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Self development, Stoic advice, Uncategorized

Stoic Ju-jitsu, win the battle of the mind.


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Everything that happens is an opportunity for mastery.

Upon every accident, remember to turn towards yourself and inquire what faculty you have for its use. If you encounter a handsome person, you will find continence the faculty needed; if pain, then fortitude; if reviling, then patience. And when thus habituated, the phenomena of existence will not overwhelm you.

Enchiridion, Epictetus

Japanse martial art Ju-jitsu’s aim is to use the force of the enemy against him. Stoicism is Ju-jitsu in the mind’s realm.

Everything that happens in our lives can be used as practice to become better at practicing virtue. Just yesterday to give an example, I fell off my bike and pounded in the concrete really hard, I suffocated and didn’t really knew for a moment what was happening. Eventually, I got up and everything seemed ok, except my ragged T-shirt and blood in several parts of my body, oh and a severe muscle pain in my hip. I wasn’t going to write anything today but then I stumbled into this Epictetus quote and decided to use my pain to practice fortitude, so now I’m sitting writing with a severe hip pain, but quite happy about it. So, in a way, thanks to this hip pain, I can write about how I’m using it to get better at something else. Stoic Ju-jitsu.

Virtue is the sole good. That’s our aim.hydra

Hard choices easy life, easy choices hard life.

Our minds are the arena for vice and virtue. It is an endless battle that goes on and on and one that will never end until our lives come to an end.

But the mind and vice, more accurately, is extremely creative! The mind is always ready to offer us rationalizations as to why we can’t do something or why is better not to act and stay quiet.

This is extremely common in day to day practice. Has it ever happened to you that you realize in the morning that there are quite an amount of tasks that you need to get done to push forward on your life, important stuff rather than urgent stuff? But, then at the end of the day, you are just really tired and you really cannot set yourself to do anything other than relaxing and going to sleep?

At that moment, rationalizations come into play:

  • I’m too tired.
  • I’ll do it in the morning.
  • I have too many days left to finish it.
  • Someday.

Usually, that becomes a habit and nothing ever gets done. The next time you stumble into one of these situations practice Stoic Ju-jitsu.

Hard choices easy life, easy choices hard life, remember?

In the realm of the mind, stoic Ju-jitsu is practiced by using those rationalizations. Every “I can’t”, “later”, can be used as a sign that you need to actually do that which you least want to do. Use your rationalizations as signposts for action. Use them to practice your virtue.


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Stoic advice

Gain power, peace and perspective by questioning first


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Question

Put things to the test. Put your fears to the test. 

Question your fears, question other people fears, question yours and other people suffering and also question your fortune, question everything. First, question. Then make your decisions and assumptions.

In order to gain power instantly, ask more powerful questions.

Why not? , How can this be better? , Does it have to be this way? How would this, ideally be managed? If I could make the most out of this, how would I do it? , What is the good in all of these? , How can I use this to my benefit?

I had a serious relationship recently.

I loved her, a lot. I am single again now. At first, I wanted to drown the feelings with alcohol and trust me I did try. Painfully and obviously so, it did not work. Now that I look back, that was a seriously stupid decision. What you do not want to do in a breakup is grieve and immerse yourself in a hole of alcohol and self-pity. A breakup is improvement time. 

You see, here is where questioning helps.

The mind is either with you or against you.

After the breakup, I began to ask myself better questions. By doing this I began using my mind to gain power and peace.

I asked myself. Is there anything good at all about this? The answers started appearing from nowhere and I soon was moving again. 

One terrific exercise is to write it down. Write the solutions as well and then take Book-and-pen-top-10-wallpaper-hd6action.

By doing this, you, first, keep your mind busy and give it something to work on, which is what you need to do at the moment and second, you begin to dispel the chasm of the breakup and start realizing that you will find someone else again. Second, you start to appreciate more what you are doing for yourself, and that is invaluable.

I told you this short story, first of all, to give you some real-world advice if you happen to be in that situation and second because it relates profoundly to what I’m trying to say.

I’m trying to say that perspective is everything.

Stoicism is the practice of rationality and perspective. Epictetus warns you to be careful of other peoples state of minds or calamities because, just as I had the power to grieve with alcohol and self-pity (and actually did the first time) or with self-betterment and new enjoyment of life, so does everybody in their life face the same situation, it’s on your shoulders how you are going to take your circumstances. 

See, whatever happens to anybody, is not the situation itself what causes sadness or joy or anything in them, but their views upon it.

Although it seems at times just unthinkable to think or rationalize yourself into a more empowering state of mind (like when a loved one dies) it is possible with practice. 

ASK BETTER QUESTIONS, SIT DOWN AND WRITE YOUR SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR PROBLEMS AND THE SOLUTIONS WILL BEGIN TO APPEAR.

This is why, as a stoic. You have to be always on the lookout for the right perspective. Put things to the test, put your fears to the test, put people judgments to the test and you’ll start to develop power. The power of perspective and of correct action. Just as I decided to take the route on self-betterment after my breakup, so do you can find the best route in any situation. Just sit down and write your problems and ask, what would be the best outcome and how would I do it? 

Honestly, I cannot emphasize more the need to actually grab a piece of paper and begin writing. Trust me.

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