Stoic Philosophy: Four Principles You can Apply

philosophy stones

Stoicism is one of many things I really enjoy reading about. As I’ve been reading and pondering this recently, during couple of public holidays and long weekend in Australia, and as part of my readings, what popped up are some thoughts and a couple of applications for you.

One of Marcus Aurelius’ work really inspires me. The heading of this particular letter or journal entry was ‘Get out of Bed and Go to Work.’ And I want to put this thought of him in this quote:

At dawn when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work.As a human being, what do I have to complain of if I’m going to do that which I was born for? The thing that I was brought into the world to do.Or is this simply what I was created for? To huddle under the blanket and stay warm

What challenged me so much was: ‘Am I created to stay warm under some blankets?’ And the the spirit of doona is calling even stronger as winter begins to send where I am located. But as a human being, we’re designed to work, we’re born and brought into this world to make a difference for others. It’s what sets us apart in the animal kingdom – our ability to work together for the good of our race, to help others.

Here’s another thought from Seneca:

Were you born to feel nice instead of doing things and experiencing them? Were you born to feel nice? Are you not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands? Get out of bed. Go to work.

I love these thoughts and I hope that challenges you here. And I want to provide some practical and tangible principles from the works of Seneca this time.

Our life can be chaos at times, and we can be thrown and screwed by emotions and challenges. Here are some principles that you can apply to maintain a stoic view on how to approach this life.

1. Don’t waste time 

In these days of digital distractions, devices, and technology, it’s so easy to waste time. I want to challenge you to have, as one of my mentors says, monomaniacal focus. Focus to the extent of being a  maniac. It’s quite a challenge. So don’t waste time.

2. Don’t drown in information

It is so tempting to read all the blogs, subscribe to all the newsletters and listen to all the podcast. Perhaps, the challenge for you is to listen and read a little less and be more selective in the information you are going to consume. So principle number two: don’t drown in information.

3. Don’t engage with crap

Don’t engage with things that are irrelevant or useless. Be frugal with where you get your information from. You get to curate the editorial of your life. Choose what’s in your Facebook feed and what’s in your inbox. You can unsubscribe and have the podcast of your choice. You can choose the people that you listen with.

4. Use technology purposely

I love Jocko Willink. He wrote a landmark book called Extreme Ownership. And I hear of so many clinic owners and business owners being overwhelmed by technology and being consumed by lead apps.

Let me just say; you’re a grown-up, you’re an adult, and you are in control what you choose comes into your life. So, set time limits, set boundaries. Within boundaries is freedom. So set boundaries around your use of technology. Don’t drown it and use it purposefully. Every time you open your phone, which app are you going to go for and what is the purpose of that?  Use it purposefully.

REFLECTION

So let’s reflect. Aurelius led with the thought of the principle of: Get out of bed; go to work. You weren’t designed for the doona, you were created with a purpose. You weren’t born to live under a doona.

Principles that we can apply: Number one, don’t waste time. Time is precious. Number two: don’t drown in information. Number three: don’t engage with crap. And number four: use technology purposely.

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