Stoicism’s about focusing on and thinking only about the things you can control. And forgetting about the things you can’t. It’s about focusing on now, and not taking anything–past, present or future–for granted. Because one, your future’s not guaranteed AT ALL, two, at any moment you could leave life, and three, it’ll be over in a blink anyway. And it’s also about not wanting what you don’t have, but being content with what you do.
So get this, right… if it took prominent ancient Stoics like Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus a lifetime of work to achieve a level of constant tranquility, gratitude and ability to be present only in the current moment, and this girl Chloe’s only about 3 or 4 here, doesn’t that make her the greatest Stoic in the history of the world ever? (Or maybe she just really fucking hates Disneyland.):
Stoicism’s also about not being rocked or shaken or devastated when things don’t go as you’d hoped, so…
*or actually… questionSSSS
Answer these… In the video above…
1. Are they at Disneyland right now?
2. Even though Chloe’s parents just told her and her sister they’re going to Disneyland, is there a chance the plans could change again and they don’t end up going? (E.g. they remember something they urgently need to do instead/Disneyland’s closed for repairs/there’s a 48-car pile-up on the freeway and they don’t make it in time etc.)?
Don’t look forward to anything
There’s a real problem with looking forward to stuff, because the opposite of looking forward to something is being bummed that it didn’t happen, and your plans can get derailed by things out of your control at anytime.
If Chloe does in fact like Disneyland, she’s not there RIGHT NOW. Chloe’s like, ‘If we get to Disneyland, okay sweet. But for now, shut the fuck up whatever your name is (her sister)’
Stoicism vs stoicism
Contrary to popular belief, There’s a difference between small ‘s’ stoicism and the capital ‘s’ one. Small ‘s’ stoicism is a detachment from all emotions, which has only a little to do with the capital ‘S’ philosophy Stoicism.
Small ‘s’ stoicism tells you ‘Don’t feel any emotion. So you’re at Disneyland… DO NOT enjoy it, because that’s emotion. Don’t feel joy. Don’t feel pain. Ignore them both’. Capital ‘s’ Stoicism on the other hand says: ‘Embrace the highs and lows. Let them in and acknowledge them. And work at returning as quickly as you can to your balanced state. And when you’re at Disneyland, live it up. Ride every ride 16 times, run around in Mickey mouse ears and giant cartoon hands shouting ‘yaaayyyy’, and lap it up, all the way until they close¹. But only enjoy it once you are there, not in anticipation. And when it’s over, understand that that’s life, and move on to your next present moment.
That’s what the joys of live are –traveling, spending time with good people, doing cool shit… They’re all like going to Disneyland.
So enjoy whatever your Disneyland is. But when you’re there. Not before.
And work at indifference, so if things happen that are out of your control, you couldn’t give two fucks. Like Chloe.
¹ Like me and my mate Jonesy (left) did in 2012: