Recently, the “Philosophy of Stoicism” has gained a lot of attention all over the world because many successful and powerful people have said that they use it on a daily basis. which has made everyone curious about it, wanting to know more about this philosophy.
So what is Stoicism? and why do Many Successful People like it? and can stoicism change your life if you followed it?
In this blog, we will be answering all these questions plus you will find book suggestions if you wanna go deeper into stoicism
What Is Stoicism?
According to Wikipedia Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal eudemonic virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, TO SIMPLIFY MORE stoicism in modern usage refers to someone who is indifferent to pain, pleasure, grief, or joy. It’s a philosophy that maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative emotions, and helps individuals to hone their virtues of character.
Stoicism divide life events into two categories:
Internals events: Things we have complete control over it like our opinions, our goals that we set, emotions, thoughts, behavior, and character. So your main focus here should be on these things and if something went wrong with the internals then it’s 100% your responsibility.
External events: Things we don’t completely control or we have limited control over it like people’s opinions, statics and facts, law and regulations, return on investments…etc. In this case, we should avoid spending too much time focusing on these things because they are already out of our control, and we find it difficult because we usually tied those externals with emotions which gonna lead us to become unsatisfied and unhappy.
A lot of things happen in life good or bad, so as a stoic your focus should be on controlling your reaction to these things not judging the positivity or negativity of this situation, the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and complaints makes you a stoic person.
“Almost nothing material is needed for a happy life for he who has understood existence”-Marcus Aurelius
In stoicism, the ability to find happiness is developed through character and perspective (internals) not the externals.
Why Successful People Like It ?
Stoicism has gained a lot of popularity in our modern world and that’s because of its practices and principles:
1- Focus On What You Can Control: we become desperate and lose a lot of energy focusing and wishing on things that are totally out of our control for example let’s say you are stuck in traffic while going to work in the morning.
In this situation, the majority of people will start complaining and cursing and waste a lot of energy on something that is not worth it and is totally out of their control, which they will end up going to work with all the negativity and fuck up their day before even it starts.
A stoic person will never do this instead, he will find what he could control in this situation (stuck in traffic) and focus on it, like listening to music or an audiobook, thinking about your future plans, rescheduling your day…etc.
This principle is a game-changer for people, especially for those who deal with stress on a daily basis like entrepreneurs, day traders, lawyers, airline pilots…etc.
2- Use Obstacles And Failure To Grow: we can’t hide the fact that problems and obstacles are real opportunities for growth, every achievement we’ve achieved so far at some point was a problem, there are no ups without downs.
Stoic people know that setbacks are the way to improve yourself and the struggle makes you stronger, so every time something bad happens to you try to avoid complaining too much because complaining keeps your mind in a state of being upset longer, and what really gonna help you is thinking how you get there in the first place and what you are gonna learn from this experience so you can avoid it the next time.
Obviously, this trait is a little bit difficult to learn and we need time to master it especially when we are dealing with our emotions, but with practice, you will find yourself improving.
3- Taking Action: Now, think about one of your idols and all the achievements that he/she has done, do you think he/she gets there by sitting on the couch watching TV?…. Exactly, so shut the F**k up and start taking action.
Stoics refuse to be passive victims of their circumstances. They take action to make their life better and to make the world better. And by that, I don’t mean going in any random direction, your actions must be tied with a clear purpose, driven by well-chosen goals and values.
As Grant Cardone said in his bestselling book the 10X Rule: ” The more action you take, the better your chances are of getting a break.”
4- Being Grateful: To understand more what’s being grateful really means, I will leave you with the story of “The Chinese Farmer” by Alan Watts
Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”
The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.
5- Happiness Isn’t A “Material” Thing: This term is ruined by the business world because they made us think that material things can make us happy just to sell their products, I mean look at the luxurious watches no one would like to spend $30,000 on a watch — a price of a brand new car — if it didn’t promote as a sign of respect and honor, or as the psychologists like to call it Social Approval.
Sure, it does feel good when we go from not having enough to being able to afford things we’ve never owned, but that’s a very short-lived form of joy that can hardly be considered real happiness. Every person has his own definition of happiness but it is better to keep it far from material things.
On the other hand, Stoics do not fall for this trap, let’s take for example The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett is known for his frugality. According to CNBC, he never pays more than $3.17 for breakfast and still lives in the house he bought for $31,500 in 1958 (approximately $260,000 today).
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad with a personal worth of an estimated $58.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. For two decades, Kamprad drove a 1993 Volvo 240 GL. He only gave it up when his daughter persuaded him that driving it was dangerous.
The founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, drives a black Acura TSX, a car valued at around $30,000. He says he prefers the choice because it’s “safe, comfortable and not ostentatious.”
Why would Buffett, Kamprad, and Zuckerberg spend very little money? Instead of focusing on externals, these billionaires focus on the things that really matter. They focus on their multi-billion companies and how they deliver more to satisfy their customers and outperform the competition, it’s a way more bigger than materialism.
Can Stoicism Change Your Life If You Followed It ?
” I made this positive change in my life. I consciously (and conscientiously) changed my outlook. Obviously, I benefited from the wisdom which Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus had laid down millennia before I was born, but I made the choice to crack open their books and read their words, and take them to heart. If I hadn’t made that choice, I’d still be ignorant of the Stoics’ teachings, and I’d still be the same old frustrated, miserable, and arrogant asshole I used to be. It’s hard to think of a worse fate.
Anyway, that’s what Stoicism did for me. It helped me break myself out of a series of very unhealthy mental attitudes. It helped me gain some much-needed perspective on life and showed me how to remain calm and rational no matter what happens. But perhaps most important of all, it showed me how to humble myself…and (ironically) allowed me to regain a healthy measure of pride and self-esteem. “
Best Books On Stoicism
My name is Muhammad Islem I’m a college student, I have 3 years since I started learning about digital marketing, I like talking about businesses, marketing, books, and ways of making money.
I’ve created this blog to talk about things that interested me and to help young entrepreneurs start their own businesses and escape their boring 9 to 5 jobs.