Stoicism is a philosophy that began in the 3rd century BC. It was founded by Zeno of Citium in the Greek city of Athens. This philosophy indicates that life and the world in general are highly unpredictable. It proceeds to remind us that life can be brief. Therefore, stoicism encourages us to be strong, steadfast and in full control of ourselves. This philosophy analyzes satisfaction and dissatisfaction in life. It indicates that many of us are dissatisfied due to an impulsive dependency on emotional and sensual reflexes. We pursue things out of emotional desire and this can lead to a feeling of emptiness inside after getting what we wanted. Instead of living in this way, stoicism encourages us to use logic in guiding our decisions and actions.
Many famous and successful leaders lived according to this philosophy. Examples of these are Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus too. Stoicism is a philosophy that assists us to deal with and beat any emotions that are destructive. Moreover, it encourages us to perform actions instead of engaging in debates that do not end. The followers of this philosophy are known as stoics and they practice spiritual exercises. They use them to generate strength to live their lives. We can benefit in many ways by learning about this philosophy and practicing these exercises too. Here is how to accomplish this.
Practice a state of misfortune regularly
Seneca indicated that we should prepare ourselves for difficult times of life when we are enjoying the good ones. We should use times of favor to strengthen ourselves for any misfortune that could come. According to this teaching of stoicism, we should set aside a few days every month during which we can practice a state of poverty or need. During this time, we should wear our most tattered clothing, eat little to no food and get out of the comfort of our homes. During this practice, one should contemplate if this condition is what they fear most. Some of the negative emotions that we have include fear and anxiety. They are caused by uncertainty and not experience. Thus, stoicism encourages us to become familiar with the things that we fear or are uncertain of. By doing this, we gain experience and become prepared if these misfortunes should come in our future.
Don't worry about what other people think about you
A curious quality of human beings is that we spend too much time and energy caring about what everyone else thinks about us. Majority of us live our lives to impress those around us. We base our thoughts, wants, needs and ambitions on what will make those around us happy. Many people are not satisfied with who they are and strive to impress the ideas of society. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor who mused about this phenomenon. He wondered why every person claims to love himself more than everyone else yet places less value to their own opinions than those of others. Stoics strive to love and appreciate themselves. They celebrate how different they are from everyone else. This is a practice that is liberating and fills us with confidence. You can benefit greatly by embracing this form of thinking.
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Make your perception become used to turning bad into good
Stoics have a practice where they turn every bad thing that happens in their lives into a beneficial experience. If you interact with someone who is difficult and stubborn, you have the choice to feel offended or learn how to be more patient. This is an understanding that stoics normally have. Moreover, if they get bereaved, they overcome the sorrow by learning how to display fortitude. In stoicism, you practice how to turn every challenge into an opportunity. Good and bad do not exist to stoics. They only experience perception. In doing so they have a choice. Instead of focusing on the passion of disappointment or sadness, you view challenges as opportunities.
Nothing is as big of a deal as you think it is
Stoics have a practice where they minimize the idea of their identity as much as possible. By doing this, they avoid feeling entitled and self-important. Moreover, they project this minimization to the situations in their environments. This means that they minimize their achievements, possessions, desires and targets. They view everything as small and insignificant. In this way, they fear nothing and the only thing that matters is their life right now. The present moment becomes all that matters. This causes stoics to practice goodness and do what is right in the present moment. This is all that matters and is of any significance in stoicism. In practicing this way of thinking, you can stay humble, honest and aware of your environment. These are qualities that you can maintain on a daily basis and no one can take away from you. In addition to that, these are good qualities that cannot corrupt you.
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View the world as one interconnected entity
One of the activities that stoics perform is to view the whole world as one unified entity. They regard the world as a single being with one soul. According to stoicism, everything in the world works in reference to the perception of this individual entity. Moreover, all conditions occur according to one fluid and calculated movement. In addition to that, they cooperate to cause our existence and also that of everything around us. Stoics understand that all our lives are intertwined and each one affects the other. This sort of understanding can help you to value every situation that occurs in your life. It can also help you to appreciate everyone around you too.
The Important Take Away
Stoicism is a constructive philosophy. It helps us to have self confidence and peace in our lives. Many leaders throughout history practiced stoicism. By doing so, they were able to think critically, maintain control of their emotions and manage their egos too. As a result, they were good leaders remembered for their fairness and humility. You can become such a person by subscribing to the views and opinions of stoicism. With time, they can build you up into a capable leader.