Conquering Fears

Conquering Fears, freedom

One Simple Trick To Be Powerful, NOW


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“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ” 
― Epictetus

Unhappiness comes from not being able to tell what’s your problem and what is not your problem. Peace of mind comes once you are able to make the distinction and act accordingly.

It’s the famous ‘focus on the things that are under your control’ Stoic precept. It’s easy, right? But not so much, sometimes I kept forgetting this lesson and couldn’t really apply it to my day to day life. I felt somehow stuck and needed an easier technique to practice. I found it. I recently read “The seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey’s circle of influence and circle of concern, which basically is the same idea of control from Epictetus, but frankly, better to understand and more applicable to daily life.

The two circles: Influence and Concern

These two circles represent the things that are under your control and the things that are not.

Concern

Within your circle of concern, you’ll find the many things that you care about but that is not under your control. Such as the decisions your president makes or not and whether your friend will marry the girl you know is going to cheat on him. Whether you are going to get that promotion or not, and whether you are going to be able to make it on time with all the damn traffic. You have no control over this circle and although you might care about what happens here, you really have no choice but to stop caring. The more time you spent on this circle, the more you empower what’s in it. You should never spend even one second of your time preoccupying yourself about what happens or does not in here. Instead…

Influence

Focus on your circle of influence. Your circle of influence is your circle of control. It represents all the things that you can actually do something about. Such as having a deep, personal conversation with your friend about what you think is best for him or preparing a killer resume for the new job you want.

In reality, you have a lot of power, but if your focus is placed mainly in your circle of concern, you will not be even able to consider the options you have in your circle of influence, which quite frankly, once you make the switch, ARE A LOT.

Focusing on your influence, that is, in the things that are under your control and nothing more, will guarantee a more effective, happy, and peaceful life.

Now, how to go about this?

Know the difference.

Once you’re finished reading this, think about where you are directing your attention. You need to take control of your attention and focus it on your circle of influence, it’s simple, but not easy. Our heads are constantly bugging us with the circle of concern, this requires practice.

Some examples.

If someone is having a hard time at work and is constantly complaining. Categorize it. Is it within your circle of influence or concern? Concern right? Discard it. Now, reframe, what can I do instead?

Putting some music and relying on yourself for self-amusement? That’s inside your influence circle. Work there.

Categorize everything. Place your attention in your circle of influence.

You’ll be amazed by how much unnecessary bullshit we concern ourselves with.

But, fortunately, there is a way out. Focusing on the things that you can control, that is, your circle of influence.

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” 
― Epictetus

a great complement to this read: Are You A Pretender?

Subscribe and receive 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.

I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com

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Conquering Fears

Independent Thinking, please


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“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” 
― Marcus Aurelius

How awesome would life be if you’d actually put this frame of mind into action, unbelievably amazing.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to do so, of course. In the world, you are always going to act as the majority of people are acting. Call it psychic economy, it’s just natural, you cannot think about your actions the entire time, it’s impossible, there’s too much going on.

While you think that you are the conscious mind, the active player in your life, that makes every choice, in reality, you do very, very, little. The truth is that your subconscious is doing the job of ‘living’ almost entirely.

This automatic mode is good in the sense that you don’t want to find yourself deciding about every single thing that requires some sort of decision. For example, when you are choosing what clothes to buy or when you find yourself in a music festival wondering whose the better band, ‘following along’ is good, it saves you from having to figure everything out for yourself.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. But, the important stuff, such as your values, the things you find most important in your life, those do need to be questioned, and often.

The truth is that most of the time, we don’t really question anything. We just ‘follow along’.

Let’s put an extreme example so that you can better comprehend this ‘group psychology’, ‘herd psychology’ going on in your thinking, the masses.

At least 12 people were injured after a large crowd in New York City’s Times Square fled in panic on Tuesday night, when they mistook the sound of backfiring motorcycles for gunshots. MAHITA GAJANAN  AUGUST 7, 2019

Yes, you heard right, a motorcycle backfiring got 12 people injured.

The masses work in funny ways, we’d think that us humans, rational beings, would act as best as our brains permitted us in situations such as this one, but no. Unconscious unconscious, more primitive, parts of your brain light up and kiss good bye rationality. Rational thinking thinking is to slow for this type of situations. And in a life or death situation either you act fast or you perish.

 Like Le Bon, Freud says that as part of the mass, the individual acquires a sense of infinite power which allows him to act on impulses that he would otherwise have to curb as an isolated individual. These feelings of power and security allow the individual not only to act as part of the mass, but also to feel safety in numbers. This is accompanied, however, by a loss of conscious personality and a tendency of the individual to be infected by any emotion within the mass, and to amplify the emotion, in turn, by “mutual induction”. Overall, the mass is “impulsive, changeable, and irritable. It is controlled almost exclusively by the unconscious.”Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego 

In the NYC accident case, the predominant emotion was fear. Think about other circumstances in your life were you are just acting with the power of the herd, just ‘following along’. How much of your beliefs are actually yours? Not many.

If not many of your beliefs are yours, and, surely, not many of them are of any benefit to you,

Marcus Aurelius’s quote gains profound importance. If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but your estimation of it. Aurelius point here is that you have power over your mind, and your mind determines your reality.

Nothing exists outside of your mind. You can choose what perspective you are going to give to anything that happens. You can always choose to be either a victim or a champ in your life. You have the power to create the way in which you see reality.

Knowing this and applying it to your life will give you tremendous power. New possibilities and opportunities will emerge by the pure deed of changing your perspective, it’s all in the mind.

But.

And there is a but, it’s not going to be easy. You are hard-wired to yield your thought-processes to the pre-processed thinking of the masses and society.

Why do you think Marcus wrote so much in his diary?

Because he needed to remind himself, literally daily, that there are strong forces within him that are not on his best interests.

Society does not have the best plans for you, if you look at what is ‘normal’ , you’ll see that it is living a life full of social-media, greasy unhealthy foods and cheap content to consume until you die, fat, and paradoxically, empty as well.

Happiness, courage, wisdom, temperance, and deep meaningful relationships are not selling high on the market right now. These values, values that would make your life good and worthy are not going to be attained by following the group psychology that’s popular on our era.

You are going to have to go against the current and choose to see the world through the values that you know are better and you chose for yourself.

But there are going to be parts of your brain, motivated by the cheap thinking of the masses and marketing agencies and pessimistic friends and social media and whatever is trying to pull you back into the fake, unreal world that we have gotten into somehow.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” 
― Marcus Aurelius

You have power over your mind, reclaim it.

If you take the reins of your thinking. If you become an independent thinker, you’ll realize that non of these dark forces have power over you. You’ll be free to pursue what’s really important.

Question your beliefs, at least the important ones, continuously.

This is a decision you have to make. If you don’t make it, it will be decided for you and trust me, you’ll not like the outcome of letting your life be decided by someone else.

a great complement to this read: The Pathway to psychological freedom

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

Subscribe here

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

I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com