A few months ago I finished the experimental phase of “Stoic Living”, a lifestyle experiment (more humanistic and philosophically-actionable I would say) that sought three things: Firstly, to test how someone feels before, during and after spending 50 days living as a solid Stoic in today’s world. Secondly, to see how you can live to embrace Stoic philosophy radically. And thirdly, to create an understandable, real and tested guide on modern stoicism, step by step.
So, this the humble guide for Stoics, day-by-day and step-by-step, I followed to adjust ancient stoicism into a more authentic stoic way of living.
To carry it out this experiment, I decided to put into practice the most useful and practical precepts and teachings that I have been learning since 2017. It was then when I started to get into Stoic philosophy, to live like a Modern Stoic and create a guide on modern stoicism that would serve people I can resonate with and me.
Development of the process: 50 days trying to live like a stoic
These four phases explain what was experienced during the experiment with parameters, learnings, discoveries and conclusions:
34/50 day phase.
This would be an annexe of this guide on Modern Stoicism.
Index — Stoic experiment
It has been 50 days of stoic living (actually more), only interrupted by the Vipassana meditation retreat that I started at day 48. The experiment consists of different sections and forms of analysis — applying and adapting the scientific method as I have been doing in previous experiments:
- Formulation and context.
- Measurement — scorecard with the most quantitative analysis.
- Experimentation — experiential analysis day by day, the most qualitative part.
- Validated learnings.
*I have tried to respect the parameters as much as possible, in the most reliable way possible.
Stoic people are observed to live life better, less irritable and stressed, calmer, more whole and in an almost undisturbed mental state, emotional and spiritual peace. This observation is based on the different examples that can be found both in the other sources that represent the works of Seneca, Marco Aurelio, Epictetus, as well as Daily Stoic and How to be a Stoic, and in people with stoic features who populated and populated the Earth.
2. Formulation and context of the Stoic Life experiment
This experiment is formulated through following a series of “precepts” and teachings that come from the greatest masters of Stoicism. Prolific personalities such as modern Stoics like Robert Greene, Massimo Pigliucci, Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, and of course from a very personal trial and error process, mixing techniques, habits, behaviours and actions.
The context occurs in an individual, who is me, already initiated in Stoic philosophy and art, with enough self-discipline, self-awareness and familiar with this type of experiment on stoicism living, despite not having been the first experience that has involved redesigning my style of life.
3. Measurement — Scorecard
To be able to live like a stoic, it is necessary to analyse, that is why I have designed a scorecard. An excel table where I have been analysing up to a maximum of 34 qualitative and quantitative parameters:
- Sleep on the floor.
- Stoic morning ritual.
- Food recognition and appreciation.
- The use of social networks.
- Emotion in decisions.
- Closed eyes.
- Delayed gratification.
- Negative visualization.
- The dichotomy of control.
- Talk, think, act slow.
- Vital gratitude.
- Conversations about third parties.
- Easy laughing/cynicism/satire.
- Silence in conversations.
- Acts / social events.
- Things that are necessary to live during the day.
- Serenity ritual.
- What I have not been able to control.
- What I have been able to control.
- Amor Fati.
- Stoic meditations.
>>> Access here to the dashboard analytics (qualitative and quantitative)
4. Experiential analysis day by day
This is the part where you’ll find most of the gold found in the experiment and the guide/report.
Every day, I have been collecting all kinds of learnings, lessons and discoveries resulting from all the teachings and Stoic precepts that I have been rigorously carrying out-and also related to leading a stoic life, behaving like a modern stoic and practising stoicism, starting with the situation day (0) until the 50th day when the experiment ended.
Every day is a mixture of actions, learnings, failures, achievements, results and discoveries. Sometimes I quote great Stoics and what knowledge or technique that has that led me to. Also, I have explained the key points of each day for a greater understanding.
Day 0–11/07/19: Wanting to be stoic
React to what I thought they were.
I got into third party conversations.
I laughed when another was being confronted by another, something unusual of a stoic.
I had an attack of jealousy, envy, and lack of affection.
I had dinner in a restaurant, an unnecessary luxury.
I slept in a comfortable bed in a hotel.
I didn’t get about by taxi, just walking.
I decided not to eat at a restaurant.
I overate — greed and craving.
I overworked when I didn’t need to.
I was easily irritated.
I didn’t control what I could control, although I tried.
I was aware of others and not myself.
I said “I don’t know”, “I don’t care” when someone came to me to get something from me, to attack me or to play with me.
Day 1–11/08/19: Starting to be stoic
I self-imposed fasting when I wasn’t supposed to.
I reacted with calm when I forgot my laptop on the plane.
I thought before criticizing a third party, and I didn’t.
I did not praise, nor criticize, something very stoic.
I kept wearing the same clothes.
I did not give up when feeling exhausted.
I was attentive, despite not wanting to be.
I did not give opinions or advice.
I have been silent all day, except for the Dan Brown interview and the videos I recorded.
I acted productively without even expecting a reaction.
Day 2–11/09/19: Being stoic
I decided to speak slower, act slower, think slower.
I didn’t leave the house all day.
I slept 12 hours on the floor with the bed next to me.
I bought less than I should have as if I had no money.
I listened to my friend without any judgment, praise, or criticism.
I didn’t check any social networks; I just entered to post.
Zero gross entertainment, I only watched a documentary on Epictetus teachings, reading books, writing, and watching documentaries on shamans.
Breakfast at 8 pm, fruit and cereals, and miso. Lunch at 11:50 pm, tofu with vegetables.
Three cold showers.
Gratitude for being alive.
Including the serenity ritual as a stoic hack.
Calmer in my actions and thoughts.
Less waste of time, fewer distractions. More focused.
More conscious about decisions and choices.
Day 3–11/10/19: Trying to think like a stoic
I have acted as if I had no food until 9 pm.
I was lightly dressed in the cold for 30 minutes.
I have fully practised the ritual of serenity.
List of things that I can and cannot control to focus on the first list.
90 minutes of retirement.
I have interacted with people on social media without being carried away by distractions, passions, or emotional decisions.
I realize that the urge to eat comes late at night.
The righteousness of spirit, untouchable by temptations.
I have pretended to act as if there was no hot water today, only cold water.
I have seen how I talk to myself, trying to pay more attention, to be more aware, and no, it is not about that, but to train the mind, the emotions, and the spirit.
