We tell ourselves that we need the right setup before we finally buckle down and get serious. Or we tell ourselves that some vacation or time alone will be good for a relationship or an ailment. This is self-deceit at its finest.
It’s far better that we become pragmatic and adaptable—able to do what we need to do anywhere, anytime. The place to do your work, to live the good life, is here .
Boy does that part about having “the right setup” resonate deeply with me. If only I had X then doing this would be so much easier.
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for several years now is study Stoicism, but not Stoicism in the sense that most people seem to know:
To the average person, this vibrant, action-oriented, and paradigm-shifting way of living has become shorthand for emotionlessness.
but Stoicism in the sense of the way the authors of The Daily Stoic see it:
… a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life…
In fact if you look up the word “stoic” in the dictionary you see something like this:
of or relating to the school of philosophy founded by Zeno, who taught that people should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity.
Doesn’t sound very exciting does it? Who wants to be an unfeeling doormat? But as with many things the devil is in the details. The school might have been founded by Zeno but what we think of as Stoicism today was the philosophy followed by Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca. Their version of Stoicism is far from that terrible definition quoted above. It’s the Stoicism that attracted me and made me want to finally take up the study in this new year.
I’ve bought the main recommendations anyone gets when they first start studying the Stoics but wanted to start with something a bit simpler which brought me to The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. Each day is a small bit of reading covering one small piece of the teachings and philosophy. It’s a perfect way to get my feet wet and several of the days have been very enlightening so far. I’m really enjoying it.
Looking forward to reading more and I’ll share more here during the year as I progress through the various works. It’s been fun so far creating image-based posts on Instagram with snippets of what I’m reading and I’ll definitely post here soon with what I’m learning!