What Is Stoicism? A Simple Definition & 10 Stoic Core Principles
Aug 29 2017
"1. Live in agreement with nature. What separates the human being from animals are our mental and social abilities. We are meant to apply reason to all our actions. We are able to think about our preferred action before we act. This is the Stoic goal of life: To live in agreement with our nature by applying reason to our actions.
2. Live by virtue – Virtue is the highest of all goods. No matter what happens to us, we can always try to apply reason and choose to live in accord with virtue. We should always try to do the right thing, it’s all that we control.
3. Focus on what you can control, accept what you can’t. All we control is our mind and the actions we choose to take. We can try our best, and accept all that happens because we don’t control it. If we get disturbed by what we don’t control, we become helpless victims.
4. Distinguish between good, bad, and indifferent things. The only good is virtue – living by wisdom, justice, courage, and self-discipline. The only bad is vice – folly, injustice, cowardice, and intemperance. Everything else is indifferent and does ultimately not matter for a happy life.
5. Take action like the true philosopher. The true philosopher actually lives by the ideas, he is a warrior of the mind. Today, many people learn and acquire knowledge only to store it in their mind. They forget the most important part: to live and practice the ideas.
6. Practice misfortune. This is a gem. Imagine potentially “bad” scenarios in advance and they won’t catch you by surprise, and you’ll be able to face them calmly and act according to virtue. Visualize shit before and you’ll be able to take it much more calmly.
7. Add a reserve clause to your actions. You only control your actions but not the outcome. You can give your best but maybe it won’t bring the results you wanted. Choose to do your very best to succeed and simultaneously know and accept that the ultimate outcome is beyond your direct control.
8. Love everything that happens (amor fati). Accept rather than fight every little thing that happens. You don’t decide everything that happens to you, in fact, you control very little. Imagine that everything that happens, happens specifically for you. Wish for situations to happen as they do and your life will go smoothly.
9. Turn obstacles into opportunities. How you perceive things is highly important. Everything that happens can be looked at as an opportunity. Even if it sucks, because you can always see it as a chance to practice virtue.
10. Be mindful. You must bring your full awareness in your actions. Otherwise you act out of emotions instead of your rational decisions. Observe yourself and go through your daily actions before you go to bed so that you will make better decisions the next day."
~ Jonas Salzgeber