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5 Stoic ideas that help me
Value time above possessions
Stoicism meant nothing when a colleague first mentioned it to me. I have come to realise it is a way of thinking with many practical applications. Through it, I try to accept that I do not control much of the world, but I do control what I do in it. The definition of Stoicism I have in mind relates to Greek philosophy, based on knowledge and living in harmony, rather than enduring pain without showing feelings.
⏳ Value time above possessions
There is great pressure to live up to other people’s expectations. The clothes we wear. Which car we drive. Our mobile. Regardless of how much money we have, it will never be enough if we compare ourselves to others. Somewhat ironically, the richer we become, the more we crave control over our time (the thing we cannot create more of). I find it useful to think about money (and the things it can buy) as an exchange of part of my finite life. I value what I can do with my time more than I ever have, e.g. sitting in a field typing this blog post on my mobile. Creative Momentum talks about the importance of getting out to my well-being and creativity.
🧘♂️ Focus on the essential
Can you remember what you did at this time last year or last month? If you can, your memory is better than mine. Most of what we do, maybe 99% or more, has no long term benefit. There is ample opportunity, therefore, to ditch much of what we typically do and focus on addressing the essentials - the things that really matter to us. If I cannot control or significantly influence a situation then I try to ignore it.
✋ Say “no”
One way to shift the balance of focus is to say no to many requests for our time and attention. This should be done with consideration, often suggesting an alternative way to help. Everything we say yes to means we are saying no to something else of potentially higher value. 3 Steps to Transform our Meetings shares some ideas I have on that topic.
When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say no. - Derek Sivers
🏃♂️ Habits define us
We are a product of our habits. I want to be healthy so I try to eat healthy food, drink water, sleep well and walk 2 - 10 miles every day. I want be improve my communication skills so I read many books and write this weekly blog. While I see a place for goal setting, I believe it more important for me to make some progress everyday. Over time, small habits add up, e.g. I have written over 50 weekly blog posts and have 500 subscribers.
🏋️ Embrace challenges
Throughout my childhood and even after university, reading and writing was a massive challenge for me. It was much later in life that I decided to address these deficiencies and tackle my related fears. Paraphrasing my mum, she said, “I was a determined plodder”. Now, many years later, I love books and plan to write one myself. I believe we become better for the things we struggle with. My advice to my younger self would be, don’t run away from important challenges, take them on instead.
Razors I use to Simplify Decisions post by Phil Martin
Hacks to Achieve your Goals interview with Naval Ravikant
5 Ways to Boost Your Power post by Phil Martin
This post shares five Stoic ideas that guide much of my thinking and actions. Until next Sunday, I’m sure you will find something of interest in Ryan Holiday’s 50 (Short) Rules for Life from the Stoics video.