LFK Thoughtful Weekends 002


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Second installment of LFK Thoughtful Weekends – if you missed the first one or want to read the story behind it is here: LFK Thoughtful Weekends 001

But in short these posts are meant to highlight some articles that has made me think a little extra about my life, taught me something or maybe just made me smile.

Well let’s get underway.

The first one highlights somewhat of a potential problem with our consumer-economy. I guess bringing on this together with the one on basic income from last weeks post makes me seem like more of a socialist than what I would see myself, but as mentioned in that post, my own stand doesn’t matter all that much with regards to what I find interesting in these.

Getting back to the article. It revolves around the right to repair. As you have probably noticed from own or others behavior we very rarely repair and most often just buy new. Repairs are done, but primarily within warranty and once beyond items are mostly replaced rather than repaired. The no. 1 reason for this is economy. Economy from two sides but with one side sort of trying to force the hand, which is what this article revolves around.

We buy new because it is cheaper than having it repaired and our behavior is largely reliant on cost. Company policy almost solely controls this. Within warranty they are “forced” to repair but once we go beyond the warranty, they are not and if you go to a third party to get your item repaired, no money is coming back to the company that made the item. As a lot of these companies try to maximize profits they are of course looking at ways to make you buy yet another item from them once the “old” once runs out of warranty and if they can make the old ones harder to repair they might be able to sway you into buying new instead of repairing.

This of course isn’t the best solution for the earth in general as it leaves a hell of a lot of waste to be taken care of. One way to help this underway would be to become better at recycling, but as this article highlights the right to repair is also a struggle that can go a long way of helping this. So with no further explanation:

The right to repair: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/fight-right-repair-180959764/?no-ist

I love Richard Feynman. I have praised him several times before on this blog and will surely continue to do so in the future. What I really love about him is his aversion of pretentiousness and his ability to see and break down the world into simple understandable terms. If you haven’t already read Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! you should absolutely go pick it up. It is just so enjoyable!

This specific article is on the difference between knowing and understanding. It mentions some passages that are also present in the book. In short Richard Feynman is asked to be on an educational board for grade school that should help decide what should be taught and which books should be used to teach the children. In order to prepare for this he thinks he better read all the available books to see help decide on which to choose. Of course he is the only one on the board who actually did this mammut task, but what he finds is even more amusing. They are all crap! They try to use to difficult language to teach something that could be told way more easily. They try to sound wise without really teaching anything. All pretentious!

As he mentions in the book his father always anchored new knowledge to something already knew and understood. Paraphrasing he tells about his father reading aloud from a book that mentions the size of a tyrannosaurus rex. Which was X number of feet tall. But does that really mean anything. A child could recite this number but then if you asked him would that make it larger than a cat, he/she would have no idea. The facts aren’t anchored to anything. So each time his father taught him something like that he always anchored to something he already knew. The tyrannosaurus rex is X feet tall which means that if he stood outside the house his head would be at the hight of the top of our roof on the house. Well this way of thinking is one of the points of this article, but again I can highly recommend reading the actual book!

Feynman on teaching kids: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/07/richard-feynman-teaching-math-kids/

Finally a little piece on something almost everyone has experienced and something that you probably won’t experience relaxing through the weekend – but then you are prepared first thing Monday morning. The topic in question is brain fog. Closely related to procrastination as one usually leads to the other. It is no groundbreaking article on brain fog, but a good reminder as to what can be done while struggling with brain fog. I can personally attest to the recommendation of starting something very simple. Just set out to do a little unimportant thing and before you know it you have done way more than you initially set out for. But I won’t dig too deep into this, it is not that deep of an article but sound advice.

Brain fog: http://blog.trello.com/foggy-brain-4-ways-to-better-leverage-your-off-days/

This concludes the second installment of LFK Thoughtful Weekends. Hope you enjoy it. Have a very good weekend and remember to relax!

