“Indeed, how could exile be an obstacle to a person’s own cultivation, or to attaining virtue when no one has ever been cut off from learning or practicing what is needed by exile?”
-Musonius Rufus, Lectures, 9.37.30-31,9.39.1
Life can never be predicted. Anything can happen. You can get sick, get fired from your job, get in a car accident, or have some major tragedy befall you. The point being, like Epictetus states, “There are some things in your control and some things that are not.” The value of stoicism is that it is a highly practical philosophy. It can teach you how to control yourself in spite of what life throws at you. It can even teach you to prosper because of what happens to you.
At this point after graduation, I am on my own to get my career on track. That being a job in politics. And, as luck would have it, the ancient Romans used stoicism in politics. Figures such as Cato, Seneca, even the emperor Marcus Aurelius practiced stoicism. My main obstacle is getting back in after my internship last year. I’m roughly starting over with only a few contacts and no openings. It’s an uphill battle. This is where stoicism comes in.
I have to learn how to sell myself, how to hustle effectively to land a position. To be prepared for setbacks and people telling me no. To learn to control my emotions and take right action. For the 30 day stoic challenge I have decided to implement the philosophy into three aspects:
The physical aspect will be cold showers in the morning and taking right actions to further my goal. The mental will be a daily reading from the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. Finally, the spiritual aspect will be a spiritual exercise to be practiced throughout the day. Added to this will be a morning ritual to get the day started and an evening ritual to review the day. As the month goes along I will post my progress and what I happen to learn along the way.
Today’s reading was on working with what life hands you. Even if what life hands you is shit. For example, later in life, after a surgery, Theodore Roosevelt was told he might be in a wheel chair for the rest of his days. His response? “All right, I can work that way too!” The lesson being that no matter what happens, we can work with what we’re given. Nothing can hinder us from learning. In most cases, difficult situations are opportunities in disguise, we just have to seize them.