Stoic Exercises,wisdom, and more
I have "AMOR FATI' tattooed on the inside of my right forearm. When I wanted to get it done after a year of deliberation, the tattoo artist asked me what direction I'd like it in.
"For me," I replied.
"Upside down?" He answered and looked at me with that face my dog makes when he hears something strange.
"Yes I have. It's just a memory for me and it's really just for me."
"Good choice," he replied with a knowing smile.
Writing about Stoicism is complex. The principles are so simple and yet so difficult. And alwaysthis makes them more complicated than learning.
em,The obstacle is the way, author Ryan Holiday suggests that we develop the discipline of perception. He describes perception as "how we see and understand what is happening around us, and what we decide those events will mean".
Through a process of multiple struggles and adverse situations, you can discipline yourself to see that you are truly in control of my thoughts and actions.
This process followed the same three steps described by Holiday inThe obstacle is the way:
These three steps provide us with a roadmap for dealing with adversity. As with any important lesson, it is best to learn, practice and rehearse before it is necessary. Before you say
What matters is when you realize your young son may have an illness that will debilitate and eventually kill him before he's 20 years old.
like i did
Then you need to look at your forearm, remember that you can choose how you perceive this event, look into the mirror through your tears and think something: maybe, just maybe, if I wasn't sick, I would. they took it for granted. Now I won't. Now I'll make every second count. I can choose to be thankful for twenty years of living fully with my son instead of sixty wasted years.
Viktor Frankl, Author deMan's search for meaning, was a renowned psychologist who focused on suicide prevention. In 1938, when he was living in Austria during the Nazi occupation, Frankl was forbidden to treat "Aryan" patients because of his Jewish descent. Four years later he was deported along with his wife and parents to a Nazi ghetto and then to Auschwitz and Dachau (two of the deadliest Nazi concentration camps).
Frankl was the only member of his family to survive the war (apart from his sister).
With his wife and parents dead at the hands of his Nazi oppressors, Frankl can be either embittered or defeated. But this was not the case.
Frankl challenges us to understand: "You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you feel and do with what happens to you."
This was his secret to surviving in the camps where so few did: He took control of his perception.
Often we want "The Secret".
Despite what the film of the same name may have told us, the "secret" isn't mood boards, visualization, or the law of attraction.
In fact it's the opposite.Author Robert Greene tells us“stop wishing for something else, a different destiny. This is a false life.” Desire often interrupts action. The mere visualization of a better state distracts us from taking the necessary steps to meet our present destiny.
IfFriedrich NietzscheIm describing:
"My formula for the greatness of a man islove fat: The one who wants nothing else, neither forward nor backward nor forever. Don't just wear what you need, let alone hide it... but love it."
Green continues: “I discovered through Nietzschelove fat. I just fell in love with the concept because the power one can have in life to accept one's destiny is so immense it's almost hard to comprehend. You feel that everything serves a purpose and that it is up to you to transform that purpose into something positive and active.”
we can chooselove fatto love our destiny by first taking control of our perceptions and then putting our new paradigm into action. Holiday writes, "Once you see the world as it is, you must act."
Actions indicate priorities.
No matter what happens, we always have a choice of perception and action.
However, we were not created that way. We are told to listen to others, follow the path, stay in our place and be silent. No wonder we turn to others for advice and hope when we fall victim to a terrible fate.
We actually have to make the decision to act.
Easier said than done, you say.
Reading blogs and thinking about these things is nothing like doing it when needed.
If you say so, you are correct.
The above story is about my son and it is true.
We brutally found out a few weeks later that he wasn't sick like we originally thought. And yet there was no relief. If your possible illness were neither good nor bad and I could choose to love my destiny, I could still do it now. I am grateful for this as a lessonhow wild this world can be.
"You can't cry or eat it or starve or push it away or hit it or even get therapy to remove it. It's just there, and you have to survive. You have to put up with it.You have to live it and love it and keep going and getting better."-Cheryl is missing
Will is the ability to choose our perception and do whatever we can, even when the odds seem insurmountable.
I learned it myselfrepeated meditations, which lead to repeated perceptual decisions and which lead to repeated actions in the face of obstacles.
I also learned fromthe stories of those who came before me.
Thomas Edison, at an age when most of us would like to retire, came home late one night for dinner. A man broke into his home and interrupted him. He had terrible news: there was a fire at his research center.
At the age of sixty-seven, Edison came on stage to see his campus go up in flames.
One might imagine that this is the point at which Edison falls to his knees and yells "Why me?" or some other exclamation.
However, Edison went looking for his son and asked him to find his mother. Edison emotionally said to his son, "You'll never see a fire like this again."
Of course, Edison's son thought he had gone insane, and with good reason. All his experiments, things that could probably never be repeated, burned to the ground.
"Don't worry. It's okay," Edison said calmly. "We just dumped a bunch of junk."
In it, Edison revealed the true nature oflove fat- choose to love your destiny no matter what.
Not only was I not heartbroken, I was invigorated.
So reinvigorated, in fact, that despite losing over $23 million ($1 million in today's dollars at the time), he persevered and won over $200 million ($10 million at the time).
Maybe you lost your job and your hurdle seems easier than the above.
Perhaps your candidate has lost an important election and your roadblock is distant and daunting.
Maybe you live in Aleppo and your obstacle is much more severe and serious.
No matter what your obstacle is, it is significant, inevitable, and entirely out of your control.
And yet you have the opportunity to greet him with a smile.
I am writing this article for the Daily Stoic and I hope the editor will welcome it and allow me to share it with you. It can also be answered "no" or, seemingly worse, it can be ignored entirely.
And for most writers, the story would end there. But if it's a bomb, the obstacle becomes the road. If I choose to feel destined to write and submit this, I can love that destiny. I can act and I love the writing process and the clarity it offers. This article can also be reviewed and forwarded, or elsewhere. It can be shared in my Parent Entrepreneur Newsletter.
The purpose of this article is not to teach you how to be a cow standing in the rain, just persevering and hoping to survive your fate. It's not meant to make you feel "good" or even "good" when terrible things happen.
It's meant to make you feel GREAT, because as Holiday writes, "If it happened, it should happen, and I'm glad it happened when it did." I should do my best.
I know it's not natural to feel gratitude for my son's terminal illness.
But I chose to love it because it made me strive harder for financial independence. It made me work harder when I wanted to stop spending time with him when I wanted to check my email and love him with everything I have.
This isn't free, but it's my choice. It could be yours too.
love fat, Freund
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