“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

EPICTETUS

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Self Improvement

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Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that was founded by Zeno of Citium, in Athens, in the early 3rd century BC.
It is an ancient tool for remaining calm in adversity, a philosophical framework, useful in providing an ethical scaffold for both everyday life and in times of difficulty.

“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

We can create our own heaven or hell with our thoughts. Stoics prized rational thinking, acting on good information and contemplating the situation fully rather than acting rashly or from a place of panic and anxiety.
A Stoic's recommendation for the pandemic would be to carefully choose what media and opinions you consume.

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in the imagination than reality.”
“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”

Stoics believed that your health and your money can be taken away from you at any time – but no one can take your character from you. So you need to nurture it.
In today's situation related to the spread of the virus, demonstrating good character might involve not hoarding scarce goods ( i.e toilet paper), not taking all the pasta and rice for yourself and leaving none for others and it might mean self-isolating, for your own good and for the safety of others.

The Stoic philosophy reflects our deep and profound interconnectedness. We are highly social animals, and we exist and find meaning within our communities.
It's up to us to act out of love, not fear and consider the wider good whenever we take action during crises.

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realise how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”

This technique involves thinking about what you value most in life, then imagine losing that thing.
This was a common practice for the Stoics. This includes not only exposing us to the inevitable losses we may suffer in life but also enabling us to appreciate the people and things we love. We are less likely to take someone for granted if we are aware that they may not be in our life forever.

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RELATED IDEAS

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”

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IDEAS

Put the phone away and be present

To be present as well as learning to be alone is a habit. Some people are really good at it because they make time to do it.

Take a few deep breathes, put your phone on vibrate so there’s no chance of interruption, and just reflect on the series of events that took place throughout your day.

Let your mind focus on the task at hand, what you’re trying to accomplish, and do it with diligence, patience, and care. Sooner, you’ll realize how much of an asset this is to your overall quality of life.

Following the virtue of courage makes one face death, misfortune and loss of respect, and still hold on to one’s principles.

Life is a battle, and many times, a futile one. It requires great courage to fight not just the negative forces, but the many vices, and life-choices like trying to stay sane in an insane world, or fighting the urge to be corrupt when given absolute power.

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