Stoicism was a Greek and Roman philosophy that flourished in history. It was one of the most profound and noble ideologies of Western civilization’s history. Stoicism is more than a collection of principles or ethical allegations; it is a way of life that entails regular practice and preparation and includes reasoning. Stoicism is often misunderstood as “emotionlessness”. Stoicism can be difficult to grasp correctly. What Stoic theories do you think you have misunderstood? How did it adversely affect you? How did you discover you had misunderstood it?
Sadly, I was one among that group who put a wrong interpretation on the essence of this beloved philosophy of many great minds. It was not until I stumbled on few Instagram stories of my friend telling about a stoic practice (that will be shared at the course of this article). It forced me to read more on this amazing philosophy, really understand where it is coming from, and all of its beneficial practices. And, here I am sharing with you all these worthwhile practices I wish I had known earlier.
Dichotomy of Control
The Stoic idea of distinguishing things under our control from things outside our control is known as the Dichotomy of Control. When you grasp the idea, you will be able to concentrate fully on the aspects you can control and avoid spending time struggling to manage things you cannot. First, here are few concrete examples of problems you can control: your views, your priorities, your interests, your behavior, and your reactions to events, and here are some things about which you have no control: the result of an activity, others opinions, others actions, others mindset, and the past.
The only way to stop worrying about things that are out of your control is asking yourself at repeated intervals what worrying has achieved? The only thing the worrying will ever achieve is that you will suffer twice, once before you get the results, and once after. And as for other opinions and mindsets, do we really know what is going on in the other person’s mind ever? We think what others think about us and believe that to be true? Rings a bell? Yes, I was one of them too. We have found that if you cannot influence something, you should not pay attention to it. Concerning yourself about how you are viewed, can only be a hindrance in life.
The View From Above
This one is probably my most favorite technique. It is a technique that involves shifting to a third-person viewpoint and mentally handling the whole situation. It is about taking a step back from our small experience and looking at the larger picture.
Taking a third-person view and getting a grasp of the big picture will help in logic. Research shows that people are much better at arguing about other people’s issues than they are about their own.
We often get irritated by simple mundane things like traffic jams, boss problems, misunderstandings, and many more. But I urge you to sit silently staring at the enormous sky and thinking about stars, galaxies, millions of humans as dots on the planet.
Getting a wider view will assist in determining what is necessary and what is not. When you see the bigger picture, you might find that what you are preoccupied with dissolves.
Even if it just serves the function of putting down your mind on paper so you can get on with your day — journaling can be a really helpful exercise. Journaling is a technique that has helped smart, strong, and wise people become better at what they do. It is not about something you do to pass the time or write down your memories.
It is about getting ready for the day ahead, pondering the events of the day. Reminding ourselves of the lessons we have learned from our mentors, books, and life experiences. It is not enough to merely hear these lessons once; one must learn them repeatedly, turn them over in their minds, and, most importantly, write them down and experience them.
When it comes to writing a journal, there are no rules. The pages are there for your eyes. Be the craziest version of yourself. Bring your most adventurous self to the table. Anything and everything that comes to mind should be poured out. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to journaling. There is just one way to journal, and that is your way. Make that special. Make that fun and interesting. Just go for it.
Also read Journaling 101: Your Guide to Self-Discovery.
Amor Fati is all about the acceptance of one’s fate as it is. Instead of hoping for things to happen the way you want them to, hope for things to happen the way they do: and you’ll be happy. After acknowledging what happens to us and recognizing that some things—especially negative things—are outside our control, we are left with this: embracing whatever happens to us and facing it with unfailing joy and power.
Yeah, it is crazy to enjoy something that we didn’t expect to happen in the first place. But isn’t it important to think about why is this happening to us, instead of complaining and crying about it? This is where stoicism is mostly misunderstood, we often think stoicism doesn’t allow us the space for crying. But that is not true at all.
Stoicism just promotes you to think. Think like — what other, more serious tragedies could this one be protecting us from? What would we be able to infer from this unexpected happening? What good, similarly surprising stuff could happen as a result? We all know how fondly, almost longingly, we look back on tough times in retrospect, so we may as well feel the same way now.
Stoicism, in its proper sense, is a method for gaining self-mastery, determination, and wisdom: it is what one uses to live a great life, not some theoretical area of rational thought. Try any/all of these stoic practices and do share your views. Thanks for reading till the end 🙂
Stoicism 101: An introduction to Stoicism, Stoic Philosophy and the Stoics.