I have slept for 6 hours on the floor. I have meditated 48 minutes and have practised stoic prayers.
Today I see it more accessible than yesterday.
Day 4–11/11/19: Seeing as a stoic
Talk not so enthusiastically when I get great news.
Be sceptical and prudent when I pursue a project where not everything is under my control; in fact, the result is not under control. However, I will do my best for the sheer pleasure of the action.
Remove the entertainment from entertaining music and change it to what’s much more appropriate: Podcasts on stoicism.
Sleep comfortably on the floor for 7 hours.
I am not taking calls when it is not the time.
Take two minutes to think about everything, wait for everything.
Resisting my mind against the urge to go shopping — pretending I have no money.
I was turning around on two occasions when my mind had made me get up from work to distract myself with something.
Work on negative visualization with things that could and did not happen, but that prepared me for others that did.
Stay away from any entertainment stimulus.
Eat while reading a book.
Eat without oil, or sauces of any kind. Eat austerely.
Finding rejoice in the success of another even at my expense — change my state to happy despite knowing that he has done it using my assets and did not even consult me.
Time results: I am finishing work much sooner than in recent months, with a clear mind and strong emotions, and especially a more exalted soul.
Day 5–11/12/19: Acting like a stoic
No to giving compliments or criticism, even though there could have been quite a bit of criticism on both sides.
Not judging for the behaviour of other people, although there have been reasons, or at least I think so.
Start slightly practising planned suffering, and in one way or another planned austerity.
I have reacted slower to interactions in meetings.
I have handled three situations well, where I was not in control at all.
I have seen my way of acting from outside, and I have worked accordingly.
I have created four moments for myself.
Day 6–11/13/19 — reacting as a Modern Stoic
Every time I react against something, my spirit suffers, and I feel it.
I have denied reacting negatively to situations that I did not agree with three times.
I’ve seen times where I was going to criticize or praise, and I haven’t.
I have ignored three opinions.
I have opened my heart to say that I had no idea of something and that I would only have said something wrong.
I have focused my energies on trying everything I could control and letting go of the rest.
Learning about poverty, shame, and planned to suffer.
The negative visualization today has been key to controlling situations that have happened, and others of excellent calibre that could happen if I trust that everything will happen as my expectations say it will. Fate is far above that.
I avoided using the car by showing living with the unnecessary, with the necessary restriction of not using the vehicle as a luxury.
Day 7–11/14/19: Observing like a stoic
Learn to observe more attentively and know that at any moment, you could react.
Apply things that come to me that I cannot control on 5 occasions and have to let them go.
Change “I do not like the cold” and say “the cold is the cold”.
Work on what I think is necessary for my day and put the other things aside.
I am not worrying about the impressions that I create of things, only about the natural act of them.
Realizing that I was at the place, doing what I wanted to do.
See me as an enemy and at the same time, as a friend.
Knowing that what is going to happen is the result of the actions that I carry out, at least those that I can control, leaving the result to free will.
Give me the excitement, not the pleasure, of eating something different because I deserve it.
Be calmer and collected when interacting with people.
Day 8–11/15/19 — Stoic mindset is all about equanimity
Nothing is personal, or at least it shouldn’t be.
A day where I have not reacted, I have only been visualizing what was happening.
A day in which when I have reacted, I have made it more leisurely.
I have caught myself trying to control people.
The question “What gift am I not seeing?” saved me from falling into an emotional explosion.
I have applied the mantra “give me what you want, take what you like.”
Nothing is achieved with nothing; everything has a price.
Highlight the training of justice by taking the most appropriate actions for everyone.
Use courage to do the right thing regardless of the outcome.
Temperance to avoid being overwhelmed because I cannot control.
Use practical wisdom to navigate complex situations that have arisen in the excellence program, using reason and calm.
Day 9–11/16/19 — Applying Stoicism
I am taking a closer look at what I can and cannot control.
Stopping more seconds before responding, reacting, or acting in front of another person, knowing that I cannot control their reaction, action, etc., but mine.
Applying the “observe” and not “react”.
Talking about third parties has happened despite having seen it and knowing that I was not going to do it, the temptation has overcome me.
I have taken time to be inside when other times, I would not have taken advantage of that.
Happiness for the joy and success of a friend, but without praising or criticizing.
I am feeling no envy or jealousy for other successes or triumphs.
Pause my communication, go slower, being able to use the most appropriate thoughts and words.
When there are programs or projects like PEIG, it is a storm of emotions, decisions, and works that when I realize it takes me by surprise, I have to be on the lookout.
I watch myself every day a little better and more closely.
Day 10–11/17/19 — Stoicism and habits
I add an extra day of fasting.
I pretend that I have no warm clothes, despite the 5º temperature.
I don’t tell others what to do; I let them find out.
I don’t speak unless they ask me.
I look at appearances as appearances, and I don’t let them tell me the story.
I nap on the floor.
I speak of myself with facts and nothing else.
I don’t do the serenity ritual.
I am prepared for the unexpected, and it’s thanks to the negative visualization.
I add love, and I show it, and I don’t hate it.
I do not intercede in the emotions or decisions of others.
I do not retain anything in my mind, I act as I think and I am honest with everyone and with everything.
Day 11–11/18/19: Planned poverty
I was walking around Valencia as if you didn’t have money to travel, or if you didn’t have a car.
I am eating “micro” without doing anything other than the mere act of eating.
Go from Talavera to Valencia, in a whole day, seeing myself if I had no money and acting accordingly.
I was not getting upset at all when I have received bad news, because I have not seen it as bad.
I am being calm when I have had to talk about complex and emotional topics with another person.
I am talking very objectively about a third person.
I was using my walks to connect with the environment and talk to me out loud.
Day 12–11/19/19 — The Modern Stoic
Acting as Seneca advised, “as if our thoughts were subject to public scrutiny.
I have acted equanimously when I have had to respond, intervene, and contribute to offices, meetings, the jury of startups, and even in my conference.
It has been challenging to avoid compliments, but it has been hard not giving them, as well as the criticisms, I have contained them.
Refusal to drive and walk, of course, people have had to take me to places.
I have refused to break my eating plan twice and even change my clothes.
I have held laughter in.
I have acted in reverse of revenge when I have had the opportunity to return someone’s attack.
Faced with a situation of discomfort, I have helped the other person and have allowed the appearance to dissolve.
