Among top business leaders, entrepreneurs and other famous people the stoicism philosophy is very well know, and has been for the past centuries.
But what is it, really? And why should you care?
Wikipedia defines Stoicism like this:
"Stoicism is predominantly a philosophy of personal ethics which is informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting that which we have been given in life, by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain, by using our minds to understand the world around us and to do our part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others in a fair and just manner."
In other words; We can't be in control over what happens but we can be in control over how we approach things. We can take control over our own minds; our thoughts, emotions and actions and be the captain steering the boat in different waters and weather. You'll have to distance yourself from your thoughts and emotions and embrace life as it happens with calmness. This is how you'll achieve peace of mind. A strong sense of self awareness is needed for this to be possible.
The name stoicism comes from the stoa Poikile the decorated public colonnade where the philosophers gathered for discussion.
The Stoics thought that (practical) ethics was the most important component of their philosophy: it was about how to live one’s life in the best possible way.
To be honest, it's just a few years since I heard of this philosophy(even though I've been living this mindset my whole life) and boy every time I think of psychology and how to deal with our own minds and the world around us I think why the fuck didn't I learn anything about this in school. So frustrating, and still is not taught.
Well, I've been and am a firm believer in and follower of this mindset since as long as I can remember with an exception of a few years in my teens but since the age of 19 I have been extremely conscious about how I treat my mind and body, myself and others. To say it as cliché as always, I am my house which I can not escape so I better be gentle. Really, I have to treat it well or else I'll suffer like crazy and life is too short to do that.
Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, calm, strong, and in control of yourself not matter what happens. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.
So, the stoics try to deal with the world as it is, while pursuing self improvement trough four cardinal virtues:
Practical wisdom is the ability to navigate complex situations in a logical informed and calme manner.
Face daily challenges with clarity and integrity.
Treating others with fairness even when they have done wrong.
The expertise of self restraint and moderation in all aspects of life.
If this doesn't sound like a great philosophy to live life by I'm not sure which planet you're on. Then it is definitely YOU who need to implement this pattern to your daily habits. Too many people these days suffer more from their mind than what reality tells them. Life is all about perspective and if you do not realise it, good luck. Perhaps you'll figure out on your death bed but then its too late. If you are one of those who take life seriously, are easily tempered and blame others for your misfortune and misery its time to start rewire your mind. Life is way better being happy and content every minute every day, always. Embrace what happens with gratitude, meaning, purpose and love, and you'll end up with a peaceful mind.
It’s a tool that we can use to become better in our craft, better friends and better people.
Logotheraphy is also worth taking notice of, its based on stoic principles and is a concept framed by Viktor Frankel who survived a concentration camp. Logotherapy is a term derived from the words “logos,” a Greek word that translates as “meaning,” and therapy, which is defined as treatment of a condition, illness, or neurosis. It teaches that you can find meaning in every situation you're in, even the most miserable ones. The theory is founded on the belief that human nature is motivated by the search for a life purpose.
Read the famous lettes from Seneca here
The most famous one: Shortness of Life you can find here.
Check out the video below for a brief introduction made by TED.
Tim Ferriss is such a fan and brag about it whenever he gets the chance, which is great. He spreads the word. He also have made a list of great Stoicism resources. Check it out here.
How to apply it by Tim Ferriss