Our Life is What our Thoughts Make It
Marcus Aurelius, 121AD- 180AD
I recently began practicing stoicism—not to become an emotionless person, but to minimize negative emotions. Its antifragile or toughness-training. Even though the Stoics wrote their philosophy over 2,000 years ago–their wisdom is so relevant to our modern life. Who among us does not want to be less reactive? We can learn from the Stoics how to stay calm even with significant setbacks. One way the they practiced emotional agility was to frame any situation by acquiring an internal locus of control. Seneca wrote, “Man is affected not by events but by the view he takes of them.” This means that we can decide to not be reactive to those things that are outside of our control and to live some of these key stoic principles:
- Don’t outsource your happiness
- Live intentionally/limit distractions
- Nothing endures- none of us lasts forever
Since I’ve been reading/practicing Stoicism, my time is guarded more fiercely while being aware that we are only here for a short time. Being overly optimistic can invite passivity so the Stoics suggest imagining the worst that could happen as the best way to prepare for success and be ready for failure. It has been undeniably helpful to my well-being to practice not letting external events affect my internal state of mind. Here’s to guarding your internal state!