The Daily Stoic for September 10th, “Preparing On The Sunny Day”.
“Here’s a lesson to test your mind’s mettle: take part of a week in which you have only the most meager and cheap food, dress scantly in shabby clothes, and ask yourself if this is really the worst that you feared. It is when times are good that you should gird yourself for tougher times ahead, for when Fortune is kind the soul can build defenses against her ravages. So it is that soldiers practice maneuvers in peacetime, erecting bunkers with no enemies in sight and exhausting themselves under no attack so that when it comes they won’t grow tired.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 18.5–6
Today’s daily stoic presents a very interesting concept. What if we devoted one day a month to experience something we fear? Something like poverty, hunger, isolation, or any other thing?
My family has always had dogs, and our favorites are the German shepherds. When I was a kid, my mother told me that she didn’t feed them once a week to make them stronger. I thought it was pretty cruel back then, and when I asked my mom if it was not cruelty, she explained to me that it was the vet who had recommended us to do that, and that it was actually something good for them. It helped them not to become too lazy or fat.
Preparing On The Sunny Day
Probably, if I told my partner or any of my friends about the idea of going through this one-day-a-month deprivation, they will think is a terrible idea. I can almost envision them asking: “Why would you subject yourself to small tortures every month?”.
They may be right, of course, but something tells me this is not such a bad idea. I don’t think that sticking to cold water one day a month, or eating only a few slices of bread that day is going to prepare you for real pain or suffering. But I do think it may help you realize that losing your job, or going through a bad economic period, would not be the end of the world. It will also help you see things in perspective.
Now, probably the question is: how to do these little experiments without looking like a crazy guru or a spiritual coach? When you live with a partner, you need to share this kind of experiments before attempting them.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Preparing On The Sunny Day”, suggests us to do a little experiment. Experience some kind of deprivation once every month to prepare ourselves for tough times.