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The Stoic Habit
4 minutes | Jul 29, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 125 : Discourses 2.2.25 : Finding Inner Peace
Achieving a state of peace doesn’t have to be some grand or elaborate thing. It’s not about world peace or being at an expensive spa. Peace is simply a matter of stillness and contentment. Sometimes, you are at peace while at home in the quiet surroundings, but other times you can find peace in a sea of noise and distraction. Discourses 2.2.25 states Remember, then, the general rule, and you will need no special suggestions; but if you are absorbed in externals, you must necessarily be tossed up and down, according to the inclination of your master. Who is your master? He who controls those things which you seek or shun. It does not take much to finding peace to help improve your emotional health and wellness.
4 minutes | Jul 28, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 124 Meditations 8.45 : Unhealthy Detachment
Detachment helps in the practice of Stoicism by giving emotional space to evaluate situations without emotional involvement. Healthy detachment means clarity of thought. But what about unhealthy detachment ?It could mean emotional numbness. Emotional numbness occurs when your emotional state has become fragile, but in a way where you don’t always realize it’s happening. Instead of experiencing a lot of stressful, extreme emotions and thoughts, it’s as if you don’t feel anything at all. Not only can this be a sign of depression, but it causes many other issues. Meditation 8.45 : Take me and cast me where thou wilt; for there I shall keep my divine part tranquil, that is, content, if it can feel and act conformably to its proper constitution. Is this change of place sufficient reason why my soul should be unhappy and worse than it was, depressed, expanded, shrinking, affrighted? And what wilt thou find which is sufficient reason for this?
4 minutes | Jul 26, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 123 : Moral Letters 37.4 : Strong Emotions
One of the hardest things about being a human being is that your emotions are going to be constantly changing. You can’t control most of what happens to you, but you can definitely control how you react to things. If you have been struggling with dealing with strong or difficult emotions there are ways to deal with them. Moral Letters 37.4. states Folly is low, abject, mean, slavish, and exposed to many of the cruellest passions. These passions, which are heavy taskmasters, sometimes ruling by turns, and sometimes together, can be banished from you by wisdom, which is the only real freedom. There is but one path leading thither, and it is a straight path; you will not go astray. Proceed with steady step, and if you would have all things under your control, put yourself under the control of reason; if reason becomes your ruler, you will become ruler over many. You will learn from her what you should undertake, and how it should be done; you will not blunder into thing
4 minutes | Jul 25, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 122 : Meditations 6.57 : Defining Anger
To understand what anger is lets define it. First, we can all agree that anger is an emotion. It is an emotion based on feelings of intense displeasure and hostility. There are different degrees and types of anger. Lets look at some definitions to really understand what anger is. Definitions of Anger: 1. A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence caused by a wrong; also known as wrath 2. A strong feeling or emotion of either displeasure or antagonism or a combination of both. Excitement caused by real or supposed insult or injury to one's personal self or another for the purpose of causing harm or injury 3. A feeling of great annoyance or antagonism due to a real or imagined Meditations 6.57 states To the jaundiced honey tastes bitter, and to those bitten by mad dogs water causes fear; and to little children the ball is a fine thing. Why then am I angry? Dost thou think that a false opinion has less power than the bile in the jaundiced or the poison in him who is bitten by a mad dog?
3 minutes | Jul 23, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 121 : Discourses 1.8.5-6 : Mindset For Change
Many people choose to live their lives in a state of consistency and mediocrity. For them, it’s the safest way to live - even if it’s not the most fulfilling. There are some benefits to this, too. You can take up the ordinary job with a lot of security. It might not pay much, but you’ve got it and it’s stable. You can choose to live a standard, cookie-cutter lifestyle - and while it isn’t interesting, it’s safe and you know what to do. If you choose to live like this, you might be afraid of change. Many people don’t like dealing with change. It interrupts their flow of life, and it can often have negative connotations. Discourses 1.8.5-6 states Because, even now, though we are not absorbed in these things, nor diverted, by me at least, from the study of morality; yet we make no eminent advances in virtue. What is to be expected then if we should add this avocation too? Especially as it would not only withdraw us from more necessary studies, but likewise afford a capital occasion of conceit and insolence.
