“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”― Seneca, The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
One of the biggest underlying tones of Stoicism is the our ultimate power comes from our thoughts and our subsequent actions. It is not the external that matters, but rather how we respond and interpret the world around us.
We should strive to develop a core set of beliefs and principles to live by, and this should extend to training. Do you fall for every fad diet and workout trend? If so, you might not have a belief set for training that you can follow. The biggest problem with not having a set of principles for training, is that you won’t see much progress because we don’t allow our body to adapt to a continued methodology.
If I run three kilometers today, then do a one hour chest workout the next day and then do yoga the following day and continue to do this type of training for a month, with no rhyme or reason, do you think I will make progress? This would be like reading the first page of a book on physics, page 300 of The Hunger games, then a biography of Picasso, what do I expect will happen? Nothing.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever learn new things, this is the exact opposite conclusion one should come to. Rather, we should always be learning and growing to become better than we were yesterday. By acquiring new knowledge, we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
It is essential to adopt a scientific mindset in our lives, which means we don’t look for evidence that proves us correct, rather we need to look for evidence and research that prove our beliefs wrong. It is in this differential that we learn and shape our views. If we only search for evidence that supports our beliefs, we’ll experience confirmation bias, a thought fallacy which prevents logical conclusions.
Our minds are our most valuable tool we have access to. Because our thoughts shape our actions and our actions become our lives. It is our duty to be the best version of us we can be, this takes effort, persistence and patience. When we succumb to the externalities of life, we start handing over control to our environment, rather than harnessing the power we have available to ourselves.