The Daily Stoic for May 21st. “What Kind Of Boxer Are You?”.
“But what is philosophy? Doesn’t it simply mean preparing ourselves for what may come? Don’t you understand that really amounts to saying that if I would so prepare myself to endure, then let anything happen that will? Otherwise, it would be like the boxer exiting the ring because he took some punches. Actually, you can leave the boxing ring without consequence, but what advantage would come from abandoning the pursuit of wisdom? So, what should each of us say to every trial we face? This is what I’ve trained for, for this my discipline!”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.10.6–7
I happen to do some boxing from time to time. Today’s stoic came as kind of a shock to me. It’s actually asking us what kind of boxer would we be if we abandoned the ring after just some bruises.
Up to this point, I thought stoics were afraid of confrontation. To be honest, that was a point of rupture for me with this philosophy. Today, I understood that stoicism discourages you from letting your feelings get you into trouble, but not from fighting and enduring when you need to.
And that’s relieving.
What Kind Of Boxer Are You?
Nothing is easy. Though time gets you worrying my friend, it’s OK.
Just take your life easy and stop all that hurrying, Be happy my way.
— Jethro Tull, “Nothing is easy” from their 1969 album “Stand Up”.
Nothing is easy, as the Jethro Tull song reminds us. Especially when you make some bold decisions in your life. You must fight for your freedom every day.
If you are an entrepreneur and are trying to achieve financial independence, you have some years of hard work and some sacrifices ahead of you. Financial gurus, passive income bloggers, inspirational podcasters… Take what they say with a grain of salt. If they affirm that they have the bulletproof formula of success, ask yourself why are they writing a blog instead of having a Margarita in the Bahamas.
No. Achieving financial independence is hard. It’s like boxing. It’s more about how much are you able to endure than how good you are beating your opponent. You need to be ready for that.
However, I’m convinced that every step of the way, every stone you find, every difficulty you overcome, is worth it. Because each of them brings you a little closer to your goal and makes you grow in the process.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “What Kind Of Boxer Are You?”, came as a shock to me. Up until now, I thought that stoicism was all about avoiding confrontation. However, today’s stoic excerpt reminds us that in life, we need to be ready to endure difficulties and fight back.