Sleep comes to you, it’s not something you do

Sunset beachAll my life I have been struggling with, what I think is called onset sleep insomnia – meaning trouble falling asleep. Once I have fallen asleep I usually sleep just fine. So not the serious kind that keeps you from sleeping several days in a row, but still incredibly annoying.

I even think I know how I got it. When I was a little boy my parents and all the other families on our road used to gather around for special occasions which usually kept on till way into the night. I thought it quite cool to be up with the adults so I fought my tiredness and stayed awake as much as possible. I can even remember the adults saying how impressive it was for me to be able to stay awake. If I had access to a timemachine, I would fly right back and throw that “trying-to-be-cool-child” in bed! That “coolness” has sort of kept up with me for some time now.

Over the years I have tried quite a lot of different things in order to combat this annoyance – some with more success than others and I will probably come with several pieces of advice in this regard, although truth be told I haven’t yet totally figured it out. But I have found a lot of little hacks and things that work in favor of falling asleep faster. I can still have nights where nothing seems to help and as if planned this actually perfectly leads into what I will describe in this blog post.

As Epictetus famously said:

“Man is troubled not be events but by the meaning he/she gives them”

Meaning nothing is ever really good or bad, it is all in how YOU decide to frame it. Your perception colors the experience. Not digging to deep into this, but what does it have to do with sleeping? Glad you asked!

If you have trouble falling asleep you’ll with guarantee recognize the scenario where you lay in bed trying to fall asleep and nothing happens. You turn to one side – no help. The other side – no help. You start to count sheep – 1,2,3…7…24…78..167…498 – okay this is jus stupid. You try all you can to get to sleep – and nothing happens. If anything you may feel more fresh than when you initially put your head on the pillow. You frame yourself as being bad at getting to sleep. You can’t seem to do it. You put pressure on yourself for being bad at something as simple as falling asleep.

Well this is where this concept comes into play. I actually didn’t pick it up from some famous sleep-article or research paper, but read it in a book that hasn’t really got anything to do with sleeping. It does have a lot to do with how you live your life and how to think, so under that wide umbrella you could say that sleeping somewhat must find itself. The book is the somewhat famous Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. First time I read this book several years ago I didn’t actually finish it. I was in no way impressed with it and probably only got halfway through – but all that is for a different time. Luckily I picked it up and read it again a second time where I really enjoyed it, at least most of it.

But staying on track. If I remember correctly there is actually at least two times in this book where he mentions/touches on this concept. It is only as a strayed out sentence each time and something that could easily be missed. I probably only picked it up because of my long troublesome relationship with sleep, so anytime I see something that has to do with this subject I automatically pick it up or dig a little deeper.

Paraphrasing from memory, the first time this “concept” is mentioned it is written something like:

“I lay there in what seems like eternity but no sleep comes”

And the second time something like:

“It is 5 am, way too early, but no more sleep to be had”

So there are some subtleties in those two sentences that might go unnoticed, but really clicked with me. What he does here is speak of sleep as something that “comes” and something “to be had”. Framing sleep this way, it suddenly goes from something you do to something that either comes or not.

But what is the difference, why is this important. Good question! And “important” might be overselling it, but at least in my opinion rather interesting. The subtle difference between seeing sleep as something you do as opposed to something that comes to you lay in the difference of control.

In general, things you do are things you can be better or worse at, but in the end it is you doing it, meaning your responsibility whether the outcome is good or not. Things that come to are out of your control. They either come or they don’t, not much you can do about it.

Herein lay the interesting difference of looking at sleep. If you think of it as something you do, then you are in control and you can beat yourself up about not being good at it. On the other hand if you see it as something that either comes or not, then it is out of your control. You can’t or shouldn’t beat yourself up over something out of your control does not come to you. It can be really annoying still, but no need to beat yourself up about it.

For me this actually helps when I have evenings where sleep does not seem to come. Then okay, it is not yet time for sleep, then I get up and read and try again a little later when I feel more tired.

Of course this won’t magically make you fall asleep in less than a minute, but in my experience it actually lightens some of the stress of not being able to fall asleep or waking up early. Well okay, no more sleep to be had.

