The Daily Stoic for September 3rd, “First, A Hard Winter Training”.
“We must undergo a hard winter training and not rush into things for which we haven’t prepared.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 1.2.32
No. I can’t agree with today’s stoic. I think one thing is preparing for things in life, and being ready to face whatever destiny throws upon us, and another very different thing is not having a moment of peace and tranquility in our lives.
First, A Hard Winter Training
But let me elaborate into that. This is an excerpt from today’s stoic:
“In order to achieve victory, one must dedicate every second and every resource into preparation and training. LeBron James doesn’t take a summer break—he uses it to work on other aspects of his game. The U.S. military trains its soldiers day and night when not at war, in preparation for when they have to go to war; when they do go to war, they fight until it’s over.”
I’m sorry, but I am not LeBron. I have spent the last two years working without proper vacations, and it’s certainly exhausting. I find this whole concept of “always work, always improve, always train” to be influenced by this American culture of hyper-productivity I can’t relate to.
“There’s no time off. There aren’t even weekends. We are always preparing for what life might throw at us—and when it does, we’re ready and don’t stop until we’ve handled it.”
Sorry but no. That’s not life. That’s a perpetual battlefield. And I am a human, I am not a soldier anymore.
I want to enjoy life sometimes, to not think about the future sometimes. I want to just not care sometimes at all.
And it’s not easy for me. I’m the kind of person who is always worrying about the future. I don’t think I need this stoic teaching to ask me to always be training, even to be a better person or be better prepared for the future.
I actually think this stoic clashes with some previous ones.
I can’t relate to today’s Daily Stoic, “First, A Hard Winter Training”. One thing is being prepared for the future, and another thing is devoting your life to it. I just need the opposite: learn to live in the present and stop being constantly worried about the future.