A few years ago, in the late summer of 2017, I started using the free website Coach.me because at the time I wanted to be a life coach. I didn’t end up becoming a life coach professionaly, although I was successful with all three of my test clients it was more draining than it was worth for me. Yet in the end I did become a life coach for myself and kids, which is important in it’s own right. Anyways the point is I found and joined a community of stoics via the “Stoic Quote of the Day” Habit.
I think I may have become interested after reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson, or maybe I had always had stoic tendencies. Early on in my marriage my husband attacked my stoic behaviour, it could have been because he is very reactive and passionate that he didn’t appreciate me showing him his behaviour was his choice not mandatory or simply because he was hurt by something else or because it’s hard not to be afraid of differences, but for some time I was ashamed to be who I was because my husband insulted me. Over time I got over caring what my husband thought, even though we are still together and happier now I care very little about what he thinks, because he thinks very quicklyy without any fact checking. I respect my husbands right to an opinion, his feelings, his hard work, who he is, but no longer what he thinks and that has allowed me happiness and well being I didn’t have when I did care what he thought.
A modern definition of a stoic by Nassim Nicholas Taleb “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” It’s not how the mainstream portays them which I think is just an accidental placement of “Spartan” steriotypes onto “Stoics” because they are both from Ancient Greece.
What I would say is that stoicsm is how to prevent other people’s problems and baggage from weighing you down so much you can no longer see the beauty of life nor feel empowered to be the archatect of your own inner and outer worlds.
“7 Habits of Highly Succesful People” and “9 Habits of a Hands Free Life” are stoic books that don’t use the term stoic. “7 Habits of Highly Succesful People” introduces proactivity, the instant after something happens where you can choose how to view the event and what to do (or blindly react) and “9 Habits of a Hands Free Life” deals with being mindfully aware of unpleasant truths without being crippled by the real and valid negativity of life.
So besides those books I also read the classics, “Meditations,” “Ego is the Enemy,” ext. “Meditations” was a special book, it was a diary, never intended to be published. It was the Roman Emporer Marcus Aurelius’ personal workbook of him trying to live by stoic quotes/stoic philosophy from Epictetus (a slave and great philosopher) and others such as Seneca (a roman senetor forced to commit suicide due to regime change). “Meditations” seems like a blog straight out of modern life, the problems in it are timeless (or at least still happen to me).
This quote from “Meditations:” reminds me of many coworkers I’ve had, “Betimes in the morning say to thyself, this day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man. All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad.” – Marcus Aurelius
There are 50 quotes in the Coach.me Stoic Quote of the Day list that repeat, as I’ve read them I’ve also questioned their validity (finding a handful seemingly invalid) and tried them all via tiny habit action plans for real life. So the quotes were not just quotes, they were meditations, ideas, actions to try, and for the most part became habits.
I happened to take a free personality test before (years ago) and after (yesterday) these past two years of stoic meditation, I have the same personality, but am 6% more open minded, 17% more mindful, 15% more outgoing, 26% nicer, 13% more willing to improve myself.
I’m still the same person (the olympian) yet more than twice as nice as before. That has really helped me form better connections in my family, marriage and deeper connections with my friends.
My rotine is to wake up, check email, play Sims Freeplay (send everyone to work since the game works in real time), open my agenda (Habitca), set my intention while reading my first habitca daily task:
“INTELLECTION: Create My Own Reality Consciously
“I chose to be grateful to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy… ” Therefore I should live my best life possible, which is to mālama pono by:
- Being forthright and proactive. (Responsible)
- Examining life. (Input)
- Helpful restore balance. (Resolver)
- Clarify complicated things. (Intellection)
- Live stoically (Learn) https://www.coach.me/dashboard,”
and do my Stoic Quote of the Day Meditation (via link above in bold copied from my Habitca dashboard).
I’ve done stoic meditations as a workbook with this format (adapted from the Life Values Inventory self leadership for values based living formula)
🍁 Stoic Quote X 🍁
📘 Input: “Y” 🐓🐍🐕
💡 Intellection: I think Z.
🛠️ Responsibility: Serenity or proactivity?
🎉 Resolution: I’m celebrating that A.
🐢 Learning: I’m learning B.
Three hundred and twelve times over the past thee years, which is about six cycles of the fifty quotes and although I still don’t have the quotes memorized, I have their meaning in my mind and can often (not always) live by them in daily life.
I have a daughter and she loves the remake of Mr. Roger’s Neighboorhood “Daniel Tiger’s Neighboorhood.” I wasn’t happy about her watching TV at first, but I was suprised to find it’s also a source of stoic philosophy. The first episode the cartoon tiger’s dad explains “when something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.” The second episode says “when we do something new, let’s talk about what we’ll do.” That’s in essence stoic philosophy, it’s not saying keep something that “is bad,” just question mentally what “seems bad,” and talking about new ideas is in essence entertaining ideas and stoic meditation.
Yesterday after two years of stoic meditation I felt I knew enough to start discussing the quotes with ny daughter. We went for a walk in the windy fall day and holding hands she repeated the first quote twice and we discussed what it meant:
“While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing … is ours, except time.”
The way I explained it was “opportunity cost,” my daughter picked to walk to the 98c Store so we didn’t go to the track (which she also loves). I also explained if she had many dino toys and no time to play with them it would be as if she had none, she seemed to understand well. It made me wonder if I give her enough time to play or not? As I try to teach her reading, math, music, art I hope that I always remember to leave time to play, as draumatic play is said to stimulate the brain the most. I don’t want to force down information at the cost of handicapping the organ that is supposed to be the master of that information, not the slave.
First I read the stoic quotes, then I thought about it, then I started writing about it, then I started talking about it with my family and friends, now I’m talking the talk and walking the walk.