Learnings from The Daily Stoic — 01-2017
I think “The Daily Stoic” is a great resource for our busy everyday-life. I read in it every morning to get my mind in the right setting. The following are my thoughts and learnings from January 2017, I hope you can find some value in them. If all they do is make in interested in the subject and pick up the book then my mission is accomplished.
My road to a more peaceful mind
“The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t.” — Holiday
We need to dig a little deeper and ask ourselves ‘what am I choosing not to see right now’? This requires a tremendous amount of (self-)awareness because we are in the habit of reacting with great speed, without hesitation or introspection.
It’s about control and choice, yes but also about mindfulness and being fully present.
“You will realize you are dying before your time!” — Seneca
I have spent too much of my time watching TV, playing video games, or doing other mindless stuff in the past. I’ll never get it back, and I am not worried about it. Dwelling on the past or being concerned over the future, we achieve nothing from that.
I love the concept of “hell yeah, or fuck no” by Derek Sievers. It’s very practical in the sense that we have to make up our minds how we spend our time and when we don’t feel like doing something we shouldn’t do it.
“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” — Marcus Aurelius
1. Be present
2. Break things down until they are understandable and manageable. Applying first principles.
3. Act without self-interest and according to human nature.
4. I can only control my thoughts and actions; everything else does not concern me.
Begin with the end in mind.
As a Stoic, I am responsible for what happens to my soul, and it is my duty to protect it from disturbances that arise from my chaotic and dysfunctional life. Therefore, I need to plan ahead and “let all my efforts be directed to something.” The end goal.
At least, I should have something in mind I can work towards otherwise how the hell should I know when I am there?!
The mind has a very specific task that is “the exercise of choice, refusal, yearning, repulsion, preparation, purpose, and assent.” When I am aware of I am thinking, I can begin to practice in this way. Only then, though.
“We must give up many things to which we addicted, considering them to be good.” — Seneca
I have to enter into audit mode. Even the smallest addiction will cloud my mind, causing it not to work properly, to its full capacity.
So, what do I do unconsciously on a daily basis? Phone checking without any reason for sure. I have to implement methods so I can get rid of bad habits and install good ones in my life.
“Today, you won’t control the external events that happen. Is that scary? A little, but it’s balanced when we see that we can control our opinion about those events. You decide whether they’re good or bad, whether they’re fair or unfair. You don’t control the situation, but you control what you think about it.” — Holiday
I know now that it is up to me to decide what my day is going to be like. I have everything I need to make my day great. It is all in my head. So, in the morning I say to myself that it everything will be alright and whatever happens doesn’t affect me being in peace with life.
Kill the romance.
Hold your horses, Cowboy!
I didn’t mean THAT romance, however, the romance I have with my opinions and judgments about other people or situations. When I hold on to the past, I don’t see with clarity but with impressions, and that gets me into trouble. My ego stands in the way to use proper judgment. I can’t dissect the situation at hand to see it for what it is. I need to take my time.
Yeah, kill the romance.
“Your problems will follow you wherever you run and hide.” — Holiday
You many people are running away by traveling the world and what they don’t realize it almost never was their social circle that they needed to change. It was them but now, they are on the run, and they take them with them, so it becoming inevitable that they return without any progress made.
I have to make sure this doesn’t happen to me, and I can do that by becoming aware of my thoughts and actions.
Audit those and change them if necessary!
Disrupt bad habits like those that do not favor you.
What have I not processed enough from the day before going to bed?
Everything is in order and yet I still can’t sleep?
I remember myself of this: “Sleep is a form of surrender and trust and is comes easily to me.”(Ryan Holiday, quote from the book)
Clarity in simplicity because I know what’s inside my circle of control and what lies outside of it.
When I am aware of my choices and decisions, I can change them, redirect my actions and adjust the sail.
“Man is pushed by drives but pulled by values.” — Viktor Frankl
Never forget that “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything.”
When I let go of desires and old assumptions I free my mind.
Tranquility can’t be grasped except by those who have reached an unwavering and firm power of judgment — the rest constantly fall and rise in their decisions, wavering in a state of alternately rejecting and accepting things.”
Instead of wandering aimlessly through life, I direct my actions toward my why. I reach clarity by knowing why I do what I do. This gives me peace of mind.
“Your principles can’t be extinguished unless you snuff out the thoughts that feed them, for it’s continually in your power to reignite new ones. … It’s possible to start living again! See things anew as you once id — that is how to restart life!” — Marcus Aurelius
I realized that I could change in an instant. At will. At any time. Who’s going to stop? Nobody because nobody can for it is within me alone to do that.
Money can’t buy you happiness for it “only marginally changes life.” With more money come more desires. With desires come more things and more things lead to more attachment, reduced awareness on what is really important and more time bound to those things.
I strip my mind from any desire of external values because they can’t fix my internal issues.
The mentor for the wise. “Without a ruler to do it against, you can’t make crooked straight,” said Seneca (quote from the book).
I chose books and online mentors to learn. It really doesn’t matter that much, but I’d prefer somebody in person. Until then, I stay with books and videos.
When I drift off course, I return to my principles and let my philosophy guide me. It will make me find my the path again because that is its entire purpose. I seek when I imbalanced AND balanced. It is my medicine in need and my watchtower.
Part 2 is here.
Photo credit: Alex Blajan, unsplash.com
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