“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are basically two ways you can go about your day, with style, and without style.
The day will run as smoothly as you want it to. It is not the day or the world that gets agitated, it is you. This is good news because as much as it might seem like, some days, the world is doing everything to make you trip, you’ll always be able to respond back with a wide, maybe even lunatic (haha), smile in your face.
This capacity, the capacity to choose how to respond to the world around you, is the greatest human capacity. The level of control you have about this capacity will determine whether you live your day in style or not. It’s truly an art to be able to own yourself all the time.
Many things, many people, many situations, will try to own you. They will try to knock you off your cool vibe. But they will only be successful if you let them. You hold the keys. Don’t give them away so easily hey?
In stoicism, this capacity to remain cool, to remain unscathed (without suffering any injury, damage, or harm.), is called temperance. Temperance is one of the 4 Stoic virtues, along with courage (my favorite), wisdom, and justice.
Put them together and you’ll be the highest any human being can ever hope to become.
But let’s stick with temperance for now.
Why does temperance make you so cool?
Well, because temperance is about cooling down, and remaining cool, in spite of the situation. It’s about living your life and solving your problems, with style. It’s also something you do for yourself and by yourself. Cool does not follow, it acts on his own. Temperance is a decision to trust yourself and your capacity to face or resolve anything that is thrown out you while doing it smoothly. That is why temperance is cool. It’s independence itself.
Here comes a Seneca’s reprimand of why you’re not cool:
“Do you know why we have not the power to attain this Stoic ideal? … It is because we are in love with our vices; we uphold them and prefer to make excuses for them rather than shake them off. … The reason is unwillingness, the excuse, inability.” — Seneca
How To Be Cool
Enter the Stoic Gym of life. You’ll get good at anything if you practice enough. Keeping your cool is no different.
First Step. From now on, start noticing, in your mind and in your body, every time you feel yourself losing temper, like losing yourself. Those are the moments when you need to practice. But first, you need to be aware of them. Most people are tossed around by other people’s feelings, situations or other.
Second. Begin the practice, Look at the situation as an opportunity to practice your temperance and your rationality, and remain chill. The very best thing you can do is take it with humor and be smart about it.
You left your keys in the car?! Well done! Time to practice. Watch yourself, see for how long you whine about it, and how rapidly do you bounce back to action and the next step.
Did you fail your final exam? Talk to the teacher, figure out your possibilities, and get back at it.
Now, some things are very serious. A loved one may get sick, or something grave can happen. This is time to practice as well.
Nothing is better appreciated than a person that can keep his cool in the middle of the storm and get us out of it. Be that person.
Don’t lose your cool.
Thanks for reading,
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