Last Week

The Daily Stoic

The Practicing Stoic

Meditations

How to Be a Stoic

If you have anger issues, this one is a great tool (h/t mindyourbusiness)

Disclaimer: I’m not your Supervisor. These are my opinions after reading through these books a few times.

 

July 23

“Receive without pride, let go without attachment.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.3

When I earn an award or pay raise, it feels good, but it is important to not get too impressed with myself. Conversely, if I lose something, whether it was my fault, or if there was nothing I could have done about it, I can’t lose perspective on what the true value is or was. I think keeping an even keel through ups and downs is vital.

 

July 24

“Whenever disturbing news is delivered to you, bear in mind that no news can ever be relevant to your reasoned choice. Can anyone break news to you that your assumptions or desires are wrong? No
way! But they can tell you someone died—even so, what is that to you?”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.18.1–

This sounds cold and inhuman on a superficial level. If I look deeper, it is telling me not to waste time or energy on empty gestures to show concern or sympathy. If my wife died tomorrow, I would be devastated, but it would serve no purpose to lock myself in the house and not live my life any more. When Richard Feynman (if you’ve never read his books, you should) was working on the Manhattan Project, his young wife passed away from tuberculosis. Upon returning to Los Alamos, he didn’t talk to anyone about it and went back to work. Does that mean he didn’t love her? It seemed he loved her very much, but knew there was nothing to be gained from indulging in misery.

 

July 25

“When you see someone often flashing their rank or position, or someone whose name is often bandied about in public, don’t be envious; such things are bought at the expense of life. . . . Some die on the first rungs of the ladder of success, others before they can reach the top, and the few that make it to the top of their ambition through a thousand indignities realize at the end it’s only for an inscription on their gravestone.”
—SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 20

I am not an important person outside of my family. I used to think I needed more than that. I always wanted to be a Marine. Then in artillery, I wanted to be a section chief. I came home excited when I got appointed as one as a Corporal (E-4). That is earlier than normal, but not unheard of, I was the 2nd Cpl. Section Chief in my unit.  My wife burst my bubble pretty quickly, she asked: “Do you get a pay raise with that?” Spoiler alert- No, I was making the same pay as the useless Cpl.’s we had. When we went to Iraq as convoy security and reconfigured, I was a Sergeant Squad leader and  left my family for 8 months so I could be a squad leader in combat. Looking back, none of these are really what I want to be remembered for. Now, my boss asked me if I wanted to work on becoming a manger at the company since I have so much experience leading people. I told him I am happy at my current responsibilities and have no desire to tell other people what to do anymore.

 

July 26

“Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 9.5

What am I not doing that I should be doing? I want my dogs to behave better, but if I don’t keep working with them, they will not improve. The same goes for many things, if I don’t work out, it is as bad as if I eat garbage all week. If I don’t actively spend time with my wife, our relationship will get injured just as if I yell at her for no reason. I need to make sure that I do things right, or I might as well do the wrong thing.

 

July 27

“Indeed, if you find anything in human life better than justice, truth, self-control, courage—in short, anything better than the sufficiency of your own mind, which keeps you acting according to the demands of true reason and accepting what fate gives you outside of your own power of choice—I tell you, if you can see anything better than this, turn to it heart and soul and take full advantage of this greater good you’ve found.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 3.6.1

What is better than mental resiliency? What should I invest my energy into? I do what I can to maintain a happy family life, but if my wife lost her mind and became dishonest, I could not stay with her. Living life to my standards and keeping control of my reactions has been very rewarding so far, even though I still fall short of my own expectations. I don’t know what gives a better reward, but If I find it, I guess I’ll have to chase it.

 

July 28

“Some people are sharp and others dull; some are raised in a better environment, others in worse, the latter, having inferior habits and nurture, will require more by way of proof and careful instruction
to master these teachings and to be formed by them—in the same way that bodies in a bad state must be given a great deal of care when perfect health is sought.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 1.1.33–1.3.1

If a person is trying to learn, I can not expect them to remember things as fast as I do. I have spent many hours on the phone lately with people, trying to talk them through an equipment upgrade that is very easy (for me). Most of them have no experience with this equipment since they only have to do anything to it sparingly. I am extremely patient with them, but it is hard not to show my exasperation sometimes. I need to remember this quote and try to enjoy the process.

 

July 29

“The person who has practiced philosophy as a cure for the self becomes great of soul, filled with confidence, invincible—and greater as you draw near.”
SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 111.2

Why did I start studying Stoicism? I needed a “cure for the self”. I have had anger issues for a while, but they were getting worse. I was also becoming lazy and not working out or running. 2 years and 5 months since I first bought Meditations, I can honestly say the anger is much more subdued, I am taking better care of myself and enjoy things I used to hate doing because I knew I would get angry and frustrated easily. I hope by writing these weekly, I give myself accountability and hope to provide another way for anybody in my old situation.

 

Music this week is songs I like to kick myself in gear when I’m not feeling it.

Seize the Day

“The final chapter seems so distant, still I carry on.

My old path calls to me, but I’m still unrelenting.

With no shame I take aim. This will be my greatest day!”

 

You Can’t Bring Me Down

“And if I offended you, oh I’m sorry…
But maybe you need to be offended
But here’s my apology and one more thing…fuck you!”

 

Elimination

“Hopeless, there’s no doubt
Set on a slow burn from the inside out
Careful, what for?
Last one out closes the coffin door
Spending all you saved
And wishing for a little more
If I’m looking at the ceiling
Then I must be laying on the floor”

 

Not really inspirational, but I think it’s one of the best thrash songs ever made.