About that Stoicism thing…

For a while you have been hearing about Stoicism. But what is that and why the big hype about it? A quick search online or in wikipedia will tell you it is a philosophy created by Zeno of Citium around the beginning of the third centure B.C. You will also read a lot of other names but three will particularly popup quite often: Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. The stoic school teatches that the only real valuable goal is virtue, and the virtues are: Wisdom, Justice, Courage and Moderation.

Ok, that is great, but it doesn’t really answer the question. You can find very detailed explanations in the wikipedia page about what it is and still don’t see why is it growing so much in popularity lately. It sounds very nice and sound but so does a lot of other schools of philosophy. You will find it easy to dissmiss it as another thing that wannabes-high-achievers “super-thing-that-silicon-valley-entepreneurs-do” (I must write a rant about those things at some point), but before you do that, let me share the one detail that got me really interested in stoicism: Nelson Mandela read The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius during his time in prision, and that philosophy helped him overcome is Anger and… well, you should know what happened next. The fact that one of the most famous and admired liders of recent times was influenced by this philosophy is enough someone’s interest. At least in my opinion.

So if you decide to take this challenge and learn a bit more about Stoicism, you will find out very quickly is that stoicism is a very grounded philosophy. Although the writtings were very influenced by the Roman and Greek mythology, an interpretation of the meaning is trivial. It is very applicable in the practical sense. And for beginners it has a very simple set of steps and exercises. For someone inexperienced in following the ideas of a particular school of philosophy, the stoicism school is a very good starting point.

Unfortunately it is not an easy task to describe the benefits of the philosophy without repeating what has already been said. As with many things, one is better off experiencing the philosophy in a daily basis and seeing the results for him or herself.

So you would ask where to start. Well, most people tend to look for books when it comes to Stoicism, and the most common are the classics (Links at the bottom). However I will suggest a different approach, I challenge that I have taken myself and found the experience very significative. I joined a FREE online program called Stoic Week (No affiliation whatsoever) where participants are invited to spend one week as a Stoic. Following the basic teatchings for, you guessed, one week.

I have made a diary of the experience, which I will post here at some point when I figure out the best format for it or feel like typing in the whole thing. Or Perhaps I will just post a summary of what the week was for me.

The advantage of following this program prior to reading the books is that it gave me a quick yet solid base for what was coming in the books, which in turn increased my focus and absorption during the reading. In the next week, the Stoic Mindfulness & Resilience Training starts. It is another FREE training from the same Team that offers every year the Stoic Week. I am really looking forward for the experience and I highly recommend that you check it out.

You are awesome!!!

 

The books as I mentioned, ordered in what I think is the most interesting to read. (I used the most recent link or the best current version I could find).

     

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