Stoicism is a word that must have been heard quite many times by every bull in the community. But few really know the depth behind this mere word and its ability to transform your life.
‘Stoicism’ was a philosophy that flourished for some 400 years in Ancient Greece and Rome, gaining widespread support among all classes of society. It had one overwhelming and highly practical ambition: to teach people how to be calm and brave in the face of overwhelming anxiety and pain.
Stoicism is a school of philosophy that hails from ancient Greece and Rome in the early parts of the 3rd century, BC.
A brief definition on this particular school of Hellenistic philosophy: Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC, but was famously practiced by the likes of Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior, rather than words. It’s important to keep in mind how differently people thought then.
People’s primary concern was to avoid living an unfortunate life. Therefore, they were more likely to order their thoughts, decisions, and behaviors to promote increased life satisfaction. One of the most important things to keep in mind is individuals didn’t automatically assume that they would achieve happiness by attaining money, prestige, and or beautiful things. With great urgency, people wanted to understand how they could have an excellent soul.
Stoicism is rooted to the philosophy of reducing the negative emotions in your life and increasing gratefulness and joy. It pays emphasis on value-based living and being immune to the outside disturbances.
Simply put, Stoicism was designed to help people live their best possible lives.
If adopted in today’s world, it helps you maximize positive emotions, reduce negative emotions and hone the virtues of character.
The goal of Stoicism is to attain inner peace by overcoming adversity, practicing self-control, being conscious of our impulses, being aware of the limited time we are provided with. These meditative practices immensely helped the people in that era to live in peace with what they had and not be dissatisfied with what they didn’t possess.
If we observe people who are creative and innovative, we can see elements of fervor, extreme passion and in-depth knowledge of their field. But what we tend to overlook is their steal grit to stick to the moral values and certain principles that they abide by. But the question that arises is- how do this people handle failure and disappointment?
Stoicism provides us with certain sets of rules which are practical and relevant for bulls, writers, and artists of all kinds. The Stoics focus on the following things:
- How can a life be led with fulfilment and joy?
- How can one be a better person?
- How can we avoid being clouded by our decisions and thinking?
- How can we handle setbacks and use it as a learning lesson to move ahead in life?
To give answers to these questions, we need to stick by the following principles:
Principle 1: Be in control of your inner self and stay unperturbed by whatever circumstances you face
Realizing your inner strength makes it easy to control your reaction to what is happening outside. The key feature of Stoicism is practising mindfulness. You need to be well aware of the events which are unfavorable and beyond your control. If you allow them to disturb you, then you are making way for them to take over your mental stability and peace.
Principle 2: Don’t let the glitz and glamour of the world leave you craving for more
Today’s materialistic society seems to create more desire than it fulfils. With social media at our fingertips, we are always gazing at what is happening around and are enamored by it. Such round the clock exposure makes us squander our hard-earned money, and unfortunately, the feeling of unfulfillment still persists. We need to remain focused on what is necessary and limit our desires.
Principle 3: A conscious effort to imagine losing everything you hold dear and realizing the importance of what all we have
According to Stoicism, we need to imagine that whatever we hold dear to us has been lost forever. Though not a great feeling, but it will bring you close to cherishing what you have and value them. We will be filled with gratitude and find our desires to be fulfilled by this realization. Thus, it lays emphasis on relying less on materialistic happiness for they can be taken away, but your inner satisfaction is what will stay with you throughout and strengthen you from within.
Principle 4: Find happiness in doing good to others
While every soul on this planet is striving to achieve ‘happiness’, defined by each one of them in their own special way, we need to spare some time and energy in bringing joy to someone else’s life as well. Being the reason behind someone else’s elation can give us immense satisfaction. If we start deriving happiness from simple pleasures of life, we are bound to increase our joy copiously. Such small moments of bliss give you a feeling of true fulfilment.
Principle 5: Lead your life on your moral code
You need to take personal responsibility for whatever you do and be sure of it. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things that lure you, but when you are true to your principles trifling pleasures can deter you. Every decision that you take should be backed by your belief and moral values. To be a true Stoic, you have to be sure-footed and firm. Your principles should not be compromised if you really want to make a difference.
The lessons of stoicism, if practiced, can increase your quality of life.
The Stoics however don’t want or require people to lose everything in order to find inner peace. Stoicism instead asks people to cultivate the inner resources to enable them to bear up to prosperity and adversity equally.
Imagine that all of the mental energy people spend worrying about what others think, tweet, like or say (or don’t) about them, what may happen in the future (but may not), and what cannot be changed in the past, could be freed up to attend solely to the things they each can presently alter. Their life will witness a new horizon and find joy within.
This thought will bring you close to what the Stoics promise, via their stress that peoples’ inner character (or “virtue”) is the most important good anyone can prize or pursue.
All of the other, external things—from reputation to fame to power to money to … anything that can go away in the blink of an eye will be unable to make any difference to a true Stoic.
That is, the outside world will neither be good nor bad, nor will any gain or misfortune elate you or make you gloomy. It is your judgement of things which will govern your reaction to situations.
This enhances your self-esteem, work ethic, beneficence, consciousness, and growth even more important. No one ever wants to die with a heart full of regrets. Stoicism pitches in to help you putting your life into perspective and living it to avoid any remorse later. It is deeply motivating and makes you a humble soul.