Years ago I became obsessed in quotes that I later found out came from people who were tied to this philosophy. And to this date I have read many books to deepen my understanding of the teachings of Stoicism.
Stoicism is a practical philosophy. It doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but instead helps the individual overcome destructive emotions and act on things that are within our control.
It was “founded” in the ancient Greece by a man named Zeno who ended up losing everything hw owned in a shipwreck. Then went on to be thought and practiced by great men such as Marcus Aurelius (the Emperor of Rome), Epictetus (who was born a slave and who later build a school of Stoicism) and Seneca (Rome’s most famous play writes and political advisor).
It’s a philosophy that acts as an inner compass, regardless of the state of your circumstances. It works as a personal operating system, allowing you to deal with great success and terrible adversity. That is clearly demonstrated by the men above, all whom had their own complete different challenges in life, but whom turned to this philosophy to guide them through life.
With just a few central teachings reminds us of how unpredictable the world can be and how short our life really is. It shows you how to be strong and in control of yourself, regardless of success or adversity.
“Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed.
Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.”
And one important teaching is that it shows you that the source of your dissatisfaction in life comes from your impulsive dependency on your reflexive senses rather than using logic to dissect the circumstances.
- Summum Bonum
Practice your virtues and do the highest good.
Do the right thing, in the right way for the right reason.
Act in accordance to your moral code.
- Amor Fati
There are no such thing as an obstacle, there is only fuel.
Marcus Aurelius talked about life being as a fire, and everything that you throw in front of it will be fuel and turn into flames and light. So every problem that you have is therefore offering you something.
- Premeditatio Malorum
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
If you set your expectations too high, you will always end up being disappointed. What can go wrong, will at some point go wrong.
It is better to be pleasantly surprised by the fortune because you had a lower expectation rather than to be constantly disappointed by the misfortunes in your life as it didn’t go as you expected it.
- The Obstacle Is The Way
Things are going to happen that you don’t want to happen, but you can use the obstacle as a means to move forward. It is also within each obstacle your opportunity to grow lies, so the obstacle becomes the path.
There are no failures, only feedback.
With this understanding, you can approach each obstacle with a new knowledge each time, until you find what will move the obstacle along the way.
- The Ego Is The Enemy
This is when we need to ask ourselves why we are doing the things we are doing.
Is our motivation in doing the right thing in the world, or is it to fuel our ego, the person we think we need to be.
It is also a teaching to let go of our pride and be open to other possibilities.
The ego wants to be right, but if that arrogance is robbing you to grow your consciousness you are going to me missing out.
“You cannot learn of that what you think you already know”
As much as we are all individuals, we are all part of something bigger.
We are all interrelated.
“What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee”
– Marcus Aurelius
It’s again about the greater good, helping people around you and making sure that your success doesn’t come at the expense of others.
- Memento mori
Meditating on your mortality will enable to you be grateful for the life you have because you realise that it can go away at any time.
If you go to bed every day thinking that you have lived your life, then wake up the next day you will be grateful for the extra time you have ben given.