I will give a lot more tips on sleep in the future, so please stay tuned. Whether taking advice on sleep from one that isn’t an expert at it must be for you to decide 🙂

LFK Thoughtful Weekends 001

Flowers and beachI have for a while considered starting a newsletter, with the sole purpose of sharing some of all the articles I read through the week. Whether new or old, but all with the common theme of having been thoughtful to me. Made me think about how I conduct my life, made an interesting point or educated me in some way. They somehow have an impact on me, so maybe it will do the same to others or perhaps it doesn’t – only one way to find out. The plan of the newsletter would in other words not be to gain a big following or earn a lot of money, but just sharing the articles I read anyway, perhaps with a few comments on what I found interesting and what you might learn as well.

But as my thoughts of starting the newsletter never really amounted to anything, or at least not yet, I thought I might try to start of with having it as an weekly feature on my blog. Then I can try my way with it and perhaps with time merge it into some kind of newsletter feature instead.

I had some ideas as to how you could benefit from some of my notes and highlights from the articles, but I haven’t yet found a smart way to do this, so for now it will just be a few links and some comments about each from me. I hope it works for now, but please feel free to comment.

I have thought of different names for these features, without it being that important, but ended with an abbreviation of the title of the blog and a bit about the content which resulted in: LFK Thoughtful Weekends – feedback here is welcome as well.

So what kind of content will make its way into these. In short everything I find interesting. As I will try to explain what I found interesting in the article, you should be able to determine whether it will be interesting at all for you or not and whether it is worth the read or not. But content will keep very much in line with the philosophy of the blog, so if you find some of my writing interesting then I’m sure you will like this as well.

My idea is to send it out at the end of the week so that you can save it and read it Saturday or Sunday morning with a good cup of coffee or tea. Semi fresh and semi open to new ideas and inputs.

First of we start with a little reminder to carve out time to see our friends. I suspect almost everyone will be able to recognize the scenario from this article. It actually is quite a lot in line with the last post I wrote here on the blog How to make everyday feel like vacation without quitting your job. The point isn’t so much that you should find time to see all your facebook friends or be best friends with everyone you ever met. There are people you don’t see that often and honestly deep down actually is okay with it, even though you always says to each other that you should meet more often. That is perfectly okay. This is about the ones where you really deep down actually want to spend more time with them – only you can tell the difference. If they fall in the latter category, MAKE time for them. It is always a “bad” time. Days can go on end without it being the perfect timing for both. Make an appointment and stick to it.

Here is the link to the article from The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/19/lets-get-drinks

Next one is from Ryan Holiday. It is no secret that I am a big fan of his writing. I have his book The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage standing face out on my shelf. I really, really liked that one. Even down to the simple fact of the printing and materials used for it. It just oozes quality. Also pre-ordered his new book Ego Is the Enemy which I really look forward to receive and read.

Well this link here is a list of common thoughtful advice from Ryan. They are hard to categorize, and I would prefer not to highlight anything particular although I end up doing so. I think this is one of the saved articles with most notes and highlights I ever had. Of course it is also a collection of a lot of old points from him which I liked in the first place, but still a very, very good list. Lets just take a few to make you go and check it out yourself.

“Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”

“You have no idea what other people are struggling with. You have no idea what their lives are like. Leave them alone. Judge them not”

The article is filled with things like these, each powerful enough to spend an entire blog post elaborating on, but read it and make your own judgement.

Here it is: http://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2016/06/29-pieces-of-life-changing-advice-i-collected-by-my-29th-birthday/

The last one perhaps is a bit controversial and a point where I have no clear stance on the matter. But what fascinates me is when people think up big ideas that potentially could change the world. Not just incrementally going a bit more in whatever direction but laying out a totally new map. The core of this idea sure fits that description. It may be unattainable or based on flawed assumptions, but independent on whether I think it is a good idea or not, I like that people dream those thoughts and are willing to test them.

