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<h1>The Stoic Road to Peace of Mind</h1>

<p>
If you are like most people, you might likely feel angry, frustrated,
or disappointed many times. That’s also has been naturally the case for me,
but I was told a trick that made it much easier for me to handle these
situations some time, and it dates back to antiquity.
</p>

<p>
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism">Stoicism</a> was an ancient 
Greek school of thought (that is still of some influence today), which among
other things advocated self-control and avoiding making your emotions and
irrational desires influence your behaviour for the worst. What they claimed
was that painful feelings were not a direct result of an experience that
induced pain, but rather the human mind's irrational interpretation of it.
</p>

<p>
If we move from this theory to its implications, then once something
frustrating happens to you, you can say to yourself “I don’t like this.
This situation is not ideal. However, feeling angry and resentful will
not be beneficial, and so I should just accept this as is, try to reasonably
cope with it, and make the best of it. I might even grow to like it.” 
</p>

<p>
My psychotherapist told me that “Things must always go my way.” has been
identified as an irrational cognitive belief by many people. 
(It is mentioned in 
<a href="http://books.google.co.il/books?id=8smMbCaz-GMC&amp;pg=PA39&amp;lpg=PA39&amp;dq=%22things+must+always+go+my+way%22&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=PWZxNEP65c&amp;sig=13za5dB5KXvOKIUTp_iNSPZSksM&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=T_R1T_-4HsSRswbi183EAw&amp;redir_esc=y#v=onepage&amp;q=%22things%20must%20always%20go%20my%20way%22&amp;f=false">this page in the Google Books’ hosted book</a>).
The solution to this is simply to say to myself that “I cannot always get
what I want.” and that “Things might not go exactly like I want them to and
that’s OK because I’ll survive.”.
</p>

<p>
Back to Stoicism, we can draw inspiration from the Roman Emperor and 
Stoic philosopher
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius">Marcus Aurelius</a>’s
quote from his book <i>Meditations</i>:
</p>

<blockquote>
    <p>
    Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful,
    violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of these things have
    come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill… I can neither be
    harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be
    angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work
    together…
    </p>
</blockquote>

<p>
I am not an authority to speak a lot further about Stoicism, because I’ve only
heard about it from hearsay and read the wikipedia entry and some other online
sources, but I think we can all become a little, or even a lot happier, by 
adopting the mindset that the key to peace of mind is accepting sub-optimal
situations, instead of insisting that we will always have our way. 
</p>

<h2>Licence</h2>

<p>
This work is licensed under the
<a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">Creative
    Commons Attribution 3.0 License (Unported)</a> (CC-by) or at your option
any later version. Copyright © 2011, Shlomi Fish. CC-by is a common,
permissive, free/libre/open licence for cultural works, which allows for
almost unlimited use. See
<a href="http://www.shlomifish.org/meta/copyrights/">my interpretation and
    expectations</a> from people who wish to build upon it (which I believe
are pretty fair).
</p>

<h2>Meta</h2>

<p>
This was a small filler post for this blog (
<a href="http://unarmed.shlomifish.org/">"Unarmed but still Dangerous"</a> ),
as I'm busy working on some other articles and essays, and enhancing some
existing essays and stories. I had previously 
<a href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/introductory-language/#three_levels_of_learning">written about it</a> in my essay
<a href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/introductory-language/">"Thoughts 
about the Best Introductory Language"</a>, but I think it got lost in 
confusion, and did not make a large enough impact on the Blogosophere there.
</p>

<p>
My <a href="http://unarmed.shlomifish.org/909.html">previous post</a> proved
to be very popular after it was Slashdotted successfully, and afterwards
featured on some other news sites, blogs, microblogs, and on-line forums (some
people told me it became 
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing">"viral"</a>). So I'm
happy with all the attention, and that "Unarmed but still Dangerous", has
gotten off on the right foot. 
</p>

<p>
Moreover, <a href="http://unarmed.shlomifish.org/629.html">my 
introductory post</a>
was covered in Eric Raymond's <a href="http://esr.ibiblio.org/">"Armed
and Dangerous" blog</a> (after I refered him to the fact that my blog's
name was a parody and tribute to his) and sparked an active discussion
there. The blog appears to be down at the moment, but I'll give a link
to the discussion once it is up again.
</p>

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