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Daily Stoic

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In America [and Europe], it’s Halloween, which is a fun holiday for children. In Mexico, however, it is the beginning of Día de los Muertos, a much more adult and philosophical holiday. All throughout Mexico, people will gather not to eat candy but to celebrate and remember their friends and family who have died. It is, in a sense, a three day commemoration of the idea of memento moria kind of collective bereavement mixed with the fun of a jazz funeral.

The great Montaigne would tell of a story that had trickled back to him from the New World, of an ancient drinking game where the members took turns holding up a painting of a corpse inside a coffin and cheered “Drink and be merry for when you’re dead you will look like this.” This cheeky but also profound observation captures the spirit of Día de los Muertos quite well with imagery of skulls and skeletons, the makeup and the music and the dancing, the praying and the altars set up to honor those who have left.

It might seem strange to celebrate death in this way, and stranger still to involve children in it. But is it really that stranger than banishing any thought of death from our lives and letting it return to us only as a dreaded nightmare? There is real value in taking time to process and grieve and dance with the morbidity of our mortality, of creating a ritual that allows us to come to terms with this essential part of our existence. Better to be on good terms with death and to schedule an annual check up than to be surprised and shocked by this enemy we pretend doesn’t exist.

So drink and be merry today and celebrate the day of the dead. Say goodbye to the people you have lost and enjoy the people you are lucky enough to still have with you. That’s all we can do.

***

P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out our Daily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

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Daily Stoic

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Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing 

There is a wonderful interview with David Letterman from earlier this year, where he talks about some of the transgressive policies aimed at transgendered people in America. He said,

Look, you’re a human, I’m a human. We’re breathing the same air. We have the same problems. We’re trying to get through our day. Who the fuck are you to throw a log in the road of somebody who has a different set of difficulties in life?

Which is a very Stoic way to look at just about every contentious issue in today’s culture regardless of whatever political, religious or scientific mindset you adhere to. Far left or far right, creationist or scientist, it doesn’t matter what your opinion of transgendered people, or immigrants, an opioid-addicted kid in Ohio happens to be or why you think they got where they are. The Stoic approach would be to say: We’re all humans. We all struggle and those people are almost certainly struggling harder than me. Why would we spend our time legislating or pontificating about their issues when we have our own, right here, that we haven’t dealt with? Why would I actively try to make their lives harder?

The Stoics held strongly to the idea of sympatheia, the interconnection between all species, people and universes. They believe we were all the same, all struggling under different versions of the same logos which assigned unique roles and trials for us all. Who are we to make other people’s fates harder? Who are we to punish other people for things they don’t control—for things that have nothing to do with their behavior?

Don’t throw a log in front of someone else. Leave them alone. Or better, do the Stoic thing—offer a hand.

P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out ourDaily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.

 

Why is Stoicism Having a Cultural Moment?

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Have been reading Seneca this month. This needull takes a look at stoicism in today’s context.
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The value for our globalized society of thinking and acting in a manner that emphasizes our similarities and increases our capacity for compassion and justice can hardly be overstated. Solving the problem of climate change, for example, will undoubtedly require us to draw upon and develop these qualities further than ever before. And yet, it seems to many that as a society we are only growing more fractured and detached from one another, focusing on our divergent political views, or our racial and religious differences, or our distinct lifestyle choices (all this notwithstanding our ubiquitous connectedness via the internet).The value for our globalized society of thinking and acting in a manner that emphasizes our similarities and increases our capacity for compassion and justice can hardly be overstated. Solving the problem of climate change, for example, will undoubtedly require us to draw upon and develop these qualities further than ever before. And yet, it seems to many that as a society we are only growing more fractured and detached from one another, focusing on our divergent political views, or our racial and religious differences, or our distinct lifestyle choices (all this notwithstanding our ubiquitous connectedness via the internet).

The complete articleThe complete article

Chiara Sulprizio — EIDOLON

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via Why is Stoicism Having a Cultural Moment? — Needull in a haystack

Winning Stoically

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via Winning Stoically — youwineverythingwithkids – Many thanks for sharing

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In recent years I have developed a real interest in Stoicism. Although I wouldn’t yet consider myself a Stoic, I have enjoyed learning some of the underlying principles that make up this philosophy of life. There have been many Stoics over the years but probably the most well known are Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor. I would recommend ‘Letters from a Stoic’ by Seneca or ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius. If any of these whet your appetite then Ryan Holiday has written two great books called ‘The Obstacle Is the Way’ and Ego Is The Enemy’ Both of these will give a modern feel to Stoicism. I will guarantee you that Stoicism is not what you think it is and can be translated into a modern philosophy of life.

Many of us don’t have a real philosophy for life as we jump from one issue to the next. We deal with what is in front of us. Many people think a good life is having a good job. This allows us to buy ever more stuff to impress people in our belief that this creates a meaningful life. But ask yourself how long the happiness lasts, that we create when buying the latest gadget before we crave the next shiny thing? This is a process of hedonic adaptation which I may well pick up on future blogs.

You are probably now thinking that he’s gone mad and what has this to do with grassroots football?  Well. if we could learn a few Stoic principles and put them into practice then we might actually move away from chasing the next shiny thing and build on what we already have. The Stoics chose ‘to want what they already have’ in order to make them fully appreciate what they had.

The Stoics broke everything into 3 areas:

1.Where you have total control

2 Where you have some but not total control

3.Where you have no control

There is no point bothering about areas where you have no control ie the weather; the pitch; the referee; your height; the position you are asked to play or what the opposition will do and how they choose to play.

The second point we should consider, as that forms the largest group so we should try and influence this group while understanding that there are many factors at play that will affect the outcome. Examples are how you prepare physically and tactically but the biggest example is the final score of the game. Consequently, the first point is the most important. Concentrate on things in which you have total control. Examples of this are attitude, commitment, effort, enjoyment, opinions. These are all factors which the player has direct and full control over. Whereas the result, other people’s opinion and our reputation are not up to us.

There is much less energy required to do things in which we have total control over so we should be doing these as much as possible. We have it in our power to stop moaning at the coach; to be well mannered; to work hard; to take time to help our team-mates. The choice is within ourselves.

Consequently, a player who is looking to develop needs to set internal rather than external goals. Therefore, the goal is not to ‘win’ the match or the league or the cup (This is external and you don’t have full control over this) but to play to your best of your ability in the game.

The Stoics knew that our internal goals affect our external performance, but they also knew that the goals we set for ourselves have a direct impact on our emotional state. So if we set the goal to win the match, this does not increase our chances of winning that particular match. On the other hand, if we set playing our best game as our goal then we don’t reduce our chances of winning the match but we do lessen our chances of being upset by the outcome. We must then change the story we are telling ourselves and remove the thought of winning and replace it with playing to the best of our ability. This will significantly reduce your emotional anguish in the future.

Therefore I want players to ‘win stoically’ by setting internal goals for themselves. I can honestly say that I have never asked a team to go out and win. I have asked them to go out and enjoy themselves; express themselves and give their all. The result is of little significance but can they come off the pitch thinking they have given their all and reflect against the internal goal they set for themselves before the match? That for me is ‘winning’

If you want to read more on the Stoics then as well as Ryan Holliday’s books then you should have a look at the good stuff from Tim Ferriss. Also John Wooden and his famous quote “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” probably tells me that as well as being my coaching hero, he was also a Stoic at heart.

Finally, to quote Robin Sharma “The world belongs to learners” so let’s teach the kids to ‘win stoically’.

via Winning Stoically — youwineverythingwithkids

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