6 Stoic Lessons That Will Help You Overcome Difficult Times

Hardly anyone lives life without facing struggles.

It’s just the way the world is designed.

Whenever we face a challenge, we feel as if the whole world is acting against us, and nothing ever works well.

However, the truth is that obstacles are no individual case but rather normality.

“The obstacle is the way.”

To say in Ryan Holiday’s words.

We all face significant challenges in our professional as well as private lives, it’s just normality.

While personal growth and a powerful mindset make it easier to cope with difficulties, setbacks can always happen.

Even with a powerful mind, an unexpected situation might overwhelm us.

And while we often tend to overreact during difficult times, what truly matters is staying calm and sane.

For many years, I used to be sensitive and way too emotional whenever I faced difficulties.

Blaming others for anything that didn’t go as I planned became a habit, and I found it hard to stay calm and productive despite setbacks.

However, I was glad to come across the topic of personal development at an early age and develop mental toughness as well as discipline to transform my life.

After years of personal growth, I can say books played a significant role in my development. During the last five years, I averagely read one book per week.

From ancient wisdom to modern biohacking technologies, I consumed everything that sounded as if it could help me transform into a better version of myself.

Surprisingly, one of the significant helpers during my growth journey were quotes.

Little pieces of wisdom from all over the world, old ones as well as modern sayings.

Whenever I feel bad, I boost my vibration by using some ancient quotations as affirmations and meditating with them.

I am convinced especially Stoic quotations have a tremendous hidden power to be eye-openers during hard times. Thus, I created a little list with my favorite Stoic pearls of wisdom, which can hopefully assist you during your next crisis.

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.” Marcus Aurelius

Too often, we forget about our own power.

Instead of taking control over our lives, we act like a puppet, trying to please anyone around us but leaving out ourselves.

The truth, yet, is that you are the most influential person in your life.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

If a situation or person causes discomfort, it’s because you allow it. Maybe you are not even aware of it, but without your agreement, nobody can influence your life.

You are always and forever the only person that determines your emotions and how you react to stressful situations.

Even during your hardest days, nobody can take your mental strength and calmness away from you.

“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” Marcus Aurelius

Sometimes, we crucify ourselves by being too attached to the actions of others.

Instead of changing our own behavior, we wonder about why someone else did us wrong, hurt us, or even deceived us.

While we can’t control the thoughts and actions of others, we can manage 100% of our own behavior and emotions.

Forgiving others and being more strict with ourselves is not easy, but it’s life-changing.

Only through discipline can we transform our lives. That’s how we build new, powerful habits and let go of old, unproductive, and harming routines.

The combination of both forgiving others quickly and being strict with yourself will not only lead to mental strength but also to more exceptional achievements and productivity as you’ll be able to focus your mind on the essential things instead of worrying about fluff.

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” Seneca

Our mind is the most powerful tool we have, yet, many people use it against themselves instead of making great use of it.

As Seneca already put it into words 2,000 years ago; too often we suffer in imagination.

We come up with excuses and find reasons to be unhappy instead of looking for the bright side.

That’s just the way our brains work.

Evolution has taught our ancestors to focus on dangers so that they could survive.

Our brains are not designed to follow pleasure but rather to avoid pain.

However, while thousands of years ago, being in danger meant fighting a tiger, nowadays, we even shrink back from tiny challenges or get discouraged by negative words of our fellows.

The amount of danger we are exposed to drastically declined, yet, our brains still work the same way and try to save us. Thus, we often suffer in imagination instead of appreciating the moment and being fully present.

“If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” — Seneca

Difficult times often arise from uncertainty.

Not knowing what we truly desire leads to discomfort and a doom-loop of negativity.

It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s most successful people are great decision-makers.

Jeff Bezos, for example, made the following statement in an interview:

“Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70 percent of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90 percent, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.”

Once you know what you want and what your big vision in life is, finding motivation and building discipline will become easier.

Additionally, you will have a much easier time overcoming challenges as you’ll be intrinsically motivated.

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” — Epictetus

Instead of creating a life we love, we often chose misery.

And as is well known: Misery loves company.

The more people we tell how bad we feel and how needy we are, the more we’ll have to discuss.

Complaining and accusing others or external factors for our discomfort is one of the most natural things a human can do.

Taking responsibility and creating a life that truly fulfills us, however, takes effort.

Therefore, most people spend their days, and as a result, a lifetime in misery instead of designing a life they love.

Yet, here’s the sad truth: No one will ever restrain you from wasting your life.

You are the only one who is responsible for your destiny, and you shape it by every action you take.

If you want to live in joy, happiness, and abundance, the first thing to do is demanding a massive habit-change from yourself.

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” — Epictetus

Already 2,000 years ago, the only way to transform your life was known.

Or at least, Epictetus was aware of it.

1.) Decide what you want

2.) Do the work

There’s so much advice about personal growth and transforming your life.

Yet, you can sum all of those up through this powerful piece of wisdom presented by Epictetus thousands of years ago.

You can’t succeed without having a clear goal in mind; you need to say to yourself what you would be.

And you’ll certainly not make any progress without taking massive, determined action; doing what you have to do.

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