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Stoicism is Overrated

Posted By: Randy GageOctober 29, 2020

Marcus Aurelius was a badass.  He lost his dad at three, yet grew up to become a legendary philosopher, astute military mind, and a Roman emperor.  If you check on ZipRecruiter.com, there aren’t a lot of positions for people with that particular skillset. Not only did he make it work, but he still inspires legions of followers (including me), fascinated with the idea of stoicism as a way to live a better life.  Let’s explore it in the context of prosperity consciousness and manifesting prosperity in your life.

Stoicism offers many great insights on how to best mentally frame the world around you.  (Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman have a new book out, Lives of the Stoics that is worth a read.) A central tenant of stoicism is that the path to happiness is achieved by not allowing yourself to be controlled by either a desire for pleasure, or the fear of pain.  Those who are happiest are those who accept that everything is what it is.  (And when something negative happens, suck it up and get over it.) 

Stoicism is overrated.

There is certainly much more in the stoic philosophy, particularly in terms of ethics and the pursuit of personal virtue.  But the main message above is the one being shared by most of the people promoting the philosophy today.  There are a lot of similarities to what many ascetics would champion.  The asceticism lifestyle promotes abstinence from material and sensual pleasures, concentrating instead on spiritual self-examination.  Again, I too can see some intriguing idea in such an existence.  (Fun fact: at one point in my life, I was thiiis close to becoming a disciple at a Shaolin Temple or joining another monastery.) 

Asceticism is overrated. 

Although they are very different philosophies, in the arena of prosperity, Stoicism and Asceticism are remarkably similar.  Both would suggest that desire for more can only lead to frustration and a never-ending pursuit of an unattainable lifestyle.  For some people, this philosophy of living is congruent with who they are and who they wish to become.  While I have the same end result in mind, I have chosen to walk a different pathway there.  The important thing to keep in mind is…

While stoicism and asceticism are overrated, so is victimhood. 

Simply living in lack because it has been decreed, or you think it is your destiny, or you believe resistance is futile – is the pathway of an unhappy, unexplored, and unlived life.  Yes, you must sometimes accept defeat, setbacks, and circumstances outside of your control.  We all do.  But there is much more left blank on the canvas of your life, space which you can paint however you desire.  This is your opportunity to be bold, daring, and imaginative.  To become the highest possible version of yourself. 

I posit that you can’t be truly happy if you’re not moving toward your potential.  Not because you will one day wake up “happy” because you’ve reached your ultimate potential – but because you wake up happy every day, when you are on the path of pursuing a higher version of yourself. 

I posit that desire is good, and inherently helpful to the pursuit of enlightenment.  Desire is the force which created you, knocking on the door, inviting you to come out and play – to come out and explore your innate potential.   

The “comfort zone” may be the most misnamed state in the human condition.  Because is anyone really comfortable in their comfort zone?  I believe most people live there because they are fearful of their own greatness. If we were to apply Truth in Marketing laws here we would be calling this the “mediocrity zone.” 

I posit further that enlightened happiness comes from the willingness to live in a state of “Divine Discontent.” This state is a magnetic field created by the tension between living in gratitude for what you have, yet still having an innate hunger to do, have, and become more.

You create a bolder vision and bigger dreams.  These act as a magnet, pulling you to grow more to achieve them.  You discover that your level of thinking to that point won’t get you to where you want to go, so you develop new thought processes.  This leads to a perpetual cycle of improvement, a continuous quest to evolve into the highest possible version of yourself.  That’s where the breakthroughs live.  It’s the ultimate demonstration of the vacuum law of prosperity.  You create a vacuum, then work as a co-creator with the universe to fill that vacuum with good.

Before you push back, know this is not an argument for hedonism, pleasure for pleasure’s sake, or making money for the sake of making money.  You don’t examine your life to determine how to move up from a BMW to a Bentley.  These behaviors lead to a shallow, empty, and meaningless life.  A life without self-examination or personal growth. 

You seek your next desire because the process of doing so forces you to become a higher version of yourself and you relish and celebrate that process.  Stoicism is overrated.  Asceticism is overrated.  Hedonism is overrated. Victimhood is overrated. Mediocrity is overrated.  Mindfully working toward the highest possible version of yourself is underrated. 

You will never pay a higher price for anything than the one you will pay for living your dream.  Unless you choose to give up on your dream. 

Peace,

- RG

7 comments on “Stoicism is Overrated”

  1. Although I agree with the main thesis of this article, the way Stoicism is presented here is an over-simplification of a vastly rich philosophy and way of life. Even though forbearance is an important part of Stoicism, it revolves more about living according to nature and exercising the power of free will, than blindly accepting one’s fate. I do not recall any of the ancient or modern Stoics living by a mindset of “and when something negative happens, suck it up and get over it”. On the contrary, Stoicism has had a powerful influence on people who’ve had tremendous achievements due to self-examination and progress, just look at James Stockdale, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Thomas Kaplan, or Charlie Munger, to name a few of our times.

