Daily Stoic week 31

The Daily Stoic

The Practicing Stoic


How to Be a Stoic

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

I am trying to write this on my tablet while on vacation.

If it doesn’t come out right ask for a refund.

August 6

“Apply yourself to thinking through difficulties—hard times can be softened, tight squeezes widened, and heavy loads made lighter for those who can apply the right pressure.” —SENECA,ON TRANQUILITY OF MIND,10.4b


If I have difficulty with a certain problem, I like to think it over while I run. I don’t always come up with a solution, but I usually figure out a different way to approach the problem. Sometimes that opens up an alternative and I can figure out a workable solution.


August 7

““Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well; life is also in the demands of court, there too one can live well.” —MARCUSAURELIUS,MEDITATIONS,5.16

Another reminder that my quality of life is determined more by my outlook than it is by my circumstances. Although I am currently at a lake house and we are all having a great time, there were a couple times my mom tried to bring politics up and I deflected, so we had no issues. If I had taken the bait, I could have been having a crappy time in spite of our surroundings.


August 8

“Do now what nature demands of you. Get right to it if that’s in your power. Don’t look around to see if people will know about it. Don’t await the perfection of Plato’s Republic, but be satisfied with even the smallest step forward and regard the outcome as a small thing.” —MARCUSAURELIUS,MEDITATIONS,9.29.(4)

I keep trying to improve myself. It is not always the result I was hoping for, but I keep taking steps in the right direction. Maybe one day I’ll get there, but I still have a long way to go. When my mom said, “We watch CNN, we can’t watch Fox News, those people are crazy”, my wife pointed out that I shouldn’t have laughed. She’s right, but that is much improved over how I would have reacted last year.


August 9

“Don’t tell yourself anything more than what the initial impressions report. It’s been reported to you that someone is speaking badly about you. This is the report—the report wasn’t that you’ve been harmed. I see that my son is sick—but not that his life is at risk. So always stay within your first impressions, and don’t add to them in your head—this way nothing can happen to you.” —MARCUSAURELIUS, MEDITATIONS,8.49

I had to deal with this last week at work. We had an exercise come up that entailed sending a dozen packages FedEx on a Friday. We also had one routine FedEx package that day. I drove my vehicle to the door and the government workers brought out the packages. I had the exercise list but forgot the lone straggler. At FedEx, I crossed all the packages off as the labels were made. On Monday, my boss tells me that he was told I forgot the package in the packing area. I told him what happened and was PISSED. Then I thought about it and he didn’t say it was all my fault, plus he has a history of not expressing things other people have said clearly. I figured it was not worth getting worked up about, and I haven’t heard anything about it since. No big deal, but if I had talked to someone before I thought it through, I could have made a big deal out of nothing.


August 10

“We don’t abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.” —EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.2.37b

I will never run 3 miles in 18 minutes again. I may never do 20 pullups again. That doesn’t mean that I don’t set these as goals and do my damndest to achieve them. I also know I will never be a great mechanic. I still enjoy the process and learn as I go. I just need to admit when I can’t do something and turn it over to a professional.


August 11

“When the problem arose for us whether habit or theory was better for getting virtue—if by theory is meant what teaches us correct conduct, and by habit we mean being accustomed to act according to this theory—Musonius thought habit to be more effective.” —MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES,5.17.31–32, 5.19.1–2

It is more important to do the correct thing, than it is to be able to explain exactly why it is correct. Theory is nice, but actions that build habits are better in my opinion. When I successfully control my anger, it doesn’t matter which method I use or why that method worked. What matters is having more than one method and building a habit of doing it.


August 12

“Many words have been spoken by Plato, Zeno, Chrysippus, Posidonius, and by a whole host of equally excellent Stoics. I’ll tell you how people can prove their words to be their own—by putting into practice what they’ve been preaching.” —SENECA,MORALLETTERS,108.35;38

There is not an original thought in any of the Stoic writings. Although some use this as a criticism, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the ability to learn from them and not just repeat them, but actually put them in practice and see positive change in my outlook and how I deal with problems and setbacks.

Music this week is a midwestern country band that I recently discovered, the Turnpike Troubadours.

I hope I didn’t jack the links up, but if I did and you like country, not pop with a southern accent, they are definitely worth checking out.


I will not be around for the comments, but I should read them later tonight.


Thanks for the kind words, I hope these are useful to some of you and I hope the rest at least enjoy commenting off topic.