Stoicism seems to be a rather fashionable thing for many young men to talk about on the internet, but judging by their other conversations, I’m often left wondering if it’s just for show and they don’t really practice what they preach.
Stoicism is a rather rich and complex philosophy, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll narrow it down to it’s most basic interpretation thanks to a good old fashioned Google search:
- the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.
Simple enough, right? Well…no, not really for many. Many men actually are guilty of behaving like children, complaining about how unfair life is or how hard situation X, Y, and Z are. The groan and moan when asked to do anything remotely strenuous.
Sound familiar? Sadly, you don’t have to look far to find someone like this. These “men” typically annoy the piss out of other men due to their incessant complaining and generally negative outlook on life.
Today, we’re going to list 3 ways to help prevent ever becoming one of those soy-boys by strengthening your inner stoic. If you know a soy-boy who’s in need of a swift kick in the arse, well you now know where to send him. Let’s begin.
Cold showers are not only a great exercise in learning to handle discomfort, but there are numerous health benefits including improved immune system, healthier skin, reduction in inflammation, and improved circulation.
If the thought of jumping into an ice cold shower sounds a little too daunting, you’re in good company. Try what I do, by starting the shower at lukewarm and gradually lowering the temperature as your body adjusts. Employing this method makes the process much more bearable.
I’ve talked about this before, but fasting is a great discipline that, like cold showers, provides numerous benefits. Fasting allows your body to focus all its energies on repairing itself instead of diverting energy towards the process of digestion, a fairly intensive process when you break it down (pun intended).
Fasting also puts you in a state of discomfort that varies depending on the length of time you decide to fast. When those first REAL hunger pangs hit, you have a choice to make: Run to the nearest snack machine and feed your face or acknowledge the discomfort but not act on it.
Consolation of Philosophy wrote an excellent primer on meditation here so I won’t go deep into this subject. While fasting and cold showers focus on physical discomfort to strengthen your stoicism, meditation is about quieting the mind from life’s distractions.
Meditation is a great time to put things in perspective and sort things out in solitude. To me, it’s akin to defragmenting your computer, but for your mind instead. It also teaches patience and discipline as sitting quietly and not doing anything can be a pretty difficult task for many in our fast-paced, modern world.
Make no mistake that this is simply a primer into the workings of Stoicism, meant to give you some immediately applicable ways to practice this concept without knowing much about its intricacies.
I highly encourage everyone here to do their own research on the philosophy of Stoicism and take what is valuable from it while discarding that which is not.