In a time passed by the likes of Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, lived a life centered on Stoicism. That the obstacle was in fact the method and motivation for overcoming any aspect of life. The ideals of perseverance, adaptation and working with the challenges presented are grounded in Stoicism. So what makes it so powerful?
There are many challenges face by various aspects of business life. Learning from those challenges and using them to overcome obstacles is a terrific formula for success. Philosophies of all kinds abound. Very few utilise the power of will and intention the way Stoicism does. When applied to everyday life, through to business and creative pursuits, it is a powerful ally in moving through the world with a healthy body, mind and soul in life and business.
What is Stoicism?
Stoicism is a Hellenistic based philosophy that flourished throughout the Roman and Greek world until the 3rd century AD. In the First Century BC the likes of Seneca the Younger and Epictetus espoused the virtues of maintaining a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years and Marcus Aurelius is diligently writing a diary that would later come to be known as ‘Meditations’. These writings from Aurelius, meant for his own personal reflections on life, were later published and have gone on to be used by many as a framework to overcoming obstacles in life.
The core of the philosophy teaches the development of self-control and resilience as a means of overcoming destructive emotions. Stoic philosophy believes that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason, otherwise known as ‘logos’. Creating an understanding of resilience through rationale and practice.
How Does Stoicism Apply to Life?
Modern stoicism relates to someone who is indifferent from outside stimuli. In other words a stoic philosophy is about grounding in the worth of who we are as individuals so as not to be affected in a negative way. Finding the positives in any situation and seeing the gift of the experience, whether it’s perceived as positive or negative.
Plato issued four cardinal virtues of Stoic philosophy: wisdom (Sophia); courage (Andreia); justice (Dikaiosyne); temperance (Sophrosyne). A life in-line with these virtues was and is considered to be a strong framework for living an inspired life.
However, it’s not always easy to live these virtues. This is where mindfulness is an important factor in living a stoic philosophy. Mindfulness and encouragement of deeds from the past where the virtues of wisdom, courage, justice and temperance were put in place.
How Does Stoicism Apply to Business?
Life and business can be seen as one and the same thing. There are many aspects of business that can prove challenging. These challenges can either be shied away from or met with resilience to enable learning and success.
In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius defines practices that assist in having an objective understanding of the actions of others, especially in relation to governance and business.
A daily practice of checking in with oneself and finding an objective viewpoint to the goings on in the business world gives strong foundations to a successful practice. Attaining understanding of another’s actions for a means of true collaboration is important. Business after all is about collaboration.
There are many frameworks set in place by those who have become before us. The knowledge gained from centuries of experience is a valuable tool for us work with.
We can often look at the newest thoughts and philosophies to assist us. While these are valid it’s also important to see how it’s been done in the past. We owe it to ourselves.
Call To Action
One of the major philosophies around my work is that of alignment. If you would like some assistance with aligning your aspirations please check out my courses, I’m only too happy to help 🙂