Stoics are my personal favorite philosophers, their teachings are soo relatable and easy to understand. Today I found about a few keys to happiness from a stoic perspective.
This blog post will tell you about seven keys that can help you live fulfilled life, and things that will induce happiness.
Last blog post I shared was about five questions for self reflection from stoics and it got amazing response.
Stoics on happiness, 7 Keys
Stoics had a simple rule of thumb;
The Stoics thought that the main goal in life was to be a good person. They believed that being a good person can make us happy and fulfilled.
When we try to be good people, we can have a happy life. That’s a simplest thing they did to figure out these seven keys to be a good person which will eventually make you happy.
“It is clear to you, I am sure, Lucilius, that no man can live a happy life, or even a supportable life, without the study of wisdom.”Seneca
1. Be content with little
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
For the Stoics, being content with little meant not needing much to be happy. It’s about finding joy in simple things and being grateful for what we have.
The idea is that if we constantly crave more, we’ll never be truly happy. We’ll always want more, and we’ll never be satisfied. But if we can learn to be content with what we have, we’ll find more joy in our lives.
Of course, this is easier said than done. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us we need more, it can be difficult to be content with little. In fact sometimes we desire having that car or big house, which isn’t bad but regret of not having is wrong practice.
But the Stoics believed that by focusing on what we have rather than what we don’t have, we can find more happiness in our lives.
By appreciating the small things, like a warm cup of tea or a beautiful sunset, we can cultivate a sense of contentment that can lead to a more fulfilling life.
2. Be content with what you have
According to the Stoics, being content with what you have meant not being too obsessed with wanting more. It’s a key things which is also shared in several other philosophies and even researches
It’s about finding happiness in what we already possess and expressing gratitude for it.
They believed that the pursuit of more and more would never really satisfy us and that it is only by appreciating what we have that we can experience true contentment.
“We have reached the heights if we know what it is that we find joy in and if we have not placed our happiness in the control of externals.”Seneca
However, this can be challenging to practice in today’s world, where we’re always being told that we need more to be happy.
It’s challenging to be satisfied with what we have and not continuously crave more.
Nonetheless, the Stoics believed that by shifting our focus from what we don’t have to what we already have, we can cultivate a sense of contentment that leads to greater happiness. Which in other words can be said gratitude practice.
3. Do good for others
I love that how simple it is to understand these principles. You would need to ask yourself first “Am I really doing good for others?” questions bring clarity (read my blog post on stoic questions on self reflection).
To the Stoics, doing good for others wasn’t just about making the world a better place (although that’s certainly a plus!).
It was also about cultivating a deep sense of purpose and happiness within ourselves.
When we help others, we experience a powerful sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that can’t be replicated through any other means. Plus, doing good for others helps us develop important virtues like empathy and compassion, which are essential for living a truly virtuous life.
Of course, the Stoics weren’t advocating for us to help others purely for our own benefit. They believed that doing good for its own sake was crucial, and that the act of helping others was its own reward.
Nonetheless, when we help others, we create a positive ripple effect that can transform our lives and the lives of those around us.
4. Look for the best
Have you ever found yourself caught in a downward spiral of negative thoughts and emotions?
The Stoics had a solution for that: look for the best in every situation.
Instead of focusing on what went wrong, they encouraged us to find the silver lining and look for the opportunities that arise from even the toughest challenges.
This doesn’t mean that we should ignore or dismiss the negative aspects of life. The Stoics recognized that life can be tough, and that it’s important to acknowledge and process our emotions when things don’t go our way.
However, by actively seeking out the good in every situation, we can cultivate a more positive and resilient mindset that can help us navigate even the toughest of storms.
5. Focus on what you can control
Instead of worrying about things beyond our control, they urge us to direct our energy towards the things we can influence. This mindset helps us avoid getting bogged down by the stresses and uncertainties of life, and instead empowers us to take charge of our own destiny.
One of the most famous Stoic quotes on this topic comes from Epictetus, who said,
“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”
This advice encourages us to focus on our own actions and decisions, rather than getting caught up in external factors that are outside of our influence. By doing so, we can avoid feeling helpless or overwhelmed, and instead feel confident in our ability to shape our own lives.
In practical terms, this means focusing on things like our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, as these are all within our control.
Rather than worrying about the opinions of others, or the outcome of events beyond our control, we can focus on developing our own virtues and living a life of purpose and meaning.
6. Define success for yourself
The Stoics believed in setting our own standards based on our unique values and priorities. By doing so, we can live a life that is true to ourselves and our individual goals, rather than constantly chasing after the approval of others.
Epictetus, famously said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
This quote perfectly encapsulates the Stoic approach to defining success for oneself.
Rather than simply following the expectations of others, we must take the time to reflect on our own desires and aspirations, and then work towards achieving them in our own unique way.
7. Love the people that are in your life
“First, decide who you would be, then do what you must do.”Epictetus
For the Stoics, love was not just a feeling, but an action. They believed that to love someone meant to show them kindness, compassion, and respect. Loving the people in our lives was a way to cultivate positive relationships and foster a sense of community and belonging.
The Stoics believed that happiness comes from within and that it’s within our control to achieve it. By living a virtuous life, they believed that we could achieve a sense of inner peace and contentment that is not dependent on external circumstances.
At the core of the Stoic vision of happiness is the idea that we should focus on what we can control and let go of what we cannot.
Ultimately, the Stoic vision of happiness is one that is attainable for anyone who is willing to work towards it.
- Be content with little
- Be content with what you have
- Do good for others
- Look for the best
- Focus on what you can control
- Define success for yourself
- Love the people that are in your life
Hope it helps you, Have a great day👋✨🤝