Month: March 2019

Business advice, Modern problems, Psychology

An antidote for the complaint

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There is one sport in which we all excel and must work really hard to be bad at it, that’s right, complaining. God, I’m good at it, and I’m sure you are as well.

It’s so easy to be good at it! It requires virtually nothing, it’s as if just by thinking it happens, no action or anything needed.

Gratitude, instead, is harder. If you found yourself hanging with the person you love for a day, and during the entire day, everything is amazing and lovely, but, at the end of the day, you get into a fight, you are only going to remember the fight I can assure you that.

This easiness to remember the negative is called “negativity bias”. It is a bias because it blinds you from seeing the whole picture. Gratitude gives you clarity because it helps you to notice not only the bad, which you are certainly going to notice, but also the good and with these, develop a clearer less biased picture of reality.

Epictetus used the word “Eucharistos” which means seeing to refer to gratitude. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Gratitude is a way in which you can see reality for what it is.

What can I do about this? What am I going to do about this?

Simple as that, the antidote for complaining is action. Complaining is describing reality without any proposition of action. The antidote is to catch yourself every time you sense the tiniest cue of complain and propose to yourself something that you can and are willing to do about it.

Or you can hire someone to play a small violin for you. Ha.

Ok, but no jokes around. Sometimes, we complain about things that are not so funny. Kids are born into poverty, you can get sick and a thousand calamities can befall upon you. But nevertheless, the stoic lesson remains the same. Focus on what you can control.

“Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable… then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so. In your interest, or in your nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

Practice, practice, practice.

Every time you find yourself complaining about something, use it as practice to offer a solution accompanied by action. You will get good at solving problems, because complains, rain like cats and dogs in our heads. You will make it a habit and you will make your life and everyone’s around better.

Just a simple antidote for complaining.

“Don’t be overheard complaining…Not even to yourself.”  — Marcus Aurelius, 8.9

Want something else from Stoic Answers? Read: Opportunity cost

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Conquering Fears, Self development

On life navigation

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“Often a very old man has no other proof of his long life than his age.” 
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

I think it is fair to say that we all are scared of becoming another statistic for this quote. Nothing to proof our long lives but our age.

A life of regret sounds scarier than a life filled with dangerous but rewarding experiences.

I used to be, or still am really concerned with living a vain life, a normal and boring life, filled with nothing but expectations and the constant pleasing of people. Specially because, what does living a full life even mean?

My ex-girlfriend used to ask me the question, what do you want out of life? I became mad every time she asked because to be honest, I didn’t had a precise answer, making money and marry, I guess? Please, that’s a canned answer.

I’ve come to realize that their are many things that I want out of life, just as you I’m sure, but I was to scared to actually say it out loud. I want to write a book, I want to develop my business career, have a Master’s, maybe a kid,I want to write a song. The immensity of possibility that we have is just endless.

I’ve come to realize that we are adventurers my friend, in all the heavy sense of the world.

Imagine your life as the ocean. The ocean is filled with treasures and paradisaical islands, it is filled with sharks and storms and Bermuda’s triangles as well. Navigating through the ocean is not easy, but there is hardly anything more rewarding that reaching home as Odysseus did after 10 years of being lost and facing all the challenges imaginable.

But my life is not Homer’s Odyssey you might say, but in this sense you are very wrong, because your life is just an adventure as the Odyssey, but different and unique to you and your situation. Full of trials and monsters and treasures. Presented as tax forms, business plans to be made and fail, bureaucracy, and all the obstacles you need to overcome to achieve your dreams. You are already here, and you are all in because you are going to die.

How are you living your life? Really? afraid of the monsters that might bite you if you set sail? If so, you will never get to your treasure islands, you will stay safe and boring and with nothing to prove your long life but your age.

There are many islands my friend, the fun is not so much in the treasures you’ll definitely get if you brace yourself for the adventure, but in the man/woman you’ll become by doing so, that is the true reward.

We are adventurers, we are explorers. You live a full life by responding to the calling, just start.

What do you like? What islands are you able to see from where you are? Do you see the dangers? The storms to come? Choose where you want to go and prepare to sail through the scary ocean, you might get lost, you might get bitten, but you will live and there is nothing else as good as living a full life. A unique life.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

If you haven’t checked out Ryan Holiday’s Daily Stoic, I encourage you to do so, extremely good content.

Want something else from Stoic Answers? Read: Get your hands dirty.

Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism. 

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