Daily Journey – September 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 year.  If you would like to explore these topics with me, and others who are seeking to gain emotional control I these articles to the Mastery of Skill closed facebook group and would love for you to join in on the conversation.

Live Skillfully!

-Jon

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September 30th: You Can’t Touch Me

All of this work we do to build up our physical, mental, and emotional fortitude is done with the goal of becoming untouchable. Not in some mystical or metaphysical sense, but through a sheer capacity for resilience.

– We are stronger so we can endure physical hardship. 
– We are smarter so we can solve complex problems.
– We are the master our emotion so we can claim control.

Master these skills and thrive.

September 29th: Your Actual Needs Are Small

Your most immediate need is air to breath. Then you need water. Occasionally food. Finally, we need some form of shelter from the elements.

The quantity and quality of these things we need can be easily skewed by our own warped perceptions of reality. As we grow more and more successful in our lives we start to feel the need to have bigger and better things.

We want bigger homes, faster cars, better clothes, gourmet food, fancy water, and access to cleaner air.

Try to remember, your actual needs are much less then your hearts current desires. Letting your desires for more drive you will crush you emotionally and ruin your chances for happiness and stability.

September 28th: You Hold the Trump Card

Your response to the things that happen around you, and even to you is one of the most powerful tools you have.

You don’t have to be gloom and doom when the weather isn’t just right. You don’t have to rage when things aren’t going your way.

You get to have a say in how you act and how you feel. Why would you ever give up this power to others.

September 27th: What Will Prosperity Reveal?

Success and prosperity can be a window into the true nature of our character.

If you are prone to being emotionally overwhelmed money won’t change that, a better job wont change it, and having everything you want won’t change it.

Having strength of character and an emotional steadiness that can weather any storm… even success… has more value in the long run then cash flow.

September 26th: What Time Off is For

Have you ever let a day off from your job waste away? How did it make you feel?

On the other hand, the last time you took time off from work and had an adventure with your family, or read a good book, or worked on a hobby or other personal project… how did that make you feel?

“Time off” is better for the mind, body, and spirit when it has a goal and a purpose. An idle day wont recharge you as completely as a day well spent.

September 25th: The Vulnerability of Dependence

There is risk in become overly dependent or addicted to the things and people in our lives. I know I have dependencies I need to work on:

– Without Coffee I get headaches
– When my habits and routines are disrupted my day crumbles
– I link my happiness to others
– I am a addicted to stress
– Smart Phone…

The list could go on I’m sure, but you get the point. What dependencies do you have that make you vulnerable?

September 24th: It Could Happen to You

Many of us have recently been racked by tragedies and struggles due to natural disasters and even some man made crisis.

Hurricanes have ravaged homes and fires have torn through our cities. Terrible earth quakes have shaken Mexico. 
Riots and unrest seem to turn up at a moments notice. Even great structures like the Oroville Dam have shown signs of decay and weakness prompting mass evacuations and unsettling our lives.

But look at some of the responses to these tragedies. There are three categories. Those who were unprepared, those who were capable of survival, and those who were prepared to respond.

Tragedy will come. At a minimum you must be capable of survival on your own. But strive to be prepared to respond because there are bound to be those who need your help.

September 23rd: The Most Secure Fortress

Our mind and it’s ability to overcome the influence of emotion to think rationally is arguably the most powerful resource we have.

If left untended and untrained, it can be weakened in atrophy to the point where it starts to do us more harm then good.

We must challenge ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to grow the fortitude and resolve we need to not only endure what life throws at us, but thrive in the midst of it.

September 22nd: No Pain, No Gain

Do you want to be great? Don’t avoid the challenges in front of you, embrace them. Win or loose, succeed or fail… you will be stronger, smarter, and more effective on the other side.

September 21st: Maintain Composure, Maintain Control

When something happens to push us out of balance we need to be able to get back into our rhythm quickly. This helps us stay on course and in control.

September 20th: Life Isn’t a Dance

Sometimes we dance in life, and other times we have to fight. We should be ready for both.

September 19th: Flexibility of the Will

Having the ability to doggedly stick to your beliefs actions and behaviors can be a valuable ability, but it can also be a liability.

Focus and determination must also be balanced with the ability to assess reason and logic so we do not blindly trudge along a path that will lead us to disaster.

Our ability to think critically about the world around us is the key to maintaining this flexibility in our will power and will ensure our determination is applied to actions that will have a positive outcome.

September 18th: Dealing with Pain

We should not give pain more power in our lives then it already commands in the moments it exists. We empower pain when we give into wallowing self pity and allow our thoughts and actions to be surrendered to our exaggerate sufferings.

Life can hurt, and at times it is very hard… but you have everything you need to survive and even thrive in these moments, so do not let them drag you down.

Face your pain as a reminder of the fact that you are still alive and your existence is a gift more powerful and enriching then the pain you feel.

September 17th: Dealing with Haters

Let someones actions towards you speak to their character and don’t let you reactions to them tarnish yours.

You can’t always control how people feel about you, and no matter what you do you will not get along with everyone.

Controlling your own actions towards others, and reactions to others, is within your control.

September 16th: Anyone can get Lucky. Not Everyone Can Persevere

Perseverance is a character trait that requires preparation and sustainment. When we must persevere we spend our physical, mental, and emotional reserves in order to meet the demands of stress.

