Stoicism A successful philosophy to thrive in business
With the increasing swirl of interest around mindfulness, resilience, and innovation, we cannot forget that many trod on this path before us and brought life-changing teachings to the world. Today the school of stoicism brings peace, serenity calm, and resilience to the turbulent hearts and minds.
What is stoicism?
“Everyone is preaching advice, but no one is
sharing wisdom that is what stoicism is.”
As easy as it can be described, stoicism is the philosophy of making our life better. It is an idea of life that significantly increases positive emotions, eliminates feelings of anger, fear, and negativity, and allows people to develop their character virtues. At any time, in any circumstance, and at any level of existence, stoicism offers a foundation for well-being. It helps people to ponder upon what is important, presenting realistic methods to make more of what is precious.
Stoicism had its origins in an evolving society, in which older rules of ethics and ways of thinking were no longer sufficient. Yet it was conditioned by the principles of the ancient philosophies. The early Greek philosopher Milesians drew attention to the harmony and perfection of nature. After, the rationalist Parmenides of Elea emphasized the influence of rationality and thinking. At the same time, Heraclitus of Ephesus, the forerunner of the theology of “being”, pointed to the predictability of change and the ever-presence of God of the divine.
Stoicism is the branch of ancient western philosophy that focuses on resilience, mindfulness, and creativity, all of which allow us to flourish to live a life, achieving happiness and success. The principles of stoicism have a proofed influence on western thoughts and compared to the other schools of philosophy often consumed by intellectual enterprise and endless debate; it is bracingly practical and straightforward. While some see stoicism as a western form of Buddhism helping to overcome destructive emotions, it originated in the Greco Roman Empire. “Stoicism” got its name from the place where Zeno, its founder, used to deliver his lectures on Greek perspectives. In modern philosophy of stoicism, it has three principal leaders:
- Marcus Aurelius,
Why should we consider ancient philosophy to thrive as a modern-day entrepreneur?
Today entrepreneurs face problems in decision-making, prioritizing, remaining optimistic, and retaining momentum. As you might already know, starting a company and facing pressures is not a piece of cake. It takes effort and thriving in high-stress environments is not as easy as it seems to be. Stoicism provides young entrepreneurs with a framework for making better decisions and training themself to be less reactive.
Stoics claim that, just as physical suffering is induced by sickness and damage to the body, the human mind faces distress influenced by wrong decisions and wrong convictions, especially about good and evil. In today’s perspective, stoicism tells us that there are things that we can control and something we cannot control and how important it is for an entrepreneur to only focus on the former. For instance, if you are someone who freaks out seeing your friends posting their “happy lives” on social media and how the government has not been working as it should be. You are wasting your energy on something you cannot control; therefore, there is a lot of wastage of time, mental peace, and energy.
As Epictetus tells, “Some things are up to us, and some are not up to us.”
Stoicism tells us that we consistently need to focus on things that are in the sphere of our control. Similarly, as an entrepreneur, we cannot regulate any aspect that could influence our business. Still, we can learn from the teachings of stoicism and monitor our reactions, actions, and decisions.
Is there a difference between stoicism and modern-day self-help?
Stoicism does not dwell on negativity, as does modern-day self-help counseling. Stoicism is more of a guided meditation activity that helps one to take all the destructive emotions we encounter and turn them into views that gives one comfort.
The idea is not to ignore what has been bothering you but to see the worst-case scenario and telling yourself that this worst is still survivable. The main goal is not that the worst things cannot happen it is merely, that we are far capable of enduring them by processing our thoughts in such a way that brings peace and satisfaction to our lives even in the difficult times.
What are a few stoic practices every entrepreneur should practice?
Although there are countless teachings of stoicism for better understanding we are mentioning a few:
- The discipline of assent:
“Choose not to be harmed, and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been” – Marcus Aurelius
Avoid giving instant approval to false impressions, and refrain from acting instantly on urges. Identify them as simple thoughts and desires.
- the dichotomy of control:
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I control. Where do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own”- Epictetus
If you get the feeling that something might be better or wrong, but before you give your permission, evaluate whether it is within your power or not. If it follows the rule of nature and is in your control, then work on it and if it is something that is not in your control, then accept it as it is.
“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs”- Seneca
Practice mental preparation of forthcoming activities, especially those that could confuse good and evil. This prepares your body and mind to accept the worst and work accordingly in a peaceful manner.