10 Life-Changing Lessons From the Legendary “Letters From a Stoic” by Seneca
Day 137/365: The School of Stoicism is the best!
Stoicism is the one philosophical school that really clicks with me. I’m not that big into philosophy, as I dipped my hand up to my elbow in the other one, I think they call it “psychology” but still, Stoicism is simply working for me.
I read a lot of the hundreds of letters that Seneca wrote to Lucilius from the famous book “Letters from a Stoic” and I managed to gather 10 quotes that I loved on the way. These quotes are simply life truths, and will help anyone who is in a harsh environment or goes through some bad times.
I’ll keep my comments to a minimum. I’m not Seneca, but just enjoy his incredible writing, so I have almost no right to comment on the creation of a genius philosopher.
№1: “If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.”
Everything is in the mind. You can have 100 problems and be at home not being able to deal with even one, or you can have but one problem and not be able to deal with it while on the most beautiful beach in the world.
№2: “Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”
Material gains are temporary. Money, fame, even health, they are all temporary. The truth is, we need 5% of the things we have, which is freeing when you actually find yourself without some of them.
№3: “Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.”
Don’t eat two Big Macs, if you only need one.
№4: “If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according to what others think, you will never be rich.”
Do and act as if you were part of nature. There are no rich or poor trees in nature, but just balance. Spend one minute thinking about what others think about you and you’ll end up feeling the poorest man on Earth.
№5: “Regard [a friend] as loyal, and you will make him loyal.”
If you keep only your true friends close, and treat them as they deserve to be treated, then you can count on them.
№6: “It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.”
Wealth is also a state of mind. You can feel wealthy with just a piece of bread in your hand. The minute you want even one more slice over that loaf, you will ultimately feel poor, even if you are not.
№7: “Of this one thing make sure against your dying day — that your faults die before you do.”
This is not an easy thing to do. We are all humans, prone to misery, mistakes and despair. But if you at least try to eliminate as many faults as you have before your last days, it’s still a good effort.
№8: “There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with”
It’s useless to have big houses, cars and mountains of money if there’s nobody in your life to share that with.
№9: “For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them”
One of my favourite quotes. Money makes the world go round, but the more money you get, the faster the world’s going to spin. All I’m saying is, how much vertigo can you take?
№10: “What fortune has made yours is not your own.”
Seneca talks a lot about fortune, saying that most good things that happen to us are because of it. It’s true. We are all landing on good wealth because of a fortunate event. Which means the things that we have are merely a product of fortune, not something that we truly possess. The faster we learn to live with that truth at the back of our minds, the better.
Here’s the version of the Letters, one of many, that I read on my Kindle.
Give Stoicism a try. It’s amazing!
Thank you for your time!
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My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, Full-time Freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 47 claps!
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