6 Modern Day Lessons from the Stoics

Timeless Greek wisdom, adapted for modern-day living.

Sneha Christall

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Image credits: Author

How do you approach the world just as it is — no utopian falsifications whatsoever? How do you hold your own, despite ten different things going awry? Amidst all the chaos of modern-day living, how can you develop a blueprint of habits that can help you live a better life? In this blog, I want to take you through 6 modern-day lessons we can learn from the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism.

But first, what is Stoicism?

Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy dating back to 3rd Century BC. Its most notable practitioners were Seneca, a statesman, Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor & Epictetus, a slave. Stoicism, in its simplest essence, is a way of life that helps us overcome negative emotions or thought processes and act on what is within our control. It is a practical rather than didactic philosophy with direct emphasis on real-world application & behavior. At its root are 3 disciplines — perception, action and will.

  1. By disciplining perception, you decide the way you see things.

“We suffer more often in imagination, than reality.” — Seneca

2. By disciplining action, you seize the day.

“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.”— Epictetus

3. By disciplining will, you build your endurance.

“To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.” — Seneca

But, what possible bearing does this long-gone philosophers’ wisdom have on how we lead our lives today? Allow me to encapsulate a few of their most well-accepted principles —

Memento Mori

In Latin, ‘Memento Mori’ translates to ‘Remember you will die’. It refers to the Stoic practice of accepting our own mortality. A common visual icon is the skull that philosophers kept at their desks for millennia.

While reminding yourself that you will ultimately leave this world alone and dead is hardly a pleasant thought, it can be used as a tool to develop…

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Sneha Christall

Wanderer, memory collector. Writer for A Little Bit Better, Be Yourself, Change Becomes You, Hello, Love, Mindfully Speaking and On the Couch.