Day 13–11/20/19 — Master yourself like a Modern Stoic
A day in which I had to explain what I did, why I did it, and how I did it
I have seen how my inertia led me to justifications.
Complaints, regrets, and some anger or envy for not being able to work.
I skipped stoicism at meals.
Cautious about doing something with someone influential.
Speak calmly, not uncertainly.
I have not applied much stoicism today.
An annoying situation that didn’t allow me to work what I wanted, then I understood that it had to be this way, and then I felt fortunate.
I’ve seen how to take feedback better by not making it personal.
I have seen the way to be more honest with people.
I have seen myself dominated by external forces and have reacted in time.
I have seen things from another perspective, even while falling, I have been able to be more virtuous.
Day 14–11/21/19: Stoic mindset
A day of contention, they are not letting emotions or reactions escape.
On this day, I have created a Stoic mindset. I have conceptualized and worked on the power of the mind.
I have been more attentive to my impulses, not letting them reign over my guiding principle.
I am restraining all impulses of food, reaction, work, disconnection, instincts of anger, rage or injustice.
I’ve stopped a lot of conversation with myself, the internal sabotaging who often shows up.
Not taking anything personally, not trying to control what is beyond your control, and not making it your own, or being guided by mere appearances, makes you hardly worry about anything.
I bathed in frozen water early this morning without complaining.
It is more difficult not to flatter than not to criticize. That’s then when you realize how much false there is around praising someone.
I have counted three occasions where appearances and assumptions have led me to judge someone, except that I have not ended up doing it because I have identified the process before reacting.
Day 15–11/22/19: Modern Stoicism also requires stillness
The anger that was inside me had disappeared when I realized that I could only get angry with myself for not having been on time, that it was not that I had less time, it was that I had eaten uptime.
Accepting the story that happens as it is happening, that of two people leaving SOP Madrid, waking me up first thing in the morning to tell me so and then have to mediate. As well as obstacles such as time and delays.
I have put things aside that I saw were entertaining me for no purpose.
I have resisted things that could upset me or change my emotion, I have seen them, and I have let them go.
Praise, but I don’t share it.
I stop and take a breath at any unforeseen moment.
I think about what could bother me, and I think about what could happen to me.
Day 16–11/23/19 — Stoicism brings you calm
I see the traits that make me lose control.
I am not acting like a puppet of its impulses.
I am silent when I do not have to contribute or cannot contribute.
I do not show pleasure or pain; I tolerate both equally.
I move by values and principles, and I feel that.
I rightly reflect on what is within our nature and what is outside.
I see more calmly about what is happening around me.
I take slower action that separates me from things and people.
I see more clearly and distinguish better between what I control and what I don’t.
Day 17–11/24/19: Staying stoic
Practising planned insomnia.
Applying being prudent in my answers.
Seeing the mistakes, I make and asking for forgiveness.
Do not get carried away by what I do not know.
Make a fool of myself, do inappropriate things to be judged and criticized.
I am not complaining despite not having rested.
Do not charge against anyone except myself, because against me is the annoyance.
Impulses have manipulated me.
Day 18–11/25/19: planed suffering (stoic habit) will erase the suffering
The week of planned hunger begins, 7 days pretending not to have food.
I connect with the righteousness of my spirit, I see everything I do aligned with the universe, with myself, with my values, and with my reason.
I see decisions more calmly, I review and examine them as much as myself, not using too much emotion, and when I use it, it is internal, the one that I can control.
I value every bite of food that I eat.
I do not put expectations on anything that is beyond my absolute control.
I flow with whatever happens I don’t resist.
Day 19–11/26/19: Stoicism is not about living on austerity
I decide not to eat without a sabotaging thought to keep me from it.
I get involved in the processes of not complaining, not contributing to negative things, and not subtracting.
I work on not being disconnected, on speaking slower, on acting according to Stoic precepts.
I start conversations with a woman through admiration, values, and virtue, instead of sex. I have not masturbated for 20 days, and I feel whole,
the same with cold showers, as much as I can.
I let things come to me and filter what interests me.
I do not resist either internally or externally.
I focus on being the hero now, not tomorrow, not the day after.
I research and work on my cultivation.
I must continue working on eradicating expectations.
I must not rely on anything external.
Day 20–11/27/19: Moder Stoicism should bring equanimity
Nothing is achieved by nothing; everything has a price.
I see around me that the price I think people are paying is not what I had always believed.
I understand that there is another appearance, the one that is not so vibrant and flashy.
I apply the cautious and prudent way of speaking not to leave my ego and what is not necessary to go, is not required.
I see that I shouldn’t talk so much.
Every interaction I take in is in complete harmony with nature.
I perceive each act as something powerful that changes the result.
I feel that everyone is acting according to the universe; nobody is committing a fault or is misbehaving or contrary.
I know the price to pay, and I decide to pay for it.
I take in with kindness, gratitude, and no worries, the little details inside my house that used to drive me crazy.
I do not take into account things about someone in my house that before I did take into account.
I see goodness in more places than ever.
Day 21–11/28/19: Stoicism cares about what’s beyond thoughts or actions
Today I understand what and how I should do something.
In a live conversation in a webinar, I have realized that I am aligned with everything that happens, how it happens when it happens, because it does have to happen, and the best we can do is react.
I am right when I say that repetition gets anything.
I see how the mind helps me to realize and pause when I have to break, I let my guiding faculty guide my movements, instincts, words and input, as well as internal conversation, and I let it get drunk and form myself.
Today I reached day four of planned hungry.
Today I have learned that I don’t have to use foul language either.
I see that I can use any tool that my soul dictates at the right time.
I have felt more control over my emotions as I go through the experiment and follow the precepts and parameters.
Day 22–11/29/19: Stoic pillars
Justice. Reason. Philosophy. If there is a central message in Stoicism, it is this: Impulses of all kinds will appear, and your job is to control them. Simply put: think before you act, ask yourself: Who is in control here? What principles are guiding me?
Seeing what is happening inside the mind and inside the soul is a daily necessity, witnessing the mind act from the outside and the soul as well.
I have rejected all pleasure, I have purposely gone to the supermarket to buy a large purchase, being on my fifth day of planned hunger, and I have not lowered my arms, desire has pushed me, but I have endured, I have put myself to the test, and I have dealt with it. I haven’t touched any food all day.
I know how to distinguish hunger from craving, from the mind, from a desire from need.
I have walked everywhere, and it has taken me hours, which I have taken advantage of to see the edges of the road and not think about how fast I would have gone by car.
I work, I like to work, I know that I am here for that, and I do not give up anything of what it is as it is.
Day 23–11/30/19 — Modern Stoicism principles
Put excellent and bad only into those things that depend on you.
It is impossible for a person who thinks they’re injured to be happy with what appears to be the cause of the harm, just as they can’t be pleased by the injury itself.
Where there is interest, there is also devotion.
I go into a stoic mode when I am with other people without realizing it, I act more leisurely, thoughtful, calm, mindful, and with behaviour, decisions and speech.
I do not enter into anything that may seem like a cheap judgment against any soul.
I know more about magnanimity, and I try to apply it to the day, it is the greatness of mind, seeing things with kindness, sweetness and harmony instead of becoming irritable, annoying, or harmful. Today in practice on two occasions, being noble and moving no evil gesture when it could be easy to have done so.
I have not taken any judgment, opinion, or point of view.
“Let’s look for something good, not in appearance, but solid and durable, and more beautiful for its hidden parts; let’s find out. It is not far: it will be found; you just need to know where to reach out; but we pass, as in darkness, next to things, stumbling over the same things we want.” — Seneca.
Day 25–12/01/19: Imperturbable Stoicism
What is it to be aware of during the day within us? The moral, the natural, and the reason, and allow the sum of the three things to guide us.
The things that do not depend on us, it is inevitable that they will be neither good nor bad. Do not go with desire or aversion; if you do, you will approach in fear. Go with a clear idea in your mind that everything that can happen is indifferent and does not concern you.
No one should stop working on magnanimity, the greatness of the soul in times of crisis.
When something hits you, let it hit you and do not move, just look at it, observe it and try to find out what is positive you can extract, do not let your ego coax itself with it, stay distant.
Today I had conversations that I felt I should have.
I have seen the imperturbability of my spirit when I have been emotionally attacked.
If you don’t react, if you stay still, you win.
It is vital not to discriminate against anyone, even if you think you deserve it.
Nobody is better than nobody; nobody is worse than nobody.
Look at yourself at all times, especially when you are going to talk or interact with someone, watch yourself.
What hurts or attacks is only in our minds.
Day 26–02/12/19 — Stoics were Modern Stoics already
Observe gravity and balance and avoid any unpleasant behaviour.
“When you go to see a person who occupies an important position, get the idea that you will not find them at home, that you will be prevented from accessing him, that the door will not even be opened for you, or that the character in question will not want to attend you. And if with all this, you must visit them, accept what happens, and never tell yourself that the answer has not been adequate “- Epictetus on the delayed reward.
I have treated the problem as a solution, I have looked at the issue as what is nothing more than a way to get around an obstacle, and then I see how easy it is to solve it.
A problem has arisen at home, an (annoying) noise that did not stop, so I started to listen to it, to observe it differently, and to count the noises, then it stopped being annoying as I followed ith the noise as if it is part of the tranquillity. Then when it was fully normalized, I got up and fixed it.
I have not talked about topics I shouldn’t be talking about and have been silent with clients, teams, and Sven (roommate for a few weeks).
Went on my bike at night for almost 2 more hours and in eight days of planned hunger, I have forgotten hunger and food and appetite for seven days.
When the spirit is strong, the mind has nothing to do.
I have called things by their names, I have not concluded high or low numbers, I have only spoken appropriately, and I have said the right something.
Day 27–03/12/19 — Silence is a tool for Modern Stoicism
“Let silence be the general norm, or say only what is necessary with sparse words. And rarely, only when the occasion demands, will you say something”- Seneca.
It excludes everything that is a luxury.
When you have decided that a thing should be done and you are doing it, never avoid being seen.
“When you are eating with others, remember to think not only about the value that the things that are offered to you have for the body, but also about the value of the behaviour that should be observed with the host” — Epictetus.
Food is the best test of self-control and temperance that exists, because it is presented to us every day, and that’s when, every day, we have the opportunity to work on mental strength. The pleasure of food is revealed when we assimilate it indigestion.
Failure is natural; regret is useless and absurd. As Marco Aurelio said, “the impediment of action advances action.”
I have not been disturbed by annoyances such as repeating things, having many contacts, five unforeseen events that have occurred and have made me modify plans more than six times, and all the interruptions that have appeared that I have not been able to control. It has been as it should be, I have appreciated it, and I have seen it as the opportunity to work on temperance.
Day 28–12/04/19: The soul of a Stoic
“Be careful not to damage the torn part of your soul; If you observe this rule in all your actions, you will undertake with greater security.” — Marcus Aurelius.
Use character as your number one tool, to define yourself, to be your shield, your business card, and to be something that measures you and measures others as well.
The trap of “I’m not going to lie to you”, “I’m going to tell you the truth”, “honestly”, is that we can’t be more exaggerated or flashy, we just have to talk as every moment is like that, not just talk, but act and think.
Today fortune has hit me with mistakes that I have had to make amends that others have made, and they hurt me, my image, brand, and credibility, but what is that? Just appearances, expectations, promises, and words in the air. I am much more than that, and if my virtues go ahead and I keep them, they will be overshadowed by the greatness of my actions.
Fortune has tested me with the locksmith, with a phone that works and a computer that gave problems.
And as if that were not enough, as a final moment, before going live everything failed, and I have not been able to execute the presentation and recording, which I have turned into a great opportunity not only to save the content but to do it better than initially.
I have calmed my impulses, pressure, and anxiety, and I have done the best I know, despite the circumstances.
I’ve been aligned with what was going on; I just had to let it flow.
As Epictetus said, what happens, happens, what changes, changes, what annoys, annoys, I will continue the same way with my temperance.
Today everything has gone wrong, but I have not seen anything go wrong.
Day 29–12/05/19 — Modern Stoicism is about virtue
“When someone mistreats you or talks about you, remember that they say or do it because they think they should. If a man supposes that a true proposition is false, it is not the proposition that is harmed by it, but the man who is wrong in his judgment. He acts like that because it seems like that” — Epictetus.
It is not necessary to judge the behaviour of other people, but our own.
If I surrender to the evidence, accept what I am and admit it, and act like that in front of anyone, that is the closest thing to freedom that we will experience.
To tell someone something without complexes or conceit is not to deceive oneself.
I have not entered easy traps that required your emotional involvement.
I have not decided irrationally but from reason.
I have treated human connections with respect and admiration.
I have always talked to women from stoic values.
I have not reacted with things that wind me up.
I have deleted the emotional comments that I was going to post.
Day 30–12/06/19: Act like a stoic
Before determining someone’s intention, how do you know that they are acting wrong? By perceiving some appearances, you agree to others.
I have found the difference between criticizing and stating facts, naming them without feelings, or anger, or contempt or guilt.
When I evaluated the facts and did not judge them, I was winning because I did not get carried away by what I think they were when they happened.
Today I was going to eat, so I decided not to eat all day.
I haven’t had a single interaction with a distraction all day.
I have given feedback without thinking that someone may be offended or that someone may offend me, which has allowed me to be much more cordial and objective.
I’ve seen things that I can control, and I’ve stopped trying to hold them because my mind just wanted that.
Day 31–07/12/19: Amor Fati
“Don’t look for everything to happen as you would let it happen if you don’t want everything to pass as it currently is — then your life will flow” — Epictetus — The Stoics call it the “art of acquiescence”, accepting, more than fighting for every little thing. Enjoy what has happened, whatever it is.
Amor Fati (love of fate) is not just accepting; it loves everything that happens. Wishing what has happened to happen is a smart way to avoid disappointment because nothing is contrary to our wishes. However, do you feel grateful for what happens? Love it? That is a recipe for joy and happiness.
Learn to remain silent more, without having to get what you know or what you believe out there if you don’t feel it is necessary.
Create sacred spaces full of tranquillity.
Speak from the depths that I have.
Show my most profound vulnerability to a person I admire, respect, and love.
I have allowed internal emotions to flourish without having to worry about what external ones might affect.
Day 32–08/12/19 — Avoid reacting
You have done all that you could — and now, what must happen will happen, you will be ready to endure what has to happen.
The result belongs to someone or something more significant than you.
No matter how much preparation, no matter how skilled or intelligent you are, the ultimate result depends on something that is out of your reach. The sooner you know it, the better everything will go.
Today I have reacted roughly to personal attacks of force. I have let external emotions dominate me.
Impulses have controlled me, and I have given in to outside opinions.
There have been two moments where I was in my things instead of with my people.
The phone disconnected me for a few moments.
I have broken my commitment to be on time because I am too optimistic.
External things have dominated me in many moments: distractions, debates, opinions, advice, judgments, etc.
I have managed to see all this by examining myself, even afterwards.
Enjoy pleasure by not wanting it, have fun by not valuing it.
Day 33–12/09/19 — Be a philosopher
Use the teachings (reminder).
“If I just admire the exhibition, what have I become but a grammarian instead of a philosopher?” — Epictetus.
Today I have ignored any opinion, judgment, and recommendation. I have seen it. Starting with myself before anyone else.
I have downplayed events that might have been considered unpleasant. They were as they should have happened.
Day 34–12/10/19 — Study yourself like a Stoic
And if anything, painful or not painful, glorious or not glorious, presents itself to you, remember that it is now combating. And that defeat depends on the possibility of if the progress is consumed or lost.
“Even if you are not yet a Socrates, you must live like someone who wants to be a Socrates” — Epictetus.
I am calm, and I do not get upset when things do not go as I expect, because this is how I hope it comes out, so there is nothing that one should worry about, everything goes as it should, I do not want something different to happen, I wish that whatever is happening.
I can evaluate myself with more care and detail every day thanks to the examination exercises in the morning and the evening.
Introducing the “stoic meditations” at night, listen to a fragment of the podcast “Stoic Meditations” and extract an applicable idea for each of them, something I do in my notebook.
Day 35–12/11/19 — Stoic courage
I have been guided by honesty, integrity, and coherence, I have made people give up my project, out of conviction.
My values have made me lose money, and I am happy that it is that way.
I’ve admitted mistakes in public that hurt, and I’m glad it does.
I have understood that stoicism is just being calm with what one is. And I’ve been close and kind to more people than I could handle in one day.
“Let’s first study what the happiness we want consists of Once this is achieved; we have to look and examine the things that surround us, to find the shortest way we can reach it.” — Seneca.
Nothing brings us greater misfortunes than that which is decided by rumours: convinced, besides, to have been accepted by the majority of the people.
We live not according to the reason, but by imitation.
Errors, which passes from one person to the next, makes us think but without entering the abyss, taking in the bad examples of others. We will be right as soon as we separate ourselves from others. The crowd has stood against reason, as a defender of its downfall.
There is nothing that I take personally because I know that the person who I have friction with does not want to create that friction.
“Without acrimony, it is not personal and out of respect.”
I act stoic but with my personality.
I look out for others.
I think when something comes, and “hits” is when my perspective changes.
I use mistakes as lessons, but I don’t let them go any further, short with a right attitude, without taking it personally, and with calm and temperance.
I receive criticism as a stoic, as a good opportunity if it is exciting and comes from goodwill.
I admit getting up late, not making it to everything, forgetting one thing, going slower, being behind, I have understood that it was how It should have been.
I got mixed up with the times for the interview with Massimo Pigliucci and missed it. But we both had a tremendous stoic exchange, me being honest and him letting it go without giving it more importance than it has.
I have deleted two criticisms about some work my partners had done, and I have removed what did not resonate with my values.
Day 37–12/13/19: stoic fearlessness
“I have conquered the need to conquer the world” — Skeptic Philosopher
Control over oneself: This means having achieved the self-control required for real and lasting power. Doing that means focusing and working on the inside more than the outside.
I have realized thanks to Josef that I was criticizing when I could and should be generous.
I have been facing a violent situation in a fairway.
I have controlled what I could manage, the inner boycott of my mind.
I have restricted my food, I have deprived myself of this need because I wanted to, to strengthen my mind and spirit.
When I wanted to go to bed, I came back and worked for 90 more minutes.
I do not give importance to anything external or material, I prefer it, but I do not crave it.
The place and life in which I find myself is a stop, not a destination. Will we be stuck here without even knowing it?
Replace anger with the opposite. Act with the opposite of irritation when it finds you.
Day 38 12/14/19: your role as a stoic
Play the role that has been designated to you. If you accept it and nurture it, you will go far.
I ignore the opinions of others.
I have much broader criteria than all this.
According to the nature of things; not to depart from it and form according to its laws, taking it as a model, that is wisdom.
“After getting rid of those things that irritate us or cause us, terror, we achieve perpetual tranquillity and freedom” — Seneca.
Instead of pleasures, instead of other satisfactions that are insignificant and fragile, instead of anything pernicious, on that same path of bewilderment, immense joy arises which is unbreakable and continuous; then comes the peace in beautiful harmony with the spirit, and greatness, in close union with meekness.
I learned some Stoic Super Habits:
- Stoic Moral Diary.
- Deprivation of pleasure, comfort, and luxury.
- Morning meditation.
- Not paying attention to anything that I think is attacking me.
- Stop and take in what’s around me more and observe it without haste.
- See the opportunity in adversity.
- Be pleasant when someone is rude to me.
Day 39 12/15/19: Understanding Modern Stoicism
“The universe is changing. Life is an opinion “- Marco Aurelio. Our understanding of what something is is just a screenshot — a fleeting opinion.
The happiness of life consists in having a free and elevated spirit, without fear but safe and placed outside the reach of fear and ambition; a spirit for whom the only good is in
honesty and the only evil is in vileness.
I have stopped doing things because I have committed myself to them and their natural rhythm, practicing Wu Wei.
I have flowed with what has happened, and my day has completely changed in a direction I did not expect, and despite not being comfortable, I have adapted perfectly.
When unforeseen events have arisen, I have celebrated them, and I have been happy and even verbalized them, making their importance diminish.
I have withdrawn into myself, and I have relived the moment I died, I have written about it, and I have shared it.
Day 40 12/16/19: Eliminating judgments is part of the Stoic philosophy
I have not judged anyone for good or bad.
I have not let anything dictate my joy, nor peace, nor sadness, nor joy or pleasure.
The heart rules but with the logic supporting it.
I keep depriving myself of all worldly pleasure.
I move away from vices, the material, the gross, and I approach the human and virtuous.
I am frequently committed to the work that I have been able to do.
There is nothing that has mattered to me more than my ability to do the things that I was supposed to do because they did well in me.
Day 41 12/17/19: A modern Stoic does not want anything
Live well, nothing else, we must live what we create, not what we can.
If someone offends you, why should you be offended? And if it’s not true, why should you be offended by the truth?
Do not judge another person for something that does not seem right; ask me who am I to judge something that does not depend on me? This has changed everything.
View with kindness and compassion the moody actions of others. Understand the discomfort of others.
Take things personally without the need for it to be personal.
Adapt to the voice in my head and let what I say be okay.
What we have is what we have harvested.
I am sleeping on the floor at my grandmother’s house, being stoic, and explaining to my grandmother why I sleep on the floor and why I wear little clothes despite the cold.
Day 42–12/18/19: Reasoned choice
Resist the temptation of sex.
I have come across the temptation of unplanned food.
I have eaten sweet food out of craving; I have punished myself; I have let my mind sabotage me.
I have returned to the right spirit, thanks to the example of my grandfather.
I have cordially dispatched passions that I have encountered along the way.
Days like today are the ones that take a lot to keep up.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of instant gratification like I did today.
The day has been channelled thanks to a return to the reasoned choice of my guiding principle regarding decisions, thoughts and feelings. She is never fooled.
Day 43–12/19/19: Stoicism and being present
“Do not think everything is to happen as you would let it happen, but to wish everything to happen as it currently is — then your life will flow” — Epictetus
Today, as a stoic, I have found myself challenged, today, I have had to overcome myself, by force and without help, like every day.
Today I have been calm in the face of surprises that I have brought on myself.
I have rejected negativity, I have overcome adversity.
Each day, the more I cultivate the spirit, the more unstoppable I feel.
You don’t have to explain; you don’t have to shut up either, you have to be what you are and go for it.
Stoicism aligns your soul.
Food, problems, rest, sports goals, success, failure, everything is the same.
I can give to people because first I have given to myself, and before that, I have given myself everything that is beyond me.
Day 44–12/20/19: Stoicism and Amor Fati
It is the observation we make about things that changes everything.
Looking at the judgments you make while you make them and don’t react to them or carry them out is impressive.
The highest good in the judgment itself and the habit of the best intention.
What is there beyond virtue? Nothing, herself.
Amor Fati helps you reconnect with what is happening and see it as what should happen.
What you live is what you have to live.
Today the reasoned choice has driven all the decisions, efforts, and sensations that I have experienced during the day.
When you let your governing faculty decide without emotion, and you become aware that what has to be done has to be done by you, there is nothing else that can be crossed on the way; you will overcome it.
I think that I can always find a part of what I do if I know how to look beyond appearances or the observations we make about what we see.
There is no wrong part; there is only one event.
Sometimes in order not to get so upset, we just don’t have to listen to everything or pay attention to everything but guess what, we will see the negative part before the positive one, that’s how we are.
How do you know that you are making progress? You will know it by your actions, yes, do not always expect to be right and do it all at once. It will go very little by little, but you will progress.
I accept that I will be worse than I am one day, and it will have to be what it is.
The issue of the podcast had to be experienced as it happened, it had to be deleted, it was difficult for me not to find the solution, to investigate, and to take a look into my hard drive and the things I want to do. When you don’t achieve something, let it be.
Day 45–12/21/19: We embrace modern stoicism
Today I have taken a step back before arguing with someone; I saw the reaction, I saw the negativity.
Today the negative visualization has worked; someone has tried to boycott the program. I have lived a situation of tension, and at first, I have doubted, I have fallen, I have reacted, I have created a judgment, I have judged, and then I gave the pass to my mind. I even pressured him into leaving the program, but then I saw it wasn’t the right path and put everything in its place.
Emotional shocks that have worked and others that have not.
Equanimity when it comes to seeing things, making them see and reflecting them in others.
Do not value good or bad, or right or worse, or things I like or I don’t like it.
Be attacked by appearances. I was being overwhelmed by my ego.
I prepare to accept any criticism, and I do not see it as a criticism, but as help.
Day 46–12/22/19: Living a stoic life
Today I have done an essential exercise in stoic equanimity, without judging, without giving an opinion, without going into battles, being on the neutral side.
I decide when an emotion or feeling of another enters, and why, and how, especially when I find myself amid situations of grief or joy that come from others.
I realize that virtue is above even feelings.
I realize that people can overcome incredible adversity.
I am where I should be when something happens that I resist, I end up seeing it through the sensations that run through my body.
Acceptance of the change that the program undergoes, I recognize it, I embrace it, and I let it flow as it has to rush, only this way I know that I do not have that mental tension.
I see the reactions, and I don’t react, I walk back and sit down.
Day 47–12/23/19: A Stoic goes beyond his/her passions
“Passion can never penetrate a well-developed mind” — Buddha
When you find emotional confrontation, it is when stoicism works, if you practice it, it helps you see beyond your reaction because it connects you with what is happening inside you, but before exploding, it examines you.
On this day and in adverse situations, or confrontation, I see the usefulness of this philosophy of action, being able to stop before acting and see that there is nothing against me even though it may seem like it, as well as not feeling that nothing is disturbing my spirit, I am calm and collected, I am confident. After all, we are doing good because we are connected with what nature has in store for us, and because we are in control only of ourselves, accepting what happens as something that happens, nothing more.
Ending PEIG Valencia and realizing that something that disturbed me was myself trying to beat time, something impossible, I have been going quickly and anxious to do it, and that has abstracted me from the moment, on many occasions.
Day 48–12/24/19: The good Stoic
Let’s align our minds with these four critical stoic habits
Accept only what is right.
Work to do good.
Only work on our needs and desires that are in our control.
Accept what nature has in store for us.
Today I experienced a definitive limit test of stoicism, I had to deal with something that was happening, and it was beyond my control. The test was when a car hit me, and the driver was drunk and on drugs, and was aggressive and about to attack me. I remained calm, I examined what was happening, and I did not react at all. I observed, I took a step back, I saw that I could not and should not control anything external that was happening, only my reaction that was wise, temperate, fair, and insightful.
So, I wrote down the license plate, and I left without emotional disturbance in the least, I sorted out what I needed to and left the matter to someone else. On top of that, today is Christmas Eve, so the services aren’t active, and tomorrow I’m going on a retreat for 10 days. Fortunately, it offered me another opportunity to be a stoic and see what it should be like that, and not let it bother me, otherwise, it would have happened differently.
During the day, those events that I fear so much and that I try to visualize in negative visualisations have appeared. Although you cannot predict them exactly, you can prepare for something that will try to hit you, the incident that occurred and some unexpected calls, getting up a little later than usual. This, and some distractions made me miss my day, except I am fulfilling it because I have understood that the day should unfold in this way, it is the way.
Sending profound messages, not having many reactions, measuring my impulses, taking care of appearances, inner peace, being calm.
Day 49–12/25/19: The Maxims of a Modern Stoic
These are the maxims:
When someone believes in a greater power, there is no such thing as an event that goes against the plan.
Pretend that every event — desired or unexpected — happened to happen that way, specifically for you. You would never fight it, or would you?
Day 50–01/06/20: Stoic Virtue
May virtue be the first and may she carry the flag. Not because of that will we have less pleasure, but it will be us who dominate and moderate it.
I am just focusing on the task at hand.
Like a stoic, I am despising distractions, external contacts and all external reality.
I am not paying attention to anything that doesn’t appear in my immediate path.
Being here and now, with all my energy.
I do not let any chance of schedule, meeting, a decision that affects me but that I cannot control, affect me negatively, what I say to myself, and to the other parties is “this is life at its best.”
Day 51–01/07/20: Stoic mode “on”
Maybe today will be the day you live in happiness or wisdom. If so, don’t try to grab onto it and not let go. How long it lasts is not in your control. Enjoy it, acknowledge it, remember it. Having it for a moment is the same as having it forever.
Memento Mori: Remember that you are going to die, that you will not last long, and that the honours, merits, defeats, illnesses, recognitions, successes, sorrows, deaths, and anything else, have already been experienced by others who have come long before you. And where is everyone? Dead.
Amor Fati: does someone die? Is someone born? Are you fired? Did you get up later and didn’t do what you were supposed to do? Love that fact.
Did you miss a great opportunity? Have you done something you are not proud of? Love that fact.
I can’t control time, result, other people, social media, my family, the market, clients, trends, media, customer services, traffic, luck, the value of the euro, but I can control how I play if I can control my actions and if I focus on this, it will be enough because I will have more energy and will live more connected with the only thing that matters and can create new results.
Now I see the learning of anyone I come across, I always get something positive from that person who works for me, even from people who criticize me, doubt me, or attack me.
I am focused only on essential tasks.
Devastation — that feeling that we are broken and shocked by an event — is a factor in how we probably view that event in the first place. Nobody can be hurt by the fact that it is snowing in the summer, because we have accepted (and even anticipated) those kinds of events or happenings. What about the occurrences that surprise us? We might not be so shocked if we take the time to consider the possibility before it happens.
How to be stoic and how to live stoic (50 days — 50 videos)
Additionally, here you can find the list of videos on Youtube with the 50 videos (and 100 videos more) about modern stoicism, being a stoic, and living like a moderrn stoic, that I recorded during the experiment.
(Please, remember to select English subtitles in the Youtube video settings as it is in the Spanish language)
You will find more videos because I have continued to record videos about leading a stoic life after finishing the experiment.
5. Validated learnings
In this section, you will find the most relevant validated learnings resulting from this 50-day experimentation to live stoic and be stoic:
Identify the more, better, someday, and see it for what it is: the enemy of your joy and fulfilment. Choose it or choose your happiness. The two are compatible with us. Lead your impulses.
Do not examine what other people (including your brother, father, mother, friend) are doing, but what you must do so that your will is following nature. Others will not harm you unless you decide so, But you will be hurt when you think you are hurt.
Use character as your number one tool, to define yourself, to be your shield, your business card, and to be something that measures you and measures others as well.
Every day in the morning, you love what happened the day before, and you want what happens today to happen just as it happens.
No matter what happens, what happens will not depend on me, primarily the result, because there will always be something that escapes my strength, control, and influence, something that I can only accept and work towards, or better yet, act with. This is letting myself be carried away by the current.
What fate has in store for us is like a doctor’s prescription; it is good for us and our life and destiny.
Change is not right, and the status quo is not bad. Both are just as they are. Events are objective. It is only our opinion that dictates if something is good or bad (and therefore if it is worth fighting for or against) A better attitude? Decide to take advantage of everything. But to do that, you must first stop fighting. So to be able to change with the change and accept the role that comes, you must first stop resisting, and then not go with the good or the bad, just with what is, and that’s it.
Whatever you perceive as deficits, remember that there are positive qualities that you can develop that are not dependent on genetic accidents. You have the choice to be true. You have the option to be worthy. You can choose to be tough. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be uncorrupted. You can choose to be frugal and prosperous. You can choose to be superior to others. You can choose to persist in difficult situations. You can choose to avoid gossip. You can choose to be funny. And honestly, aren’t these traits, the result of effort and skill, more impressive than genetic ones? So show the qualities of the soul, the features of virtue, the principles and values that any human being can develop, cultivate them, and make them flourish, there is nothing more powerful and admirable.
The only way to have power is to have power over yourself; it is to control, dominate, train yourself, the inner work.
The universe is in a constant state of change. Our nails grow, as well as our hair, we cut them, and they grow back. New skin replaces the old.
Travelling memories replace new ones. Nothing is except change in this fluidity which is called life and universe, not even the most sacred things. So if everything is changing, let’s change with it at the same speed, or even more, the rest is just an excellent opinion of what we think it is the way it is.
Stoic people resist the notion of believing that something new will happen. You know that with a few exceptions, things are almost as they always have been and always will be. You are like the people who came before you, and you are a small contribution before people like you come after. The land is forever, but we come, and we go. No matter what happens, there is something that will not change. We are born, and we die.
Even if you are a victim of something, disease, injustice, abuse, you can eradicate it — almost immediately — if you eliminate the victim mentality. Let’s not confuse acceptance with passivity. The key is that no matter the weakness or disadvantage, it is more in your psyche than in the facts in the world if you eliminate the judgment, it will lose all strength and importance.
We are the presidents of our lives — and knowing that our powers begin and end find a reasoned choice — we would do well without internalizing that same attitude. We do not control the things that are outside our sphere, but we do control the attitudes and responses to those very events — and that is a lot. It is enough that we go for each day knowing that there is no one to pass the responsibility on to. It ends with us. Everything begins and ends with us, not with other people, the economy, circumstances, politicians, or your partner; it’s you, everything you, just you.
The barriers to accountability are immense. It’s so easy to complain about this or that or to try to excuse yourself and justify yourself for the things you’ve done. But that gets you nowhere and never eases the load. So save yourself the complaint, the excuse, the justification, or explanation.
Life is a constant state of change, like us. For a Stoic, bothering about things is mistakenly assuming they will last. Hitting ourselves or blaming others is like trying to catch the wind. To resist change is to assume that you have another choice mistakenly. Everything is changing. Accept that. Flow with it. That is why there is nothing that remains static, apart from our life, what comes to us, what hits us, we live or have, accepting it is the key to dancing with it.
Hope, and fear, are projections into the future about things we do not control. Both are the enemy of this present moment in which we find ourselves. Both mean that you are living a life in opposition to Amor Fati. It is not about overcoming our fears, but understanding that both hope and fear contain a dangerous amount of what we want and care about. And sadly, love is what causes concern. Key learning: measure fear and hope equally; both are enemies of what we can control because they are uncontrollable.
Our faults are under our control; that is why we use philosophy to bring them to light and make them visible. Other people’s faults? That is the task of others. Leave other people to their faults. Nothing in Stoic philosophy stumbles you to judge them — only to accept them, especially when we have so many of our own. Key learning: We already have enough with our faults to have to worry about those of others.
Our mind must be aligned only with what depends on us and surrendered to the other that comes. This is how a stoic acts,
What happens for you, when it should, why it should, and how it should, what are you going to do against it? When something happens, and you live it, even for a few minutes you have already lived it, nobody can remove it, it is yours, if you remember it, you identify it and you will already have the interiority with you, you will not need to live it again, this is practical wisdom.
What impacts us and destroys us happens because we think that it could not happen to us, if we want to avoid it, we must believe that it can not only happen to us but that it could already be happening to us, understand what is happening. It is okay because that is out of our control, and there is no universal law that says it will not happen to us.
When a person examines himself, watches takes care of herself and becomes a student of their emotions, impulses, actions, and behaviours, that person inevitably ends up growing. Even over time, they became a master of their own life. This is what I have understood in one way or another by conducting the stoicism experiment.
Stoicism, due to its moral and practical effectiveness, becomes a kind of operating system that helps us decide. And also to act under human principles and values such as integrity, justice, frugality, practical wisdom, courage, honesty, dignity, humility, righteousness, and universal love. This gives us a vital compass for always navigating towards personal and professional excellence, that is, towards human virtue.
Entering into such an experiment, following the life example of a Stoic from ancient Rome / Greece has exponentially improved my life, my relationships, my work, and how I deal with anything, especially myself, death, and what fate already provides.
7. Limitations of living like a modern stoic
This hypothesis may not be representative of everyone since the experiment is personal.
This guide/report is not a step-by-step manual of what you should do if you want to know how to live like a stoic, but rather a series of clues that will help you create a better life by living as a prudent, strong-spirited, fair, and courageous and magnanimous person.
The results are shown here, as well as the findings, which may not work as well for other people.
The teachings and lessons learned could have other meanings for other users.
It is proposed that Stoicism, like any other similar philosophy, should not be totalitarian or unbreakable dogmas, they are there to play with and extract the best from each one.
I am aware that many of the thoughts, actions, and ways of being that now result from the experiment can also derive from the previous years of study and effort.
End of the Stoic Life experiment — being Stoic is a great hack.
I recorded this video at the end of the last day of the experiment; it is the best way to conclude this report on what it has meant to live as a stoic and try to be a stoic for 50 days.
(Please, remember to select English subtitles in the Youtube video settings as it is in the Spanish language)
And for closing:
“The only thing that I now demand of myself is not to be equal to the best, but to be better than the bad guys; for me, this is enough to start on some of my habits, or just a few of them, and censure my mistakes. I have not yet reached true health, and may not arrive so soon: I am taking calming drops rather than remedies, and I’m very happy that it hurts less often. Compared, perhaps, to the weakness of your feet, I am a great runner.” — Seneca.
Photo credit: FitMind // Google.
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Isra Garcia = 60 clients, 61 businesses advised, 415 speakings, 4.610 posts, 37 projects, 8 books, 520 lectures, 7 companies, 22 adventures, 42 experiments, ∞ failures. So far…
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[Originally published at https://isragarcia.com]