Month: April 2018

Stoic advice

Fight for growth


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I wrote a post recently about being a leaner and a non learner.

Being a learner makes all the difference, it really does.

If you didn’t read the post, it talks about the growth mindset from Carol S. Dweck.

Having a growth mindset is incredibly rewarding. With this mindset you consciously set your mind (volition, within your control) up to focus on improvement of whatever it is that you are trying to become better at. Things can and will go better if you focus your mind first on believing it can be done first and secondly by taking action from that point on.

ed4eec889e9eea34aa70179175630d13It’s quite logical as well. It’s obvious that if a person sets his mind up from the beginning into thinking that anything can be achieved as long as work is put on and really understanding the functioning of what you are trying to achieve. Eventually you’ll come up with the solutions to achieve whatever endeavour you are in.

If however, you set your mind into thinking something is impossible, you will  set yourself up into a voluntary trap as there will be no questioning of how to even begin. Plain logic isn’t it?

This is what the brain is for anyways, it serves us to solve problems. Give it a problem, it comes up with solutions, but, it has to have the right mindset.

Problems and conflict serve the brain in that they are “exercise”. The bigger the problems, the bigger the growth that will happen. This is why: You can tell the size of a man by the size of his problems.

Until now, it’s all very pretty and nice. You change your mindset,  change your basic approach to life and that’s about it. Easy right?

Through journaling for the last 7 days,  I’ve come into some dark and hard realizations. The journal showed me some quite enlightening facts about my habits and behaviors. Today, especially, I began to understand more deeply what a true growth mindset is.

And believe me it is not pretty (at least in the short-term).

Growing is the most marvelous and the most terrible process that we can go through. Let me explain why.

First, Harry Potter.

There is part in the second movie when the handsome and ironically good for nothing professor Gilderoy Lockhart takes accidentally removes the bone from Harry’s arm. Harry then has to spend the entire night at the nursery growing his arm back again. When Harry takes the potion for the bone to grow back, he experiences one of the most horrendous and painful nights of his life. What does this has to do with you?

I believe there are some things and habits within ourselves that are similar to Harry’s experience. In the sense that they are deeply rooted and not always necessarily beneficial. It’s not going to be pretty to accept situations that haven’t changed in years and then suddenly try to change them.

It’s not going to be fast. It’s going to be painful and weary. But it’s going to be definitely worth it.

“If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.

SysyphusWhen we first start exercising, it seems tedious. Getting up at five in the morning for a run might not be fun (at first). It’s difficult to get up out of the incredibly comfortable bed, put up the running shoes, drink some water and hit the street for a run.

The first few days are going to be grinding. Muscles ache and if you stayed up late, you will feel tired during the day (but it’s going to be worth it). The good news is that this happens for the first few days. After a couple of days, you begin to look forward for it, the runner’s high is just too addictive to stop. Strength and endurance begin to build in the body and not only in the physic, but mentally as well, you get tougher. During this grind and by enduring the pain (short term) of getting up and working out, you get stronger. This is growth and it starts to become addictive.

Everyone struggles with these short term efforts, even Marcus Aurelius.

“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 what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.”

― Marcus AureliusMeditations

To grow at anything, you must work with pain, just like in exercise pain is good. This pain however feels different, it feels good, just like the ache of your muscles after you’ve finished.

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

― Epictetus

Growth requires stretch. Stretching our minds and bodies out of our known threshold. You have to get to the unknown.

vintage-boxing (1)This is other of the reasons why growth hurts (mentally as well) , you have to be willing to look stupid, to fail.This is how you grow, making the unknown known and that can only be achieved through experimentation. Experimentation requires information and being able to try any approach (looking stupid) gives you information to know wrong from right.

One thing to say about human beings, we don’t like what we don’t know or understand. We love our comfort zone. As clichéd as it is, it is very true. There is no growth in the comfort zone.

Growth requires of us to boldly go into the unknown.  Embrace risk and insecurity. To repeat Epictetus:

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

― Epictetus

So, how can you begin?

