The Daily Stoic for May 3rd. “Show, not tell, what you do”.
“Those who receive the bare theories immediately want to spew them, as an upset stomach does its food. First digest your theories and you won’t throw them up. Otherwise they will be raw, spoiled, and not nourishing. After you’ve digested them, show us the changes in your reasoned choices, just like the shoulders of gymnasts display their diet and training, and as the craft of artisans show in what they’ve learned.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.21.1–3
Today’s stoic meditation goes straight to one of my previous issues with stoicism. As I mentioned two days ago, one cannot simply read the passages and try to relate the stoic philosophy with his or her life. You have to act and make the teachings reflect on your daily decisions. That’s the only way to learn something valuable.
The Proof Of the Pudding Is In The Eating
Two days ago, I found myself under a lot of stress. I tried meditating, which usually helps me relax, but didn’t worked. Then I tried to apply Stoicism by reasoning on my current situation. It didn’t work either.
I even tried writing my fears on paper and trying to analyze the worst case scenario to dissipate my woes… Nothing seemed to work.
Then I realized that Stoicism is not just something that you add to a situation once it has happened. In my case, I was trying to rationalize my fears without solving the root of the problem. A containment plan for worst case scenario can’t help you when you need to change its origin instead.
When I decided to act, and I thought: “Ok, so I cannot do this, but what can I do instead?” it’s when I discovered that I was doing things harder than it was necessary. I opted for a simpler solution, and was able to finally get some peace of mind.
Show, Not Tell, What You Do
That showed me how Stoicism, like probably most teachings, requires you to take action. Not just read and write your thoughts. That’s the same reason why I write about my personal experiences on the Micropreneur Life blog. I won’t feel comfortable writing about something I haven’t experienced myself.
That also means that we need to experience things ourselves. You will not succeed by following other people’s paths, and that applies to both life and business.
Experience, not trust, what you hear, see and read.
And show, not tell, what you do.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Show, Not Tell, What You Do”, discusses how Stoicism, like any other philosophy or teaching, should not just be passively consumed. You need to digest its teachings and take actions. You need to apply stoicism to your life every day, not just in the aftermath of everyday events, but on every decision you make in your life.