I've always liked this quote.
But I have a difficult time understanding how to take control over your worries. The worries feel so beyond you, so out of your control.
As if the worry is 100% certainly going to happen/happening. Even though I'm aware these worries are irrational, I can't convince myself that they in fact are irrational. I'll keep tricking myself into believing the worries are going to happen.
Stoicism basically says that all you can control is your reaction (thoughts) about a situation. So yeah a lot of it is easier said then done, but in theory, its safe to say that if you stopped looking at things as life ending, they would be easier.
In his excellent “A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy”, William Irvine devotes an entire chapter to voluntary discomfort.
Seneca contemplated bad things happening, in order to appreciate what he had. The Stoic rival Epicurus practiced poverty to determine whether he really needed what he had. But it was Musonius, says Irvine, who took things to a higher level:
In particular, we should periodically cause ourselves to experience discomfort that we could easily have avoided. We might accomplish this by underdressing for cold weather or going shoeless.
Or we might periodically allow ourselves to become thirsty or hungry, even though food and water are at hand, and we might sleep on a hard bed, even though a soft one is available.
The Stoics didn't embrace discomforts such as cold, or sleeping on a hard floor out of masochism, rather the Stoics advocate for the deliberate use of discomfort to raise the appreciation for what they currently have.
In many ways taking a cold shower strengthens this argument, by voluntary accepting the discomfort of the cold, a decision that is not mandatory for us to make allows us to essentially immunize ourselves for any misfortunate and hardship, both physically and mentally in future moments.
The power of the cold, or exercise for that matter is that it encompasses the will of both the physical sensations and mental.
Epictetus advocates this intentional discomfort.
“But neither a bull nor a noble-spirited man comes to be what he is all at once; he must undertake hard winter training, and prepare himself, and not propel himself rashly into what is not appropriate to him.” (TD, Book One, Ch. 2, p. 10)
As with any practice that defies the norm, there is always criticism of such unusual practices, that to the average person may in fact just seem pointless, only being convincing through the rhetoric dialogue of ancient Stoic writing.
Simply, voluntary discomfort helps us practice being indifferent to situations that to the normal, untrained and unwise would seem stressful and disheartening.
Are you guys into stoicism? I've found that in some ways (not all) it aligns itself well with TRP--especially in regards to self-improvement.