Final article: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-05-02/a-basic-income-should-be-the-next-big-thing

That concludes the first issue of LFK Thoughtful weekends. If you liked it please subscribe, or get back next and see if it still floats your boat and subscribe then.

Good weekend everyone!

How to make everyday feel like vacation without quitting your job

Sunset St. PeteOkay I’ll start with a confession. If you are an employer, then giving this to your employees, won’t make them magically skip their holidays to work more hours for you. Although if you try and it works, then please transfer a percentage of whatever that is worth to you to my account.

Having gotten  that out of the way, let’s get on with it. Being quite the wanderer myself, I have spent quite a lot of time contemplating how everyday could get to be a bit more like everyday on a vacation. The obvious answer of course is to just lay by the beach all day and sip margaritas. The short term effects of this would probably b y great. A lot of relaxation and no stress at all. Until your boss calls and yells at you for not being at your desk. Then no relaxation, no margaritas and no job – which you could argue would give more time for the beach – but as you probably will have bills to pay, then again, this is a somewhat  shortsighted solution.

What you need to do is look a little deeper into what separates normal everyday life from everyday life while being on vacation. This can of course depend a lot on how you spend your vacation. Some people like to spend them horisonttally on a deck chair in front of a pool, only having to lift their arms to have a cocktail put into them by the all-inclusive staff. Others like to spend their vacations on training camps or hiking around exploring.

Perhaps with the exception of the “all-inclusive-glued-to-the-deck-chair-I-WON’T-move!” vacation all the other actually have quite a bit in common although their expression of it differs. What they have in common is new experiences. What makes a vacations leave such a long lasting and worthwhile impact is the multitude of new experiences you have.

In contrast, what characterizes “normal” everyday living is the exact opposite. A lot of routine and not many new experiences. You could go see your friends, but hey there is Netflix and a day tomorrow, so perhaps it is better if you just stay on the couch tonight, you can do so tomorrow. Then tomorrow arrives. Today you’ll go have fun with your friends, a but wait today is training day with your team. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow. And then each day goes by, followed by each week and nothing new happens. Each week just looks like the previous on repeat, like Christmas holiday television, the same over and over again.

The solution is simple but not easy. Don’t ever confuse the two.

What you need to do more often is break out your regular routines. I had sort of an epiphany with regards to this recently. I grew up near the ocean and always find myself seeking towards the ocean and water whenever possible. I love being near water, on water and swimming in water. It by all means make me happier. Having moved to the capital of Denmark a few years back, this swimming and being close to the ocean was made a bit more complicated. Note; complicated. Not impossible by any means as Copenhagen actually is right beside the coast and ocean, but getting there was a bit harder as I would have to drive through heavy traffic to get there. For almost two years I didn’t swim all that much during summer. Of course I had a few swims when vacation or anything of the like brought me in a situation where swimming was obvious or easy. But even though I lived not that far from the sea I never went there myself even though if I had lived the same distance to the sea on a vacation I would probably have went almost everyday when weather allowed for it.

After a recent move, and while thinking some of the thoughts that is put to writing here, it suddenly dawned on me that I had no more than 15 minutes of drive from my apartment to the beach. If I was unhappy about not spending enough time near or in water, it was totally my own fault! This had to change!

So I made the decision to actually do take the time to go for a evening swim during weekdays. Go out experience something new and be open to what it might bring. I also find myself more often going out to photograph and see landmarks and points of interest close by that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have. Sure the urge for just being at home some days are stronger, and the point is not to always force yourself out of the door, but the point is that some days you do. Some days you DO fight the urge to stay on the couch during weekdays and go out either for yourself or with friends for new experiences.

They are out there waiting for you. Go get them!

Stop worrying – get to the confirmed objective facts

Boat beachThere are numerous articles and blog-post that promises to help you get rid of worry. This won’t be one. Try as you might you’ll never get to a point where you’re free of worry in your life. You will probably have periods with more and periods with less, but avoid it altogether won’t happen. What’s way more interesting and important is how to deal with it once it arrives.

