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.