I’ll be introducing a new series that will be called the ‘Stoic Powerlifter’. This new series of articles will draw on quotes from the Stoics of the past, and use them as talking points for strength development and motivation.
I’m a relatively new follower of the Stoic philosophy, having only been reading about it for the last year or so, but within that year, the philosophy and methodology of thinking and living has really spoken to me. Not only has it aligned quite well with my own personal set of beliefs and values, it has also started to shape them.
Since I am not a Stoic scholar, I will divert to Wikipedia to explain exactly what Stoicism is. My simplification of Stoicism breaks down to the following core tenants:
- Focus on what you can control, not on what you cannot
- Control your thoughts, emotions & actions
- Purpose is found in overcoming hardship
- Nothing is good or bad, it simply is
One of the biggest shifts in my mindset that has come from Stoicism, is the core belief that you are in control of everything that happens to you. This doesn’t mean that you are in control of the weather, but what it does mean is that you are in control of how you react to the weather and better yet have the ability to determine how you will act when certain events occur.
I think there are great lessons to be learnt from the likes of Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epcitetus, Zeno and Cato to name just a few. Their writings have lasted thousands of years and are just as applicable today as they were when written.
Their writings and musings have created lessons to live by and can help guide your thoughts towards taking actions and moving forward.
Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of the ignorance of real good and ill… I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together…Marcus Aurelius
Remember, that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others especially when it comes to health and fitness. You could be comparing your day one to their year 10. Nor should you pay attention to any criticism that might come your way for the actions you choose to take.