You’re likely familiar with the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The prayer dates back to the 1940s, and is a staple among members of Alcoholics Anonymous and other therapeutic and self-help approaches, notably cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).The roots of the sentiment, however, date much farther back.
Some things are up to us and others are not. ~ Epictetus
As you may also know, Epictetus practiced Stoicism, a life philosophy that originated with Zeno in ancient Greece and was later adopted by Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius in Rome. “Who is the invincible human being?’ Epictetus asked, before answering his own question: “One who can be disconcerted by nothing that lies outside the sphere of choice.”
You may think that Stoicism is only about keeping a stiff upper lip while you grin and bear adversity. That’s not correct. Author Oliver Burkeman sums it up this way:
- The only things we can truly control, the Stoics argue, are our judgments – what we believe – about our circumstances. For the Stoics, then, our judgments about the world are all that we can control, but also all that we need to control in order to be happy; tranquility results from replacing our irrational judgments with rational ones.
This is the power of indifference toward the things outside our control, or in other words, our view of things. It’s not that you don’t care in an emotional sense, it’s that you’re much more in control of your behavior in the face of those emotions.
- The truth is, indifference really is a power, selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption of certain attitudes, but facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living. Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, it’s important to remember also that no matter how you “feel” about things happening in your life, there is always much to be thankful for. In fact, successfully overcoming obstacles and facing adversity are best achieved through gratitude.
- Stoicism is, as much as anything, a philosophy of gratitude – and a gratitude, moreover, rugged enough to endure anything.
If you’re interested in learning more about the modern practice of Stoicism, I heartily recommend The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday (link below). Injecting some strategic indifference into your life may be just what you need.
- Why Stoicism is One of the Best Mind-Hacks Ever Devised
- The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage (Amazon Associate link)
When you think of Thanksgiving, typically all-day feasting, followed by bloating, weight gain, and a food coma probably come to mind. But what if we told you that better skin and anti-aging benefits could also come from the holiday buffet?
A 2015 study of older Finnish men found that the risk of cardiovascular death and mortality from any cause was significantly lower among those subjects who regularly spent time in a hot sauna. What’s more, the risk of death was further decreased with longer sauna sessions.
Functional fitness is a a form of exercising that tones, strengthens, and lengthens the muscles that you use daily. This includes the basic actions of walking, bending, lifting, balancing, climbing stairs, etc. without any pain or discomfort.
There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness, but the argument here is more pragmatic: You should quit social media because it can hurt your career.
Many in the investment world spend a lifetime trying to predict short-term movements in markets, business cycles, and sectors. Trouble is, nobody can consistently bet right, because nobody can reliably predict market outcomes.
Americans in a relationship may be making mistakes that could seriously undermine their financial advantage, according to a new survey. Here are three of the most worrisome missteps.
Working too hard? Stressed? Not sleeping well? Here are seven steps to acclimate yourself to extreme situations so you can excel at every level, from Green Beret Jason Van Camp.
“Gut reactions” — subtle bodily sensations that result from risky behavior — have long been the stuff of financial market lore. A new paper published in Scientific Reports suggests some truth could be lurking behind these stories.
There Is No Spoon
As VR technology becomes increasingly accessible and virtual worlds become increasingly realistic, people may start to spend less time in the real world. As one psychology professor puts it,”Who is to say that a virtual life that is better than one’s physical life is a bad thing?”
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