Friday, October 04, 2019

Stoic Week 2019 Series: #2 Stoicism for Absolute Beginners

Stoicism can appear to be a complicated philosophy. At the heart of it, though, is a very simple, and extremely wise, principle called the Stoic Fork

It goes like this

Understand there are some things we can change, other things that we can’t
What we can change is basically how we think about things and our voluntary actions
We can’t change pretty much everything else – the past, other people, fate

So focus your attention and energies on how you think about things and what you do, and accept that you can't control everything else.

Do you already follow the wisdom of the Stoic Fork?

What if you are stuck in traffic? Do you focus on how you react and what you can do? In which case you might react with self-control, recognising you can't do much about it, or with wisdom,  working out a new route. Or do you swear under your breath, worsening your  stress levels and serving no useful purpose?

How about when a colleague or customer is difficult? Do you try and control them, or expect them to somehow automatically behave as you would like? The Stoic wouldn't adopt these strategies, understanding they involve trying to control what cannot be controlled. Instead, they might reflect on their own behaviour, and what they can do - perhaps communicating their own needs clearly and in a friendly way or in some cases just accepting that this is the way that person behaves.

Why not try to use the Stoic Fork at least once today?

For more resources on Stoicism see my Stoicism page

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