Worry is closely related to anxiety and stress. They are all fear based feelings, that try to tell you that something is wrong in an attempt to protect yourself from whatever it is that causes them. They are totally natural and occurs to everyone whether people admit it or not.

As they are natural feelings, there is no real reason to try to get totally rid of them. What you need is a better way to handle them once they arrive. Today we will focus on worry even though as said earlier; worry is closely related to anxiety and stress and can in some instances it can be hard to know one from the other. But as this advice will work with all of them, there is no real reason to really pinpoint which of the feelings you have.

Worry has a lot to do with control. When you are in total control you aren’t worried. If you had an exam where you knew all the questions in advance and could prepare so intensely that you knew all answers by heart – then you wouldn’t worry. Your brain would probably then try to worry about whether those actually was all the question, try to come up with potential “unknowns” that could hamper with the end result. But if we keep all what-if’s out of the question; you wouldn’t be worried at an exam where you knew you all questions and all answers. You would be in total control.

Seeing worry from this angle starts to point to a solution, or precaution that can help in situations of worry. You just have to be in control, then there is nothing to worry about. Well yes, thank you! I’ll just lock myself into a room where I’m able to control all the variables and live from there. NOT really viable.

What we need to do is take a stoic look at “events”. The stoics made this really good distinction between event. They divided them into 3 groups. Event over which you have total control, events over which you have some but not total control, and events over which you have no control.

The first and the last are the easiest and are the ones you should spend the least time on. If you have total control, then just make it the way you want. If you have no control, then do not worry because your worry won’t change anything.

Going back to the example with the exam. You are probably not worried whether you will show up or not to the exam. You decide to go or you decide not to go. Then that is out of the question. The cynic will probably then see any number of things that could go wrong on the way there. Again, some of those you will have control over, some of them you won’t. If you are worried about getting late, then go really early and spend the extra time waiting at the destination. Being hit by lightning on the way there is not something you can control, so don’t worry about it. These are of course simple examples but, they should be adequate to bring home the point.

Then we arrive at the last one; events over which you have some but not full control. This is where most energy is spent. The final grade of your exam is a good example of this. You can push it in either direction by more or less preparation, but you cannot control it fully. Even in the example of having all questions and answers in advance, you still can’t control the final grade from the censor.

But what you need to do to control your worry, is get to the confirmed objective facts. And the words “confirmed” and “objective” is there for a reason. “If I go talk to that girl and she rejects me, the whole world will laugh at me and my life will be over.” or “If I don’t get straight A’s in all my exams my life will be over.” – That could be felt as very strong facts inside yourself, but to an outside person or even when having the experience somewhat at a distance, it’s totally obvious that those are not “confirmed objective” facts. They are strong feelings, yes. But facts – no.

I love doing this on paper. If I’m very worried about something I start by writing whatever it is that I am worried about on the top of a piece of paper. Then I test my hypothesis.

“If I can’t X then Y will happen, which will be an absolute disaster.”

Then I start by saying am I absolutely certain that Y will happen. Can anything else be the outcome of this? If not, then I start to look at what it will actually mean to me if Y happens. Is it as big of a disaster as I have in my mind. It could mean a minor or major setback, but total disaster?

Then I just work my way through and test all the hypothesis and all my conclusions. The funny part about this is that even just the act of doing this calms me down. I am back in control, I am not contemplating all outcomes and can decide which of them I find most attractive or least disastrous. As said in the beginning worry almost always stems from a feeling of loss of control. Getting this control back, or even just working on getting it back can seriously dampen if not totally rid yourself of worry.

Try it for yourself. The next time you are really worried by something. Write it down and objectively test all your hypothesis and conclusions. I bet you’ll feel the worry lessen almost immediately.

How to come across as insecure in writing

There are numerous examples of situations where you would want to come across as insecure. Say you found yourself writing a CV where you wouldn’t want the recipient to hire you, maybe sending along a cover letter that backed up the insecurity of set CV. Maybe you are writing business emails to potential new clients that you don’t want or trying to negotiate terms that you would love to be worse. As said the applicability and examples are numerous, so how do you do it?

