21 Stoic Life Hacks For #Stoicweek

In Stoic philosophy we have something special. Stoicism is not so much a philosophyas one might think of an academic disciplinebut a practical guide for living.

This guide for living has been so effective and resilient that its been used by some of the most powerful, successful and wise people in all of history. From Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome to Epictetus, a former slave, its a doctrine designed for extreme abundance and adversity alike. It was the favorite of leaders like Cato( who challenged Caesar ), Bill Clinton and Theodore Roosevelt, writers like Seneca and Ambrose Bierce, painters like Eugene Delacroix, entrepreneurs like Elizabeth Holmes and Tim Ferriss, athletics teams like the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, soldiers like Frederick the Great and James Stockdale, and countless other practitioners over the centuries.

Why? What did it do for them? Well, most of all it them a framework for behavior and mindset in an inherently unpredictable world. In fact, if we were reducing stoicism down to a single sentence we might say: It teaches us how to respond well to a world outside of our control.

Some people have called stoicism an operating system , which is a great way of putting it. But for someone just starting out, or someone looking to try this operating system for the annual Stoic Week (# stoicweek )~ ATAGEND, where should they start? Below are 20 hacksor exercisesfrom some of the stoic greats that will make their own lives better right now.

So try them!

[*] Distinguish between the things you can control and the things you cant. This is our most important task, Epictetus says. It all flows from there.

[*] Take cold rains . Not only are there health benefits, but part of stoicism is about detecting these luxuries or dependencies and assuring if you can do without themif only temporarily.

[*] Dont travelling . We suppose travel is the magical cureall when too often it is simply an escape. The way to deal and face your problems is to stay put. To actually be in yourself for a minute.

[*] Practice premeditatio malorum( a premeditation of evils ). Everyone talks about positive visualization. The stoics practice negative visualization. Guess about what could go wrong, accept that it is a potential, prepare for it, proceed anyway. Dont be caught by surprise by adversity, be ready for it.

[*] Remember: There is no such thing as a good or bad eventthose are just labels we put on stuff that happens. Really remember that( and believe it ).

[*] Be grateful. The first book of Marcus Aurelius Meditations? Its nothing but thank yous to all the people who induced him who he was. Be grateful for everything, even the people who have hurt or harmed you. They too have helped make you who you are.

[*] Contemptuous Expressions . Dont get distracted by the trappings national societies puts on things. Expensive food is still dead plants and animals. Fancy clothes are made in sweatshops by children. Rich people still go to the bathroom like everybody else. Strip things, as Marcus Aurelius wrote, of the legend that encrusts them.

[*] Study doctrine . As Seneca said Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only those are really alive. For they not only keep a good watch over their own lifetimes, but they annex every age to theirs.

[*] Stay in the present moment . Forget what came before. Definitely dont get eaten with whats going to happen next. Just focus on whats right here in front of you.

[*] Practice calamity. Seneca advised taking a day a month to practise bad stuffmaybe you dont eat, or you sleep outside or you dont touch certain luxuries. Why? So you can is understood that losing these things is not as bad as we are afraid. Youll be fine with or without them.

[*] Do it because its the right thing. Detach yourself from the outcome : A thank you, a reward, recognition, fame. If its only worthwhile because of those external factors, then it is probably not the right thing.

[*] The best revenge is to not be like that. Marcus Aurelius

[*] Journal. At the very least at the beginning or end of the daypreferably both.( thats what is, a private journal)

[*] Meditate. Pierre Hadot reminds us that stoic doctrine is a set of spiritual workouts. Not something you learn or hear once and recollect, but something you think of and practise on a regular basis.

[*] The stoics say: Every situation has two handlesone that will hold weight and the other wont. When you try and fail at something, just realize you grabbed the wrong handle.

[*] When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. Marcus Aurelius

[*] Ask yourself: If other people knew I was doing this, would I be embarrassed or ashamed? If so, its probably not a good thing to be doing( to say nothing of being a poor utilize of your time)

[*] Dont get stuck with dogma. There are plenty of non-stoic philosophers and doctrines worth borrowing from. As Seneca wrote I dont mind quoting a bad author if the line is good.

[*] Eliminate your attachments. Attachments attain you a slave. It sets your fate in the hands of other people or external things. Remember: The first truth: You must choose between your attachment and happiness. You cannot have both. Anthony de Mello

[*] Focus on something bigger than yourself. Try out that oceanic feelingfrom nature, from history from being part of teamthat reminds you that you are not the center of the universe.

[*] Meditate on your mortality. You are going to dieyou know that right? Stop pretending you wontand more importantly, stop feigning that its a horrible scary thing. You wont be around anymore. Thats it! So live while you can.

All of these exercisings will help. But lets say youre too busy. Maybe you dont have room in your life for them. Ok, well then just remember this single one. It is stoicism embodied. Let it guide your life

-Marcus Aurelius

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