Daily Journey – July 2017

Daily Journey is a collection of my thoughts from reading The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.  My objective is to gain greater control of my emotional responses by reading and sharing my thoughts on stoicism with you all everyday over the course of a next year.  If you would like to explore these topics with me, and others who are seeking to gain emotional control come over to the Mastery of Skill closed facebook group to join in on the conversation.

Live Skillfully!

-Jon

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July 31st: Your Career Is Not A Life Sentence

The work we doing to earn a living should be a means to end. Too often we get hyper-focused on the work we do that we put aside the life we want to live along with the people we want to live it with. Work is part of our duty, but only a part.

July 30th: Stoic Joy

Joy is a deeper feeling then the modern use of the word often gives it credit for. It is not a surface level happiness or contentment. It is not represented by a bubbly or cheery disposition. It is shown in your actions and responses to the things which happen around you. If you have true joy in your life it enables you to overcome challenges, fuels you to help others, and stabilizes you on the rolling seas.

I find my joy in my family and my work. What is the root of your joy?

July 29th: A Cure for the Self

What self destructive behaviors and thoughts plague your day? Self doubt, discouragement, jealousy, anger? The study of philosophy offers a way to diagnose these issues and deal with them.

July 28th: Check Your Privilege

To be truly tolerant and understanding of others we must recognize where they are in their journey in relation to where we are on our own journey. If you are more physically fit then someone that doesn’t make you better then them, it just shows you are further along the path one must walk to have a high level of fitness. If you are further ahead physically, mentally, or emotionally… I would say it is your duty to help others along their journey. And you should feel privileged to do it.

July 27th: Where Is Anything Better?

We spend our valuable time and emotions seeking after many… many… things. Money, relationships, power, influence, respect, success, and other achievements. It is exhausting, at times it seems there can never be enough. The sense of accomplishment quickly fades as we advance these portions of our lives. So where can we turn for a stable feeling of well being?

There are a few things you either have or you don’t, when you have them they form a solid foundation of accomplishment which stabilizes us along our journey. These are the Stoic Virtues: Justice, Honesty, Discipline, and Courage. There is no scale to measure these virtues, you either have them or you don’t.

Having these virtues present in your life will help you be satisfied with the scale of your progression in other areas.

July 26th: When Good Men Do Nothing

What influences you to inaction? Research has shown that if a group of just five people stopped on a busy New York Street and look up at an office window, over 60% of the people on the street will stop and stare with them. What are your five influences (distractions) that keep you subconsciously looking away from your goals?

Even worse, is when this inaction leads to some form of injustice. We hear all the time that we are only one generation of inaction away from loosing our freedom.

This is your call action.

July 25th: What’s on Your Tombstone?

Here are some deep questions for a Tuesday morning…

Is there something you are neglecting in your life in order to earn a title or epitaph on your tombstone?

What are you giving up, what are you pushing aside?

If what you are doing right now was carved on your tombstone would you be proud for your children and grandchildren to read it?

If you don’t like the answers to these questions… the good news is you can change.

July 24th: Somewhere Someone’s Dying

Hold on… this one gets blunt.

Our concern for irrelevant “tragedies” and larger then life injustices are often media fueled frenzies, designed to ignite our sense of justice, righteous indignation, or rage. More often then not, this is waste of emotion.

Stop and think for a moment before allowing yourself to react when you are asked “how do you feel about ________?” Do you really feel strongly about it, or are you feeling social pressure to spend your emotions on it? Odds are you are being enticed to feel the same as the rest of the people you are surrounded by because this is one of innate survival mechanism… it’s how we are hard wired so we can survive better as a group.

There is a time and a place for these reactions, but the over activation of it by the deluge of mass media “story streaming” overwhelms it’s usefulness and drains of emotional resources for when they are truly needed.

Just pause before you react. Think is this in my sphere of influence? Is this worthy of spending my emotions on?

July 23rd: Receive Honors and Slights Exactly the Same Way

I would say take praise and criticism with humility. You can and should be learning from both.

July 22nd: No One Has a Gun To Your Head.

Seneca really nailed this sentiment when he said “Nothing is noble if it is done unwillingly or under compulsion. Every noble deed is voluntary.”

I would highlight that some duties and responsibilities we have are the product of previous choices and decisions. There is a difference between these duties and being compelled into action by threat or force.

July 21st: Made for Working Together

Humans are hard wired for cooperation. We have evolved this way because we are always stronger together. The myth of the Loan Ranger, or the solo superhero saving the day, is just that.. a myth. What ever you want to call it, a team, a village, a tribe, you are always stronger when you are surround by those you have formed a bond with.

July 20th: Made for Justice

Our individual sense of justice is tied closely to our collective well being. This tie enables us to form bonds that transcend our individual wants and needs, and allows to act in the best interest of others, at our own individual loss. This is what makes us different.

