Stoic rules can alter one’s life for the better. There are not a lot of philosophies that can do that.
It’s because of the nature of stoicism, especially its Roman form. Roman stoicism is a first and foremost the philosophy of life.
It tells you or advises you how you should live. It’s not even that much preoccupied with epistemic questions.
It means that Roman philosophers were not preoccupied with validation of their findings that much. I think they had just this really good gut feeling about their philosophy of life.
Romans were, of course, practical guys. Since they ruled the world, they did not have time theorize as much as let’s say the Greeks.
The rules I am about to share with you are applicable and appropriate for the 21st century.
I think that they are much more suitable for a typical Westerner than let’s say Indian Buddhism. But, that’s, of course, everybody’s personal view.
5 stoic rules – negative visualization
Inex is all about making yourself a priority. It’s not about being selfish or egoistic, it’s about looking deep down into your inner self and figuring your life for you.
Especially your thoughts and with that being said – to make your mind a tool, not your master.
Visualization is an important concept. Our brains are able to see integrated, vivid, virtual pictures before they become a reality. Nikola Tesla is my favorite visualization hero.
He never used any sketches for any of his brilliant inventions. He has seen it all in his mind.
I’ve been a long-term fan of manifestation and the power that I can see all my life how I want it to be in my mind, so I can be turning it into reality. Simply seeing what you want and then you “wake up”, go and doing it, you know?
But, what about negative visualization? It’s one of the most profound stoic rules.
In this technique, you do not visualize your life fluffy, picturesque and buoyant, but actually a bit sad.
Negative visualization is forgetting everything that is good in your life. If you are poor but have an awesome wife and kids, you forget them and suddenly you will see that all the money is worthless to pursue, because you have no one to spend it with.
On the other hand, if you are encompassed by luxuries, it’s a great technique to stop and notice how blessed you really are.
Imagine being without everything you like in your life. Then wake up and be grateful for what you already have.
Even if you have little and you are pity piece of a human being, even then there must be something to feel thankful for.
It’s always better to feel thankful and grateful than feel lack and needy.
Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
5 Stoic rules – only things that you can influence matter
Naomi Aldort is my favorite parenting guru, let us say, ok?
And she’s all about putting your ego out of parenting, but also raising a child that is going to be an internally motivated adult person one day.
That is why she thinks it’s counterproductive to praise your child. So she’s not doing it for your approval, but because she really wants it.
I remember her telling a story that one day her son was at the tennis contest. And he made it like to a national round or something, he did really well, and she was kind of worried about how he feels about it all and so.
So, she, being a parenting guru came to him and told him: “Hey, you know I will love you no matter how you do at the tennis contest. How do you feel about it?”
He replied that he’s gonna go there and do his best, no matter the result.
I guess the little gentleman did not know it, but he was a stoic.
Stoics are only concerned about things that they can influence.
It means that the result of the game of let’s say tennis is not fully in your hands. It depends on many factors especially the talent, mood, luck of your opponent, you name it.
But, what you can do is to prepare for the game as best as you can. Of course, you can and you should want to win. But, it’s out of your control. What’s in your control is to work hard at the practice and if the odds are in your favor, you’ll win the game. If not then at least you can tell yourself that you have done everything you could to do so.
At the same time, a stoic would not feel touched or disgraced by the societal topics he can’t influence, like let’s say politics. You can feel ashamed of only the things that you had under control and you blew it.
So, had you partied instead of practiced hard, well then it’s time to feel ashamed.
5 Stoic rules – laugh a lot, love the insults
Stoicism is a philosophy that actually teaches its followers to actively seek to be insulted. Maybe, that’s too strong statement, but a stoic is definitely not afraid to be insulted in any way.
Sooner or later we’re all be encountering some kind of insult or teasing that even our loved ones can throw at us. It’s a natural thing, we are humans, right?
If you do something you will be insulted for some kind of an action. You can’t avoid it. The only important thing is how you respond to an insult.
And in modern western society, it is popular to sue people or fight back.
Fight ego with an ego.
Stoics fought ego with acceptance or mitigating it with laughter. In other words, if someone insulted you, generally they suggested two options.
- You should just do nothing, say nothing and wait till the attacker finds it no fun to sting into you because you don’t give a damn. You know how this ends, the temptations of the insulting guy rise to attempt a second or third shot to make you feel bad, but after that, it’s pretty hard to continue, since you don’t give a damn.
- My personal favorite, the second response to an insult is to laugh with or to make the statement even worse. So, if someone had a dumb comment how rotten your old car looks, you could add that oh man, you haven’t seen it from inside, it’s a total piece of crap! I mean you get the point. I laugh at my own expense, even though it hurts sometimes. It builds confidence because you know you are not that. You know what you are worth internally, so simply you can laugh, because you are not self – doubting yourself, are you? Of course not!
5 Stoic rules – live like you were poor sometimes
Stoics, especially Romans, while their state was thriving had mores against when things were too subtle and comfy. They loved the hard way. Seneca, for instance, was a rich man, one of the richest of his time. Yet, when he was ostracized from Rome, he bows to his new fate taking the classic stoic line, he wrote that “one man’s exile was but a drop in the sea of human upheaval”
We’re living in decent times. When you have an open mind, you are healthy, you are halfway there to live an abundant life. I am sure that a lot of you readers already do.
Stoics suggest us living like poor sometimes. First of all, stoics have always avoided luxurious life, even though a lot of them resided on emperor’s courtyard. Yet, there were among the first who implemented the concept of brotherhood.
Seneca, for instance, was one of the most famous and “best – paid” authors of his time. Yet, because of his stoicism, he considered his wealth inappreciable.
Take days when you fast. It is good for you.
Read our book about healthy lifestyle and start with intermittent fasting.
Try to live off a day on $3 – 5. It’s kind of fun when you know it’s just for a day.
And in the process, you can save a lot of money too…
5 Stoic rules – leave your comfort zone often
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone said a lot of people. But, it’s true. I always marvel at the fact that a minute or two of courage to step outside of comfort zone can change one’s life.
You know like this video. A guy, a factory worker – had he not found a courage to step in front of the jury and sing, he would have been “just” a factory worker (nothing bad about it, but I guess he’s happier now, because he does what he loves doing).
The courage to step outside your comfort zone can change your life.
So, go for that job interview! Go ask the girl to go for a walk with you! Go and speak in front of the crowd! Just to step outside the comfort zone, because it’s good for you.
Hope these 5 stoic rules were helpful for ya!