We’re surrounded by advertising slogans. “Think Different.” “Just Do It.” “Eat Fresh.” “Stronger Together.” “Make America Great Again.” They get embedded in our brains. Heck, I still think of “Where’s the Beef?” pretty often despite its age (and general annoyingness).
How about some philosophical slogans instead?
That way, if they get stuck in your head, they might at least do some good.
I’ve been reading the 2016 Stoic Handbook as part of Stoic Week, a period of contemplation and an effort to “live like an ancient philosopher” being pursued by several thousand people worldwide. (If you register on the group's site, you should be able to download the handbook yourself. It offers some excellent instructions for using Stoicism in your life, including a week of readings and meditations.)
One of the first things that struck me in this book was a set of sayings from Stoic philosophy, words that can help people recall the philosophy’s basic precepts in shorthand. Here are a few to put to use starting today.
Here are a few more from me, inspired by Stoic teacher Epictetus’ writings:
These would make good Post-It reminders. Or they could pop up on our phones (Stoic iPhone notifications, anyone?)… Many of these are nearly short enough for Twitter.
The more you say them, the more they seem to sink in. It’s not exactly daily affirmations, but it could be a powerful way of reframing things in our chaotic world. To me, they rise above inspirational office posters, and help me access important ideas quickly.
Stay tuned for my next post. I’ll start to explore why these maxims matter today …and how they get at the root of Stoic thought.
About The Stoic Mom
I'm a writer, editor, and mom to two daughters in Northern California on a journey to discover how Stoic philosophy and mindful approaches can change a parent's - or any person's - life.