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A Stoic Guide To Navigating The Modern Workplace

Keep it simple

Each day presents us with many tasks and distractions. What should I wear? Am I eating well enough? What's next for me in life?

Approach each day as if it is the last. You don't need to get lost in all the distractions in life. Focus on the few things that make it possible to live an abundant life.

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A Stoic Guide To Navigating The Modern Workplace

A Stoic Guide To Navigating The Modern Workplace

https://ryanholiday.net/a-stoic-guide-to-navigating-the-modern-workplace/

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Key Ideas

The sum of individual acts

We do not have to make our life (and job) more challenging by adding emotional drama to insignificant matters or fighting battles we don't actually care about. 

If we take a step back, we can view the problem objectively. Then we can handle matters reasonably and appropriately, without making life unnecessarily difficult.

You control your mind

Although we sometimes think our work is overwhelming, or that our boss is frustrating, external objects do not have access to your mind. Those emotions come from the inside, not the outside.

What we do in our mind is on us. We cannot blame outside sources for making us feel stressed or frustrated.

A proper frame of mind

We like to think that we are in control of our lives, but we continue to let our emotions ride a roller coaster, depending on what happens with us. If something bad happens, we have to be sad. If something good happens soon after, we're excited.

We are not puppets in the hands of our feelings.  We should be the ones in control of our emotions.

Keep it simple

Each day presents us with many tasks and distractions. What should I wear? Am I eating well enough? What's next for me in life?

Approach each day as if it is the last. You don't need to get lost in all the distractions in life. Focus on the few things that make it possible to live an abundant life.

Never do anything out of habit

We should consider why we do what we do.  Holding onto mindless habits means that we have stopped thinking about them.

Find out what you do out of rote memory. Ask yourself if it is really the best way to do it.

Your career is not everything

There is more to life than a career.

You must be careful not to get so wrapped up in your work that you fear to let go. Take pride in your work, but realize that it is not all.

Guard your peace of mind

Stoicism helps us to manage and think through our emotional reactions. It makes our circumstances easier to bear.

However, we should ask ourselves if we should be in that specific situation in the first place. Is this really the environment you were made for? Is this really the life you want? Don't be afraid to make a change.

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Suffering and Desire

Buddha taught that there is suffering in this world, it is inevitable, and the root cause of suffering is mainly the desires we feel.

We want something, always, and feel miserable when we don't get it.

Stoicism teaches us to live in accordance with nature and to accept that suffering will manifest in different ways in our lives.

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What we can control
What we can control

In every situation, there are things we can control and things we can’t. We can control what we say or do, but trying to control what we can't is a recipe for anxiety and stress.

Knowing what we can control

If we could manage never to fret about things we can’t control, then life would proceed calmly. However, the truth of this statement can't bring peace of mind by itself.

One of the many things we can't control is our emotions. If a global pandemic triggers anxiety about death or job security, anxieties formed over decades, it is almost impossible to think yourself into realizing they're insignificant.

The dichotomy of control

A preliminary tool is to separate what you can control from what you can't. But you will only have peace of mind if you begin taking action in the realm of what you can control.

We often have far more control than we realize. You can't stop a worldwide spread of a disease, but you can do a lot to prevent it from spreading to you: you can choose to eat well and to move. You can't choose to get through today's to-do list, but you can choose to spend the next three hours diligently attacking it.

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Stoicism explained
  • In any and every situation—no matter how bad or seemingly undesirable it is—we have the opportunity to practice a virtue.
  • Stoics like to refer to the phrase amor fati–loving the things that happen to us. 
Cultivate Stoicism in your life

Stoic philosophy can be cultivated as a practical philosophy:

  • Seeing the good in everything that happens around us, not feeling hijacked or negatively affected by fate and life events.
  • Treating life as an experiment, not being overly attached to things, people and decisions.

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