3 practical Stoic principles

Useful and practical philosophical principles to live by

Philosophy has always intrigued me, but honestly I never found any practical use for it. Not until I stumbled on Stoicism. Since my discovery of this ancient Greek philosophy almost a decade ago I've incorporated some practical tools that help me in my everyday life.

Below are my three favorite ones. Try them out and see if they make your life a little better.

Obstacle is the way#

The most useful principle and the one I live by the most. When faced with an unforeseen problem I just deal with it. No need to dwell on the past or its cause. Sure, I might have had other plans, we all do, but things normally don't go according to plans. Life is too unpredictable and it also what makes it exciting.

Save yourself the frustration and just deal with the problem in front of you. This simple mindset will help you channel your energy in the right direction. Dwelling on the past and the reason is like ramping up your can engine while it's in neutral. You will only waste fuel. Take action to move forward instead.

I also find it important to ask WHAT and not WHY question in situations like these. Sure, it might be important to ask why but only if the answer helps you to know the what. Remember, you cannot change something that already happened, you can only deal with things in the present and future moments.

The view from above#

A great tool for anger management. We all face tough situations every now and then. Our problems always seem so big. It's easy to get caught up in anger or frustration.

But if you zoom out far enough and look at the situation from a higher perspective it will become small. Often almost trivial.

Take a couple of minutes to do this exercise. See the situation a fem meters from above, then zoom out more and more until Earth becomes as small as a grain of sand.

It's not until you zoom out and look at it from above you realize how small your problem really is. You realize how little time you have and that it's not worth to spend it on small things.

To put things in perpective take a look the short movie - Powers of Ten.

This visualization can be done as short daily meditation. Take five minutes of your daily commute or when waiting in line to contemplate.

Negative visualization#

Assume the worst. The death of your loved ones. Your own death. Losing your job or your house. This visualization can be very challenging to practice, but it will prepare you for the worst. Not only that, it will also make you appreciate things you already have in your life and to not take them for granted.

Don't practice this before falling asleep. Negative visualization practice is powerful and can be very uncomfortable. It can keep you awake long into the night.

Bonus: Gratitude#

Every now and then, before falling asleep, think about all the people and things you have in your life. Roof over your head, food on the table, cloth to wear, maybe health or loving partner. Children. Your pet. Your job.

It will help you realize that being rich is often not about money and possessions and that you are already rich. That you have all the things you need.

And we don't need much. Honestly.