Stoicism at its base is simple, and focus on what you can control and asks us to forget about the rest, but there is a lot more to it than that.
Stoicism is a philosophy that serves to adjust the way we view our control over the world around us. This mindset asks us to focus on what we can control and give less attention to what we can not. This perspective shift then helps remove stress from our lives.
If you have ever been curious about stoicism keep reading as we will cover 12 different ways that stoicism is good for you.
1) You Learn to Accept What You Can’t Change
One of the principal beliefs of stoicism is the acceptance of determinism: this means you must come to the recognition that life and history will play out as they will. For many people, thinking that they have no control over the course of time might feel disappointing and unsatisfactory; if everything is determined, how can we have any control?
A famous stoic saying is ‘amor fati,’ which translates into ‘love of fate,’ and it gets to the heart of the argument; we should learn to love and accept fate cause it is coming no matter what we do. In some ways, it is helpful to believe that we have control over our destiny cause if we didn’t, then why should we be good or try at anything at all.
But the stoics suggest that we should try to be virtuous regardless of our control over everything.
Stoicism is good for you because it encourages you to look at the world around you, realize what you have control over and what you don’t and then learn to accept what you can’t change. Once you know that you can’t control certain aspects of the world, you can put more resources into improving the things that you can change.
2) You Learn to Look Inside When it Comes to Emotions
Because stoicism encourages us to accept destiny concerning the world’s nature, it also enables us to see the role that we play in that fate. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have any control, instead, it means we have control over our emotions or how we react and respond to what happens in the world around us. In other words, we can’t change our fate, but we can change how we respond to them.
Usually, when someone wrongs us, we blame them; we might say something like ‘Dave ruined my day.’ The fact that Dave did something terrible is outside of your control; you can’t stop him from saying mean things. However, typically when something happens to us, we attribute our feelings to what happened outside, rather than seeing our feelings as a response to what happened.
This distinction might not be obvious, but it is essential; what happens outside is outside of our control, but what happens inside is within our control.
When something happens, our response is often instinctual and without consideration. But when we work on our emotions and gain more control over them, we can have a diverse reaction to what our instincts would naturally dictate.
Stoicism is good for you because it forces us to recognize this difference and asks us to examine the parts of our emotions that are within our control.
3) You Learn To Value Your Limited Time
Stoicism is good for you because it makes you think about the inevitability that you will die one day. Often when we are young, we don’t think about death, as we often believe we will live forever, which may explain why we procrastinate. But realizing and accepting that we may die at any moment means that we can’t waste today.
Of course, we never know when we will die, so we can never fully prepare for it, but being sure not to waste our time encourages us to finish today what we can.
As we mentioned a little before, living a moral life is essential, so living as you might die doesn’t mean YOLOing. Instead, it means keeping your business and relationships in order.
I know at times, I get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter; when I used to use social media, and I’d see something I disagreed with, I might argue about it. The problem was, that my disagreement wouldn’t ever change anything, but it could lead to a loss of friendship. Knowing that our time is limited forces us not to focus on what is going to be a waste.
4) You Realize The Importance of Understanding
Stoicism asks us to be a clear and unbiased thinker; which is possible when we learn to get past our emotions and stop allowing them to cloud our judgment. When we are upset or stressed, we can’t think clearly and so we often don’t make the best decisions as our minds are somewhere else.
Logic or logos is highly valued within stoicism, logic is used to understand the world and make sense of the sense data that we collect. Jumping back to the earth’s nature being determined or driven by fate; logic helps us make sense of and understand the world we live in through the use of reason.
The realization that we can make sense of the world and then using that knowledge to work towards moral virtue highlights the importance of understanding.
With anything in life, it is easier to go along with it if we understand it or at least see why it is happening. If we aim to get into harmony with nature and accept what we can and can not control, then working on understanding will help us immensely with interactions with the world around us.
5) You Learn to Accept Your Fate
We talked about this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again, ‘amor fati,’ which means ‘love of fate.’ Often, we are encouraged to find our path and live our own lives, but usually, that advice comes at the expense of fighting our destiny.
I have a friend from college; he was one of the best students in the previous year. As I got to know him and spent more time with him, I realized that he was extremely talented at everything he tried. At the same time, I learnt his family had a business, and when he wasn’t at school, he was working there. He had brothers, but they already had careers, so only he was left to take over the business, and despite his resistance he finally he did.
For my friend, he tried to escape his fate, but it never seemed to work. Now he has accepted it, and his life is much more stable; he seems to enjoy the work and hasn’t moved to another city like he used to do before settling into his current life. For this friend, stoicism would have been good because it would have allowed him to accept his fate earlier rather than painfully resist it for such a long time.
6) You Learn to Prepare For The Good and Bad
One practice that stoicism suggests to gain control over one’s emotions is imagining the good and bad things that could happen. Having a sense of what to expect makes it easier to accept those things when they potentially happen. In a sense, if we prepare emotionally and mentally for the best and worst things, it will be easier to accept those things when they happen.
The key to gaining control over the things we can control is keeping our emotions in check, often surprises disturb us the most because we don’t know how to respond to them. But thinking and going through those possibilities enable us to prepare and allows us not to be as surprised if they do happen.
When something doesn’t surprise us too much, we can step back and look at it as objectively as possible.
