Do you ever feel like you complain too much? Are your evenings consumed with doom-scrolling, Netflix, and overindulgence? Perhaps it’s time to channel your inner stoic!
Originally surmised by ancient Greek philosophers, Stoicism is a school of thought that encourages people to strive for human excellence.
Sounds easy, right?
But you’ll have to stop complaining.
Here are ten things you’ll never hear a genuine stoic moaning about:
That’s right, Stoics avoid overindulgence and encourage rigorous self-discipline. Stoics strive to maintain a sense of balance, so you’ll never see them propping up the bar at 4 am.
Back in ancient Greece, the Stoics would drink wine in moderation but never allow themselves to get drunk. Today, some people employ stoic principles to help them recover from addiction to alcohol and other substance.
2) Lack of material possessions
“I literally have too much stuff,” said no Stoic, ever.
Another rule of Stoicism is to prioritize relationships and experiences over material possessions. Stoics appreciate what they have and avoid complaining about the things they lack.
Stoic people realize that valuable experiences are worth far more than possessions. Time to cut down your Amazon wishlist?
3) The weather
Stoics don’t care what the weatherman says when the weatherman says it’s raining…You get the gist.
Let’s be honest; it’s pretty pointless complaining about the weather; it’s not going to change things. Rather than letting the elements ruin their day, Stoics appreciate that nature is beyond their control and find ways to appreciate the beauty of the seasons.
I’m guessing they avoid Florida between June and November.
Stoics like to keep their ‘water cooler’ chat uplifting and gossip-free.
In fact, the ‘Golden Rule’ of Stoicism is:
“Treat others as you would like to be treated by them.”
You cannot control what other people say or think about you, so you’ll never hear a stoic tittle-tattling over scandal or hearsay or see them reading the ‘National Enquirer.’
Did you know that rumors and gossip can actually make you sick? Maybe it’s time to take a leaf out of the Stoics’ book!
5) Past mistakes
If we dwell on or complain about mistakes we’ve made in the past, we’re essentially trapped in a cycle of self-blame and regret.
Now, as a stoic, you’ll realize that mistakes are great. They give us fuel to learn, grow, and improve.
Stoics have the praise-worthy ability to take ownership of their actions, admit their mistakes, and use negative experiences to work towards progressive self-improvement.
They don’t sweat the small stuff.
I’m not a good Stoic.
I hate long lines, especially in airports. As a Brit, we’re taught to queue up, be polite, and wait our turn. It’s drilled into us from an early age. But I can’t help but simmer with rage.
However, if I were more Stoic in my approach to these situations, I would use this time to engage in self-reflection, observe my surroundings, and practice patience.
Instead, I’ll look for ways to queue jump and doom scroll. Bad Stoic.
Now this is a tough one.
It’s fairly obvious complaining about the traffic won’t get you to your destination any faster. But it feels good. Right?
Not for the Stoics. You see, these people know that traffic is an external circumstance; it’s out of their control.
So, instead of honking the horn and cursing, they’ll throw on an audiobook, practice mindfulness, or use this time to listen to a podcast and educate themselves.
8) Life’s inequalities
Every country has a rich/poor divide, even if it’s seemingly invisible to the naked eye.
There’s always someone richer, more successful, healthier, or much worser off than you.
Stoics have learned to accept life’s natural inequalities. What a breath of fresh air that must be. Knowing that worrying about the challenges they face won’t change their circumstances, they channel their energy into self-improvement and stop watching The Kardashians.
9) The small stuff
You won’t hear a stoic complaining about their broadband speed, parking fines, or being tired.
Stoics understand that trivial things are merely distractions that have little significant impact on their overall well-being.
Put simply; they let things go and, by doing so, free up mental space to focus on the important things in life.
I’m not a good Stoic.
If you want to increase your anxiety and ramp up your stress levels, spend some time dwelling on the uncertainty of life!
Try it; it works!
Stoics don’t do this. They accept that uncertainty is a part of the human experience that we face almost daily.
Now try this.
Focus on what you can control—things like your own actions, attitudes, and thoughts. There’s no point in drowning in worry over how unpredictable the world can be.
The Stoics have the right idea. In a world full of fake news, instant gratification, complaints, and negativity, maybe it’s time we took a step back.
Do you avoid people that complain a lot? I do! Do you have too much clutter? I’m guilty!
By adopting a Stoic mindset, you can chip away at negative influences and behaviors, adapt to a positive outlook, and work towards a state of resilience and inner peace.
Yes, right now, I’m a bad Stoic! Did I mention that?
But, if I can learn from the points mentioned above, stop complaining, and embrace the wisdom of the ancient Stoics, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ll leave you with the mighty words of former Roman Emperor (and Stoic) Marcus Aurelius.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”