gratitude

Stoic advice

The more you give the more you get


1 Comment

But the fact is, the same thing is advantageous to me which is advantageous to you; for I am not your friend unless whatever is at issue concerning you is my concern also. Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests. There is no such thing as good or bad fortune for the individual; we live in common. And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbour, if you would live for yourself.   Seneca

Solution selling

There is a term in the business world called: Solution selling.

Solution selling basically consists of concentrating your efforts and your capacities on the problems that the enterprise is going through and solve them. It can be slow sales to give or a new and more efficient management. By doing this you are not selling yourself and your amazing smile but an actual solution to an actual problem, needless to say, this strategy is highly valuable and will land you a job or a promotion more often than not.

Why do they need you in the job in the first place?

They need you to solve their problems, they need you to be a solution, not a problem.

Let me tell you a little secret.

This strategy not only works in business, but this is also true for every social relationship you have.

And no one can live happily who has regard to himself alone and transforms everything into a question of his own utility; you must live for your neighbour, if you would live for yourself.  Seneca 

What really matters in the end, genuine value

If you’ve been following the blog, you are probably by now really acquainted with Memento Mori. Death sets things in perspective, her cold silence speaks to you quite loudly about what you truly found meaningful and important at the end of all things.

When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow: when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be Contemporaries, and make our appearance together. Joseph Addison

jfsjb7rb5an11One common trait I believe we all share when thinking about dead is a spontaneous feeling of love and yearning to share more.

And what did he leave? He asked. 

He left it all, she answered.

Independence

You cannot give anything unless you are well taken care of yourself first.

You may think you are a grown adult, but, admit it, sometimes you act like a child, I certainly act like a child sometimes. One example is when you are mad at something not going your way or a person not acting as you wish. You become mad and angry about things not going precisely as you want in life.

If your self-worth and emotional stability change every time something outside yourself affects you, you are being emotional dependant.

Your emotional well-being dependant on things outside your control? Terrible sin.

We may think that we cannot be happy unless everything is going fine, but that way of thinking is a terribly wrong approach. Every time you think the problem is outside yourself, that thought right there is the problem.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed. Epictetus

Independence is free. Independence is a choice.

He who knows that power
is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and
elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought,
instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs,
works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man
who stands on his head. Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Once you know this basic truth, you are prepared to go to the next big thinking shift.

Gratitude

Gratefulness is one of the most powerful values.08n4n53gnun11.jpg

Gratitude makes you feel good.

It changes your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have. When you are grateful you open yourself up to share, whereas when you are ungrateful you close up by concentrating on what you lack.

When you are just thinking in your own utility, only on what you can get, you become blind to the needs of the others and less able to help them in their lives and thus less valuable.

The hungry don’t get fed

Open your eyes. 

When you are grateful, the world opens, your view changes radically. When your needs are met, you can prepare yourself to give, it is only from this genuine place that you can truly give.

Now you become able to actually understand other people and to think not in “me” terms but in the subjective experience of the other person.

By doing this you become able to offer and share solutions to their problems and become the most valuable person to them.

Win-win

Finally, think win-win. If you provide value, you will get value back, it’s how life works. People will open up to you and you to them, the paradigm will change into sharing, and this is in your power.

Know this truth. When you help other people, you are actually helping yourself. The more you give the more you get.

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

Subscribe here

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

Support Stoic Answers

Stoic answers is committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious stoic contemporary thinking. No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the great ancient Stoics and contemporary knowledge, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

$5.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
philosophy, REVOLUTION, Self development, Uncategorized

On Gratitude and revolution


2 Comments

Ok, this morning I sat down to meditate, as usual, nothing extraordinary but it was during this particular session that a long forgotten word arrived without questioning.

jimi-hendrix-8150Gratitude.

It really sparked my curiosity.

Have you ever felt it? Gratitude? Feels good, doesn’t it? In a good way, you feel the “full” in the word “grateful”.

By the end of this article, I hope I can make you understand the paramount importance of gratitude. For yourself, for your family and for the world.

Some context first.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”

― Seneca

This quote is hard to understand, especially in the 21st century. Try to imagine a person happy and contented with “just what he has” when there is so much stuff we can get. There hasn’t been any time in human history in which we were able to get and do so many things.

How can you not want to have every new thing, trip or activity that is rubbed on your face literally every time you look at your phone, on your friend’s phone or the billboard? Facebook ads, youtube ads, mouth to mouth ads. We live in the age of advertising.

Mediocre, would be the word used to describe a person happy with what he has and Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_Diogenes_-_Walters_37131.jpgnothing more.

But I think, that thinking this way, is missing the point entirely.

What is “more” exactly?

The following text was written by Alan Watts in 1987 (think about this when reading it).

Thus the “brainy” economy designed to produce this happiness is a fantastic vicious circle which must either manufacture more and more pleasures or collapse—providing a constant titillation of the ears, eyes, and nerve ends with incessant streams of almost inescapable noise and visual distractions. The perfect “subject” for the aims of this economy is the person who continuously itches his ears with the radio, preferably using the portable kind which can go with him at all hours and in all places. His eyes flit without rest from television screen, to newspaper, to orgasm-with-out-release through a series of teasing glimpses of shiny automobiles, shiny female bodies, and other sensuous surfaces, interspersed with such restorers of sensitivity—shock treatments—as “human interest” shots of criminals, mangled bodies, wrecked airplanes, prize fights, and burning buildings. The literature or discourse that goes along with this is similarly manufactured to tease without satisfaction, to replace every partial gratification with a new desire.