4 minutes | Jul 22, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 120 : Moral Letters 92.3 : A Disappointing Life
Lives often don’t turn out the way that everyone intends them to. People imagine themselves in some extremely unlikely scenario, in which they’re wildly successful based off of a stroke of luck or something else that’s unlikely to happen. So when they actually start living their lives, they’re often disappointed by what it’s become. Not necessarily because they’re not hugely successful, but because they’re just mediocre - and they feel as though life is droning on. Many feel lost when they reach this point, but there’s a good general plan of action that anyone could take to help improve their life. The best thing you can do when you start to feel as though your daily existence has become disappointing is to take stock of what’s going wrong in your life. Moral Letters 92.3. What is the happy life? It is peace of mind, and lasting tranquillity. This will be yours if you possess greatness of soul; it will be yours if you possess the steadfastness that resolutely clings to a good judgment just reached. How does a man reach this condition? By gaining a complete view of truth, by maintaining, in all that he does, order, measure, fitness, and a will that is inoffensive and kindly, that is intent upon reason and never departs therefrom, that commands at the same time love and admiration. In short, to give you the principle in brief compass, the wise man's soul ought to be such as would be proper for a god
3 minutes | Jul 21, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 119 : Meditations 6.31 : Stop Daydreaming
Many people tend to ignore the problems in their lives. They know that their problems exist, but severely underestimate them to the point that they don’t take any action on them whatsoever. Instead, they choose to daydream about them, thinking that one day they’ll eventually enjoy their career or that over time, their partner will be more loving with them. Mindsets like this are how people get stuck in the same spot for far too long – sometimes forever. Meditations 6.31 states “Return to thy sober senses and call thyself back; and when thou hast roused thyself from sleep and hast perceived that they were only dreams which troubled thee, now in thy waking hours look at these (the things about thee) as thou didst look at those (the dreams).”
3 minutes | Jul 20, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 13 ; Enchiridion 118 ; Honest Progress
It’s not uncommon at all for people to lie a bit about themselves in order for them to appear better on the surface than they really are. They might lie about being happy with their job and about how their life is going. Over time, these little lies can seep into people’s own thoughts, and they’ll start to believe their own lies. This is a dangerous situation to be in. Once you start to believe some of the little lies that you tell people to spice up your life, you start letting little problems accumulate subconsciously. Enchiridion 13 states If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don't wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.
3 minutes | Jul 19, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 117 : Enchiridion 43 : Choosing The Wrong Handle
There is a classic passage in Enchiridion 43. It states Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don't lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried. What happens if you choose the wrong handle? There’s a major problem in many people’s lives early on when they decide what life path they’re going to take. Very rarely are their own wants and needs taken into consideration before they’re influenced to go down a particular path. Often times, they’re influenced by their parents, teachers, and society in general to do something predetermined, and this can lead to many complications later in life.
3 minutes | Jul 18, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 116 : Meditations 11.12 : Face The Truth
People often like to tell themselves little white lies to help alleviate the struggles of their daily discomfort. Individually, little lies don’t do you much harm, but over time, as you continue to ignore blatant problems in your life, it’ll start to take its toll on you. So many people turn a blind eye to what’s wrong in their life out of a fear of having to change things and upset the rhythm that they’ve already got going. But eventually, this kind of mindset will lead to their downfall. Meditations 11.12 states The spherical form of the soul maintains its figure, when it is neither extended towards any object, nor contracted inwards, nor dispersed nor sinks down, but is illuminated by light, by which it sees the truth, the truth of all things and the truth that is in itself.
3 minutes | Jul 17, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 115 : Enchiridion 38 : Get Unstuck
One of the greatest hidden dangers to your personal satisfaction in life that you might face is a repetitive, unfulfilling lifestyle. While it’s obvious that major tragedies in your life are difficult to deal with, it’s far harder when all you’re surrounded with on a day to day basis is mediocrity and the mundane. You might tread through life, day after day, year after year, feeling as though you’re not going anywhere. After a certain point in time, you feel like you’re just running in circles - not actually getting anything accomplished. Enchiridion 38. When walking, you are careful not to step on a nail or turn your foot; so likewise be careful not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. And, if we were to guard against this in every action, we should undertake the action with the greater safety.
