I’m back into stoicism again after rereading Seneca and after picking up the so far excellent book, ‘Stoicism and the Art of Happiness’. But this time around I’m not settling with only theory. I want to try some actual Stoic exercises, or more precisely; Voluntary Discomfort.
Why would the Stoics voluntarily put themselves in uncomfortable situations? Well, to develop appreciation and gratitude for what I already have and prepare for future adversity.
Here are some things a stoic practitioner could do:
❗️Underdress for cold weather.
❗️Forgo pleasures such a passing of a glass of wine of watching you favorite show.
❗️Sleep on the floor instead of the bed.
❗️Eat only plain foods and drink only water for a week.
❗️Emulate poverty by dressing in shabby clothes and sleep under a bridge.
❗️Not drink anything for a day.
❗️Reading the comments on articles and videos on the internet to elicit anger and practice equanimity (found this one on Reddit 👍🏻)
❗️ Sleep without a pillow.
You get the idea: Get yourself more uncomfortable than you’d usually be. It’ll make you stronger. You’ll appreciate what you have and eliminate irrational fears.
Or at least that’s the theory. Now I’m going to try it myself for a month or so. See my Instagram Stories for weekly updates! Or wait for my Lab Report . 😀🔬
What experiments are you conducting in your life? 🤔
A brief essay on the the duration of life. And about why most people think it’s too short, when it’s actually long enough to if the time is used properly.
Seneca is a stoic philosopher (4. BC – 65 AD. I won’t go into into much detail about what a stoicism is, since there will be a lot other opportunities to dwell into that in upcoming post (judging from what I’m reading right now). With a risk of oversimplifying, I like how Nassim Taleb put it: “A stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one that says “fuck you” to faith”
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficient measure to allow us to achieve the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested…” “…we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”
So, how do people waste their life? By gossiping, overindulgence in food and sex, living life for others (work a job you hate), complaining, etc.
Also worrying about the future or letting the past disturb ones tranquility. Then, when we find out that these things are unimportant, we only have a few years left to live and wonder where all the time has gone.
“He who has grey hair has not lived for long, he has existed for long.”
Being written 2000 years ago, it’s amazing how almost all these thoughts are applicable to contemporary society. ———————————–
My takeaway from this book is to be more protective of my time and be wise in how I spend it. A sad thing would be to spend your life doing things you dislike with a promise of leisure and freedom in the future. Wasting each day as it comes for a future that one are is certain to live to see.
I did a “favorites of 2016” last year on my instagram and I thought it would be a good addtion to my blog. Good book recommendations are always relevant, right? The list for 2017 is coming soon butthese books sure are worthy gifts for loved ones this holiday season!
Favorite Books of 2016 – Self-Discovery
“The Bhagavad Gita” – Translated and introduced by Eknath Easwaran (Audio / Paperback)
One of my many takeaways from Nassim Nikolas Talebs book “Antifragile” was to read original material and books that stood the test of time. So I did just that and it turned out to be pretty sound advice. I naively thought it would be tough to enjoy books from hundreds of years ago, because old school writing styles, but thanks to modern translations I found it to be quite the opposite.
One book that stood out to me was “The Bhagavad Gita”, translated and introduced by Eknath Easwaran. After seeing this ancient Hindu scripture being referenced in more than six of the books I read this year, covering very different subjects, I’d decided to give it a shot. It was well worth it and you can find my “review” of it in my feed. What really stuck with me was the concept of detachment from outcome. “Only the one who is utterly engaged and utterly detached is able to live life fully.”
Read the full list with all it’s categories here!