Inspiration needs to be nurtured.
As an inspirer, you can find it everywhere. If you open yourself to the world and let good things happen to you, the inspiration will come in various shapes and forms. For me, one day it came from a website, explaining and discussing a very interesting topic: Stoicism. By then, I was not really thinking about it as a life philosophy. It certainly did cross my mind and my learning path, but I took a closer look later on …
It was through the most intense moments during my transformation when I heard stoicism speak to me. – Maybe because of my energetic nature and full-time action and affection for so many different things. Maybe my body told me to rest. I kept pushing myself, at the time, too hard to reach for everything I wanted and was told to achieve. When it occurred to me: “Why so serious?”
And these exact words that John Sellars told in the interview – and I also shared in one of the 365 inspiring quotes I put on my Insta and FB profile – were like a warm blanket for my soul:
“For what it’s worth, I think we’d all be better off if people were in less of a rush and didn’t take themselves and everything they do quite so seriously. In the long run, we are all dead, and many of the things that can eat people up inside are of little or no consequence.
Part of developing from an egotistical small child or a self-centred teenager into a well-balanced rational adult involves acknowledging and accepting the limits of our power and self-importance. We are not, it turns out, the centre of the universe. Much of what happens during the course of our lives is out of our control. Yet there’s a common implicit culture in the West that tries to say that if people are not fabulously rich and successful, then it is in some way their own fault for not working hard enough. This strikes me as both false and psychologically damaging for many people.”
For me, it was important to take a pause. To find a peaceful momentum inside myself. To relax and be able to believe that “it’s gonna be ok”. I needed to get to the ground and reflect the brevity of life. As Stoicism helped me understand that everything can be taken from me at any time (I am not being pessimistic here, it’s just a life fact!), I started to focus on one thing at the time to mindfully enjoy every moment, and let go of everything that was not in my control. Stoicism was an important lesson that really makes life easier. Actually, it makes it joyful! 🙂
Where Stoicism and Zen Meet Each-other
As an ancient practice from the European, aka Western, culture, it can be easily linked to the Eastern practice of Zen. As Sellar says in his interview, both practices are focused on the act itself. – The practitioner does not pay as much attention to the outcome, which usually is out of his or her control. He or she rather focuses on what he or she does as this is what can be kept in one’s control.
In other words, I would say that the internal empowerment of just being there in the moment and focusing on doing your job as best as you can, makes you a better practitioner. Success itself comes as a result of being great at what you do. The logical consequence is that if one masters the act itself, he or she should have much more chance for a good result. As simple as that.
Practicing Stoicism Puts Life in the Broader Context
But what is stoicism actually teaching us? What has it taught me? Through practising it, I internalized the following facts:
- The World is unpredictable and we are really small in it.
- We only have this brief moment called life.
- Thus, we should enjoy the moment.
- Don’t be passionate about the trivial things.
- There’s no space or time for dissatisfaction.
- Strength, self-control, and logic can help us become less dependent.
- Stoicism is practical and we can use it as a tool to become better – at anything!
Reality principle of Stoicism brought me so many great life lessons to live by. I hope from the bottom of my heart, that through this story I brought it to you, too. And that by writing and posting these words today I am sending you a new wave of inspiration to ride on towards your own wellbeing.