Look for yourself in the description paragraph below.
I am a socially successful person who has a nice job title and a sound good looking income. I have mastered my job. My team looks up to me and follows my advise. On the personal front I am happily married to a beautiful woman who loves me and is herself a very successful career woman. Our kids are beautiful and love us . On the financial front life had been kind to our stocks and real estate and the bonus/ dividend cheques seems to get bigger annually. Health? No problems.
How many of these things have you ticked already or on your way to achieve?
If you tick even half of these things you have done very well for yourself. Congratulate yourself. No Really. You deserve a standing applause.
You have done what only the top 1 percent of the world can claim to have. Health, wealth and loving personal bonds.
But under the surface of this swiss-smooth clockwork life do you harbour any cold dark undercurrents that tug at you once in while. Do you fear or lust or crave things that you can’t bear to reveal even to yourself?
If the answer is No — you have none of this darkness then you can congratulate yourself again and stop reading this. You are a role model and you should write about your secret of a super balanced life.
I was one of these dark souls in a shining armour.
I could easily say I had ticked all my boxes. My drunken flashy juggernaut had arrived. On the surface this life looked and felt so smooth. The ease of my life was so addictive. Work was never hard. Play was never boring. I was admired and sought after. Finally, I had tamed my wild elephant past into a tame private safari with champagne sunsets. I had Made It with a capital M and I
This i now know is a disease called BHBV (Bloated head blinkered vision) and my philosophy of life was called Hedonism. You can read about Hedonism elsewhere. This is about the better philosophy i discovered. Its called Stoicism.
Convert to Stoicism
This is a philosophy if you adopt (secretly)could make you keep your fame and wealth and success but just find a way of enjoying that even more. It’s like adding salt to improve the taste of your good fortune.
The best book on this topic that i reccomend is The Guide to the good life by William B. Irwine
This book and other similar teachings opened my eyes to the power of converting to becoming a secret stoic. Its a way of life that offers ‘Tranquility’ as the goal of life.
Tranquility is a psychological state of mind where we experience few negative emotions such as anxiety sorrow and fear but an abundance of positive emotions especially Joy.
Stoic philosophy provides easy and practical ways to observe and fix all the things that hinder our sense of tranquility in daily life with mind hacks that are easy to do. Its not a meditative skill but one that encourages reason and method and logic based mental reframing. Stoicism differs from most existing schools of philosophy in one important sense: its purpose is practical application. It is not a purely intellectual enterprise.
It’s a tool that we can use to become better in our craft, better friends and better people.
Stoic writing is much closer to a yoga session or a pre-game warm up than to a book of philosophy a university professor might write. It’s preparation for the philosophic life where the right state of mind is the most critical part.
Stoicism originated as a Hellenistic philosophy, founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium (modern day Cyprus), c. 300 B.C.E. It was influenced by Socrates and the Cynics, and it engaged in vigorous debates with the Skeptics, the Academics, and the Epicureans. The name comes from the Stoa Poikile, or painted porch, an open market in Athens where the original Stoics used to meet and teach philosophy. Stoicism moved to Rome where it flourished during the period of the Empire, alternatively being persecuted by Emperors who disliked it (for example, Vespasian and Domitian) and openly embraced by Emperors who attempted to live by it (most prominently Marcus Aurelius).
Some of my favourite Stoic teachers and their wisdom that i use in my life
1.Marcus Aurelius :
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
In his Meditations, he wrote that “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” That was a personal reminder to continue living a life of virtue now, and not wait.
2. Epictetus :
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .”
The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not.
3. Seneca : Amor Fati: “Love Everything That Happens”
The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would describe his formula for human greatness as amor fati — a love of fate. “That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”
Practice Negative Visualization (premeditatio malorum)
The Stoic exercise of imagining things that could go wrong or be taken away from us. It helps us mentally prepare for the worst in life and stare it in the face. We don’t always get what is rightfully ours, even if we’ve earned it. Not everything is as clean and straightforward as we think they may be. Psychologically, we must prepare ourselves for this to happen. It is one of the most powerful exercise in the Stoics’ toolkit to build resilience and strength.
Jordan Peterson book 12 rules for life has a great chapter on this on how to face your worst fears and prepare for life’s inevitable setbacks. Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
Ultimately, that’s what Stoicism is about. It’s not some systematic discussion of why or how the world exists. It is a series of reminders, tips and aids for living a good life.
I have found the philosophy of pursuing Tranquility as the goal of life extremely rewarding and satisfying.
I highly recommend becoming a secret Stoic.
You will find a way to living a wealthy, famous and meaningful life without regrets.