The Daily Stoic for May 1st. “Make character your loudest statement”.
“For philosophy doesn’t consist in outward display, but in taking heed to what is needed and being mindful of it.”
—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 16.75.15–16
Today is the 1st of May. I’ve been following the daily stoic meditations for four months now and, as promised, writing a blog post about them every day.
I made a commitment to not just read every passage passively and just write something pretty. On the contrary, I decided to delve into the philosophy and try to get the most out of it. Sometimes I’ve been in complete disagreement with it, while some other teachings have really resonated with me.
However, there was something that had eluded me until some days ago…
Make Character Your Loudest Statement
I am starting a new business, and there were lots of loose ends. In order to make it work, I need to make a lot of different things work together. It’s not an easy task, and I was struggling to make all pieces fall into place.
I was stressed as hell.
Some days ago, I was just on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I tried all the tools in my repertoire. I tried meditation, but wasn’t helpful. Then, I relied on stoicism, and tried to reason the source of my fears.
I even watched this TED talk from Tim Ferris -that I had not heard about before- about using stoicism as a tool to overcome our fears. I followed the suggestion of Tim of building a list with the worst case scenarios, and ways to avoid them… But my fears were still there.
In short, I was paralyzed.
Then the next day, after a restless night, I woke up and realize what I was doing wrong.
Your Character Is The Results Of Your Decisions
Just as with an outward display, you cannot cover your fears just with stoicism or meditation. You can not apply make up and make them disappear, or write them on a page to dispel them either.
You have to analyze what’s is causing them and then make the right decisions to change that.
In my case, I realized I was trying to offer more than I could deliver. I was trying to offer such a good service for my customers, that I was not taking into account if it was profitable, or even feasible, at this moment in time.
The sums didn’t add up, and I was trying to square the circle.
Then, I took the decision to narrow down the service to what I was able to offer, and stick to that initially. It won’t be such an alluring solution, but I will definitely have the peace of mind of knowing that I can deliver what I promise, and that all ends meet.
That gave me peace of mind, and has allowed me to break the deadlock. But not only that, has given me confidence, and recover a more stoic character.
As soon as I made things simpler, all the pieces fell in its place. I am now able to offer a coherent solution, and I know that it will be profitable.
Thus, my suggestion for Daily Stoic, “Make character your loudest statement”: character is something that emerges from our decisions, acts and actions.
We need to take the right decisions to have peace of mind, and be confident. It’s leading a simpler life, and work in the scope of challenges you can solve, what gives us the much needed character that characterizes a stoic person.