What It Is
“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” – Nassim Taleb
So, what is Stoicism?
Wikipedia: “Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or by the fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly. The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and those external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”.”
Daily Stoic: “In its rightful place, Stoicism is a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life, rather than some esoteric field of academic inquiry … Courage. Temperance. Justice. Wisdom. They are the most essential values in Stoic philosophy … Everything we face in life is an opportunity to respond with these four traits.”
Paul Jun: “The Stoics focus on two things: How can we lead a fulfilling, happy life? How can we become better human beings? The goal of Stoicism is to attain inner peace by overcoming adversity, practicing self-control, being conscious of our impulses, realizing our ephemeral nature and the short time allotted … It’s important that we understand the obstacles that we face and not run from them; it’s vital that we learn to transmute them into fuel to feed our fire.”
Holstee: “Simply put, Stoicism was designed to help people live their best possible lives. It’s a philosophy of life that maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative emotions and helps individuals to hone their virtues of character. At any moment, in any situation, and at any stage of life, Stoicism provides a framework for living well. It reminds people of what is truly important, providing practical strategies to get more of what is valuable. Stoicism was deliberately created to be understandable, actionable and useful. Practicing Stoicism doesn’t require learning an entirely new philosophical lexicon or meditating for hours a day. Instead, it offers an immediate, useful and practical way to find tranquility and improve one’s strengths of character.”
John Sellars: “Stoicism holds that the key to a good, happy life is the cultivation of an excellent mental state, which the Stoics identified with virtue and being rational. The ideal life is one that is in harmony with Nature, of which we are all part, and an attitude of calm indifference towards external events. [There are] two foundational principles … The first is that some things are within our control and some are not, and that much of our unhappiness is caused by thinking that we can control things that, in fact, we can’t.”