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Stoic Sunday: A New Series
The Stoics Got It Right
“Fortune is not fair.”
This quote is a great spot to begin the series with; it highlights the indisputable fact that we do not have total control over life; we can only control how we respond.
I am a Stoic; I live it daily, practice it in all areas of life, read other works on Stoicism, and share the lessons with all who will listen. Thus, it just makes sense to bring the philosophy which has changed my life for the better here to my readers.
From here on out, I will write an article every Sunday focused on Stoicism and how we can use it to live our best lives.
Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an article: You do not have to become a paid member either; these will be free for the lifetime of this publication.
Stoicism offers valuable lessons that can be applied to life by helping one cultivate important character traits and values. With my life situation, I find it best to speak to what I live and what I know, so the foundation of this series will be based upon Stoicism in the life of a family man.
Lessons from Stoicism that family men can apply:
1. Focus on what is under your control: According to Stoicism, one should focus on what is under their control and not worry about things beyond their control. As a family man, you can apply this lesson by focusing on the things that you can control in your family life, such as your own behavior and attitudes, and not worry too much about external influences that are beyond your control. Some things don’t matter, and it is okay not to have an opinion or reaction to everything.
2. Cultivate wisdom and self-discipline: Stoicism emphasizes cultivating wisdom and self-discipline as a means to develop a strong moral character. As a family man, you can apply this lesson by making a conscious effort to acquire knowledge and cultivate self-discipline in your daily life. Your children will follow your example, not your advice, so be sure to embody that which you espouse.
3. Practice gratitude and contentment: Stoicism teaches that one should be content with what they have and practice gratitude. As a family man, you can apply this lesson by cultivating a sense of gratitude in your relationship with your family and being content with what you have rather than always striving for more. In the end, your wife will be with you, and your children will grow up and lead their own lives; tend the relationships now so that in the future, you do not look back with regret.
4. Respond to challenges with emotional resilience: Stoicism emphasizes emotional resilience and teaches one to respond to challenges with a calm and measured approach. As a family man, you can apply this lesson by remaining calm during stressful situations and responding to challenges in a thoughtful and measured way. Most children’s temper tantrums echo the behavior to their parents when things do not go their way.
5. Live in harmony with others: Stoicism emphasizes living in harmony with others and cultivating strong relationships. As a family man, you can apply this lesson by making a conscious effort to cultivate strong relationships with your family members and live in harmony with them. Remember, you do not own your children’s lives, so do not place an emphasis on controlling them. Those young souls need guidance, not commands and connection, not forced conditioning.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” - Marcus Aurelius
6. Memento Mori: Stoicism’s emphasis on ensuring you remember that you must die is a great way to put things into perspective. It’s not just about you “checking the boxes” to ensure you’ve done all you wanted to do before it ends; this reminder also serves as fuel to inspire you to tell those who will carry on after you are gone what it is you wanted them to know. Keeping the end a thought away will have you thinking twice in the present about getting upset over trivial matters; you should not get mad that your children don’t want to go to bed or that you don’t like where the dishes were put away, because in the grand scheme, what really matters, and how will you be remembered?
By incorporating these principles of Stoicism into your life, you’ll develop a strong moral character, maintain emotional resilience, and cultivate strong relationships with your family.
This is the first of what will be an infinite series; stay tuned, and thank you for reading.
- Zachary Small
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