    1. Agreed that there is definitely much more to the philosophy. In this essay I'm concentrating on the elements that apply to manifesting prosperity. Like you, I think there are many other beneficial elements.

  2. I am a huge follower of stoic principles and do not think stoicism is overrated. However, I really enjoyed this article and absolutely love this quote:

    Mindfully working toward the highest possible version of yourself is underrated. I totally agree with you on that.

  3. Agree and learning to accept this. - "Those who are happiest are those who accept that everything is what it is. (And when something negative happens, suck it up and get over it.)"

    I DISAGREE with the statement "Get Over It" I addressed this in my TEDx talk. When I accepted the past events in my life everything changed around me, for the better. I understood and it was so simple, it is what it is, suck it up, I Prefer "Learn from it and move on." I dislike saying "Get Over It," To me, it implies that the events we have experienced are insignificant in shaping who we are. I don't mean we should stay stuck there in victimhood but, there are great lessons to be learned from our experiences and they shape us into becoming a better or significantly inferior version of ourselves.

    I prefer "Get through it and apply the lessons learned and continue on the road to becoming our highest possible version." We get to choose which version we want.

  4. Hi Randy, I do believe that when things get really bad the human will cry out and ask for help to God usually (God as they know it from past programming) but hey, we have to start somewhere.. well at least that is a start in a good direction rather than hitting the bottle and suicide (which is obviously on the increase), but then if one accepts the journey they might join a temple, become a priest, but then if one takes it further as we do here, it gets far more complicated, ie we are the living spirit, no temple, no church .. which is why when I used to read about the budhist monks in tibet, there was a story of the monks riding on their donkeys being led off by the chinese, one monk decided to die and he did die whilst riding his donkey.. testament to somebody in complete relationship.... another true story I witnessed for myself, whilst in hawaii I was walking to the pub with an american and he met his twin brother, but the amazing thing was they had been split up at birth due to divorce, grew up in differnt countries, they knew they were part of a twin but had not contact with each all through their lives, but at 23yrs they bumped into each other randomly and what was incredible they recognised each other instantly... moving on, to be honest we are all atoms but it has to be vibratory forces between the atoms which makes these stories possible.... If I reflect on my life (now 54, still a young lad, obviously) my calamities in life were ALL resolved when I listened to the quiet voice within, refusing all outside me, the voice within... had it not been for the, adversity I could not think the way I do today ,armed with the potential of my idea which once again came from the inner voice...I do not have a clue how all of this works, but these stories are all based on my facts... one more thing as you know I deal with the elderly as a podiatrist and one thing i definitely know there will come a time for all of us when we cannot leave the rocking chair.. so people start your journey/self development asap so you don't waste years of... yes Gage..victomhood..LOVE G as always.. let's vibrate togeather and let the war mongrel go!

  5. While there is some oversimplification of Stoicism here...

    I try to live by the Bruce Lee quote: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

    There are pieces of Stoicism, as you write, that are incredibly helpful.

    I lean more toward Taoism, which has some similarities. But I also find that Taoism lends itself more to manifestation, but doing so in a state of flow, rather than a state of grind.

    Various philosophies have golden nuggets and I look for the areas in which they are all in agreement.

    Re: lack...I find that the less a wake up in a state of “desire” and attachment....the more I actually attain 🙂

  6. "Desire is the force which created you" #quote from your essay, Randy.. my initial thought from reading that was "the power of intention intelligence" created us and everything..

    and that's the spirit of infinite possibility I believe.

    Neither are we here to be victims of "time and space" (environment or circumstance).. we are the rich architects of it.. THOUGH, we don't know what we don't know.

    I recently asked my mind to show me my blindspots in a big way, in hopes of a "quantum breakthrough" (your phraseology).. well, the next morning I woke up with an intense ache in my brain and upper spine.. not a migraine.. much more profound..

    I asked it: "what are you coming from and why".. instantly flashbacks of going headfirst into a guard rail from dropping my motorcycle on "damp pavement" 4 decades earlier..

    I'd completely forgotten about that, and all the pain I experienced.. my point being my mind was delivering on my request.. show me my blindspots please.. I proceeding to effectively release the stored up pain through meditation..

    it had been there for FOUR DECADES! we don't know (or maybe forget) what we don't currently know..

    allowing our body temple "vessels" to be a clear conduit for energy, is what's been working for me thus far. Some very intriguing insights shared here, in your essay. Thankyou!

    Quantum breakthrough experienced!

