Stoicism, Taoism, and Buddhism all basically agree on the fundamental secret of life:
In other words, deeply accept reality moment to moment. Especially those things that you cannot change or control.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ”
― Epictetus, Ancient Stoic Sage
Realize that resisting what you cannot change causes immense unnecessary suffering.
As the Stoics said, love your fate, recognizing that every event has led you to become exactly who you are today, and you could not have become this person otherwise.
Realize that “we never know what things are good for.” Even when things/experiences/emotions appear ‘bad,’ they often contain hidden gemstones.
Thus the wise cease to rigidly categorize experiences as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ recognizing that this mental dichotomizing process is the fundamental root of all problems.
There is much that Stoicism can teach us. Here are six articles on Stoicism to fortify your being and render you increasingly imperturbable in the face of life’s inevitable ebb and flow:
Philosopher Superheroes: 5 Times The Stoics Displayed Superhuman Courage
“Everything I know about Epictetus I’ve developed myself over the years. It’s been a one-on-one relationship. He’s been in combat with me, leg irons with me, spent month-long stretches in blindfolds with me, has been in the ropes with me, has taught me that my true business is maintaining control over my moral purpose, in fact, that my moral purpose is who I am.”
— James Stockdale
We all love superheroes— a hero who has gone the extra mile and is able to perform feats of character or determination way beyond any typical exemplary human. Heroes are all around us, but superheroes transcend mortality. They become symbols of human possibility. My favorite such superheroes are the Stoics, both ancient and modern. It’s not enough that they are able to cope with experiences that would crush the rest of us, they seem to almost appreciate them as opportunities to grow. Whenever I read the wise words of the Stoics, whatever is bothering me seems to become immediately lighter, showing the immense power of perspective we often forget when consumed with misery. Read about the lives of these real-life superheroes and discover the same power that resides inside you.
22 Stoic Truth-Bombs From Marcus Aurelius That Will Make You Unfuckwithable
#7: “It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. Just try and escape your own.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius the Roman Emperor was perhaps the most famous Stoic. It is one thing to appear virtuous good when you are weak, but another thing altogether when you are the most powerful man in the world. Marcus could have people he didn’t like executed. He could wage wars with whoever he liked. He had access to thousands of sexual partners. And yet he lived sensibly, without luxury, and reminded himself frequently to retrain from anger and tolerate those he met. He was a true Philosopher King and worked extremely hard at maintaining good character in an occupation that constantly tempted him to lose control. As you read these 22 quotes from Marcus, ask yourself how he would think about your current issues and stresses in life.
The “Can’t Complain” Philosophy: How Stoic Philosophy Can Level Up Your Life
“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”
― Maya Angelou
This is a fantastic introduction to the main ideas and figures in Stoicism, which further focuses on the art of complaining in a health way vs. complaining in a toxic way. The Stoics were anti-victims, focusing all their efforts on the solutions under their control instead of the problems outside their control. You can probably guess which is the wisest thing to focus on if you are after contentment and joy. Modern people are plagued with the disease of entitled victimhood. It can provide great relief to see ourselves as victims of life, in the same way that a line of cocaine could potentially relieve us of our misery. The problems is, when something feels good it can be addictive and end up causing us more problems in the long run by detrimentally altering our character out of alignment with our self-actualized ideal.
Seneca’s 16 Stoic Mind Hacks to Neutralize Raging Anger
We shall prevent ourselves from becoming angry if we repeatedly place before our eyes all anger’s faults and form a proper judgement of it. It must be tried before the jury of our own hearts and found guilty; its faults must be searched out and dragged into the open; in order to reveal its true nature, it should be compared with the worst evils.
The Stoics saw anger as in a different category from the other emotions. Anger, when in full swing cannot be reasoned with and wreaks destruction on all that it encounters. How many lives have been ruined in human history due to raging anger? The Stoics focused a lot on anger techniques because they really saw it as one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a tranquil mind. Seneca wrote an entire book on ways we can handle anger, and in this article I turn that book into an easy-to-follow guide that you can start using immediately to get better control of the monster that lurks within.
If You Only Read 3 Books on Stoicism, Read These
“Let these doctrines, if that is what they are, be enough for you. As for your thirst for books, be done with it, so that you may not die with complaints on your lips, but with a truly cheerful mind and grateful to the gods with all your heart.”
— Marcus Aurelius
I’ve interviewed Donald Robertson twice for the HighExistence podcast. He has to be one of the most knowledgable experts on Stoicism alive. He also has a background in clinical psychology and is able to talk about Stoicism in a way that is both historically accurate and therapeutically sound. In this article, he gives you the 3 best classics on Stoicism. If you have these books in your library, you will get years worth of re-reads out of them. Get your hands on these books, and begin conversing with the ancient Stoics.
The Marcus Aurelius Guide to Stoic Journaling
“Truth rarely seems to ask the easier choice of us.”
Meditations, written by Marcus Aurelius is still a bestseller today. Marcus, however, never intended it to be published. He wrote this self-help book for himself. This is a beautiful concept. Most of us are looking for wisdom outside, but we often have the answers within. Isn’t it easy to give good advice, but difficult to take our own? If we set out to write a self-improvement book to ourselves as Marcus did then we will get better at following our own advice. Use this article as a guide to journalling like a Stoic, and transform your relationship with self-talk.
Apply Stoicism To Your Daily Life
We offer these articles as an introduction to Stoic thought. But what if you want to these concepts to become a part of your natural way of being? What if you want to transform the head knowledge into embodied wisdom that feels you with more confidence, courage, and joy?
Then you’ll need a training program like the Stoic Quest.
We’re opening enrollment soon. Click here to add your name to the early access list.