For this stream of stimulants is designed to produce cravings for more and more of the same, though louder and faster, and these cravings drive us to do work which is of no interest save for the money it pays—to buy more lavish radios, sleeker automobiles, glossier magazines, and better television sets, all of which will somehow conspire to persuade us that happiness lies just around the corner if we will buy one more.

Sounds familiar? This was in 1987, the internet was just starting.

The Trap

We live in a frenzy for “more” all the time.download

We operate, indeed, by thinking that happiness is “just around the corner”. Happiness is sold as the ultimate commodity, along with sex.

Not being happy, in fact, in today’s society, is something to be ashamed of, Black mirror depicted it just perfectly.

Once I have sushi, I’ll be happy, once I’ve got that phone, I’ll be happy, once I get that job, then I’ll be happy. There is always something more, a vague promise of happiness and we fall every single time for it.

This is called the Hedonic treadmill (hedonic adaptation) and is perfect, just perfect for our economy and especially for Facebook or Instagram which function purely on this principle.

Hedonic adaptation states that the levels of happiness of a person do not vary with positive or negative effects in his life, the person will stay at the same level of happiness even if he earns more money, he will just adapt to his new (richer) situation and will want more and more in a never-ending cycle of “hedonic adaptation”. You are adapting, constantly to your environment. This is why the endless scrolling functions so well.

We are continually running for the carrot.

This may sound funny, but really, do you find it funny?

I mean, scientists at Google and Facebook are working for you to keep chasing the carrot and feel bad for not playing the game. Kind of depressing isn’t it? Is this what life is all about? Chasing the carrot (iPhone) all throughout our lives? Is this the only shitty dream of existence there is?

But is there any escape, are there any more ways to live?

Seneca, please mate, we need some advice.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”

― Seneca

Again, what did Seneca mean by saying this?


The man who knows he has enough and is contented with his lot is rich, he is already living in abundance, wherever his stage in life may be. He can give himself space to actually live instead of waiting for something to happen to start living.

Whereas

The man who craves more (as ambitious as he may be) is poor because he is living in scarcity, he needs more to start living and therefore, never lives until he realizes his paradoxical situation. The trap keeps our society in constant scarcity.


The indifferents

So, what am I implying here? Drop everything? Stop wanting nice stuff?10-vierling_pomegranates

No, not at all, go buy everything you want. Just don’t let “stuff” rule your life, because you will, surely, fall into the trap.

The stoics coined the perfect term for “stuff”, the indifferents.

There are things that matter and things that do not. Your will, your capacity for action and your ability to exert power over your own life matters. That is what matters, everything else is indifferent, yes, it’s nice to have “stuff”, but that is not the point.

Let a man then know his worth, and keep things under his feet. Let
him not peep or steal, or skulk up and down with the air of a charity-boy, a
bastard, or an interloper, in the world which exists for him. But the man in
the street, finding no worth in himself which corresponds to the force which
built a tower or sculptured a marble god, feels poor when he looks on these.
To him a palace, a statue, or a costly book have an alien and forbidding air,
much like a gay equipage, and seem to say like that, ‘Who are you, Sir?’ Yet
they all are his, suitors for his notice, petitioners to his faculties that they
will come out and take possession. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude is the way out.

What if I told you that gratefulness can be applied towards anything?

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

happinessEverything that happens, is a motive for gratefulness. This requires courage, in good circumstances and in bad, we can practice gratefulness, for everything contributes to our advancement.

What happens with gratitude is a change of mindset.

Gratitude makes you feel complete, it also makes you feel appreciative, it increases your presence.

When you are living in the trap, you are not present, you are always thinking of something to satiate that infinite thirst, anxiety is the modus operandi, always looking for something in the future to happen, too afraid of living with whatever is happening in the moment. This fear strips us of the capacity to catch opportunity and notice it when it presents.

When we are present we are open to possibility and opportunity. It’s obvious, isn’t it? If you are grateful for everything that happens, you turn the world upside down, you can be creative, you no longer need “stuff” to cover for the lack of courage to appreciate the opportunities you are given.

By now we can begin to understand who is richer. If you are grateful, you are living in a world of opportunity and possibility, when you are ungrateful, you are constricting yourself into a little hell of “stuff” and never-ending pursuit. There is always something that you can do, always, but if you are not grateful enough to appreciate the opportunity that is presenting to you, you will never be able to grasp it.

Complaining never helped anyone.

In the trap, you are needy and desperate, whereas in gratitude you are irradiating good energy.

The revolution

It is rather obvious that we are in need of a revolution. The revolution we need does not need war and blood but it does require that we change our minds about what we think is important and what is not.

At this rate, we are going to end with everything dear to us. The hedonic treadmill is literally ending with the world, our lives and the relationship we have with others. This trap can be observed in anxiety levels, alcohol and drugs addiction and general levels of unhappiness.

The things that we think are going to make us happy are not doing its job.

It’s frustrating because, at the same time, it’s not that complicated. It’s not expensive either.

Changing our mindsets from ungratefulness and bitterness to gratitude and betterment requires individual effort. It’s just a “click”, just an “Aha! moment”.

It’s easy to forget this while living in the hedonic world, but practicing gratitude and aiding ourselves with the greats will slowly but surely make this world a better place.

I do feel the need to share the article from my friends in The Daily Stoic, superb, here it is: The daily art of giving thanks

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

Subscribe here

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

Donation for the cause

A stoic boldly leaps into life, he does not question himself whether to act or not, the decision has already been made, we want to help you become a stoic. Thanks for the support

$3.00