Stoicism: 7 Days to Mastering the Stoic Art of Journaling
Why is journaling a gateway into the teachings of Stoicism? In Book XI of Meditations, Aurelius wrote: "In writing, or in reading, be first taught yourself, before you pretend to teach others. Observe this much more in life." The more you write down about your life experiences, the better you understand what makes you - well, you.
In the centuries afterward, many people, whether Stoic or not, have fallen in love with and dedicated themselves to morning or evening journaling. And there's a reason for that: it works. It clears the mind, allows for peaceful, private thinking, and keeps track of one's thoughts throughout time.
However, the skill of journaling in Stoicism is more than just a regular diary. The philosophy is this daily practice. Getting ready for the day ahead. Pondering the day's events and reminding ourselves of our lessons from our teachers, books, and life experiences. It is not enough to merely listen to these lessons once; instead, one must practise them again, go through them over in their minds, and, write them down while feeling them flow through their fingers.
Journaling is Stoicism. Having one without the other is not possible.
Step 1: Nothing Is In Your Control Except Your Reactions
Epictetus' teachings have two essential principles. The first is that we have control over certain things but not others and that most of our misery stems from our belief that we can control things we can't.
Epictetus claims that humans have very little control. We do not influence what happens to us, what the others around us say or do, and we don't even have complete control over our bodies, which are harmed, sickened, and eventually die regardless of our wishes.
This leads us to Epictetus' second core principle: it's not what bothers us but how we think about it. Things happen. We then pass judgement on what has occurred. If we believe something genuinely terrible has occurred, we may become upset, sad, or angry, depending on the circumstances. We may become terrified if we believe something horrible is about to happen. All of these feelings are because our decisions. Things are value-neutral in and of themselves because what we find repulsive may be regarded as insignificant by others or even embraced by others.
Step 2: Learn to Face Adversity
Seneca understood all too well what it was like to be exiled, bereaved, and eventually compelled to commit suicide by Nero. He also understood that saying, "I'm not going to let these external things bother me", was one thing, but doing so and not being disturbed was quite another.
As a result, the Stoics devised several practical exercises to assist individuals in incorporating Stoic ideas into their daily lives. Seneca advised taking stock at the end of each day, noting when you get annoyed about something insignificant, react aggressively to someone who didn't deserve it, and so on. He intended to improve the next day by documenting his blunders.
In Book II, Marcus wrote: "Say thus to thyself every morning: today I may have to do with some intermeddler in other men's affairs, with an ungrateful man; an insolent, or a crafty, or an envious, or an unsociable selfish man." He knew he would have to face people who were angry and resentful, people that took it out on the rest of the world. He prepared himself to be better and calmer the next day with this knowledge.
Step 3: Accept What Comes At You
Another Stoic tactic is to remind ourselves of our insignificance constantly. We do not live in a world that revolves around us. In his Meditations, Aurelius frequently meditated on the immensity of the cosmos and the infinite of time that stretched into the past and future to put his brief existence into context.
According to Epictetus, if you expect the universe to give you precisely what you desire, you will be disappointed; however, if you welcome whatever the universe provides you, life will be a lot easier. Again, easier said than done, but an increasing number of individuals are heeding Stoic advice and attempting to incorporate it into their daily lives.
Step 4: Guard Your Time Well
We all know that no one has infinite time in this world. However, most of us do not enjoy it as much as we should. In today's internet-powered society, we tend to waste time more and more.
Because he does not receive a better job offer, an employee fed up with his employer stays at his work for years. But he never considered the possibility of establishing a business, no matter how little, that would allow him to be his boss at the time.
Such people, according to the Stoics, are squandering their time. To put it another way, they are unaware of the potential value of time. People continue to perform the same things for years, but they are unsatisfied. However, they continue to do so for fear of being labelled as hustlers by society.
Seneca wrote: "We're tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers."
Step 5: Be Grateful
Gratefulness is a foolproof way to make yourself happy. It encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives while avoiding destructive emotions or memories. Scientists can now substantiate this theory with research findings.
Being appreciative does not imply that we should stop striving for greater heights. It means we shouldn't dwell too much on what we don't have because doing so would bring us down and make us feel unworthy of everything we could otherwise achieve.
It fosters a positive outlook on life, the first step toward pursuing personal growth chances.
Consider all the things you have to be thankful for today. You are alive, live in a mainly peaceful era, and have good health, leisure, and internet access to read this post. "In everything, we should try to make ourselves as grateful as possible," Seneca wrote to his friend Lucilius.
Step 6: Material Things Don't Give You Joy
Materialism is a terrible sickness that affects practically everyone in the modern world. Excessive materialism indicates that one is hollow and void on the inside. When we sense something is missing in our lives or within ourselves, we desire to seek more.
Our entire economy is based on the purchase of goods. Everyone makes a purchase. It makes no difference what you purchase. Simply put, buy. It makes no difference if you don't have any money.
Simply put, buy. Our entire civilization now operates under the idea that we will all continue to buy a lot of stuff regardless of what occurs. Purchase, purchase, purchase. Then go out and get some more.
"Don't set your heart on so many things," says Epictetus. Make it a habit to ask yourself, "Do I need this?" What happens if I don't receive it? The answers to these questions will surely help you in relaxing and eliminating all of the unnecessary activities that keep you too busy to be balanced or joyful.
Step 7: Failure Isn't The End
The word "failure" has a negative meaning. However, we must not consider it a negative feature of life. Failures are transient, and if we know how to get back on our feet and try again, they may become a source of inspiration. Only after a few minor or significant failures can we appreciate success entirely. Our life's ultimate goal should be to become the best version of ourselves. We can only do so if we go through various experiences, some of which fail us and others which succeed us, but all of which combined give us the ability to make our advancement worthwhile.
Aulus Gellius relates that Epictetus once said, "If anyone would take two words to heart and take pains to govern and watch over themselves by them, they will live an impeccable and immensely tranquil life. The two words are: persist and resist." Defy doubters, discouragement, and distractions by persisting in your efforts despite whatever barriers you may encounter.