The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t. What we have influence over and what we do not.
The Daily Stoic By Ryan Holiday
Summary of Daily Stoic By Ryan Holiday
Author says addicts cannot change the abuse suffered in childhood. They cannot undo the choices they have made or the hurt they have caused. But they can change the future—through the power they have in the present moment.
Education reading and meditating on the wisdom of great minds is not to be done for its own sake. It has a purpose.
BE RUTHLESS TO THE THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER
Author says one of the hardest things to do in life is to say “No.” To invitations, to requests, to obligations, to the stuff that everyone else is doing. Even harder is saying no to certain time-consuming emotions: anger, excitement, distraction, obsession, lust.
If you’re not careful, these are precisely the impositions that will overwhelm and consume your life.
SEEING OUR ADDICTIONS
Author says what we consider to be harmless indulgences can easily become full-blown addictions. We start with coffee in the morning, and soon enough we can’t start the day without it. We check our email because it’s part of our job, and soon enough we feel the phantom buzz of the phone. Soon enough, these harmless habits are running our lives
THE ONE PATH TO SERENITY
This morning, remind yourself of what is in your control and what’s not in your control. Remind yourself to focus on the former and not the latter.
In the afternoon, remind yourself that aside from the choices you make, your fate is not entirely up to you. The world is spinning and we spin along with it—whichever direction, good or bad.
CIRCLE OF CONTROL
Author says this is important enough that it bears repeating: a wise person knows what’s inside their circle of control and what is outside of it.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to remember what is inside our control. According to the Stoics, the circle of control contains just one thing: YOUR MIND.
WHEREVER YOU GO THERE YOUR CHOICES
Author says in all circumstances adversity or advantage we really have just one thing we need to do: focus on what is in our control as opposed to what is not.
One thing will stay constant: our freedom of choice—both in the big picture and small picture.
A MORNING RITUAL
Author says many successful people have a morning ritual. For some, it’s meditation. For others, it’s exercise. For many, it’s journaling—just a few pages where they write down their thoughts, fears, hopes. In these cases, the point is not so much the activity itself as it is the ritualized reflection. The idea is to take some time to look inward and examine.
THE POWER OF MANTRA
Anyone who has taken a yoga class or been exposed to Hindu or Buddhist thought has probably heard of the concept of a mantra. In Sanskrit, it means “sacred utterance”—essentially a word, a phrase, a thought, even a sound—intended to provide clarity or spiritual guidance.
ANGER IS BAD FUEL
Author says the Stoics have said many times, getting angry almost never solves anything. Usually, it makes things worse. We get upset, then the other person gets upset—now everyone is upset, and the problem is no closer to getting solved.
THE ENEMY OF HAPPINESS
I ’ll be happy when I graduate, we tell ourselves. I’ll be happy when I get this promotion, when this diet pays off, when I have the money that my parents never had. Conditional happiness is what psychologists call this kind of thinking. Like the horizon, you can walk for miles and miles and never reach it.
FIND THE RIGHT SCENE
Author says Jimm Rohn’s widely quoted line is: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” James Altucher advises young writers and entrepreneurs to find their “scene”—a group of peers who push them to be better.
THAT SACRED PART OF YOU
Author says the fact that you can think, the fact that you can read this book, the fact that you are able to reason in and out of situations—all of this is what gives you the ability to improve your circumstances and become better. It’s important to appreciate this ability, because it’s a genuine ability.
Remember, each individual has a choice. You are always the one in control. The cause of irritation— or our notion that something is bad—that comes from us, from our labels or our expectations. Just as easily, we can change those labels; we can change our entitlement.