Stoicism Is About A Porch

Friends have heard me harp about this, but I think using the word stoic to describe a man/masculinity is a disservice – not to the man, but rather to the word. To “be stoic” is often tossed around to mean unflinching, unfeeling, unemotional. My understanding of stoicism comes from the study of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and other Greco-Roman philosophers known as the stoics.

Stoicism actually comes from the Greek word “stoa” which actually means porch, as that’s where the stoics lectured from. Rather than the devoid of feeling or emotion, stoicism is my personal philosophy that I use to centre myself that boils down to 3 tenets:

  1. To see things as they truly are. Not through a trigger, projection, or a lens (easier said than done sometimes).
  2. To take action towards things that actually matter.
  3. To know what is and what isn’t in your control.

For example, say the airline lost your luggage. Would you jump to the belief that it was a conspiracy that they lose your luggage? Or that everyone who works for said airline is an utter idiot? Though it may be easy to run with those thoughts and emotions, it is far more productive to start the process of figuring out where your bag is, what you need in the near term, and how to be compensated for the inconvenience (you’ll get far more if you’re polite). Finally, know that all you could do was put a baggage tag on your bag, take a photo of it for easier identification, and hope for the best – the rest was not in your control.

Now, please excuse me while I go yell at my TV over some benign basketball play.

Thoughts of a Next Gen Man…

– Jake on behalf of J(ake)J(ermal)J(ason)

This year we are undertaking a personal challenge to share some of our reflections around what it means to “be a better man” in today’s day and age. Join us every Friday for “Thoughts of a Next Gen Man.” Interested in learning more about our work? Check out our programs for youth, adults, and workplaces, subscribe to our newsletter, follow our social media channels, and get in touch!