July 19th: Forgive Them Because They Don’t Know

Assumptions about why someone acts the way the act, says the things they say, or does the things they do are risky and can lead to conflict and contention in our lives. Giving a little bit of grace to others by remembering that we don’t know the root of their actions, and they don’t know the root of our response, gives us more flexibility along with more control over our emotions.

July 18th: Each Master of Their Domain

Be in control of your thoughts, words, and actions. Be careful not to have a negative effect on others. Guard your stewardship against the evil or misguided intentions of others.

July 17th: Don’t Abandon Others… or Yourself

When you choose the right path there will be those who contend with your choice and pester you to come back to their old ways. Getting angry with them or abandoning them will only weaken you in the long run. Instead acknowledge the difference and re-affirm your commitment to your goals and be there for them if/when they come around. The same goes for for that dude in the mirror…

July 16th: Progress of the Soul

What are you really committed to? The word passion gets thrown around a lot these days. Passion is the deepest commitment, need or desire to take part in something. If you are passionate about something it consumes you and without it you are adrift… but having it in your life you are fulfilled.

With this in mind, what is your true passion? keep your passion in your sites and make progress towards it.

July 15th: Doing the Right Thing is Enough

Seeking out recognition for doing what is right diminishes the value of the deed. Doing what is right simply for the fact that it was the right thing to do is thanks and praise enough.

July 14th: A Little Knowledge Is Dangerous

It’s not enough to just know how to do something, you also must know when to do it, and why you are doing it.

July 13th: A Leader Leads

This could go a lot of different ways, but the Daily Stoic highlights that we should do our duty and our good deeds with out expectation of reward or placing debt on others.

If you put good into the world for the sake of your duty and responsibility, holding no expectation of grand reward, then goodness will find you in return.

July 12th: Some Simple Rules

– Never let the sun catch you sleeping
– Work Harder then you think you can
– Learn
– It’s all about the relationships

These are a few of my simple rules, easy enough to say but hard to master.

What are your simple rules?

July 11th: The Start Up of You

There is resounding benefit in focusing on building a better you. We work hard to on a lot of things. Our homes, our cars, our jobs… you deserve and need the same level of focus and attention to build a better you.

While you are filling all your other duties, remember that a healthier, smarter, and more stable “you” will be more effective at executing all your other tasks and obligations.

July 10th: Love the Humble Art

Take what you have been called to do and love the art/craft of it. I have three primary roles, I am a husband, I am a father, and I am an entrepreneur. Each of these roles has some art and craft to it, and it is my duty to master the skills needed to pursue success in these roles to the best of my ability.

July 9th: The Philosopher King

As leaders we frequently face moral and ethic decisions. These decisions are rarely black and white, and are often surrounded by turmoil and potential conflict. The study of philosophy (like stoicism) helps us navigate the chaos.

July 8th: Stop Monkeying Around

There are way more important things to do then wallow in self doubt, feel sorry for yourself, blame others, shame others, make excuses, find reasons, say but this or but that… just stop. You have stuff to do.

Go do it!

July 7th: Our Duty to Learn

Scholarly Skills go beyond memorization of fact and really push us to think in new ways and to understand the morals and ethics at play in our world. We have a duty to learn these things in order to preserve and advance what is good and fight what is bad.

July 6th: Rise and Shine

One of my favorite concepts is to never let the sun catch you sleeping. I love a good morning routine that involves being up before everyone else. It gives me time to study, exercise, meditate and prepare for the day ahead.

Getting up early with a purpose is probably one of the most important habits I have.

What time do you Rise and how do you Shine in the morning?

July 5th: No one said It would be easy

Good people do hard things because they are driven by the need to do their duty and hold to their honor. This is why we have respect those in the “guardian” professions because they have a deeply held belief in doing what is right, regardless of the personal consequences.

Where some may say, whats in it for me… We need to say I’ll do it because it is right.

July 4th: Protect the Flame

Your inner flame is your responsibility. No one else can tend it for you.

July 3rd: Turn Have To into Get To

This has got be one of my favorites so far. So many mental road blocks can be blown away using this little bit of mental Judo. I would call the mastery of this skill an important part of individual success.

Some of my favorite examples:
– You get to exercise
– You get to eat healthy
– You get to read and write
– You get to spend time with you friends and family
– You get to go to work

What else do you get to do?

July 2nd: On Duty and Circumstance

We carry many duties and responsibilities, all of which will require our attention and action at some point (some more then others).

When we struggle with the choice to fill the roles we have been assigned in this life, we should lean on the duty bound obligation we hold to these responsibilities to help us make decisions, to motivate us, and to drive us on-ward.

July 1st: Do Your Job

The readings from the Daily Stoic for the month of July all focus on Duty. For me duty implies action, to DO what is required and needed. Most of us wear more then one hat and are required to fill many roles in our lives. Each of these jobs comes with a duty to act. There are things we must do, and we are duty bound to do them.

I have a duty to myself
I have a duty to my family
I have a duty to my community

It is up to me to seek out and take action to fulfill these duties.