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Rules for Modern Living From the Ancient Stoics -
May 25, 2017 | WSJ | By Massimo Pigliucci.

Stoicism is practical and humane, and it has plenty to teach us. The philosophy may have been developed around 300 B.C. by Zeno of Cyprus, but it is increasingly relevant today, as evidenced by the popularity of events such as Stoicon, an international conference set to hold its fourth annual gathering in Toronto this October.

The Stoics had centuries to think deeply about how to live, and they developed a potent set of exercises to help us navigate our existence, appreciating the good while handling the bad. These techniques have stood the test of time over two millennia. Here are five of my favorites.

(1) Learn to separate what is and isn’t in your power. This lets you approach everything with equanimity and tranquility of mind. ...Understand and internalize the difference, and you will be happier with your efforts, regardless of the outcome.

(2) Contemplate the broader picture. Looking from time to time at what the Stoics called “the view from above” will help you to put things in perspective and sometimes even let you laugh away troubles that are not worth worrying about. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius made a note of this in his famous personal diary, “The Meditations”: “Altogether the interval is small between birth and death; and consider with how much trouble, and in company with what sort of people and in what a feeble body, this interval is laboriously passed.”

(3) Think in advance about challenges you may face during the day. A prepared mind may make all the difference between success and disaster.

(4) Be mindful of the here and now (i.e. living in the moment). The past is no longer under your control: Let it go. The future will come eventually, but the best way to prepare for it is to act where and when you are most effective—right here, right now.

(5) Before going to bed, write in a personal philosophical diary. This exercise will help you to learn from your experiences—and forgive yourself for your mistakes.

Stoicism was meant to be a practical philosophy. It isn’t about suppressing emotions or stalking through life with a stiff upper lip. It is about adjusting your responses to what happens, enduring what must be endured and enjoying what can be enjoyed.
Stoics  philosophy  Romans  journaling  self-discipline  mindfulness  span_of_control  mybestlife  preparation  beforemath  sense_of_proportion  the_big_picture  anticipating  contextual  forward_looking  foresight  GTD  perspectives  affirmations  beyond_one's_control  chance  living_in_the_moment  Greek  personal_control 
june 2017 by jerryking
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