Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stoic Style

Today Yesterday, I'm grateful for running across and reading an article on a topic that I didn't know I was interested in until I read about it on the Boing Boing web site:  Stoicism.  I used to think that being stoic meant being brave and emotionless in the face of circumstances that tested those two things, being "hard".  

But it means so much more than that.  As I read it, it means that every day, you make yourself aware that this could be the last time you ever drink a cup of coffee, or meet your best friend for lunch, or see a caterpillar crawling across your path, or (fill in the blank).  

The idea is not to dwell on this and become morbid about it, but to realize what you have at the present moment and to fully appreciate it and experience it.  It's a great article, I recommend reading it here.  Here's a paragraph from it: 

One of my favorite visualization exercises involves the sky. When I see it, I periodically remind myself that the sky didn't have to be blue. But on most days it is blue, and a gorgeous blue, the hue of which changes subtly from hour to hour. Then I reflect on how wonderful it is that we inhabit a universe that can, on a nearly daily basis, present us with such a spectacle. A simple exercise, to be sure, and some would say a silly one. But if you can learn to appreciate the sky -- something most people take utterly for granted -- there is a good chance that you can learn to appreciate your life as well and thereby enjoy a happier existence than would otherwise be the case.

I love it!

Your attitude is your choice.  Consciously making yourself aware of all the good you see and experience every day can go a long way in forming and maintaining a positive attitude for all the days of your life.
My daily pictures and reflections on gratitude in this blog fall in line with stoicism's philosophy.  By consciously looking for things to be grateful for every day, I'm appreciating, noticing, and more fully experiencing things I may not have before.

 Thank You, Boing Boing!


  1. I read this article after you shared it on google reader and I found it really interesting too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this! Must go read the whole article. I tell my kids all the time that their attitude, and how they react to things is completely within their control. Your reaction is not somebody else's fault, no matter what they did. (You get this alot with two little boys, ages 6 & 9...somebody always did something to somebody else, which made someone yell at or hit the other person, blah, blah, blah).

  3. I'm glad you both liked this! It took me a while, when I first learned about the "attitude is your choice" concept years & years ago, to buy into it. But when I did, it made a world of difference on my outlook and perspective on things.

    Caroline - It does sound like you have your hands full. :) If you can get your 6 & 9 year old boys to understand and practice this concept, you, my friend, can make a lot of money with that skill! ;) I semi-remember being that age, and yeah, how you describe it is pretty much how it felt at the time. Good luck!