Ryan Holiday's modern take on Stoicism with his book The Obstacle Is The Way digestibly lays out practical stoic principals that apply in today's society. Highly recommended! He speaks of three principals: Perception, action and will. If we inject these three principals into our everyday lives with a conscious effort, we can expect a calmer, yet more authoritative approach toward life. Below is a mental dump of what I took from The Obstacle Is The Way along with the mindsets that I try to cultivate and administer into my daily life. I wrote these out while abroad in Jakarta, Indonesia. Nestled in the corner of a loud, bustling Starbucks, I sipped my Sumatran Java and laid out some stoic principals to live my life by. Using the three pillars - perception, action and will, here is what I established:
- Gratefulness- we have to understand that all of this could collapse at any second. Believe this truly and be wise to its power. Remember moments when the world was dim and suddenly opened up. In these moments we must return in order to grasp it's concepts. Remember to treat everyday like this. Fake it if you have to.
- Opportunity - become the optimist. Look for the good in any situation. There is always something to gain in every opportunity. If there is nothing to gain, then simply the practice of unconditional generosity can be the practice.
- Generosity - being generous with our disposition and perception. If there is nothing to gain then use the unconditional generosity procedure. Simply be generous.
- Enthusiasm - prime yourself before any interaction with good intention. Only understand that the successes and failures lie within your attitude.
- Outcome- always look for the outcome before you act. Understand that there is something to gain with every action. Treat it as a transaction but understand that not every action will produce an outcome you completely profit from. Sometimes the act itself is the outcome. Remember, the only reality you can be sure about is your own perceptions. So try to understand other's intentions. It will benefit you.
- Understanding - understand your willingness to do something, whether it be outcome based or unconditional practice, understand the benefits to yourself and others around you.
- Pleasure - for simple pleasure or inversely, the avoidance of pain.
- Obligation - "To do laundry when you don't want to so you don't have to free ball it" - Ruth Jahja-Daro..... Essentially, to understand the duties of yourself and those around you and to fulfill those duties to the best of your ability without hesitation.
- Fear - of disappointing yourself or others. Always remind yourself of when days were dim. Understand that this could all come crumbling down around you. Understand your fear, respect it but don't control you of course!