Conquering Fears

Conquering Fears, Modern problems, philosophy, Reflections, Self development

Stoic Paradigms


No Comments

“Those who never change their minds, never change anything.”― Winston S. Churchill

paradigm.- a framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodology that are commonly accepted by a community or a person.

Knowledge and understanding are always evolving, just like everything else.

Today I want to talk about your understanding of stoicism. Stoicism helps anyone in the sense that it functions as a pair of glasses through which you can see reality more accurately.

“I was blind and now I see.”

That’s exactly how I felt the first time I read Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations and I have to say that I got hooked like a drug addict. I had never thought about myself or reality in the way the stoics narrated in their different teachings.

It completely changed and replaced my paradigm, my way of thinking, from blaming outside circumstances to working on the only thing I could work really on myself. I thought that my understanding of stoicism was going to be complete after reading Seneca’s and Epictetus’s work. I was blatantly wrong. Obviously.

Stoic, beginning

Maybe you will relate to this. When I first started practicing stoicism, I felt I had to take a serious posture and attitude towards life, soldierly-like. Life was serious and I had to be “realistic” about it, no time for jokes. Hard to think about joking with concepts like:

  • Memento Mori: realize that you are going to die and live each day with that thought in your head.
  • Premeditatio Malorum: Rehearse them in your mind: exile, torture, war, shipwreck. All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes.”— Seneca

Stoicism can feel pretty negative and terrible when you first start studying it. But, to be honest, I think most of us arrive into stoicism knowing that life is not all roses, it feels very real and it makes absolute sense. Life is not all colors, during life, we are going to suffer a lot.

So, in this sense, stoicism seems to be a kind of painful acceptance to the facts of reality, a kind of surrender to our situation.

But was that all? A serious life without jokes? Certainly not.

Understanding paradigms

Stephen Covey narrates in his book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” with tremendous accuracy how our understanding of stoicism works.

It’s impossible to know reality completely. Understanding the immense complexity of the university is simply impossible. There are many things you don’t know and there are far more other things that you don’t know you don’t know. Therefore, it’s pretty conceited to think that what you know at any given point in your life is how things really are, they are certainly not. Our paradigms are the maps we use to navigate through reality and they are almost always wrong. We can only hope to be less and less wrong with time but know this, perfection is unattainable, and that is good. In fact your maps, your paradigms can be tremendously wrong, to the point of not being able to take you where you want to go.

The same is true with your understanding of Stoicism. There are many ways, paradigms, maps with which you can understand stoicism. Funny hey?

Stoicism, moving forward.

If you keep reading and practicing stoicism, you will stumble into a new and a better understanding of it. This evolving understanding will never stop, just like the quest for perfection never will either. You can only come closer and closer to better truths.

Stoicism can be related to a disgustingly tasting spoonful of medicine. It certainly tastes horrible, but you will feel better afterward, medicine is what the sick need.

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

You see life, to be fully lived, needs to be seen through better and better glasses. Life will require you to update your views constantly.

Stoicism can feel heavy at first, too much “real, oh too real” information to deal with. But once you accept your reality and situation, you are free again, free to move in the more accurate version of reality you now possess in your hands, without wishful thinking.

Free to love as much as you can, free to laugh as much as you can and adding to all that, prepared for any future adversity you will encounter.

You will meet it with a light heart and a light mind. Look at the eagle, makes it look easy right? That’s the paradigm you want.

“He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ― Epictetus

Want to read some more: Liberty or death

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

Subscribe here

Don’t forget to visit our shop, carefully curated. ShopVisit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.

Advertisements
Conquering Fears, Self development

Work small, work smart


3 Comments

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing worthwhile is easy, have you noticed? Things require time and effort. That’s nothing new. If I’d ask you, how much time will it take you to:

  • learn to play guitar?
  • speak Chinese?
  • set up a business from zero?

Would you know? I ‘m sure you have at least an idea. It’s funny because we would all love to do so many more things but we don’t, someday we say.

Learning and doing new stuff isn’t as hard as we think it is.

In fact, it is pretty straightforward. If you want to learn Chinese, for example, you could just go to ask Google for a free class of Chinese and start. Here I’ll do it for you:

Learn Chinese for free

I say things are pretty straightforward because there isn’t anything magical or mystical about learning something new or starting a new venture. Things just need time, anyone with full mental faculties can learn anything if they really set their minds to it.

The hard part is the battle you have to undergo with yourself. That’s the hard part. Procrastination is easy, you can tell (lie) to yourself that you can totally do something if you set yourself to do it, you’ll just do it later. And you certainly can, but, when you actually sit down to learn or to plan something, you suddenly become conscious of all the things that you don’t know.

Procrastination lets you think you are smart. True work shows you how utterly dumb you really are and put things in perspective.

The problem with never starting is that you will never know what you are truly capable of doing, you will never hear a song or meet your lovely Chinese wife/husband. Things are hard, but they are hard because you need to rise up to their level, make yourself harder. Hard things show you what you need to learn, they literally show you the way.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ― Marcus Aurelius

But it will take forever! You might say.

Yes, things take time, obviously. But, the way I see it, time can work for you or against you. If you learn a new language daily, for a year, you will have a year on your side. If you postpone learning the language for a year, you will be a year behind.

Half an hour a day might seem minuscule in comparison to all that it’s needed to do something. But just like the river carved the Grand Canyon into existence, so does tiny, daily consistent action. Let the river flow.

Want one simple formula for bravery? One simple formula for bravery.

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

Subscribe here

Don’t forget to visit our shop, carefully curated. Shop

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