Stoicism

“According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to happiness for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.” | Wikipedia on Stoicism

Someone recently asked me about the kinds of changes writing here for a decade had inspired. I always share a few example themes when asked this question – learning to focus on process vs. outcomes, to reflect and synthesize, to be intentional, etc. It is hard to tell the full story as the change daily public writing has inspired is both vast and deep.

But, in the spirit of synthesis, it occurred to me recently that a lot of these coalesce to form some of the tenets of stoicism. To accept things as they are, to prioritize discipline and commitment over desires and fears, to be thoughtful, to seek to be aware of the environment, and to view the world from a lens of abundance and collaboration.

Interestingly, and perhaps most significantly, the stoics believed that the truest measure of what people believed lay in their behavior. The idea that we shouldn’t listen to what people say and, instead, watch what they do has been among the more hard earned lessons I’ve taken away in the past decade.

So, a better description of the impact writing here has had on me is that it has helped me understand some of the fundamental principles of stoicism without seeking to understand it.

If I had to boil it down to four words whose meaning I’m slowly beginning to understand, I would choose “awareness,” “thoughtfulness,” “commitment,” and “perspective.” I think the act of writing about what we learn everyday inspires this journey toward understanding.

I am grateful for that and for your role in that journey.