Stoicism is good for you because, with the practice of getting your emotions under control, you also prepare yourself for what might happen, enabling you to proceed more easily with the ups and downs of life. It might hurt to think about unfortunate things, but if those things happen, at least you won’t be too shocked.
7) You Learn to Aim For the Highest Virtue
Stoicism’s primary aim is to improve one’s moral and ethical well-being, which means living within agreement with nature. Virtues are good or valued qualities; they are also the opposite of vices, which are harmful or poor qualities. The point, though, is that to aim for the highest virtue is to live in the best way possible.
We can often get caught up in thinking about the right way to live and what it means to agree with nature. But instead of spending too much time thinking about that, it is better to simply do it. As the seasons change, right and wrong might also appear to change as well.
But knowing and working to understand the world around us will help guide us in the right direction when it comes to doing the right thing.
Stoicism is good for you because it encourages you to live in agreement with nature, which means striving for moral and ethical well-being. At times it isn’t always clear what the right thing to do is, but our minds usually have discernment of well-being so if we listen to our minds and think things through it will be easier to make the right choices.
8) You Learn How to Be Here Now
Much of what we think about during the day is emotions about things that we fear or look forward to in the future. While thinking of these things may help us prepare better for them, allowing them to occupy our minds all the time takes us away from the present moment and the here and now.
At the same time, because we are afraid or haven’t confronted those very emotions, they are always there, so we seek distraction and escape.
When life gets tough, it is easy to pick up our phones and look at social media; thus, it soothes us and gives us some superficial support when we are feeling pain. But the problem is that these sorts of solutions don’t solve our problems; instead, they enable us to temporarily escape rather than confront and resolve.
Stoicism is good for you because it helps you learn how to approach the here and now differently, as instead of always seeking an escape, it asks us to challenge our worries and get past them.
At the same time, rather than pushing our stress away from the surface and trying to ignore them, we confront them and evolve past them.
9) You Learn to Pay Attention to What Matters
Learning to be here now also enables you to focus and pay attention to what matters. If we are always seeking escape and distraction, we are never focusing on what matters; instead, our attention is in the clouds or disengaged from what we are doing at the time.
Two learnings from stoicism are essential here; the first is the focus on logic and nature, the second is the realization of what we can and can not control. Ideally, by working to understand the world around us and discovering what is out of our control, as well as the awareness of our responses and feelings over objective reality, we gain the freedom to actually focus on what matters.
Stoicism is good for you because, with practice, we learn what is a waste of time, or misdirected attention, leading us to more valuable points of concentration.
Put another way, if I spend all my time thinking about what I can’t control or do anything about, I cannot spend that time on the things that I can control and change. With limited time on earth, it is to our advantage to focus on what we can do something about because that is what matters.
10) You Will Stop Wasting Money on Junk
It takes time to realize that buying stuff doesn’t bring us the happiness that we think it does. When we learn to separate our emotions about things from the things themselves, we can discover that buying stuff doesn’t make us happy; instead, we make ourselves happy when we buy things.
For most people, this distinction doesn’t make much difference, as if they feel good after doing something, it doesn’t matter why. But the key is to realize that our emotional response gives us the pleasure we seek rather than the things we buy. If we can accept this and apply it to our daily lives, then we will stop wasting our money and instead focus on the part of the interaction that makes us feel better.
Stoicism is good for you because it enables you to separate the emotional satisfaction of buying things from the act of purchasing things.
Once we realized that our emotions affect our feelings, we won’t need to buy things to get the same feelings. Further to this point, freeing ourselves from an emotional response, one of the ultimate goals of stoicism, will get us out of this game altogether.
11) You Will Have a Better Understanding of How Things Work
As mentioned earlier, one of the goals of stoicism is to understand the logic of nature and get a better sense of how our emotions influence our perceptions of things. We ultimately come to know how our motivations and emotions work and are able to apply those learnings to other people’s actions.
While having a better understanding of ourselves and the people around us leads to a better understanding of the human side of things, that same reasoning can also help us make sense of the world’s physical aspects.
The key here is that if we open ourselves up to understanding how things work, we can discover that information and use it to our advantage, even if that ultimately leads to acceptance rather than power.
Stoicism is good for you because it encourages you to understand yourself and others and sequentially the world that we live in.
This understanding leads to a better separation of emotions from the things themselves. In the end, it leads to a greater ability to live in harmony with the nature of the world.
12) You Will Learn to Work Better With Other People
Human relations are easy if there are no emotions involved, but we all know that emotions are a huge part of human connections. The stoic practice of aligning with nature and separating our feelings for our interactions helps us avoid some of the significant pitfalls within human relationships. If we can get past envy and jealousy, it is much easier to have harmonious relationships with other people.
As mentioned above, understanding how you work helps you better understand how other people work. Simultaneously, working on the cloudiness that emotions bring to social interactions makes those interactions work more virtuously. On top of this, if we can deal with our distractive tendencies and lack of focus on the here and now, we will have less stress, resulting in fewer complications with our daily interactions with people.
Stoicism is good for you because you can have less selfish relationships with other people through a better understanding of yourself.
Having more focus on a harmonious relationship with nature, yourself and other people will lead to more satisfying and less stressful interactions.
There is no doubt that stoicism is a complicated philosophy that would require more consideration that could be included here. Hopeful these 12 benefits are useful in showing you why stoicism is good and might be worth further investigation.