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  • 7 comments on “Stoicism is Overrated”

    1. Although I agree with the main thesis of this article, the way Stoicism is presented here is an over-simplification of a vastly rich philosophy and way of life. Even though forbearance is an important part of Stoicism, it revolves more about living according to nature and exercising the power of free will, than blindly accepting one’s fate. I do not recall any of the ancient or modern Stoics living by a mindset of “and when something negative happens, suck it up and get over it”. On the contrary, Stoicism has had a powerful influence on people who’ve had tremendous achievements due to self-examination and progress, just look at James Stockdale, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Thomas Kaplan, or Charlie Munger, to name a few of our times.

      1. Agreed that there is definitely much more to the philosophy. In this essay I'm concentrating on the elements that apply to manifesting prosperity. Like you, I think there are many other beneficial elements.

    2. I am a huge follower of stoic principles and do not think stoicism is overrated. However, I really enjoyed this article and absolutely love this quote:

      Mindfully working toward the highest possible version of yourself is underrated. I totally agree with you on that.

    3. Agree and learning to accept this. - "Those who are happiest are those who accept that everything is what it is. (And when something negative happens, suck it up and get over it.)"

      I DISAGREE with the statement "Get Over It" I addressed this in my TEDx talk. When I accepted the past events in my life everything changed around me, for the better. I understood and it was so simple, it is what it is, suck it up, I Prefer "Learn from it and move on." I dislike saying "Get Over It," To me, it implies that the events we have experienced are insignificant in shaping who we are. I don't mean we should stay stuck there in victimhood but, there are great lessons to be learned from our experiences and they shape us into becoming a better or significantly inferior version of ourselves.

      I prefer "Get through it and apply the lessons learned and continue on the road to becoming our highest possible version." We get to choose which version we want.

    4. Hi Randy, I do believe that when things get really bad the human will cry out and ask for help to God usually (God as they know it from past programming) but hey, we have to start somewhere.. well at least that is a start in a good direction rather than hitting the bottle and suicide (which is obviously on the increase), but then if one accepts the journey they might join a temple, become a priest, but then if one takes it further as we do here, it gets far more complicated, ie we are the living spirit, no temple, no church .. which is why when I used to read about the budhist monks in tibet, there was a story of the monks riding on their donkeys being led off by the chinese, one monk decided to die and he did die whilst riding his donkey.. testament to somebody in complete relationship.... another true story I witnessed for myself, whilst in hawaii I was walking to the pub with an american and he met his twin brother, but the amazing thing was they had been split up at birth due to divorce, grew up in differnt countries, they knew they were part of a twin but had not contact with each all through their lives, but at 23yrs they bumped into each other randomly and what was incredible they recognised each other instantly... moving on, to be honest we are all atoms but it has to be vibratory forces between the atoms which makes these stories possible.... If I reflect on my life (now 54, still a young lad, obviously) my calamities in life were ALL resolved when I listened to the quiet voice within, refusing all outside me, the voice within... had it not been for the, adversity I could not think the way I do today ,armed with the potential of my idea which once again came from the inner voice...I do not have a clue how all of this works, but these stories are all based on my facts... one more thing as you know I deal with the elderly as a podiatrist and one thing i definitely know there will come a time for all of us when we cannot leave the rocking chair.. so people start your journey/self development asap so you don't waste years of... yes Gage..victomhood..LOVE G as always.. let's vibrate togeather and let the war mongrel go!

    5. While there is some oversimplification of Stoicism here...

      I try to live by the Bruce Lee quote: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

      There are pieces of Stoicism, as you write, that are incredibly helpful.

      I lean more toward Taoism, which has some similarities. But I also find that Taoism lends itself more to manifestation, but doing so in a state of flow, rather than a state of grind.

      Various philosophies have golden nuggets and I look for the areas in which they are all in agreement.

      Re: lack...I find that the less a wake up in a state of “desire” and attachment....the more I actually attain 🙂

    6. "Desire is the force which created you" #quote from your essay, Randy.. my initial thought from reading that was "the power of intention intelligence" created us and everything..

      and that's the spirit of infinite possibility I believe.

      Neither are we here to be victims of "time and space" (environment or circumstance).. we are the rich architects of it.. THOUGH, we don't know what we don't know.

      I recently asked my mind to show me my blindspots in a big way, in hopes of a "quantum breakthrough" (your phraseology).. well, the next morning I woke up with an intense ache in my brain and upper spine.. not a migraine.. much more profound..

      I asked it: "what are you coming from and why".. instantly flashbacks of going headfirst into a guard rail from dropping my motorcycle on "damp pavement" 4 decades earlier..

      I'd completely forgotten about that, and all the pain I experienced.. my point being my mind was delivering on my request.. show me my blindspots please.. I proceeding to effectively release the stored up pain through meditation..

      it had been there for FOUR DECADES! we don't know (or maybe forget) what we don't currently know..

      allowing our body temple "vessels" to be a clear conduit for energy, is what's been working for me thus far. Some very intriguing insights shared here, in your essay. Thankyou!

      Quantum breakthrough experienced!

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