What Next after Week One?

You’ve made it.  You’ve finished the lesson for this week.  Now it’s time to start putting things into practice!

Remember, one of the most common mistakes people make is just to read self-help material without testing it out in practice.  The ancient Stoics constantly warn us against becoming lazy armchair philosophers.  There’s no better time to start changing things than right now.  The Stoic gauntlet has been thrown down before us.  It’s up to us whether we choose to pick it up or just stand and look at it.  It’s time for you to start engaging with the material, interacting with the rest of the community, and testing what you’ve been reading out in practice – in the laboratory of your own experience.

Your first step should be to visit the Comments section below, as soon as you’re ready, and post your thoughts on the question for this week:

What do you think would be the pros and cons of living a life in which you take excellence of character (Stoic “virtue”) to be the only thing that’s intrinsically good?

As you read this, think it over, and type your responses… do it with greater attention to the present moment and observe your own character, attitude, and actions.  What’s “up to you” about this training and what’s not?  What would it mean to approach the course itself with a more “philosophical” attitude and to make use of it wisely?

Here’s a second question for you to consider, and discuss, if you want:

How do you think Stoicism might be adapted to suit our modern world-view and way of life?

Go to the Comments section below now and post your response.  If there’s anything whatsoever you could use help with, either technical stuff or the course content, please don’t hesitate to contact the course facilitator.

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  1. Pros: Awareness of Thought Processes, Less Mental Distraction, Recognition of Personal Volition, More Productive Introspection.

    Cons: Social Aversion by certain Personalities.

  2. I think this is really hard work with the promise of autonomous orientation in life .
    I hope that this course helps me to train my judgement in order to recognize things I can or I cannot change.
    In modern life the stoic attitude could promote tolerance .

  3. Pros- to live a life where I am in integrityty with my values and beliefs would be a freedom in its self it could potentially release energy that usually gets used up in the conflicts in my mind and the anxiety that come with not always being true to ones self.

    Cons- the main con that I can think of is there could potentially be some people that are less keen to spend time with me as a lot of relations ships are based on collusion whether that’s gossip or strong shared points of view and obviously for some drinking drug taking etc.
    For me it may be with in conversation, people wanting to pull me into gossip which I would want to get involved in.

  4. Pros: Reducing stress, which, as someone with high blood pressure, would be fantastic

    Cons: Wondering if I’ll start coming off as emotionally distant to my partner

  5. If excellence of character is the only true good in one´s life you have to consider money, reputation and wellfare of your spouse, relatives and friends as “indifferents”. Allthough relation to other people would be “preferable indifferents”. Status in society and money are important at least to those who have some and it is very difficult to rid oneself of these “goods”. Living a life in which excellence of character is the main virtue would be easier to you and your neighbours, at least in the long run.

  6. I think living with a more “philosophical” attitude will certainly contribute in reducing stress in more difficult situations and therefore help me deal with these situations more calmly and efficiently.
    The challenge, I believe, in this way of life, is engaging in action while taking a step back… Things happen so quickly, sometimes you just have to react. Reacting calmly, vituously, can be a feat.

    1. 100% agree. I am just conflicted in coming at this program from a therapeutic approach. I mean ultimately if I didn’t think there was good outcomes then i wouldn’t be doing this program, but maybe we should look at the therapeutic results as more of an icing on the cake, while the benefits in personal character will be the cake.

  7. I think stoisism will help me in pitting my energy to where it makes sense vs to where it makes no sense. It will help me in in guiding my decisions but it might affect my relation with people who are less stoic. They might feel i’m disconnected. However ultimately they should benefit from my stoisism since it has helps the interaction towards that what makes sense/what we can control.

  8. I’m a bit behind on commenting; work has been taxing and my house doesn’t clean itself. But I have been doing my exercises.

    Pros of fully adopting the Stoic philosophy: developing better coping skills; being a better mother, wife, friend, and worker; feeling better about myself and my capacity and competency.

    Cons: I’ve only found one. My partner says he is missing the energy I give off when I’m on a positive emotional roller coaster. Like when I get fired up over politics or the latest episode of Game of Thrones. I told him that that is a part of me that I really don’t like about myself. It stems from something inside of me that I don’t think is healthy. I hope he learns to embrace the new way I want to be. But, if he can’t, that’s nothing to me. Or is it?

  9. The pros of living a life in which excellence of character is seen as the only intrinsic good include, for me:
    * keeping focussed on excellence
    * paying less attention to things that aren’t important (indifferents?)
    * having a model to use for decision making
    The con for me is:
    * the difficulty, at times, of trying to live with excellence of character