What Is Stoicism

Despite being brought to existence over two thousand years ago, Stoicism is the most relevant and reasonable philosophical viewpoint to exist in the modern world. The textbook definition, “the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint”  is oddly a principle of stoicism but at the same time, an insult to all that this study encompasses. Stoicism unlike other philosophical doctrines has an end to the debacle of questioning the premise. Unlike philosophical standpoints that arise debate and skepticism, stoicism is the practice of controlling your mind with the logical view that your mind is the only thing you can control.  Stoics practice different ways to look at a problem (1), or the sheer resilience in getting through it. (2)

  1. My bicycle broke? Good, I was in need of a walk today anyways.

Fired from my job? Good, I’ve been wanting to chase my dream for years.

  1. Undergoing a lifelong condition that brings the body great pain? Can it be helped? No? Then sulking is futile and being distraught is at that point self-infliction. Getting through this will make me a stronger individual. 

Death in the family? Death is thus natural and it cannot be undone, therefore distraughtness is futile and the outcome of this will make me stronger as a person. 

It is obvious to me that even if one studies stoicism and memorizes the thoughts of the ancient philosophers, it doesn’t exactly make them a Stoic.  It is reasonable to understand that a loved one won’t come back and feeling sad is a counterintuitive reaction to that.  However, it is not natural, that just because someone understands this logical format, they now have the magical ability to suppress their emotions on the matter. This is why I maintain that Stoicism is something that needs to be PRACTICED, along with studied. I want to mention at this point, that stoicism is not an idea consisting of erasing all emotions and becoming a robot. In a better sense, it is the management of your mental faculty and making habit of what comes to thought. 

How to Practice Stoicism: Practicing stoicism has to derive from knowing stoicism, so practice cannot begin unless you understand details in order to better grasp it. When you understand the concepts of stoicism you can think about certain areas of what you’ve learned to better fulfill the right way to think in a scenario. See the first two books on the “Philosophy For Beginners” page for the fastest way to briefly understand what it is to be a stoic. Another method is also a simple google search, following pages like daily stoic or watching youtube videos from Crash Course to The School Of Life is another very rapid way to get the general information.

After acquiring this knowledge, you must try to make a habit of applying it day by day. The best thing for me is what I call “Pre-Bedtime Self Reflection”. Before I go to bed I go over the day in my head and I critique any events where I complained and showed signs of unnecessary weakness or distraughtness. Covering these cringe moments each day will help you go into the next day on the lookout for your own weaknesses.