Can Anyone Become Stoic?
Short answer, Yes. Being a Stoic isn’t about being from a certain place, or growing up within a particular group. Stoicism is about who you are and how you perceive the world around you.
Websters Dictionary describes a Stoic as “someone who accepts what happens without complaining or showing”.
How Can You Become Stoic?
There are a few ways to become Stoic, here are some recommendations I have to practise on your journey through Stoicism.
1.) Learn to focus your control
It’s easy to get annoyed at the little things nowadays. People are so used to having things easy that it’s common to get annoyed about small things like traffic, a late delivery or even a slow computer.
Once we start to understand that not everything is under our control, we can learn to let the little things pass by without the need for them to interrupt our day or change the way we feel.
If you let every small thing affect you, you’ll spend your days stressed out and angry and not focusing on what’s going well and enjoying the present.
2.) Value your own time
Time is not something you can buy, it can’t be replaced and you can’t simply ask for it back. There are two ends to this, you can waste time by procrastinating or simply doing nothing, or you can waste time by being too busy but never on anything important.
Your time your only asset in life that can’t be redeemed. Money comes and goes, material things can be bought and sold, but your time cannot be replaced.
Spend your time wisely and don’t let anyone who doesn’t deserve it take it away from you.
3.) Happiness comes from within, not from external validation
A lot of what we do today is to please someone else. Especially now with social media such as Instagram & Tik Tok a lot of what we see on these toxic channels we use to validate our own worth.
Money that we’ve earned or that we don’t have is being spent on material goods that we don’t need, just because someone we don’t know has told us that we should buy it.
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.”Marcus Aurelius
4.) Remember that nothing is forever
It’s hard to think that every has an end. When you’re sick you feel like you’ve been sick forever, when you have something important to do you put it off until tomorrow because you assume you will have time.
Memento Mori is a reminder that you will die one day, it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be 20 years from now. The hardest part about accepting your own fate is that you don’t know when it will happen. So why put off important life tasks when you have no idea if you’ll have time to do them the next day.
It’s also a good way of thinking about hard times. Remember that in a way, a difficult period in your life will also have an end.
On 18th July 2022 I fell from a roof whilst at work. I broke several of my vertebrae & ribs, tore the ligaments in my shoulder and also did a lot of internal damage to my kidneys, spleen and lungs. I was lucky to have been able to walk away from this incident, if I had landed in any other angle I may have lost the use of my legs, I could have broken my neck, damaged my brain, or I could have died.
The first thing I remember thinking whilst laying on the ground was that I just wanted to be home. I wiggled my toes and moved my feet so I knew I hadn’t paralysed myself, I was thinking clearly and knew what happened so knew I hadn’t caused any serious brain injury. I had full function of my arms so knew I hadn’t done too much damage there.
My next thought was this;
“Ok, so this has happened. Let’s get me to hospital, then home and let’s start recovering. There’s not much else I can do, I’ve accepted my fate, now I have to fix myself and learn from what’s happened”.
It’s taken almost 5 months until I felt like myself again, but in those 5 months I’ve learnt so much about myself. I’ve also learnt a lot I didn’t know before. For the first 2 months I didn’t have much movement as I was in a lot of pain, so I read, I did online courses and I tried to keep myself mentally busy. I’ve been practising Stoicism more and more and reading a lot about it.
So, Can Anyone Become Stoic?
Can anyone become Stoic? Simply put, yes, but do I consider myself to be a Stoic? No. I am trying, and I am practising Stoicism. I still lose my shit sometimes, but that’s less and less, plus the outcome is more placid that it used to be. I’m more grateful now after what happened to me and after what I’ve learnt about myself.