Stoicism and Daily Habits
I’m pondering a pair of quotes from the stoics. They go well together of course; each a call to action. And these quotes also pair well with two books I’m reading right now.
“Give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths” – Epictetus
“Not to assume it’s impossible because you find it hard. But to recognize that if it’s humanly possible, you can do it too.” – Marcus Aurelius
I’ve been reading a gem of a book, The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday. This book, as the name indicates, is a daily practice. Get up in the morning, read the one page quote and thoughts on it from Holiday. In these days of phone addiction, this is a ritual that I’m enjoying. I usually switch immediately to reading a few pages of whatever book I’m onto at the moment. At the moment that means Atomic Habits by James Clear. Brilliantly crafted book with actionable steps for the reader to establish better daily habits.
Action is the trick. Today I had a good day because I took action on the objectives I’d laid out for myself. Tomorrow I hope to build on today’s momentum with more action and perhaps some solid results. Consistent daily effort, over time, leads to results. Nothing new in this, and yet so hard to see the forest for the trees sometimes. That’s one reason I read so many books like this. They reinforce the message, dilute the impact of the crushing negativity on social media, the news and from the fellowship of the miserable.
You are the average of the people you hang with the most. So I choose to hang out with authors and thought leaders who lead me in the direction I want to go in. Reading and podcasts offer much more than television and talk radio. So we’ll see how far of a leap forward I take. But staying where you are in a rapidly changing world is really going backwards. And I’m not going to go backwards.