Stoic Exercises : Write Down Your Thoughts
The only reason we are able to return to the classic teachings of the stoics (Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus (the slave), Seneca (power broker and playright) is because they wrote down their thoughts and philosophy. Infact, Marcus Aurelius especially was a comitted journaler, titled his journal “to himself”.
Before I continue, let me give you an update. If you recall my related video in this series on Stoicism called “live out your fears”, I mentioned that my worst fears revolve around financial destitution and living on the streets. I know for a fact I am not the only one! I’m sure many of you have this exact fear too.
Now, I am not about to go and live on the street. But over the last 3 days I’ve tested out the stoic advice, and have moved into much more humble accomodation which is in a far from the ideal location. It’s a small step but I am following the advice of the stoics and trying to accustom myself to life under much harsher conditions than I am facing now.
Moreover, I’ve been doing a little casual research and thinking deeply about the plan for the next 1,3, 5 years. It seems likely there are much tougher times to come for everyone, and it behooves all of us to be ready. As a 43 year old man who’se sowed his wild oats, I’m preparing for a radically simpler life, living in humble accomodation, with a vegetable garden, chickens, growing my own food…
And of course a devoted girlfriend or even wife. I often think about getting a dog..And beyond that a child. All of this is possible on a minimal budget if the shit really hits the fan. This advice may not apply to you, but there comes a point where you cannot live in fear any longer and you must face it head on. The advice from the stoics is the first step in doing that.
This is something you might want to remember for yourself. Think deeply about your fears and how you can tackle them head on. Check out my related video in this stioc series called “live out your fears” for further information.
I can tell you that the difference it’s made to my fears is slight but noticeable. I think you’d need to live your fears again and again, whilst at the same time taking as much action as possible to avoid them actually materialising. Hence, working harder, developping a 1,3,5 year plan, introspecting deeply about what you actually want, imagining it and living it in your mind, then taking baby steps towards the larger goal..And writing it down.
This leads me nicely onto todays stoic advice : begin to write it down.
As I mentioned, the stoics admonished their students to write down their thoughts. They specifically emphasised that stoicism is an active practice. In the same way that you want to live your fears to get the benefit of building your courage and being prepared for difficult times, writing down your thoughts and reflections helps you to build wisdown, learn from your mistakes, pinpoint where you are going wrong, and possibly highlight a path forward.
Now, for a guy in my situation, writing blog posts and making Youtube videos serves the dual purpose of building my business and forcing me to think deeply about life, women, dating , achieving happiness, the future…All the important things a man needs to think about if he wants to maximise his long term happiness throughout his life.
I can also tell you that by writing your thoughts down you begin to develop the habit of precise thought and elucidation in a way that haphazardly talking with your friends (or by commenting on Youtube) doesn’t achieve. Have you heard the expression “you don’t know what you think until you write it down?” I certainly agree.
If you’re a natural worrier like me, with an active mind which seems to tickover at 9000 RPM and rev up to 20000 RPM when you have something worrisome on your mind, the discipline of writing helps to clarify your scattered thoughts and find a way forward.
For the majority of you who are keen to improve your lot with women, you might well find it reveals deeper insights about where you’re going wrong, and possibly identify things you can do to correct your course.
The more I look into Stoicism, the more I appreciate it’s an active participation philosophy. This makes perfect sense to me. In todays times of short attention spans, expecting the answer and knowledge immediately , the active participation in the lessons of Stoicism might well be a soothing antidote for you. Let’s be honest, watching video after video and taking no action is not going to get you anywhere. The internet , and Youtube in particular, is the SOMA of our time…..
Best of luck.