Fortune favors the prepared. Taking actions now to prepare for the day you need this strength is critical to carrying you through the hardest of times.

September 15th: A garden Is Not for Show

What are your true motivations for self improvement? Do you want to be recognized for your growth, for your abilities, for your efforts?

If you are improving for vein reasons, you may see results… but the outcome will ultimately be polluted.

Focus on growth for the betterment of you, your friends, and your family. Be a better person so your tribe is stronger.

Grow the garden to feed your family, not to impress your neighbors.

September 14th: A Different Way to Pray

Yearning for some divine intervention or act of fate to present us with the solution to our problems is folly. Instead try seeking the simple strength and fortitude to persevere through your trials.

Instead of hoping that our dreams will come true and being filled with an empty longing we can act to build ourselves up to fight for our own goals.

Seeking the strength to act, the knowledge to solve problems, and the grit to preserver in adversity will get your further then longing for divine intervention on your behalf.

September 13th: Protecting Our Inner Fortress from Fear

Our system of beliefs about the world and our place in it is the fortress that protects us internally from the external pressures that can harm us emotionally. Reinforcing these walls increases our fortitude and makes us more resilient to the storms and other external storms and sieges of the outside world.

If we fail to build up and strength these fortifications we will be less resilient to the negative effects of the problems we are bound to face in life.

We must prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the inevitable events that will test the strength of our Inner Fortress.

September 12th: Be Down To Earth, Or Be Brought Down

Humility goes a long way in preventing stress. Think about it for a minute… you get upset because someones actions hurt your ego and burst your bubble. What if that bubble had never been over inflated in the first place?

Going through life with an entitled sense of power or purpose is setting yourself up for struggle and pain.

Be humble about who you are and what you accomplish. Save you energy for working harder.

September 11th: What Would Less Look Like

We are constantly under siege. You must have a nice car. You must have the newest clothes. You must have the latest phone/computer/game/shoes/flat-screen/speaker… you get the point.

Do you really need these things, or is the psychology of advertising just highly effective at manipulating you into spending your time and money seeking after the things that only add minor value?

Everything you bring into your life requires some portion of your attention to sustain and maintain. With less things you would have more time to focus on things that matter.

Things like you, your friends, and your family. Go after the real value in life.

September 10th: Preparing On The Sunny Day

You must be intentional about your preparations for facing challenges and problems. They are out there and they are coming.

It is very tempting to sit back and relax when everything is going our way. But this is when we have the greatest opportunity to set ourselves up for winning the next fight.

Suffer in the sunlight so you can thrive in the storm.

September 9th: Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Fear is not a problem, it is an emotional reaction to a problem.

Losing control and succumbing to fear will lead to worse results and bigger problems then just facing the issue in front of you. Control you fear and handle the real problems in your life.

Fear is only a feeling, but problems can be solved.

 

September 7th: Our Hidden Power

Strip everything else away from us and we are left with the one thing that sets us apart from the rest of the animals on this planet: our brain.

Our ability to think creatively, learn, and reason sets us apart from the rest of the life on this planet. It made us the apex predator, the inventor, and the philosopher.

It is our Super Power.

September 8th: Do Not Be Deceived by Fortune

Luck… the thought of luck and fortune is unsettling to me. for the ill prepared luck is a fickle master and fortune frowns on their future.

When we are prepared luck and fortune seemingly turn our way. This isn’t some mystical or spiritual turn of the universe.

Success comes because we did the work required to generate the results we want. Luck, fortune…fate, no thank you.

I’m in control of my future, and you are in control of yours.

September 6th: They Can Throw You In Chains, But…

Being in control of your thoughts and emotions is a powerful way to persevere through adversity.

A steady mind and a steady heart will help balance all hardships.

September 5th: Focus on What is Yours Alone

One of the Ten Commandments “Thou Shall Not Covet” could have added if you want to be happy be thankful for what you have.

Getting caught up in envy and jealousy is recipe for doom and gloom. Look around you and see just how rich you are.

Beyond worldly possession, you have the ultimate control of who you are and what you do. Focus on your sphere of influence and control to find happiness.

September 4th: How Can You Know Whether You’ve Never Been Tested?

We need the tough times in our lives in order to forge and refine who we are. These challenges teach us how to use our physical, mental, and emotional strengths to overcome adversity.

We either emerge on the other side knowing we are strong enough to face the next challenge, or knowing what we need to improve in order to thrive next time.

Either outcome is a win.

September 3rd: First, A Hard Winter Training

Every moment spent in preparation is an advantage for your current and future endeavors. Taking “time off” is a myth… time isn’t going to stop… and neither should you.

The pursuit of physical fitness, mindful meditation, and knowledge will do more for you then a day on the couch relaxing ever could.

September 2nd: The Philosopher’s School is a Hospital

You don’t see a doctor because you feel great, and when you go to the hospital you expect there to be some pain in the process of getting better.

Studying philosophy, like setting a broken bone, is not a gentle act. Expect to feel some pain and discomfort as you learn and grow.

September 1st: A Strong Soul is Better than Good Luck

Deliberate hardship strengthens the body,mind and spirit, increasing our fortitude and empowering us with deeper resilience.

Choose to train your body to be stronger and faster, your mind to be sharper, and your spirit to be grounded and focused.

This will prepare you for the inevitable adversity in life.