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How to Change Your Life

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Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

Daily Stoic

It was today in 1965 that Malcolm X was gunned down while delivering a speech in a New York City ballroom. Perhaps the most controversial of the Civil Rights leaders, Malcolm was a complicated man. His early life was defined by crime, liqueur and violence and it was a story that ended, as it ends for so many, in a prison cell.

But in that cell, Malcolm Little, as he was then called, picked up a book…and then another book…and then another. “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book,” he would say later. In fact, he would come to refer to “books” rather than college as his “alma mater.”

We don’t know if Malcolm read the Stoics as some Civil Rights leaders did, but we know that he drank deeply from history and philosophy and religion and as a result, he came to at least one conclusion that sounds like it could have come from Marcus or Seneca or Epictetus.

“There is no better than adversity,” he said. “Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

It’s true. The impediment to action advances action. The obstacle is the way.

We need to understand this simple but completely counterintuitive idea, and then we need to impute it onto our DNA and mind. Because, to paraphrase Malcolm, when we change our philosophy we change our attitude and when we change our attitude, we change our actions.

And then, as he did, we can change ourselves and change the world.

P.S. Our “The Obstacle Is the Way” print is made in collaboration with renowned artist Joey Roth and is inspired by the cult Stoic classic The Obstacle Is the Way. Discover more and order yours now.

Daily Stoic – This Too Shall Pass

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Daily Stoic

Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

Stoic discipline of the Will is so important.

… “This too shall pass” was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite saying, one he once said was applicable in any and every situation one could encounter.

We don’t choose what happens to us, what era we live in or what difficulties life will throw at us. But we choose what we make of it and what these tests will reveal about what we’re made of.

Spot the Gorilla

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While I write a new post, here’s some fun. Reader Roger sent a photo of his cat with a “spot the. . .” quiz and a note. I think this would be classified as “dead easy”: For a bit of weekday morning fun, Aeryn invites you to play “Spot the gorilla.”

via Spot the gorilla! — Why Evolution Is True

Always Room to Improve

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Daily Stoic

Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

Epictetus reminds us: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

He tells us that this is the “first task” of philosophy: to get rid of our preconceptions, to do away with the dogmas we have in our heads. Be humble. Be open to things you don’t know, or things that challenge what you do know.

Emerson talked about the advantage of a life of humility in his memorable line: “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”…

Humility is an easy virtue to talk about—and a much harder one to put into practice. We don’t want to seem stupid. We don’t like saying, “I don’t know” or “You might have a point.” Harder still: “Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I have more to learn?”  But it’s this attitude that leads to change and improvement. So give it a try. You can’t get better if you think you’re superior.

With a Smile and a Wink

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Thanks to Alexis Rose “Untangled” for sharing…

Sometimes the climb to the top of the mountain is rigorous and uneven. Rest and gather strength on the summit. Look to the person next to you who never strayed from your side. Then with a smile and a wink set off together for the next adventure. ©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay New […]

via With a Smile and a Wink — Untangled

The Philosophy Of Stoicism: Five Lessons from Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Zeno of Citium.

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Daily Stoic

Source: The Philosophy Of Stoicism: Five Lessons from Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Zeno of Citium.

Below is a guest post from Philip Ghezelbash, as he offered to share five of the most important lessons he took away from Stoicism. Enjoy!

1. Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last

Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher. He once said:

“You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

Death doesn’t make life pointless, death makes life worth living. The world keeps spinning when you’re gone and so many of us live life with an attitude which represents the arrogant thought that we are destined to live forever…

When you wake up, pretend today is your last day and live life as you would in this circumstance.

2. Food Is the Best Test Of Self-Control

Food is the best test of self-control and temperance because it’s presented to us every single day and in the modern world at any hour of the day.

Musonius Rufus was a Roman Stoic philosopher who in his two part discourse on food said:

“That God who made man provided him food and drink for the sake of preserving his life and not for giving him pleasure, one can see very well from this: when food is performing its real function, it does not produce pleasure for man, that is in the process of digestion and assimilation.”

Although the pleasure of food is experienced on the tongue, it’s clear that the purpose of food is revealed when it assimilates with the body through digestion.

The lesson here is similar to what Socrates once said which is that we should eat to live rather than live to eat.

3. Failure Is Natural, Regret Is Foolish

Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome. His untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations is an important source of Stoic philosophy.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

He means that everything, no matter whether it is good or bad is an opportunity to practice virtue.  Don’t be surprised by failure, expect it, in fact, embrace it and seek after obstacles in your life which seem uncomfortable…

Epictetus is famous for what he called the dichotomy of control which describes what is in our control.  We can apply this to failure.

The moment you start to regret something in the past you’re fundamentally acting against something which is out of your control and so there’s no practical reward from doing so only frustration and anger.

We should learn from the past and our failures, but to regret, to ponder and to revisit our previous attempts and then look at present with disdain is a crime to your character.

4. Focus on The Small Things

Zeno of Citium was the founder of Stoicism, described as living an ascetic life. He once said that:

“Well-being is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.”

The idea is basically that one must never underestimate the small things in life, because who’s to say that the small things don’t define the larger and seemingness more important parts of life? They do…

It’s easy to look at other people’s successes and pin them down to luck or good fortunate when in reality it was the small “insignificant” things done consistently which defined their successes.

Don’t place your satisfaction on big goals and dreams, place your satisfaction on small wins.

5.  Throw Away Vanity

Epictetus was born a slave in what we call Turkey today; he lived in Rome, was then banished and spent the rest of his life in Greece. He said:

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

When you wish to pursue philosophy and therefore any subject of interest to you, you must throw away conceit and excessive pride before you begin.

Be willing to learn, be willing to listen, be willing to leave your ego aside to learn, evolve and develop through the wisdom of others and through embracing the joy of ignorance.

As the Socratic paradox goes: “I know that I know nothing”

***

Philip is a health nut, writer and a certified personal trainer. His mission is to close the gap between health and philosophy. He is the upcoming author of the book The Stoic Body. What he is striving to do is combine the seemingly unrelated fields of nutrition and health in with the philosophical world and in particular, Stoicism.Subscribe to Philip’s YouTube channel here. You can also join the Stoic Body Facebook group here.

 

Happiness…NOW! — Welcome to Wales [Croeso i Gymru]

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Happy is Now…

Thanks to Croeso i Gymru for sharing

IMG_1576

“Happiness – not in another place but THIS place. 

Not for another hour, but THIS hour.”

Walt Whitman

Happiness can only be found in the present moment.  There’s no need to wait for it.  Grab the moment NOW! 

That’s what I did when the sun came out on a cold, frosty morning yesterday.

The simple things in life bring the most happiness.

Photos:  A beautiful sunshine day at Acton Park, Wrexham, North Wales  24th November 2017

via Happiness…NOW! — Welcome to Wales [Croeso i Gymru]

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