3 minutes | Jul 16, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 114 : Moral Letters 77.16 : Use Regrets As Motivation
Some people think it’s a great mindset to live by the motto of “no regrets,” meaning they’re going to live life to its fullest and take everything on positively. This isn’t bad in theory, because it encourages living with a positive mindset. That’s not expressly a bad thing, but in practice it takes away a very valuable resource for you in terms of motivation. Regret, while it’s not a great thing to have and live with, can be used as a fantastic means of motivation when you view it in the right way. People get riled up when they regret things that they once did or didn’t do, and have a desire to change it for the better and not return to their old poor habits. A very important aspect of this idea is that you also have to move on after you regret. Moral Letters 77.16.states Have you anything worth waiting for? Your very pleasures, which cause you to tarry and hold you back, have already been exhausted by you. None of them is a novelty to you, and there is none that has not already become hateful because you are cloyed with it. You know the taste of wine and cordials. It makes no difference whether a hundred or a thousand measures pass through your bladder; you are nothing but a wine-strainer. You are a connoisseur in the flavour of the oyster and of the mullet; your luxury has not left you anything untasted for the years that are to come; and yet these are the things from which you are torn away unwillingly.
3 minutes | Jul 15, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 113 : Meditations 9.6 : Embrace What Is Uncomfortable
Many aspects of pushing forward towards success involve getting out of your comfort zone. Your whole life, you may have very well been somewhat sheltered, or have gotten used to just rolling with the punches as they came to you. This kind of mindset doesn’t work so well for being successful, and changing the things that you’ve known your whole life can be a scary jump to make. However, everyone goes through it at some point. Meditations 9.6 states Be satisfied with your present sentiments of things, if certain; your present course of action, if social; and, your present temper of mind, if well-pleased with every thing which comes from the universal cause.
4 minutes | Jul 14, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 112 Discourses 2.10.1-3 : Citadel or Prison?
Although it’s great to always maintain a positive attitude about things, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at yourself a bit more critically. It’s important to know your strengths, but also your weaknesses. Taking a look at both equally can help you boost your confidence and avoid making any silly mistakes that could’ve been prevented. When it comes to weaknesses, you need to be able to evaluate yourself honestly. Knowing your weaknesses can become a great strength, so don’t take this lightly. Be completely honest with yourself and figure out what you could be doing better. By knowing what it is you need to work on, you’re not going to have to deal with the problems caused by them as much. Discourses 2.10.1-3 states Consider who you are. In the first place, a man; that is, one who recognizes nothing superior to the faculty of free will, but all things as subject to this; and this itself as not to be enslaved or subjected to anything. Consider then, from what you are distinguished by reason. You are distinguished from wild beasts: you are distinguished from cattle. Besides, you are a citizen of the universe, and a part of it; not a subordinate, but a principal part. You are capable of comprehending the Divine economy; and of considering the connections of things.
4 minutes | Jul 12, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 111 : Moral Letter 27.3 ; Individual Strengths
Once you feel ready to finally tackle the challenge of life, one of the first things that you should do is take stock of your strengths that you can use to help you advance along your path. Everyone has their individual strengths, and they can help you achieve the dreams you want to. By taking stock of your specific strengths, you can create a more effective plan based around them. For instance, you might be very good at time management or you might have an upper hand when it comes to being energetic due to your flawless sleep habits and nutrition. Your ability to focus and follow through might be your strength. Moral Letters 27.3-4 states Cast about rather for some good which will abide. But there can be no such good except as the soul discovers it for itself within itself. Virtue alone affords everlasting and peace-giving joy; even if some obstacle arise, it is but like an intervening cloud, which floats beneath the sun but never prevails against it.". When will it be your lot to attain this joy? Thus far, you have indeed not been sluggish, but you must quicken your pace. Much toil remains; to confront it, you must yourself lavish all your waking hours, and all your efforts, if you wish the result to be accomplished. This matter cannot be delegated to someone else.
