“You first need to be a beginner before you can become a master.”
Stoicism is one of the most practical philosophies for daily life.
There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained from the minds of some of the greatest Stoics like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus.
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In this article, we’ll go over four powerful Stoic habits to help you supercharge your productivity, mindset, and life.
Be Strict With Yourself
You are responsible for the quality of your life, the results in your career, and the state of your health.
Not other people. Not the government. Not the economy.
Yes, external things do influence your life, career, and health. But ultimately, you are responsible. You are in control. You are in the driver’s seat of your life.
This means you must hold yourself to higher standards if you want to upgrade your life.
As Epictetus said, “How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
Stop rationalizing excuses. Don’t accept laziness. Do not say you’re going to do things and then not do them.
Practice better habits. Hold yourself to higher standards.
Marcus Aurelius said, “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”
But most people do the exact opposite. They criticize everyone except themselves.
But if you want to move forward in your life and career, you have to become strict with yourself.
Be tolerant with others, but hold yourself to the highest standards.
Surround Yourself With Great People
As Epictetus said, “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best self.”
Other people’s energy is contagious. This can make or break you, so you have to be mindful of who you surround yourself with.
Surround yourself with positive, inspiring, and ambitious people, and you’ll automatically become more positive, inspired, and ambitious.
We become who we surround ourselves with.
The habits, mindset, and energy of those we spend the most time with will rub off on us.
This also means that if we surround ourselves with negative people who have bad habits, we automatically become more like them.
“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others,” said Epictetus.
That’s why it’s essential to curate your social circle. Surround yourself with people who make you better.
Be Willing To Look Foolish
Most people let their egos prevent them from getting started. They’re afraid to look foolish, so they rather stay in their comfort zone.
But, as Epictetus said, “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”
When you’re starting a business for the first time, be prepared to make ‘stupid’ mistakes
When you invest your first $500, be prepared to lose it all
When you’re going to the gym for the first time, be prepared to be clueless about how to use all the equipment
When you record your first YouTube video or podcast episode, be prepared to sound foolish
This is all okay. Every expert started out as a clueless newbie.
You first need to be a beginner before you can become a master.
Just don’t let your ego prevent you from getting started.
Your ego is afraid to look foolish, so it will convince you to start ‘tomorrow’ or ‘next week’. But as we all know, this is fiction. It’s a clever excuse.
Drop your ego, be willing to look foolish, and simply get started.
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Manage Your Time
As Seneca said, “People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Truth is, how you spend your time is how you spend your life. So, if you want to be in control of your life, get in control of your time.
The Stoics were very intentional with their time, as they understood the value of time.
Where you can make more money, you can never make more time. Once a day is gone, it’s gone for good.
“It’s not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it’s given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well.” — Seneca
To become more intentional with how you spend your time, I recommend you do the following:
Plan your entire week every Sunday
Review your daily schedule at the start of the day
Be crystal clear on your long-term goals and priorities
Analyze which tasks, people, and commitments drain most of your time and energy without giving much in return
Create a daily to-do list ranked in order of importance/priority
The more intentional you become with your time, the more productive and fulfilled you’ll be.
Contributed by Jari Roomer
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