Life throws us curveballs, there is no way to escape that. It could be an episode of back pain, a global pandemic or something worse. There are many ways to deal with this and many great teachings come from the stoics… Here are a few of our favourites
Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul
Everyone has a place in their mind that they can retreat to, it’s free from outside interruptions. The stoics believed that everything takes place inside of us. Obstacles arise in our path to retreating to the inner citadel. It is a place we all have that is unaffected by the external circumstances. We should practice retreating to this inner sanctum and not let thoughts, feelings and emotions have power over us. This can be through meditation, or other stoic techniques such as a “view from above”
The stoics love to meditate on the worst-case scenarios. Seneca said this was a reason to ensure that nothing takes us by surprise. Sometimes things don’t go to plan, is your back going to be worse tomorrow than it is today, meditate about what you can control if that bad situation arises, what specific steps can you take to prepare for this situation. Control what you can control.
Love your fait. Jocko Willink talks about this as his concept of “GOOD”. What about this situation can I turn to my advantage. Is the weather miserable? “GOOD”, gives me time to work behind the scenes. Have an injury preventing you from playing sport? “GOOD”, use that time to catch up on reading and work on some weaknesses.
Hupexhairesis – ie Control what you can control. You can not control the outcome of every situation, much of life is totally beyond your control. What you can do it control your effort. Want to get your best marathon time, you cant control tripping over at the beginning of the race, but you can control how much effort you can put into training. Do all you can, and you’ll do well, if you don’t then it was beyond your control.