As of late, I’ve been following Author/Writer, Ryan Holiday and his brand The Daily Stoic on IG. I took the time to learn what he teaches on the philosophy of Stoicism and put examples of it in today’s culture we are currently in. The more I learned about the stoics, I already knew I had some of their practices already in me and then went down a rabbit hole. Names like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, & Seneca kept on coming in on repeat.
Through their teachings, I learned & favored some of their top philosophies that I took action upon. I do my best to be self aware of my thoughts and put these practices into my daily habits.
Like everything it’s hard to do, but like muscles, it will get stronger when put into repetition.
Below are the 3 Philosophies I really liked.
“We Suffer More In Imagination Than In Reality.”
There were multiple times I would always think of the worst case scenario first rather than thinking of best case scenario. Through those thoughts, I’d make the excuses to not get up and do what I would want to be really doing. I would think end of world thoughts if the worst case ever happened, but in reality, these things haven’t even happened yet. If it did happen, what would be the worse case? We would never know if we didn’t try.
Example of me putting that into practice. When I challenged myself to learn how to cold call.
My first sales job, I didn’t need to make any outgoing sales calls because we were an in-house contractor and most of the time, I’d be getting the calls. I knew how to call out and find answers to my questions, but it was rare for me to make an outgoing sales cold call. In fact, I would avoid it at all costs. I used to hate getting cold calls on my phone, so I didn’t want to be that guy. Here’s where I would think of the worst case scenario if I were to call a potential customer,
“What if they say No?”
I didn’t want to feel embarrassed or humiliated if I was turned down. Those feelings were dominating my mind thinking that it was the end of the world to be hurt like that. So I avoided it all.
Shit happened and fast forward to a point where I was given an opportunity to learn and become a cold caller in the financial industry. I took that challenge and wanted to learn to be good at this art of sales. I remember my first day of work, I watched some of the sr. guys do their thing and see that it wasn’t really that bad when you got rejected. After sitting in on a few more calls, I wanted to give it a try.
I was at my station and had the list in front of me. My heart was starting to pound when I picked up the receiver (Yes, I used an actual landline) and started to get faster as each number I hit on the dial pad. I heard the first ring, No Answer, slightly relieved. Second ring, still No Answer. Thinking I’m gonna hang up after the third ring, then
Everything went so fast as I was trying to do my pitch to the person on the other line. At the end, I wasn’t even given a ‘No’. It was.
“Ok, I’ll check it out”
After I hung up, I had this sigh of relief and realized that it wasn’t as bad I thought it would be. I had imagined all this suffering that hasn’t even happened yet, then to realize there was no suffering at all, if there was, it didn’t last long. I ended up picking up the phone and continued to dial. Before each dial I would tell myself that
“It’s not the end of the world if I get a ‘’No’.
After a few pointers from my peers and just doing it, I got better at the craft. I developed the confidence to attack the phone and get better at the craft. I knew this was a skill that only a few have and that can make me more valuable. Even when I got a ‘No', I realized, I’m still alive, I’m still breathing, nothing is preventing me from moving forward. Nothing bad really happened at all. Except for your ego getting hurt, which will be a topic I’ll talk about in another post.
When I realized that I created BS in my mind to avoid taking action, I put into the practice of being aware that the suffering is not real and to just do it. At the end nothing bad is gonna happen and I will always get a lesson out of each call.
“We don't control what happens, but we do control how we respond to what happens.”
I already was practicing this when I was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
When I was younger, I saw that cancer was within the family, so I would do my best to avoid getting it by eating as clean as I can and working out, mainly the physical attributes. No mental cleaning or exercises. I thought I was good and wouldn’t get it cuz I was boxing and practicing Jiu Jitsu.
Low and behold, I ended up getting it. This is when I realized I wasn’t in control of what happened. As you know my story, my attitude towards the situation brought me here today writing this blog for you to read. If you don’t know my story. I'm a Cancer Survivor. 😀
In other situations I practice this is when I would be driving on the road and encounter a crazy driver. I can’t control what that person does, but I control my attitude. That driver doesn’t deserve my attention and let it go cuz it aint worth my time to stress it. Just focus on what I gotta do.
When I would have to encounter a person I don’t like and would be needing to be in their presence for a longer period of time. The situation sucks, but instead of being miserable during that time, I’d create ways to keep my attention off that person and enjoy the rest of my time there.
“The body should be treated more vigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind.”
This is one of the tough ones that I had to deal with. The one word that I would tell you if you did want to practice this is DISCIPLINE.
For certain days of the week, I wake up at 430am to be at my Part-Time Job from 5am-9am. It Sucks! But because my mind has goals that I want to achieve, I force myself to get up so that after 9am, I can work on myself and my personal brand. Sure beats my 9-5 corporate life.
To add to that, I also purposely take cold showers. I still have that hesitation to get in, and again I force myself and power through it. The first initial part always is the worst, but after a while, it gets better. Breathing is key. When I’m done, I find myself full of energy after and feel great knowing that I am fully capable of conquering that fear.
I committed myself to practicing the art of Jiu Jitsu. Before I would make excuses not to get back into training any Martial Arts. I know that sore feeling and didn’t want to risk any sort of injury. But with what was stated earlier,
“We suffer more in imagination, than we do in reality”
that quote kicked in and just forced myself to get started. I got beat and got hurt but I still managed to power through it knowing I will get stronger after. Eventually, things get better and you learn the art more. I have been consistent, however there are still times that I just don’t wanna go to class. Again, I force myself to go and when class gets started, I realize it was a good idea just to show up.
At times I’ll catch myself wanting to just sit on the couch and watch videos all day when I get home or create some excuse to not focus on the goals and work on something totally unrelated. But with these teachings put into practice, I’m finding myself more aware of my thoughts and in more control of my emotions. I know what’s worth my time and not. What should I really be focusing on, and usually you should focus on yourself.
Once you have control of your mind, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to be happy or angry. Nothing will usually trigger you and easily let things go. If a negative thought pops in your mind (it always will) you can talk yourself INTO doing the things you don't want to do.
In the end, these practices help me love myself more.
Do you practice any Stoicism?