power

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?

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

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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.


Stoic answers aim is to provide answers to the deepest human questions, which sadly, are almost always never asked.

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