Well, let’s know how to be a Stoic and How to Practice Stoicism.
Introduction To Stoicism:
What is Stoicism?
According to Wikipedia, Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world.
Now, I am not going to talk about stoicism history you can know about it in Wikipedia.
But we are going to talk about the different stoicism practices which will build our mental toughness, resilience and prepare us for any adversaries in life.
Main Principles of Stoicism:
Stoicism have some main concepts and principles. Some of them are:
1# Live a life of Virtue:
Stoic believe to live a good life, we must a live a life of virtue. There Virtues are: Practical Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Self-Discipline.
Every Stoic will follow the virtue even in the times of adversity. And to make sure they follow it. They had different practices to allow them to control themselves.
2# Cause and Effect:
Stoic believes that the whole universe is a giant web of cause and effect. One Cause will have an effect which will cause another thing and so on.
Which every strategic thinker knows very well. Stoic advised to watch out our actions as it will lead to some cause and effect. Which also similar like Law of Karma.
3# Emotional Control:
Stoics strive to control their emotion and not let them control us like an animal. As when we give in to our emotions. Let’s Say: Fear then,
Then, you will run away from problems which will lead to cowardice (opposite of courage, one of their virtue). Other example are: Let’s say: hatred then,
You will more likely to involve in injustice and will not consider to look into the matter objectively.
As you can see, giving in to your emotion will result in breaking the virtue. And this happens to us all the time.
When we say we are going to exercise, but because of not feeling right we don’t exercise. It happens to me many times also.
That’s why they practice rationality above emotions.
How To Practice Stoicism:
There are many practices of Stoicism which are powerful, effective to change your perspective of life. But for Simplicity I am going to list out the ones I used:
1# Locus Of Control:
There are two types of things:
a. Internal Locus of Control: the things which are in your control
b. External Locus of Control: the things which are not in your control
Things like: rain, traffic, others people action, thoughts, external events, outcomes are not in your control.
But things like: your habits, attitude, response, your speech, your judgement are in your control.
Stoic advised: To ask oneself “Is it in my Control?”. If no then, Don’t give a damn about it. If Yes then, do something.
For Example: you are stuck in a traffic jam,
Now, ask yourself: is traffic jam in your control? Answer No then, don’t give a damn about traffic jam. But the things which are in your control are:
Listening to music while stuck, Listening to podcast, or audio book or something else. The more you try to find it, the more you will see it.
I practice stoicism many times especially this, when I have an exam the next day. I do whatever is in my control and Don’t give a damn about other things.
So, From starting today, make a habit of asking yourself this question: Is it in my control?
2# Intentional Pain:
This stoic practice is done by making yourself uncomfortable intentionally.
A famous stoic used to practice this by sleeping in the floor, eating some common food, and wearing minimal clothes once a month.
This actually train you to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.
You can practice this by Fasting, Cold showers, Intense Workouts, drills, Sleeping in the floor, different challenges.
3# Practice of Gratitude:
Now, don’t underestimate this practice for it’s simplicity.
Because first, it’s scientifically proven that the practice of gratitude make you happier, more fulfilled, and more positive.
And it’s easy to practice. Write down 10 things you are genuinely grateful for in your journal. That’s it give it a try for 30 days and see what happens.
It’s a very important practice. Stoic at the end of the day will write down how the day goes, which virtue they follow which they broke, The plans for tomorrow.
What they did wrong today? What better they can do tomorrow.
Self Reflection is a great practice for increasing self-awareness and it will give you clarity, it will help you to understand your habits, addictions, thought-patterns, day-to-day lifestyle and much more.
So, Practice Journaling every night before going to bed for self-reflection.
5# Objective Thinking:
The problem itself is not the problem but the way we look at it.
Thinking Objectively means thinking about something without prejudgments, assumptions, or opinions.
Or, simply it means thinking and seeing the thing the way it is.
In the practice stoicism, it is important to think about things objectively and not subjectively as it will cause injustice.
And we do this every time. We think our problems like a big mountain like it’s a very big problem even though it’s nothing comparison to other problems.
Next time we think about some problem or person. First, Think objectively without prejudgments, opinions, and with rationality.
You will be more calm in your problems when you think objectively.
6# Negative Visualization:
Now, Negative Visualization is a very powerful and extreme practice.
In this, you will intentionally visualize something very extremely bad happening. Like:
a. Death of someone
b. Death of your Parents, Child, or Some loved ones
c. Accidents, rejections, going broke, and many more things.
The whole point visualizing these extreme events is to prepare yourself mentally. Now, it’s not that it’s going to happen or not.
But you will handle less extreme problems more effectively when you are prepared for very extreme adversity.
Now, Practice this very slowly, don’t visualize a extreme event which will make you utterly terrified. But start small like some rejection, being lost, going broke. Then, go for more extreme.
7# Contemplating your Death:
Best for the last. This practice alone can give you motivation and purpose for your life.
Mortality is the universal truth. It cannot be change. We are Mortals. And we are going to die someday for sure. And I mean, for 1000000% sure.
As a Mortal we have limited time for things to achieve, and enjoy. The things you are stressed about now, will not be problem after a month, or year.
That’s why contemplating your Death is one of the most powerful stoicism practice.
You will contemplate and think while being alone in a room about your death.
What will happen when you die? or, What will you want your Death be like?
What will happen if you die today? or, What things you want to do before dying?
Will the problems you are facing today, will matter in your death?
What things you will regret in your Death?
You will not figure out everything in one session of contemplation. Start small and continue asking questions.
There are many more practices of stoicism which will help you to build character, mental toughness, resilience, and make your life more happier.
Stoicism is simple form means living your life according to the virtues, controlling your emotions, and Accepting the life as it is while making it better.
That’s it for today, implement some of the practices in your daily life.
Until Next Time,