Stoicism is a philosophical tradition that originated in ancient Greece and was founded by Zeno of Citium in the 3rd century BCE. It emphasizes the importance of living a virtuous and rational life, and teaches that we should strive to develop inner peace and tranquility by accepting what we cannot control and focusing on what we can control.
According to Stoicism, the key to happiness and fulfillment lies in living in accordance with reason and virtue, and in recognizing that our happiness is not dependent on external circumstances or events. Instead, it is up to us to find happiness within ourselves by cultivating wisdom, courage, justice, and self-control.
Stoicism also emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and focusing on what we can do to improve ourselves and the world around us, rather than dwelling on the past or stressing about the future.
Overall, the philosophy of Stoicism emphasizes the importance of living a virtuous and rational life, and teaches that we should strive to find inner peace and happiness by accepting what we cannot control and focusing on what we can control.
5 Principles of Stoicism
- Accepting what you cannot control: One of the core principles of Stoicism is accepting that some things are beyond our control. This can be helpful when faced with difficult or stressful situations, as it allows us to let go of things we cannot control and focus our energy on what we can control.
- Focusing on what you can control: Rather than stressing about things beyond our control, Stoicism encourages us to focus on what we can control, such as our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. This can help us take a proactive approach to problem-solving and feel more empowered to change our lives positively.
- Cultivating virtue and wisdom: Stoicism emphasizes the importance of living a virtuous and rational life. This means developing wisdom and understanding and virtues like courage, justice, and self-control. By striving to live by these principles, we can better handle life’s challenges.
- Living in the present moment: Another key aspect of Stoicism is living in the present moment and focusing on what we can do to improve ourselves and the world around us. This can help us avoid getting bogged down in the past or worrying about the future and instead stay focused on the present and take action to create positive change.
- Finding inner peace: Ultimately, Stoicism teaches us to strive for inner peace and tranquillity by accepting what we cannot control and focusing on what we can control. This can help us find calm and contentment in facing life’s challenges and difficulties.
But what sort of things are not under our control?
According to Stoicism, certain things are not under our control, such as external events and circumstances, the actions and thoughts of other people, and the natural course of the world. These things are considered “indifferent” because they are beyond our control and do not directly affect our moral character or happiness.
Examples of things that are not under our control might include:
- Natural disasters.
- The actions of governments or other organizations.
- The behaviour of other people.
While we may be able to influence these things to some extent, we cannot control them completely.
So, what things are under our control?
Here are a few examples of things that we can control in our lives, according to Stoicism:
- Our thoughts and attitudes: We can choose our thoughts and attitudes, cultivate a positive mindset, and focus on the good things in life.
- Our actions and behaviours: We have control over our actions and behaviours and can choose to act by reason and virtue.
- Our responses to external events: While we cannot control external events and circumstances, we can control how we respond to them. We can choose to react with wisdom and self-control rather than letting our emotions best us.
- Our goals and values: We can choose our own goals and values and strive to live by them.
- Our relationships: We control how we interact with others and build and maintain relationships.
Stoicism teaches us to focus on what we can control and strive to live according to reason and virtue rather than getting caught up in things beyond our control. By doing so, we can find inner peace and fulfilment in life.