We all want to live a balanced life. We all want to have a life without negativity, illness, or misfortune. But while some of these things we cannot control, there are some we can control. The thing is, life is not made only of happiness, courage, and pleasure. We all have moments when we are anxious, sad, fearful, or stressed.
And what we can change in these moments are not the external stimuli that trigger those feelings, but our perspective on what we are living and feeling. And this is one of the main ideas Stoicism promoted, intended to help people live a more balanced life.
But what is stoicism? It is one of the major philosophical schools that were founded in Greece and then adopted in Rome. Among the most popular Stoics are Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. They adopted a realistic, yet quite an idealistic perspective on how you should live your life.
Stoic principles were then adopted by many people and presidents over time, making them goals you should aspire to. And today we will discover 8 of the most important principles of Stoicism that will help you balance your life.
No matter how much we try, we cannot avoid those moments or events in our lives that bring us down. Because life is made of good and bad moments, and trying to avoid the bad ones does not bring any good. Failures are events that make us feel sad, lose self-confidence, and the courage to keep trying. But, as Marcus Aurelius said, it is our perspective on failures that can change the entire experience.
I remember when I worked at a multinational on a project for some months. I put a lot of time and effort, and I also strived to come up with creative and ingenious ways to promote a product. My solutions were not adopted, were criticized, and I recognized this as a huge failure in my professional life. But it taught me something. It taught me how to do things better and to communicate effectively, which contributed positively to a better me. The lesson is that failures come with growth.
We live in a world full of stimuli. Ads, news, social media, movies, music, pictures, and many more. We also live a life of experiences and important events and all these trigger specific emotions and feelings. The most important thing to be understood is that emotions are inside. It is your perspective on a specific event that triggers a certain emotion. Because while you may be negatively living the same thing, others might go through it more positively.
And this is a nice thing to keep in mind, especially during difficult moments when your anxiety, depression, or negative emotions might reach high levels.
Although this might seem like a piece of advice given this century, it is an idea that Marcus Aurelius wrote in his book diary “Meditations”. “Do not give small things more time than they deserve” is one of the wisest principles of Stoicism which was written over 1000 years ago. More reviews on this can be found here https://www.dissertation-service.org/
Are you mad because someone trolled you on social media? Are you sad because someone unfollowed you? Or because you haven’t found the right color for your dress? All these are small things that indeed make the difference, but that also takes a lot of our time.
Observe your behavior and discover these small things you give more time and resources than they need. Mindlessly scrolling on social media or watching TV are among these experiences. Get rid of things that do not help you grow.
We all know that extroverts love spending time with lots of people, while introverts enjoy their company. But this Stoic principle is not about personality traits, but about habits that we all need to develop to live a balanced life. And as Seneca said, we need to spend time in our company from time to time.
The lives of people who live nowadays are much more alert and this makes us feel tired, stressed, and anxious. To cope with them, you need to find a moment every day to stand still and reflect on what happened and how that did make you feel.
One of the main ideas Stoic philosophers promoted is to live a life based on your values, and one of these values should be honesty. We all know that not all people are honest, or not fully honest, so this is a thing that affects the confidence we have in others, and in ourselves too.
You cannot achieve balance in your life if you are not fully honest with yourself first. We all have bad habits or thinking patterns, but noticing and acknowledging them is the step we all need to take to change them. And being honest with yourself comes with a higher level of sincerity in your relationships.
This is another principle of Stoicism that will help you achieve balance and something to always keep in mind. Focus on things you can control, and not on the ones you don’t. The latter ones are usually the most frustrating and they trigger many negative and intense emotions.
You cannot control the weather or the reaction of a friend to a specific thing, so do not spend much time worrying about these.
This might not seem like new advice or principle to live by, as books are one of the main sources of knowledge. Even though you can now find everything on the internet, reading books comes with far greater benefits.
As Epictetus said, “books help you think better”. Read purposefully to develop and improve your knowledge. The more you read, the more you educate yourself. And a higher level of education and knowledge come with wiser and more informed decisions.
When I first started my hobby as a photographer, I had a role model. A photographer that had years of experience on the field, working and immortalizing beautiful and mesmerizing moments in nature. His technique was flawless and I wanted to be like him.
This helped me develop my hobby and take amazing photographs, some of which were already published. I have learned a lot from him just by listening and reading interviews and analyzing his photos. It is about learning from your role model, not comparing you with him or her. Success comes in many forms and quantities and every human is living it differently.
Stoicism is one of the most important philosophical schools of thought that promoted some basic principles to live a balanced life. Read books, manage your time effectively, and spend it with purpose. Change your perspective on failures and acknowledge that emotions live within you. Find your role models and learn from them, be honest, and spend time with yourself.
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