How often do you become weighed down by the ‘trials and tribulations’ of your life?
When everyday molehills regularly become mountains, it’s time to reconsider your approach…
What if you faced your obstacles head on, instead of letting them crush you?
Ever heard of the Philosophy of Stoicism? It originates from the time of the Ancient Greeks and it’s all about turning obstacles upside down.
I first came across this concept when someone recommended reading Ryan Holiday‘s book “The Obstacle is the Way“.
As Ryan explains, the premise behind Stoicism is:
“We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to what happens to us.”
And as Marcus Aurelius puts it:
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. ”
Marcus Aurelius, circa AD170
So, the obstacle becomes the way.
And how does this apply to you?
Well, each time you’re faced with an issue (aka an obstacle), you have the opportunity to do something differently. Thinking in this way helps you to navigate the unpredictability and uncertainty of any difficult situations you experience.
Avoid paralysis. Practice your resilience.
What if you could approach your problem with a different attitude? How could you make the situation and/or the outcome better?
There are 3 main principles of Stoicism which come in handy when facing obstacles:
- Perception = Your situation is exactly how you see it – good or bad. Seeing the ‘up’ side of a bad situation helps you deal with it better.
- Action = The physical steps you take to tackle your problem. Step up and do something, creatively and persistently.
- Will = Your courage and resilience in the face of things beyond your control. Work on strengthening your will daily.
What if you could face your obstacles head on? Step over those molehills, crush those boulders, kick adversity in the pants?
Guess what? You can! :)
- Here’s a brief animated overview of the concept of stoicism with a voiceover by Ryan Holiday.
- Ryan also did a guest post for Tim Ferriss which is a great read: “Stoicism 101 – A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs”