Hello beautiful friends,
I’ve been reading this book every morning, and I can truly say it’s changing the way I think about my work and my day.
Now, when I first heard the term “Stoicism” (one definition: the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint) I had a somewhat-standoffish impression of it. I thought Stoicism was about having no emotions and just being “hard” all the time. I actually LOVE that I am an emotional being and that I feel lots of different things in a given day (or hour – haha) – it makes my world colorful, vibrant, and alive.
But there’s one thing that being emotional doesn’t help with (for me), and that’s being disciplined with my work. I don’t mean that putting my emotions into my work isn’t helpful (it is, of course!) but the issue is when whether or not I decide to ACTUALLY DO my creative work is dictated by my emotional state.
Do you relate?
Being self-employed comes with many challenges, but anyone will tell you that staying “motivated” to consistently create is one of the biggest ones. When I set out to do the 100 Day Project, the reason it scared me so much is because I often let my emotional state dictate whether or not I’m going to write. I knew the biggest challenge would be to push through that. But in fact, through the Daily Stoic, I’m learning that my emotional obstacles are actually my greatest tool for learning and transforming.
As Seth Godin said on The Beautiful Writers Podcast, “they call it singing in the rain because THE RAIN IS THE POINT. If there was no raining, there would be no singing.”
The rain is our challenge to creativity and the rain is what will catapult us to the desire to work even harder to be more creative.
When the stakes get high enough, we need to change. Therefore, the obstacle becomes the way.
Why I Finally Gave Stoicism A Chance
In times when an emotion is an obstacle to me getting something done, my boyfriend has said to me…”have you ever heard of Stoicism?” and I would immediately NOT want to look into Stoicism – because I thought it was all about becoming non-emotional – and I was proud of being so connected to my emotions. What I’ve learned, though, is that Stoicism is, in fact, a philosophy that’s all about using your emotions as a tool to actually getting more of what you want done in the world.
So, of course I watched this Tim Ferriss TED Talk and it sparked me to finally give Stoicism a chance. Joel likes to joke that he can tell me about something 10 times — but then I’ll hear Tim Ferriss say it, and I’ll finally try it. Haha! What can I say, sometimes I just need a few different access points to an idea before I take the leap. :)
One of the reasons I’ve always resonated so much with Tim Ferriss over the years is because he openly talks about his own mental/emotional struggles and how he moves through them. I think it’s so courageous and impressive to become a successful entrepreneur in the wake of (as he calls them in the talk) “depressive episodes.”
Tim talks about Stoicism being his best tool for avoiding “self-destruction and self-paralysis.”
Stoicism is just that — a tool. And it’s a tool that works well for someone like me during certain times (not all the time, but certain times…) when my emotions are affecting my ability to move forward with my writing. Stoicism is the reason I am writing this blog right now, even though I didn’t sleep well last night. If I was going by my emotions alone, I wouldn’t be writing.
The Obstacle On The Path Becomes The Way
The Daily Stoic has a quick insight to read every day and it goes by date. This one, from June 30, is one of my favorites.
- While it’s true that someone can impede our actions, they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes, which have the power of being conditional and adaptable. For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. The obstacle on the path becomes the way. -Marcus Aurelius
After I read that, anytime an “obstacle” would come into my day, I started thinking “time to take advanced action!!” And it would set me on the path to moving through the obstacle.
The Seth Godin Quote That Flipped Me On My Head
Lastly, I am going to share another incredible Seth Godin quote from the Beautiful Writers Podcast. I’ve listened to this exact quote at least 20 times over and I’ve been playing these few seconds in the podcast to everyone I see.
(Seth Godin is definitely at the head of my imaginary round table of advisors right now, if you can’t tell).
“I’m trying to remember the last time I was in the ‘mood’ to create. I don’t think that comes up very often for people who do it professionally.
You know, I had knee surgery last month and I did not ask the surgeon if he was in the ‘mood’ to remove part of my meniscus. Right? You don’t want to just have surgery when the guy’s in a good mood.
I think we make a mistake if we call ourselves a ‘writer’ and then talk about how we need to find the right ’emotional moment’ do to our writing.
The fact that it’s hard makes it worth doing. You have to do it, regardless of what mood you’re in.”
This quote changed how I feel about my work and I know I will reference it for a long, long time to come.
Here you go again, you beautiful, wonderful emotional beings… The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations On Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.
Alright, peace out cub scouts.
Love you big time.