Be willing to be wrong and experiment.Understand and know that the more information you get through experimentation the more you will start to understand and master how anything works. From having a better personality to playing better baseball. Growth hurts in the short-term but in the long-term is bliss.

Steve Jobs understood it:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

― Steve Jobs

Stoicism is a timeless philosophy used by some of the greatest people on the planet. Stoic answers is the modern day stoa, the first place where stoic philosophers got together to talk about how to live life best. Let us help you on your way with stoic answers. Subscribe for our letter. Thanks.

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Stoic advice

Wasting time, answers from Seneca


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Life is fleeting. When you are young you don’t notice it, it seems to be infinite and the thought of death, marriage and kids or job seems to be so far away that one simply doesn’t care.

Slowly but surely, the kid starts becoming an adult and preoccupation arises. Time is not

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infinite after all.

We continually keep living thou, as if we had all the time in the world, we are too distracted.

There is a big problem in everyone’s life and that is the time scarcity. Our most precious asset, an asset that cannot be regained, not even a millisecond for the entire money of all the people combined, is wasted carelessly.

More today than in any other era, time is scarce. There is just too much going on and we become distracted, we are always distracted. We have become so distracted that the interaction with fellow humans is becoming kind of weird. A cellphone is now more interesting than most people around us.

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About two weeks ago I went with a group of friends I don’t personally knew to a cabin in the woods to spend the weekend. There was no signal in the area so we had to, talk. I realized how weird it was that everyone had to be in the conversation which was hoestly amazing and also was quite noticeable, when an awkward silence creeped in and the cellphone didn’t aid anybody in running from the confrontational awkward silence of which the cellphone offers the marvelous solution of just getting distracted with something else and not facing reality.

Our phones are just a part of the time scarcity problem. There is the job as well, the kids, the unfulfilled dreams. It seems like there is no time to do anything and so we end up doing nothing. I’m starting to glimpse a problem here. A problem which Seneca saw long time ago.

Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius—set yourself
free for your own sake.

Seneca

This time scarcity of ours, is a problem, and it should be treated as thus. A problem requires a solution. But, what is exactly the solution for this problem?

The problem of living a fulfilling life that is within our control is not an easy problem to solve, certainly. It requires sufficient courage to first acknowledge that it can be done and then setting yourself up to the task of claiming what is yours by birth.

Make yourself believe the truth of my words,—that
certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.

Seneca

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Someday is a detestable word. It gives the illusion (if used in that way) that there is going to be a time when something will magically happen. And then nothing happens. The funny and scary thing is that one day comes when you realize that time is not there anymore and start to realize that that someday might never happen if you don’t actually start to do something about it.

While we are postponing, life speeds by.

Seneca

Journaling

A recommended solution is a journal. There is no easy solution for managing and making use of your time. I don’t know how your life is and it certainly is extremely different from mine but what a journal will do is extend your memory and give you context.

If you’ve decided to hold on to your time, you’ll want to know what is your time going on.

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We like to think that we know how we spend our days, but try writing in the journal your day’s activities and you’ll soon realize things in there that you hadn’t seen before.

Patterns of behavior, habits, useless activities. There is time enough in the day to meet all our someday dreams but you have to make it and you have to claim it. This is why journaling is such a great strategy, because it’ll give you information, information you can use to change what needs to be changed.

Personally, I believe what will best make you successful in claiming back your time is the decision to claim it.

Once the decision is made. You’ll need to strategize and work hard on it but remember.

Practice.

What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily ? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death ; the major portion of death has already passed. Whatever years lie behind us are in death’s hands.

Seneca

Stoicism is a timeless philosophy used by some of the greatest people on the planet. Stoic answers is the modern day stoa, the first place where stoic philosophers got together to talk about how to live life best. Let us help you on your way with stoic answers. Subscribe for our letter. Thanks.

Subscribe for weekly advice

Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, patreon only content. Thanks.

Donation for the cause

A stoic boldly leaps into life, he does not question himself whether to act or not, the decision has already been made, we want to help you become a stoic. Thanks for the support

$3.00