“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.”

EPICTETUS

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Self Improvement

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

What is within our control

Stoicism asserts that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

Turning obstacles into advantages

At the very root of Stoicism there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living: Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t.

The Stoics are men of action

Nassim Nicholas Taleb defines a Stoic as someone who, “transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation and desire into undertaking.”

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RELATED IDEAS

Cafeteria Stoicism

Stoicism is made up of conflicting writings, especially around God, determinism vs free will, happiness vs avoidance of pain etc. Today most Stoic fans are practicing a cafeteria approach: picking up the few useful bits, modifying others, discarding the rest. 

But it’s important to know that this is what we’re doing. Because to the extent that we’re taking this approach, we’re not practicing Stoicism. We are abandoning it and relying implicitly on different (and often unidentified) philosophic ideas.

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IDEAS

The Meditations

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. He faced one of the worst plagues in European history.

During the Antonine Plague, he wrote a book, known as The Meditations, which can be viewed as a manual for developing the mental resilience skills required to cope with a difficult situation.

#1 LIVE IN AGREEMENT WITH NATURE – THE STOIC GOAL OF LIFE

‘Living in agreement with nature’ is about behaving rationally like a human instead of randomly (and out of passion) like a beast. In other words, we should always apply our natural ability ‘reason’ in all of our actions. If we apply reason we live in agreement with nature, because we act like humans are meant to act.

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