In an April 2017 Ted Talk, Tim Ferris, author of The Four-Hour Workweek, shared how a low moment in his life led him to use the tools of stoicism. Adoption of this philosophy led him to the success he has achieved as an author, entrepreneur, and public speaker.
The definition of stoicism is “The endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”
So why would anyone, want to adopt or submit themselves to such a philosophy?
Because, as Ferris shares, ”it can be used as an operating system for thriving in high-stress environments to make better decisions.”
A typical reaction would be, “Isn’t the stress the hardship I must endure? Why would I need to adopt a stoic philosophy?”
Stoicism is understanding that we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.
For most of us, we are so bogged down in what is not right about where we are, what we are doing, and what others think that we can’t see the forest through the trees.
We create goals we don’t ever meet because we are focused on what we believe others – and the world – expect of us.
Professional goals. Personal goals. Relationship goals.
But what about what we really expect from ourselves? And really want? It would be great to stay true to our core values. To overcome the fears that rise when we are not moving on the same path with everyone else.
I recently had a conversation with Scott. I was looking for someone to power wash and stain the cedar siding on my home. He brought home this point of owning one’s values.
Scott arrived at my home. He is in his 40’s, was dressed in a button-down shirt and khakis, with a clip board in hand. Not your typical image of a house painter – but I soon learned he was the owner of the company. Okay – this made sense.
Until he told me he does all the work himself. His presentation didn’t fit my image of a typical house painter.
He told me he had worked for twenty years as an IT specialist. The job his dad encouraged him to pursue way back in high school. Scott’s preference would have been to become a carpenter’s apprentice. But he did what his dad, a middle school principal, and the rest of his circle of friends expected of him.
Some twenty years later he realized working behind a computer brought more discomfort to his life than comfort. He started working weekends (hardship: loss of free time) to build his business. Six months he later left the comfort of a regular paycheck, benefits, and the like – and went out full time on his own. (hardship: security)
Scott is willing to endure the hardship of building a business from the ground up to do what he loves to do. With this clarity he can make better decisions.
Now I don’t know if his family or friends think Scott is successful – but he seems pretty darn happy about what he is doing. He was willing to take the chance and put aside all the fears that come along with giving up the sure and venturing into the unknown.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality,” ~ Seneca the Younger
Taking a step back to define our fears of what might happen if we rock the boat – and perhaps even fail – will likely make you stronger, wiser, and allow you to make the decisions that are right for you!
When we define our fears and learn the triggers to our impulsive reactions, then we are in control. We can make better decisions.
Ferris has his own method of defining fears. Stoicism has spiritual exercises for one to use.
In this short video I describe how I coach my clients to overcome fear and achieve success:
Gain clarity on what you fear. Reach down deeper and out further to achieve your own definition of success.
No one need go on this journey alone. Find a good coach to guide you to facing your fears and making better decisions.
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Angela Megasko wants to be your coach! Contact her today to schedule a free consultation.