01 November 2017

Life with a meaning

I will make a little pivot today.

Somewhere at the beginning of this year, I bumped into Modern Stoicism. It all started with a TED talk.
Yes, I love to watch TED talks from time to time. This time, the recommended one talked about how the speaker used Stoicism as help in succeeding. I liked the part where he spoke about analyzing not only what might get wrong, but what you will miss with non-action.
That concept, including in decision losses that might come with the status quo I found especially intriguing.
So I dug deeper into the subject and discovered Stoicism. In short, this philosophy encourages you to judge the success of your life by how closely you’re following your values in your everyday life. Stoicism encourages to stick to four cardinal values: Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Moderation.
The catch is, there is considerable disagreement in a community about what exactly are wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation. The explanations cover an incredible range, and it seems that anyone could find some version that fits their particular personality.
I liked this broadness because for me this means I do not have to change what I think is correct and decent to fit someone else's measurements.
But the most important thing for me was learning there are little exercises, meditations, and routines to help you stay on track and really live the life in concert with your own values. Most of those practices lean heavily at the methodology from cognitive behavior therapy, meaning the chances that techniques are useful, is actually higher than for an average new-age trend.
So I gave it a go. And I liked it. It got easier for me to stop wasting time on social media. It got easier to avoid fruitless arguments. I faced some of my fears and started conquering them, minimizing their influence over my everyday life and decisions. And most surprisingly, I got extra time during my day. Stuff I was planning to do got done. Procrastination disappeared. I feel more grounded in my life. And yes, I got happier.
Now I’m following those practices daily. For me, they work. And if I tickled your curiosity, give it a go, search the net and gather some info about Modern Stoicism. Several free online annual courses give an intro into a methodology and principles behind it, so if you are curious, give it a go.
I will continue writing about Stoicism, from time to time, since it became a part of my life. And because those four cardinal values are free for interpretation, I decided to finish this particular post by explaining what I think those four values are:
Wisdom
For me, this is keeping your eyes open, and using critical thinking in my everyday life. This means learning about the Universe, humans, and myself. And using that knowledge to follow values. It is easier to change one’s unwanted behavior if one knows precisely what is behind it.
Courage
For me, this is facing your fears, understanding them and stopping the fear dictate your life and decisions. It means introspection. It means going and doing the right and just action even if that action could harm me or inconveniencing me personally.
Justice
For me, a basis for this value lies in human nature. We are social animals, we need community. Therefore, what is good for the community, it is good for me. Now, my idea of community is a totality of homo sapiens species and the ecosystem that keeps us alive.
Moderation
For me, this is one of the musts for today’s world. It is a value that is now firmly interwoven with the Justice. The hedonistic influences of consumer economy now threaten our very existence as a species. Moderation in consuming is not only good for our own health but also good for the whole planet. So I’m minimalist, refusing to put my personal short-time enjoyment in front of the good of the entire world.
As an additional benefit, I told you a lot about myself with this post. I guess, it will be easy for you to decide shall you follow or not my posts in the future.

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