What is this Stoic philosophy that you speak off?
Stoicism is an ancient school of thought that was initialized by Zeno of Citium over 2300 years ago in Greece. Stoicism takes its name from “Stoa Poikile” which means “painted Porch” in ancient Greece. This is where Zeno and his fellows discussed their ideas mostly.
The central concept of this school of philosophy are simple. It teaches us that the world at best is unpredictable. Life is brief and fleeting (Memento Mori). Stoicism is all about being steady, strong and taking charge of one’s life. Above all, stoicism tell us that the core of our complaints lies in our reactionary instinct to rely on emotions, rather than logic.
Stoicism is about action and not about endless rumination of ideas.
What has this to do with Creativity?
Good question, glad you asked.
Creative kind of any kind like creating a sales pitch, preparing an objection handling document or just creating a sub 20 second “Elevator Pitch”, at the end of the day it’s about transmission of an idea to the mind of the individual, on the other end, in a way that makes maximum impact. Stuck in this age of cut throat competition and in this never ending rat race, the entire exercise can be dogged with self doubt (imposter syndrome) and outright intimidation.
This is where stoicism comes in.
Following are 9 thoughts taken from the Daily Stoic compiled for people with a creative bend.
- Find the Right Scene: Stoicism takes its name from Stoa Poikile, a place where this philosophy too shape when like minded people met to collaborate and move towards a common goal. The company that you keep matters. The circles that you move in will either motivate you to work towards your target or there will be deviation. Be smart about the company that you keep.
- Rise and Shine: Be a self starter and be accountable to yourself rather than a “boss”.
- Have clarity of intentions: You must know your intention for your action for the day, or the moment clearly in your mind. This clarity will help you take definitive actions towards a clear objective.
- Accurate Self Assessment: One way you can stunt your growth for sure is to have a higher or lower understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Self asses and consider feedback from others. Build on your strengths and improve on your weakness.
- Fuel the Habit Bonfire: We are all creatures of habit. Some habits make us, and some, well lets just say that we’d be better off without them. Boost the habits that are working in your favor and say bye to the ones dragging you down.
- Work in progress: How do you avoid stagnation in the work that you do? Always remind yourself that you are a work in progress and the best of you is still to come. Learn new things and attain new heights.
- Seek out shipwrecks: I am not going to para phase this one, take is as it is “Jorge Luis Borges said whatever happens to the creator must be seen as a resource. Ryan Holiday said The Obstacle Is The Way. Everything is material. If a project flops, learn from it. Shipwrecked, evicted, or house burnt down–use it, turn it into good art.”
- Dealing with haters: Words of praise are same as words of criticism. They don’t/shouldn’t matter. Having said that, analyse the critic and the criticism. Criticism from legit people must be taken into account.
- Love your craft: Dive to the beginning of how and when you started out to do what you do now. Regardless of success or failure, love what you do and do what you love.
I hope these stoic principles help you and remember, any attempt to change is a gradual process, plan for it and love yourself enough to stay the course. Decision will get you started and discipline will keep you on course.
You can find a more detailed version here.
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