“Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also”
– Marcus Aurelius
The Stoics believed that through logic and reason, a person could obtain true happiness. By following this path of logic and reason, a person could escape the suffering in their life and learn to look at things in a logical manner. The Stoics also believed that by learning to understand nature was to live in harmony with the universe itself. If we look at what one of the great Stoics, Marcus Aurelius, said above: Do not believe you are not fit for a task, if you believe another man can do it then surely it is within your reach also.
Stoicism was one of the biggest philosophies to come out of ancient times besides Cynicism. Although Stoicism borrowed from Cynicism in places, it is arguably one of the more famous ancient philosophies and is still widely followed even to this day.
One of the other things I looked at was the use of negative visualisation as a way of obtaining true happiness. Negative visualisation requires that you imagine your life was without a certain object or person and how that would make you feel. For example, if I imagined my life without a hand I would have a seriously hard time typing this blog post. Or if I had no house, I would be cold and living on the street. Negative visualisation is a technique that you can use to be thankful for the things you already have in your life and as a means to find true happiness in the world.
I have always seen myself as a pragmatist and bit of a realist but I can definitely see the benefits of Stoicism and the effect its teachings could have on me. I would even be open to adopting a stoic attitude, perhaps during the Summer when I would have the time as I’m currently inundated with College work.
I firmly believe that finding happiness by yourself is key. You cannot depend on others to provide happiness for you and so you must find what makes you happy. For example, my favourite pastime includes being on my own while doing an activity such as listening to music or gaming. I feel that people invest too much in other people and become dependent on them for happiness, where as I am totally self-sufficient. Though I had to learn this the hard way.