Do, or Do Not. There is no Try

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“Has someone made smoke in the house? If there isn’t too much, I’ll stay; if it’s excessive, I’ll leave the house. For one should remember this fact and keep it firmly in mind, that the door stands open.” (Epictetus, Discourses I.25.18)

There is a misconception in society (and popular culture) that to be a Stoic is to suffer in silence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, the practice of Stoicism is about recognizing and ruling my emotions and not letting them rule me. It does not mean that I don’t have emotions – if anything the opportunity to experience positive emotions is enhanced being a practicing Stoic as I have more time to experience these when I am not in the thrall of negative emotions (anger, jealousy, envy, etc.)

Likewise, nothing about practicing Stoicism is a recommendation for inaction. Rather, the practice of Stoicism is the practice of thoughtful action, realizing that beyond my actions I have no control of what results, and should not allow myself to be emotionally bound to the outcome.

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