Marcus Aurelius said - “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and thus you have the power to revoke at any moment.” (self.TheRedPill)

submitted by Helloimboby

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.


[–]RamblingBanana 44 points45 points  (2 children)

This post is in the exact repost, word for word. /u/avocadotreelmao posted this exact post 61 days ago.

[–]hellenic-freight 15 points16 points  (0 children)

He isn't the original author, making this a double repost.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

/u/avocadotreelmao has like 20+ accounts that he uses to try to promote his youtube channel. I've seen him all over reddit.

[–]BargainBinBoyfriend 24 points25 points  (3 children)

To anyone who is interested in stoicism, I highly recommend "The Undefeated Mind" by Dr. Alex Lickerman (subtitled "On the Science of Creating an Indestructible Self")


[–]trpadvice 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thanks for this, man. Apart from the recommended reading list, I've discovered a lot of random mentions like yours, which are great, and aren't on any "lists."

[–]BargainBinBoyfriend 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Awesome; glad you checked it out. The first few chapters (about getting dumped and resolving to improve his med school studies) were life changing for me. Pure Red Pill before I knew what Red Pill was.

[–]BargainBinBoyfriend 15 points16 points  (1 child)

Stoicism has always appealed to me. I've read some Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. It's a difficult way of being, but it's something I strive for. There's no use in worrying about shit -- it's either acceptance or action.

[–]throw17453 61 points62 points  (6 children)

I'm distressed by the amount of times this exact same thread gets posted here, and wish I had the power to revoke it at any time.

You sure it wasn't Bill Murray that actually said this?

[–]beta_no_mo 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Ok, good. I thought I was going crazy for a second.

[–]JE_12 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lol true, I see it here like once per month

[–]invader_red 0 points1 point  (2 children)

The irony of your comment is tragic. Here we are talking about stoicism, one of the tenants being not to allow yourself to be bothered by things out of your control. Either you didn't read the article, you don't understand stoicism or....what? Lol I'm serious, do you see the irony of that statement you just made ESPECIALLY in a post talking about stoicism...and apparently you've seen this post so many times...yet still fail to understand it...? I mean my god man.

[–]throw17453 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Haha! Firstly - just for fun, would your response to my comment serve as an exemplar of stoicism?

And you've missed the obvious:

The irony of your comment is tragic

The irony of my comment is intentional

Look at the wording, it wasn't exactly a subtle joke I was making...

[–]invader_red 0 points1 point  (0 children)

"Look at the wording, it wasn't exactly a subtle joke I was making..."

Have you heard of 'Poes law'? If not go google that really quick because if you were being sardonic and "intentionally Ironic" then absolutely, there is no real irony, but inferring that it wasn't "subtle" when being sardonic on the Internet is extremely silly and that practice is doomed for failure. Hence the other two replies to your comment, it's clearly being misunderstood lol. But if you were being intentionally ironic, then yeah we're on the same page.

And as to your first point, it's neither here nor there regarding stoicism.

[–]H42 points points [recovered]

Worry is easy to figure out.

Spend 2 hours deeply worried about something. Really worry as hard as you can.

Did the object of your worrying change in any way? No.

Now spend 2 hrs not worrying about something.

Did the object of your failure to worry change in any way? No.

Now you know the answer.

[–]Koryphae_ 3 points4 points  (2 children)

This is what I thought stoicism is, being indifferent or something.

[–]Subbs 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I've always understood it as being indifferent to what does not matter, meaning those things you either...

  1. Have no influence on.
  2. Do have influence on but which don't actually contribute to any change.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's about separating what is in your power from what isn't, and living a virtuous life. Personally I think some combination of Stoicism and Asceticism is ideal, led by a cultivated personal sense of morality.

[–]perfectbluu 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Shouldn't the quote be "if you're distressed by anything internal"? If someone stabs me, the pain is not due to my evaluation of it - it's cause someone fucking stabbed me.

[–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (8 children)

What about a fresh stab wound?

[–][deleted] 10 points11 points  (1 child)

Just don't worry about it lol

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Honestly, it even applies there. You can train through fear of physical harm. The fear will still exist in a rational man, but he won't be overcome by it. You should still get it looked at, though.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Okay let me stab you in the dick then. Just pretend like it doesn't hurt

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Considering the number of people who have continued fighting with all manner of bullet and fragmentation holes, concussions, lost limbs, blood loss etc, you seriously underestimate conditioning and fight/flight instinct/chemical dump. Fuck, I finished the last 10 days of Parris Island with broken ribs and deployed with a back injury after being told by sportsmed that I was non-deployable but recognized I'd be leaving my platoon under T/O if I didn't go. You can absolutely suck up the pain and push on and push through the fear of potential injury or death. That's a large part of "being a man." If you stabbed me in the dick under the right circumstances, I likely wouldn't even realize I'd been stabbed until blood loss began to be too great for my body to compensate for.









Maybe you just have to deal with your own inability to overcome fear of physical harm.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Maybe your right and I'm a pussy. I'm going to go break my leg tomorrow to find out.

[–]dsfargeg 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The worry is subjective, yet you let it become an unmovable, objective truth.

Here's a quick, broad example: you just landed your dream job, yet you keep worrying you'll fuck up and get fired. You can't stop being stressed about it.

Now on your next day off, walk three blocks away from your home and find the first blue door. Ring the bell and tell the person how you are genuinely worried they will lose their job. How you keep losing sleep imagining what were to happen if they fuck up so bad they get fired on the spot. How that's the only thing occupying your mind right now.

You see where I'm going with this? Some events can and will unfold in your life, some good some bad. Distance yourself from the worries, just live your life and act/react or plan accordingly.

[–]KatanaRunner 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I think the only way to combat or lessen worry is to prepare.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst as we've all heard.

[–]archwolfg 2 points3 points  (0 children)

For the record, this doesn't apply to nerve pain. That pain comes DEEP from within.

[–]harsha_hs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'll tell you how to achieve this. I have gone through enough and learned to handle to worries the right way.

When you face a situation, try to separate yourself from the situation. Think that it's happening to someone else and not you. You'll of course have to deal with it, but think in mind that its happening to someone else. You'll be much better situation to be able to think rationally then and take appropriate action to reduce damage or turn it around! Good luck guys, learn to solve problem yourself, that's how you'll grow up as men

[–]WhoShotMyGoat 1 point2 points  (0 children)

marcus aurelias.. I thought he was just the dead dude from Gladiator.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He says it over and over and over again.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

excellent post, im currently choking on Rp but can't wait till all really sinks in

[–]3NO_LAH_WHERE_GOT 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Tragic how he was so (seemingly) wise but raised a shitty son who basically ruined their civilization. (It's more complex than that of course but still.)

[–]rockstarsheep 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He was a rather sickly man too. Commodus, his son, ranks in the top tier of deranged emperors. He did drain the imperial coffers, but didn't bring down the empire. There were great emperors after Commodus. He certainly was a crazy guy.

[–]fmillar7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don't believe Marcus raised his son directly, most likely the son had tutors to raise him, as Marcus was too busy.

[–]SisyphosOnTop 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ugh.. We got it. You stoicize bro..

[–]Ozymanberg 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My man Phillip lol keep at it. This stuff is priceless for noobies.