• Shania Thomas

Stoicism

Shania Thomas

"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." -Marcus Aurelius.

Stoicism was a philosophical movement of the Hellenistic period founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens. The name derives from the porch (stoa poikilê) in the Agora at Athens where members of the school congregated and held their lectures. The philosophy revolves around finding eudaimonia (happiness) by accepting the circumstances one is in, and living in the present moment by not letting one's desire for pleasure or fear of pain control them. It is a blend of personal ethics backed by logic. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was perhaps the most famous Stoic. Though in his position, he could have practically done whatever he wanted to, he worked hard to maintain good character, remain grounded, learned to tolerate people, calm his rage and live sensibly overall. His best-selling book Meditations was a self-help book he wrote for himself. He never intended to publish it. Bountiful wisdom lies within us. We often tend to look outside for solutions to our problems when in reality, if we gave our capabilities a shot and took and implemented our advice, our lives would be a lot less stressful and more organized. Stoicism highlights the great importance and power of perspective. It teaches us that no situation is inherently good or bad, it is what we perceive it to be. It teaches the fundamental concept of resisting nothing. Simply put, what has to happen, will happen. You can just choose how you react and respond to it. Like Maya Angelou once said "What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” Stoics not only cope with life situations very well, but they also add value to all and any experience by viewing them as opportunities to learn and grow. They anti-victimise, focusing their efforts on things that they can control instead of things they cannot. This was and perhaps still is the proper thing to do if one's priority is to find happiness, contentment, and peace. "True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not." -Seneca. Take some time today to think about things and situations that are in your control and those that are not. Segregate them into two piles. Focus your effort into the pile of things and situations that are under your control and leave the other pile as it is. It will fall into place as you go about taking charge of the pile you can control.

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