Stoic philosophy has been around since Ancient Greece, but this ancient teaching is more applicable today than ever. It's a way of thinking that can help you have the best life possible.
Now, stoicism is having a new renaissance. Because of the rise of the self-help movement, more people are going back on this ancient philosophy. Recently, it’s a popular topic in books, articles, and events. From an instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller, The Daily Stoic to New York Times article, stoicism has reached a new level of enthusiasm from entrepreneurs, thinkers, athletes, and leaders. It’s because the stoic philosophy offers people a more useful and understandable approach to life. And more than ever, with an alarming rise in mental illness, it’s a framework we all need to live a better life.
What is Stoic Philosophy?
But does it really mean to be stoic? We colloquially identify the word “stoic” to someone who’s unemotional but embracing the stoic attitude is more than that.
Stoicism is a school of philosophy that started in Ancient Greece and Rome. It originated with Zeno of Cyrus, a bankrupt merchant who studied with the most notable philosophers. Stoicism was born because of his newly attained wisdom, a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of self-improvement through virtue, self-control, and tolerance.
How to be Stoic
Here are few principles you need to develop a stoic attitude and create a better life.
- Accept things as they are.
The recipe for a happy and joyful life is accepting things as they are. Bad or good, we cannot change how things are. The circumstance already lies in the past; we can only change our opinion about it. Stoicism calls this amor fati. It means a love of what happens—to accept rather than fight everything.
- Put ideas into action.
Ideas and values shouldn’t only remain as thoughts. You need to take action. Stoicism believes that one can earn the Good Life by taking the right steps. You need to practice what you have learned and put into action the values you have attained.
- Focus on what you can control.
In life, we don’t fully control anything except our minds. The golden rule of stoicism is learning how to attain total control over our minds. Things can change out of our control, but we can choose what to spend our precious time and energy thinking about.
- Be mindfully present.
Being present is how stoic lives. To live according to virtue, self-control, and tolerance, we need to be mindful of our thoughts and actions. It allows us to have a sense of awareness to be rational and at peace when needed.
- Turn obstacles into opportunities.
To have a stoic attitude, perception is vital. It’s how we decide to see and understand things around us. For stoics they don’t see external events as good or bad, but with an indifferent perception. What matters is your own judgment on these obstacles. You control how you choose to look at them and how you respond to them.