Try to remember, for example, a few useful ideas from what I’ve written above.