What are Stoic principles?
Confusing, bewildering, information overload! These were my thoughts when I first started out with Stoicism. In this post I breakdown seven of the most important principles.
Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy which teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. It does not seek to extinguish emotions completely, but rather seeks to transform them by a resolute Asceticism (a voluntary abstinence from worldly pleasures), which enables a person to develop clear judgment, inner calm and freedom from suffering (which it considers the ultimate goal).
This approach attracted and its principles me. I knew I wanted a cohesive philosophy of life, but I wasn’t sure what the main points and principles were. Failure to have philosophy of life guaranteed that I wasn’t making the most of my limited time.
I soon realised that everyone could be a philosopher. It wasn’t the sole remit of dusty academics. Human beings are rational but become distracted by day-to-day problems, misfortunes and worries. So in this post I’ll set out my understanding of stoic philosophy in seven key points. Use these as a springboard to further research and to leading to a happier, calmer life. Here we go ….
- Happiness is freedom from unhelpful emotions.
- Reduce unhelpful emotions by living with virtue.
- Virtue arises by being in harmony with nature.
- Nature is accepting we are small parts of a bigger, ever changing whole, created by events outside of our control.
- Happiness and virtue arise from personal choice and continuous attention to our thoughts.
- The things called good by most people, such as health, possessions, reputation, and the like, are often aligned with our nature.
- But they are not always aligned with our nature. Sometimes you may obtain or maintain them at the expense of a person’s integrity.
How would you summarise the principles of Stoicism? What is your Stoic elevator pitch? What have I missed out?
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