The Daily Stoic for February the 5th: “Steady Your Impulses”.
“Think of the manic people in your life. Not the ones suffering from an unfortunate disorder, but the ones whose lives and choices are in disorder. Everything is soaring highs or crushing lows; the day is either amazing or awful. Aren’t those people exhausting?”
— Ryan Holiday. “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity.
I grew up in a middle-class family in the early 80s. That, in southern Spain, meant that we always had food on the table, but also that there was no money to spare.
Probably because of that, I learned the value of hard work since I was a kid. I vividly remember saving for months to be able to buy an 8 Mb memory card for my computer when I was a teenager. Yes, you read it right, 8 megabytes.
As a result, I am not afraid of hard work. I am not the kind of person that will complain about having to work weekends or nights if needed. This also applies to life. I don’t usually complain about weeks of bad weather or an economic downturn period. I consider myself a happy person, but I don’t usually demonstrate it with great bursts of emotion and laughter. I’m just quietly happy.
Meditation and now stoicism have been two great additions to my life. They have helped me focus and control the situations that made me lose my nerves from time to time.
Steady Your Impulses… Moderately
As with other personality dichotomies -i.e: extroverts vs introverts, optimists vs pessimists- there’s no winner or correct answer. It’s just the way I am, no better or worse than yours.
Undoubtedly, this has its benefits. From a Stoic point of view, I manage to keep my feelings under control. From a more philosophical point of view, I live a happy existence.
I don’t know a lot of people that would say that from the bottom of their hearts.
However, I sometimes wonder if those manic people, living emotionally chaotic lives, experience things more intensely than I do. I share my life with one of them, and even though it gets exhausting sometimes, it also makes me laugh other times.
I wonder if being more impulsive or thoughtless, while a sin for Stoicism, can make you feel (more?) alive.
Maybe it’s a form of getting old.
All things considered, we are who we are, and that’s not easy to change. I don’t think it’s healthy to change who we are because of what others think, do or say either.
Just be yourself, and try to live a happy, fulfilled life every day.
In today’s Daily Stoic, “Steady your impulses”, I wanted to share my point of view on the classical duality between control and impulsivity.
While I agree with the Stoic quest for a calm, tranquil and serene existence, I sometimes wonder if those under a storm of emotions live fuller lives.
I have no answer right now, and I don’t think there needs to be one.