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23 | Sunday Sift ⏳

In pursuit of the good life - A primer on Stoicism.

Whit Rasmussen
Whit Rasmussen
4 min read
23 | Sunday Sift ⏳

Happy Sunday and welcome back!  

This week's curation focuses on a way of life I discovered in the early stages of COVID. Stoicism - an ancient philosophy that was once one of the most popular civic disciplines in the West, practiced by the rich and the impoverished, the powerful and the struggling alike in the pursuit of the Good Life.

The origins of stoicism date back to the Roman Empire and have been preserved via the private diaries and literature of great minds such as Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus.

What is amazing about the stoic philosophy and thought process is the timeless application of their thoughts. The world today is vastly different than the Roman Empire. However, many of the lessons apply directly to the hardships we face in 2021.

So, without further delay, please enjoy this week's curation.

📝Article to Read

What is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started

by Ryan Holiday, Author of The Daily Stoic, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and Stillness Is The Key

What Is Stoicism? A Definition & 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started
For those of us who live our lives in the real world, there is one branch of philosophy created just for us: Stoicism. It’s a philosophy designed to make us more resilient, happier, more virtuous and more wise–and as a result, better people, better parents and better professionals. Stoicism has bee…

How To Be A Stoic: 9 Stoic Exercises To Get You Started

  1. The Dichotomy of Control
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .” — Epictetus

2. Journal

“Few care now about the marches and countermarches of the Roman commanders. What the centuries have clung to is a notebook of thoughts by a man whose real life was largely unknown who put down in the midnight dimness not the events of the day or the plans of the morrow, but something of far more permanent interest, the ideals and aspirations that a rare spirit lived by.” — Brand Blanshard

3. Practice Misfortune

"It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.” Seneca

4. Train Perceptions

"Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius

5. Remember - It's All Ephemeral

“Run down the list of those who felt intense anger at something: the most famous, the most unfortunate, the most hated, the most whatever: Where is all that now? Smoke, dust, legend…or not even a legend. Think of all the examples. And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.” Marcus Aurelius

6. Take The View From Above

“How beautifully Plato put it. Whenever you want to talk about people, it’s best to take a bird’s- eye view and see everything all at once— of gatherings, armies, farms, weddings and divorces, births and deaths, noisy courtrooms or silent spaces, every foreign people, holidays, memorials, markets— all blended together and arranged in a pairing of opposites.” —  Marcus Aurelius

7. Memento Mori: Meditate On Your Own Mortality

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day. … The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” Seneca

8. Premeditatio Malorum

"What is quite unlooked for is more crushing in its effect, and unexpectedness adds to the weight of a disaster. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. We should project our thoughts ahead of us at every turn and have in mind every possible eventuality instead of only the usual course of events… Rehearse them in your mind: exile, torture, war, shipwreck. All the terms of our human lot should be before our eyes.”  — Seneca

9. Amor Fati

“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.” — Marcus Aurelius

💭 Three Final Quotes To Ponder

“We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” — Seneca

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” — Marcus Aurelius

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⚡️ Enjoy Your Sunday & Have a week!

Thank you, as always, for your time. If you made it this far in the article, I appreciate you tremendously and am thrilled to have you in our community.

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Whit Rasmussen

Investor 📈, Photographer 📸 & Writer 📝, Obsessive CrossFitter 🏋️‍♂️, One-Time IRONMAN 🥇, Regular Reader 📚, Perpetual Learner 💡, Habitual Optimist 😎