Stoicism notes

Category: Lifestyle

Take responsibility for your life. Don’t needlessly complain. Experiment, question your assumptions, return to first principles if need arises. Have 90 degree days. Nonetheless, don’t take any of it too seriously without reason.

Things will happen with or without your consent, in the form of joint pain, cold, migraine, dehydration, allergies, caffeine withdrawal, crowd anxiety, boredom, spilled beverage, delayed flight. Discomfort may follow. And yet, the party tasked with reacting in a manner fitting to the occurrence is entirely thee. Let emotions ensue or be stoic and brush the peril aside.

You could employ a number of strategies for cultivating the stoic in you. For one, create controlled discomfort to become further acclimated with the idea. Take cold showers. I’ve returned to experimenting with this lately. They need not be ice cold mind you, but sufficient to stimulate the sudden blood flow. Wake up at an unfashionably early hour and head out, never mind the menacing Scandinavian winter. Eliminate some cornerstone portion of your diet. I’ve recently taken this action with rice, the primary source of starch based carbohydrates I still consumed, replacing it with even more fiber rich vegetables. So far I’ve experienced but positive results - more energy, amazingly little intermittent hunger, none the least surprising considering the addictive impact carbs have upon the impressionable mind.

I’ve recently spent another all-night layover at the airport. Having anticipated all difficulties previously experienced with this setup, the time now passed with extraordinary ease. Nothing of stress over cold air-conditioned air, the cleaning crew vacuum noise, or the awkward sleeping arrangements. To the contrary, sheer simplicity.

How about yet another strategy worth consideration. Evoke visuals or influential figures in time of doubt. What would X do in a similar situation? How would X react? I’ve first become aware of the Adapt a Hero technique from Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain by Ron Hale-Evans.

For instance, one of my favorite animes Cowboy Bebop features a character named Ed, an ADD hyper-intelligent adolescent of an ambiguous gender, although supposedly a girl. Ed takes nothing seriously. She acts and projects as if the world were her personal playground in the most literal of senses. Be the environment the home base of a bounty ship, a crash-landing on a scorching desert planet in total scarcity of food supplies, or an alien predatory creature pursuit, Ed lends not the slightest strained emotion. To the contrary, Ed projects the excitement of a child-like spirit. She hops, dances, performs acrobatic body contortions, moves around in handstands, and explodes in wild curiosity irrespective of the fortune, malady, or monotony to beset her crew.

While mostly a comic relief mechanism, Ed’s behavior deserves a deeper consideration. She is a mixture of a stoic and a funnel for uplifting aura. She doesn’t react emotionally in a manner one would expect in a situation. She does what she needs when empowered to influence. Otherwise, she continues on as she were. Nothing of unnecessary emotion. Nothing of complaints or superfluous critique. Just action and play. Exaggerated and caricature? Certainly. Inspiring? Absolutely. Ed forms an integral asset to my toolkit of the ‘hero’ technique characters.

Don’t expect life to endow you with pleasantries. It may surprise you in a moment less opportune. Rather, be malleable. Cherish your comforts if you care to, but know to embrace their absence. Be capable of embracing scarcity or further yet, emptiness. And for that, simulate discomforts in a controlled manner. Systematically introduce them throughout your life. Cultivate stoicism.

Questions, comments? Connect.