“Nothing happens to the wise man contrary to his expectation,” – Seneca
We don’t like to think, do we?
I can assure you that mental mathematical abilities have declined fast since we have calculators in our smartphones, I don’t even have to research it, I’m sure about it.
The problem comes when we become too lazy to think about life and reality and our place in it. Every time you know you need to put yourself to work but instead, you choose to look at Instagram when you could be working or learning a new language or maybe reading a book, you are neglecting your potential and your capacity to offer value to society and be more fulfilled in the process.
Our brains function is literally to think and we are using it less and less. Give your brain a question and it will find an answer, in a day or in a year but it will find it you just have to ask.
The good, the bad and the ugly
There is a very good reason why one of the cardinal virtues of stoicism is courage. Courage is the ability and willingness to face life and the many problems and joys it offers. I even dare to say it is the most important of the cardinal virtues because without daring to face life, to go with life and to play your role, you will simply slip back and be played by someone who actually wants to live.
So once, you’ve made the choice to actually start living, you need to start using your head.
When life is good, we become lazy, we stop thinking about all the things and struggles we had to go through, to make life good. It seems that we are only stoic during bad times. Just like people only pray when they need it, this is a terrible mistake. It is a terrible mistake because stoicism must be practiced in good, bad and ugly times.
Praemeditatio malorum, negative visualization
What can go wrong?
In the good times, you don’t question yourself this as much, you think that just thinking about this might get you in trouble because you will attract that in which you are thinking. But really?
Who will be better off? The person that has thought about all the possibilities, even when nothing seems to be able to fail, or the person that has asked this question and on top of that has developed strategies for every possible scenario?
The world might call you a pessimist. Who cares? It’s far better to seem like a downer than to be blindsided or caught off guard.
If we have prepared ourselves for the obstacles that are inevitably on their way, we can rest assured that it’s other people who have not. In other words, this bad luck is actually a chance for us to make up some time. We become like runners who train on hills or at altitude so they can beat racers who expected the course would be flat.
Today, as you go through your day, give yourself a moment to reflect about your life, to be prepared to what comes next. Practice this daily and you will begin to think clearly and become more aligned to reality while everyone is busy checking their smartphones.
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