3 minutes | Jul 11, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 110 : Meditations 8.2 : Look For Opportunities
You might’ve had opportunities throughout your life that would’ve led to a life you wanted, but you decided to go with the safer option because you didn’t want to take any risks. There might’ve also been opportunities that just passed you by, simply because you weren’t really looking out for them. If you’re not aware, you can miss out on amazing opportunities all the time. Meditations 8.2 states On the occasion of every act ask thyself, How is this with respect to me? Shall I repent of it? A little time and I am dead, and all is gone. What more do I seek, if what I am now doing is work of an intelligent living being, and a social being, and one who is under the same law with God?
4 minutes | Jul 10, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 109 ; Meditations 4.39 : Areas of Improvement
Many people struggle with being able to balance their focus when it comes to more than one part of their lives. They try far too hard to improve one aspect of their life, and end up either neglecting the other parts completely or not bringing them up to the same standards. The problem is, if you’re only improving one part of your life, you still won’t be happy all around. In order to become successful, you need to be looking at multiple areas of your life for improvement. Meditations 4.39 states What is evil to thee does not subsist in the ruling principle of another; nor yet in any turning and mutation of thy corporeal covering. Where is it then? It is in that part of thee in which subsists the power of forming opinions about evils. Let this power then not form such opinions, and all is well. And if that which is nearest to it, the poor body, is burnt, filled with matter and rottenness, nevertheless let the part which forms opinions about these things be quiet, that is, let it judge that nothing is either bad or good which can happen equally to the bad man and the good. For that which happens equally to him who lives contrary to nature and to him who lives according to nature, is neither according to nature nor contrary to nature.
4 minutes | Jul 9, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 108 : Discourses 2.6.1 : External Factors
Success is often only thought of in terms of what you can do. You have to have the right mindset, do the right things, act the right way, and it’s all very self-centric. However, just improving yourself won’t always allow you to be successful. Sometimes, there are external factors involved that are standing in the way of you and success, and you have to figure out how you’re going to address them. These factors are never the same for everyone, but there’s often some similar types of factors that might be holding you back. Discourses 2.6.1 states “A process of reasoning may be an indifferent thing; but our judgment concerning it is not indifferent; for it is either knowledge, or opinion, or mistake. So the events of life occur indifferently, but the use of it is not indifferent. When you are told, therefore, that these things are indifferent, do not, on that account, ever be careless; nor yet, when you are governed by prudence, be abject, and dazzled by externals.”
4 minutes | Jul 8, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 107 : Moral Letters 74.28-29 : Personal Happiness
There’s a lot of misconceptions today about what it means to be happy and satisfied. The meaning seems to have shifted around a bit over time, and currently for many people, it doesn’t have all the importance that it could. When you think of someone who’s successful, you imagine them as absolutely ecstatic, without a care in the world, and just living their life to its fullest extent. What many people don’t realize, though, is that there are a few different levels of personal satisfaction. Moral Letters 74.28-29 states Sometimes virtue is widespread, governing kingdoms, cities, and provinces, creating laws, developing friendships, and regulating the duties that hold good between relatives and children; at other times it is limited by the narrow bounds of poverty, exile, or bereavement. But it is no smaller when it is reduced from prouder heights to a private station, from a royal palace to a humble dwelling, or when from a general and broad jurisdiction it is gathered into the narrow limits of a private house or a tiny corner. Virtue is just as great, even when it has retreated within itself and is shut in on all sides. For its spirit is no less great and upright, its sagacity no less complete, its justice no less inflexible. It is, therefore, equally happy. For happiness has its abode in one place only, namely, in the mind itself, and is noble, steadfast, and calm; and this state cannot be attained without a knowledge of things divine and human.
3 minutes | Jul 7, 2019
The Stoic Habit ep 106 Meditations 5.20 : Obstacles Of Change
Being able to be committed to change isn’t easy on its own. Any new changes in your life can be uncomfortable and they take a lot of time to get used to. If you just try to take these changes head-on as they are, then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to adjust. Meditations 5.20 states In one respect man is the nearest thing to me, so far as I must do good to men and endure them. But so far as some men make themselves obstacles to my proper acts, man becomes to me one of the things which are indifferent, no less than the sun or wind or a wild beast. Now it is true that these may impede my action, but they are no impediments to my affects and disposition, which have the power of acting conditionally and changing: for the mind converts and changes every hindrance to its activity into an aid; and so that which is a hindrance is made a furtherance to an act; and that which is an obstacle on the road helps us on this road.
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