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Why Stoicism matters

Why Stoicism matters



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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 ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness...

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and those external things - such as health, wealth, and pleasure - are not good or bad in themselves, but have value as "material for virtue to act upon". The Stoics also held that certain destructive em...

  • Wisdom - the ability to define what is good, what is not good, and what is indifferent.
  • Courage - the opposing force of cowardice. Courage is not the elimination or fear, desire or anxiety, it is acting in the right way despite our fear, desire and anxieties.
  • Justice - our du...

In his book, "A Guide to the Good Life", W. Irvine claims that the cause of sadness in people is a lack of moderation. We get bored of the item we wished and worked so hard for shortly after obtaining it. We rapidly start looking for the next "big" thing instead of being content with what we alr...

As mentioned in the previous idea, Stoics recommend wishing for what we already have. But how could we do this? They propose that we imagine losing something valuable (a job or an expensive item). This is the only way we could be content with what we have. By imagining this, not only will we be b...

"Some things are in our control and others not." - Epictetus

In today's world, it's easy to start comparing ourselves to others or care extensively about their opinions. The Stoics recommend focusing on yourself and on what you can do. Let's look at an example of the commonly-known dichotom...

Continuing on the previous idea, having this new mindset will not make you play better or worse, but will reduce the emotional baggage that can come with losing the match.

This exercise is incredibly useful as it can be applied in a lot of different situations. It's raining and I have to br...

The view from above exercise is designed to make us more aware of how small we really are and how little importance most things have. In other words, to give us a sense of the bigger picture. 

It’s quite simple, you use your imagination to try and relate yourself to the whole world and beyo...

Contemplating the perfect person is another type of exercise that we as humans could use to achieve virtue and become better people.

Writing down a list of qualities an ideal person has helps us have a clearer view of it, while keeping us on track with what's important for us.

A bedtime reflection / journaling is a good example of what we can do at the end of a day. Mentally replay your entire day and then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I behave according to my principles?
  • Did I treat the people with whom I interacted with in a friendly an...

Although Stoicism was founded more than 2000 years ago, there is no doubt that its core principles and ideas can help people of all kinds that are in different stages of their lives, especially in this day and age where social media usage and depression/anxiety levels are seeing all time highs.

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