There are two very easy and simple ways to do this, so let us start of with the first.

Exhibit A:

Writing “I” when referencing to yourself with lower-case “i”.

For people who does not know this, it can seem unimportant. Will this minor detail be enough to let me come across as insecure – shouldn’t I try harder? You can try harder – of course – but this little trick will get you very far. I’ll go as far as to call it the 80/20 rule of insecurity in writing.

In the business world you are almost guaranteed success if you do this. Your 14yo pen-pal may not pick up on the subtle detail, but proving insecurity towards him may be as easy as keeping your crash helmet on when you step off your tri-cycle and walk across the playground to class.

But if people handle serious recruiting, negotiation or sales they WILL pick up on this. Candidates, mails etc. where this is present will almost explode in front of them and make the first screening a peach. So again; if you wish to come across as insecure remember to write I with lower-case.

Exhibit B:

Referencing third person instead of claiming responsibility.

While not as powerful as Exhibit A, Exhibit B still has it’s merits. A strong and secure person will take responsibility, know their weaknesses and stand by them. To come across as insecure what you need to do is avoid claiming responsibility and always write in broad terms.

The best example of this is probably describing limitations or weaknesses, but can be applied at will to almost all scenarios. Let’s take two developer candidates as an example. They are both asked to describe their weaknesses.

  1. As most programmers i am probably not the best tester, but that is just part of being a programmer i guess.
  2. I am not the most thorough tester.

Yes I know – I spiced up the examples with Exhibit A as well. Now this is taken totally out of context and drilled down to a very simple and short example. But 1 should be a clear winner here in terms of insecurity. Writing like this you almost excuse yourself for being present. The exact vibe you would want to come across when trying to appear insecure.

I hope my little short examples provide some inspiration as to how powerful writing can be in transmitting cues as to who you are as a person. I will probably be writing a lot more about this in the future and not only confined to writing, but also speech, body language etc.

“A guide to the good life” – and notes

*Notes on the book towards the end

As mentioned before I can’t really remember when I was first introduced to stoicism, but I think some of the first stoic texts I read was from Seneca. Shortly after being introduced to stoicism I stumbled upon A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joyand if I remember correctly I probably bough it together with Letters from a Stoic.

First time I read “A guide to the good life” I liked it, but for some reason not much more than that. It was a good book with good practical advice, but somehow it did not really have the impact I had expected. Too high expectations? – Perhaps.

In the following years I read and re-read a lot of stoic books. Loved Meditations, Ryan Holiday’s book on stoicism and as mentioned above “Letters from a Stoic”. But did not re-read “A guide to the good life” because of my first impressions of it. Then hearing a guest on Tim Ferriss’ podcast praise it, I finally re-read it.

And I am very glad I did. Because this time it really hit something inside of me, it really resonated and I absolutely loved it. It’s really full of practical applications of stoic principles and very actionable. It spend a little too much time on philosophical discussion of stoic principles, but as the author is a philosopher this is not unexpected – even though it seems somewhat going against the exact principles of stoic philosophers; philosophy should be practical applicable in everyday life. But those passages are easily overshadowed by the majority of content that is really top notch.

As I have mentioned in this post: Read and remember – make it stick I always underline passages that resonate with me or perhaps I find worthy of some more digging. Then actually starting with this book, I waited a few days and then went through my highlights writing down notes for most of them.

They are probably very subjective to my head and understanding, but if someone might find them useful they will come below. So as final comment I will highly recommend the book to anyone interested in stoic philosophy and interested in practical advice on how to live like a stoic or perhaps just implement some of their advice.

And now the notes:


 

Notes on “A guide to the good life”

To be virtuous is to live in accordance with nature – if we do this well we live a good life according to the Stoics.

We are social creatures and therefore have duties to our fellow men. Honor friends, parents and countrymen.

Stoic tranquility is the absence of  negative thoughts and the pretense of positive ones.

