I'm going to be sharing something that I'm very passionate about and something that has changed my life for the better, effected how I go into all situations throughout the day, every challenge, every task.
So what is stoicism? Stoicism is a vibrant, action-oriented, paradigm-shifting way of living. Stoicism was a school of ancient philosophy founded in Athens by the Phoenician merchant Zeno of Citium around 301 BC. The school taught virtue, the highest good, which is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine reason that governs nature and is indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain. So how does Stoicism relate to your everyday life? And how it can relate to you? Let's dive deep into the topic of Stoicism.
Focus and change what's in your control!
Stoicism is a toolset that helps us direct our thoughts and actions in an unpredictable world. We don't control and cannot rely on external events, but we can (to a certain extent) control our mind and choose our behavior.Stoicism is a logical way to take control of your life, embrace obstacles, and get the most out of every situation. It's like a secret weapon for your mind.
You have the decision if you want to train today, you control what you want to eat. Am I choosing the heathy option, or the take away option? Once you grasp that no one controls your life but you! You feel more of a responsibility, a responsibility to do what is good.Did you wake up on time today? Did you leave at the right time to be early? If so then you did what was in your control. Do you control what happens on the roads? No. So why stress about something you can't do anything about? It's a waste of energy. You don't have a say if the roads need work on, or if someone's car broke down. You can't control those things; you can only control how you react. So how is it you want to react? Angry? Upset? Stressed? Or, grateful that is wasn't your car that broke down, or that you have a car in the first place to be on the roads. How we look and view all situations will determine how we feel about them.Instead of "Ahh! I can't believe my coach is making me do burpees", how about - ‘yes burpees are one of the most calorie-burning exercises and if I smash these out I'm closer to my goal weight'?
Focus on the present moment
You control how you want to react, react in a way that is good. This leads to another practice of stoicism and that is focusing on the present moment. No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Focus here in the now and enjoy each moment as is, as you will never get it again.
Here is a quote by Marcus Aurelius that fits perfectly with focusing on the present."Discard all else and secure these few things only. Remind yourself too that each of us lives only in the present moment, a mere fragment of time: the rest is life past or uncertain future. Sure, life is a small thing, and small the cranny of the earth in which we live it: small too even the longest frame thereafter, which is itself subject to a succession of little men who will quickly die, and have no knowledge even of themselves, let alone of those long dead."
Be good to all, especially yourself.
Forget cutting yourself a break today. Instead, just be kind. Be your own friend. Catalog some of your strengths. Smile at all the progress you've made. Tell yourself, "good job." And then promise that you're going to keep going and keep working because you know you're worth it.Stoicism is an approach that puts us at the center of our own lives – not to manhandle life or to detach entirely, but to live more lightly and deliberately. When we mind our time and thoughts well, we can better enjoy the unfolding story.Stoicism teaches us to embrace problems, accept them, prepare to challenge them, and take action to overcome them.
Another practice of the stoics is patience. Being stuck in traffic for example - We've all been there, before practicing stoicism. When you are stuck in traffic,instead of swearing and stressing that you're going to be late, remember to focus on what's in your control. This connects to patience which is the key in terms of training and achieving your results. It may take months, years, a lifetime till you reach your fitness goals but without patience, you'll never get there.
Train your instincts
When you fall off the horse, they tell you to get right back on before your mind kicks in and you begin to build up an unhealthy fear for horses. This fear might be rational, but it doesn't serve your purpose. If you want to be a horseman, you will have to shut out the memory of the fall and the fear that accompanies it.Stoicism holds that the key to a good, happy life is the cultivation of an excellent mental state.The Stoics do not seek to be impervious to emotions. Rather, they work toward improving their judgments about externals, in order to re-align their emotional spectrum, de-emphasizing unhealthy emotions and nurturing and developing healthy ones.
You protect everything you have, why not your mind?
Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity. As Epictetus put it, if you expect the universe to deliver what you want, you are going to be disappointed, but if you embrace whatever the universe gives, then life will be a whole lot smoother. Again, this is easier said than done, but more and more people are taking note of this Stoic advice and working hard to incorporate it into their daily lives!
So, for me this helps me enjoy the process of achieving my goals, I enjoy each session, each meal knowing that the goal is getting nearer and nearer, I'm not dwelling on past mistakes, or thinking about hard tasks ahead. I'm focusing on today the here and the now.
Thank you guys for taking the time to read this information, it is something that has helped me these past two years and I promise you if you apply these practices in your life you will reap the benefits! Stoicism is a philosophy to use everyday, helping you to lose weight, get fit, and live a better life. Residing in Point Cook and looking for the best personal trainer? Reach out to our amazing fitness coaches at Stronglife.