Unlike Cynicism Stoicism does not require adoption of ascetic lifestyle. We can enjoy money, luxury etc. but should do so while being willing to give it all up. We should not cling to these things.

The obstacle is the way. Hardship and set-backs build character like strength training builds muscle and hormesis builds up our immune system.

Negative visualization. All we have is on loan from “fortune” – cherish it, enjoy it but be prepared to lose it.

Memento mori. Reflect upon each day as if it was your last. Don’t take anything for granted – in an instant it can be gone.

Reflect and be grateful upon the people and things you have in your life and contemplate how sad it would be to lose them. This counteracts hedonic adaptation.

A stoic will not spend all his time thinking about catastrophes and visualizing all things being taken away from him, but a few times a day or week, spend some time contemplating loss of things dear to him in order to make him value them higher.

To practice negative visualization is to contemplate the impermanence of the world around us.

There will be – or already has been! – a last time in your life that you brush your teeth, cut your hair, drive a car, mow the lawn or go for a run. There will be a last time you hear rain or see snow falling, smell newly baked bread or feel the warmth of your child or spouse fall in sleep in your arms. Or a last time you make love. You will someday eat your last meal and soon thereafter you will take your last breath.

Learn to want the things that are easy to obtain or better yet, the things you already have.

Trichotomy of control; things we have full control over, things we have some control over, and things we have no control over. Do not worry over things that you have no control over.

We should periodically cause ourselves to experience discomfort – cold exposure, hunger etc. This rehearses the “what if” and further more builds character and self confidence.

The more pleasures a man captures, the more masters he will have to serve. We must learn to resist pleasures – else we spend our lives twitching in each pleasurable way.

Avoid high expectations – both of people, events and things. Having high expectations set you up for disappointment.

Take responsibility for your reactions to events, a stranger might cut you off in traffic, a colleague may say something insulting – what you can control is your reaction. If you don’t feel insulted – then you weren’t.

In the morning, rather than lazily lying in bed, we need to get up and get to work on the thing that we were created to do. The first resistance of pleasure starts with getting out of bed first thing upon waking.

Avoid melancholy people and negative people – they will upset your tranquility.

Don’t be insulted by things that are objectively right – being bald and then being told that you are bald is not an insult – it is just a fact.

Grief: Grieving for a short period of time is OK. But then move on. If you grieve the loss of a child then after a period get on with your life. Be happy that you had that child in your life in the period you had. And your child most definitely did not want you to suffer so why go against the will of your own child and become a sad and unhappy person?

Anger: Should a stoic that has seen his wife and children be raped and murdered not do anything about it. Indeed he should – but he should remain as calm as possible while doing it. Success in doing so will make for a much better and thoughtful revenge than just resorting to outright anger.

If we seek social status we are at the mercy of other people trying to have them see us in as positive a light as possible. Our goal should be to become indifferent to other peoples opinion of us.

Realize that many other people, perhaps even your closest friend do not want you to succeed. By doing so they may see themselves as being put down, because if you can succeed then why can’t they.

Acknowledge that the exposure to luxury might lose us our ability to enjoy the simple things in life.

Eat to live instead of live to eat. Eat to nourish the body and fill its basic needs not to gain pleasure.

If a stoic finds himself well of, then he should enjoy his wealth but never cling to it. He should contemplate losing it all again. If he clings to his wealth and new lifestyle then he becomes a slave to it. Because then suddenly he might fear losing his high income and therefore becomes limited in his freedom.

Stoics not being afraid of public ridicule, exile or even death often held and stood up for unpopular beliefs. People today often go out of their way to steer clear of trouble, where as the stoics would ask whether a life where nothing is worth dying for is worth living?

A man is as wretched as he convinces himself he is.

The stoics was convinced that what stand between ourselves and happiness is not the government or the society we live in, but the lack of a life philosophy.

Never categorize yourself as a victim. Always take responsibility.

Thanks to hedonic adaptation a pursuit of novel things will always leave us in want and unhappy. We should instead use negative visualization to learn to want the things we have.