The Flourishing Stoic: Inspiring Food For Thought That Helps You With Your Stoic Practice. Send it to me!

You know how hard it is to practice Stoicism.

  • You don't know where to start.
  • You're missing a structure.
  • You're struggling with maintaining your practice.
  • Finally, you don't make progress.

And again, you end up searching for a way to increase happiness and serenity in your life. Read on to get a straightforward strategy that might help you.


Don't wait any longer - start practicing and make Stoicism a part of your identity! You won't regret it.



Practicing Stoicism requires changing your internal thought process as well as adjusting your behavior accordingly. This is not easy, but it is necessary to improve your life and find inner peace. You need to experience this for yourself to really benefit from it. Stoicism requires more than just reading books and understanding the theory. But by consciously using Stoic principles in your everyday thinking and behavior, you increase the likelihood of finding happiness and contentment.

Where to start with your Stoic training

The first step is to become familiar with Stoic concepts and ideas. There are a lot of resources out there that can help you - for instance, Stoic blogs, books, or podcasts. Understanding the principles of Stoicism is essential before you can start applying them in your own life. The more you read and listen to these materials, the better you will understand Stoicism.

But I guess you read a lot of them. It's a lot of literature and audio content. Isn't it? But you still need help figuring out where to start and how to improve. Right? You must go from all this theory to practice and bring it to real life - to your life.

It was exactly the same for me when I started to practice Stoicism. As a quick refresher, I'll cover some key Stoic principles and then explain my approach to Stoic training and where you should start.

Stay curious, and let's jump in!


What are the core principles of Stoicism?

I like to explain Stoicism in four core principles which we will later build on in our practice.

Imagine building a Stoa:

  • The basis: Prosoche (attention, Stoic mindfulness)
  • The pillars: Three disciplines (desires, action, assent)
  • The ceiling: Arete, an excellent character
  • The mortar: The dichotomy of control

All these things are necessary for building the roof - eudaimonia, which keeps all external events outside. They still hit and touch us, but they drip off with ease.

Stoic House IllustrationSTART YOUR JOURNEY

Prosoche or Stoic mindfulness

Stoic attention (prosoche) is the nearest thing Stoics have to the modern term mindfulness, and it is the first step and foundation of any Stoic life. It involves being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It's an active practice of observing yourself as if you were a detached observer - with no judgment or attachment to what you observe. This will help you become aware of when your thoughts, feelings, or actions might lead you away from reason and virtue.

Mindfulness has a significant role in Buddhism, but Stoic mindfulness training is rare. Nevertheless, modern Stoics should put it into their repertoire as it is the absolute basis for everything else. Without attention, we can't see, hear or feel our present perceptions clearly - or in other words - we can't live in accordance with nature. Attention is essential to living with virtue and practicing the three disciplines.

Therefore, it is crucial to give more weight to mindfulness training in modern Stoicism. It's like using new materials or elements for building our Stoa. Or would you use archaic construction materials for building a modern house?

Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

Three Disciplines

Your base is ready; let's erect the pillars.

The Three Disciplines are desires, action, and assent. They help you to work on your character by looking at your wants and behaviors in a Stoic way.

Massimo Pigliucci wrote in his book "Live like a Stoic" that you work with thoughts in the Discipline of Assent, impulses in the Discipline of Action, and the will to avoid and to get in the Discipline of Desire.

Desire: It's key to understand your wants, needs, and cravings and to distinguish between them. This opens the doors for deeper self-knowledge and will help you identify if you are pursuing something that is in accordance with reason and virtue or not.

Action: The Stoic discipline of action is about ensuring that your actions align with reason and virtue. It's about learning to interact with others respectfully. Besides that, it's also meant to consider the bigger picture. What about the environmental impact of your actions? What's the effect on other living beings and the ecosystem of mother earth?

Assent: This is the process of evaluating your thoughts, feelings, and impressions before giving them credence or allowing them to influence your decisions. It involves being mindful of what you accept as true and why. Proofing and questioning our impressions will help us arrive at correct judgments about them.

Arete - an excellent character

Now that your pillars are in place, you can work on the ceiling - arete or excellence. Everything you've learned so far is aiming for one goal, shaping your character toward excellence to achieve eudaimonia (happiness). How can you do that? Simply by keeping the four cardinal virtues of Stoicism in mind while performing your Stoics exercises. Align everything you do with these four virtues:

  • Wisdom: Knowing what is most important. This means that you know what is good and bad, what is reasonable and unreasonable, and what to do and not do. It's also about knowing what is under your control and what is not.
  • Justice: Justice is the virtue of treating others fairly and honestly. Do you want to be treated fairly? Others want that too. Respect their rights and desires as you wish they respect yours.
  • Temperance: Temperance is the ability to control your emotions, desires, and aversions. Use your faculty for reason to work with your feelings or desires rather than letting them control you.
  • Courage: Apply wisdom to fearful situations, and you train the virtue of courage. Doing the right even when things get tough or the consequences might not be to your liking isn't easy. You need courage for that which requires a robust character. Courage means standing up for what you believe is right, even when others disagree.

We've covered a lot so far, but we still need the last piece of the Stoic puzzle. It's called the dichotomy of control.

The Dichotomy of Control

The Stoic "dichotomy of control" is essential for building your own (mental) Stoa.

You can't see it in the image above but believe me, it's there. It's the mortar holding all the pieces together and keeping them strong as one building.

The dichotomy of control means that there are some things in life over which we have no control and other things we can influence. We can't control external events, other people's behavior, or how our body ages. But we can influence our own thoughts, decisions, and actions.

The basic idea is to use your mental energy to focus on what is under your complete control in thepresent moment. Everything else is indifferent. Why the present moment? Because you can't control the past, but you might influence your future through the decisions and actions you take and how you respond to actions you receive - in the present moment. The future outcomes of these actions are not up to you, but the input you give is.

Congrats, now you have a good understanding of the core Stoic concepts. And that's enough to start practicing. Ready to come into a good flow of life? Then move on!

There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power. Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and, in one word, whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and, in one word, whatever are not properly our own affairs.

Epictetus Enchiridion, 20


Stoic Buddy helps people shape their character and build their inner strength to deal with life's circumstances with reason and wisdom, living the good life they deserve.


How to practice Stoicism

To get started, I recommend a four-step process that looks like this:

  • Start with the ground. Learn a few Stoic mindfulness exercises.
  • Do the mortar and practice the dichotomy of control.
  • Erect the pillars. One at a time.
  • Set the ceiling on your pillars so that the roof holds well.

If you want to build a house, you usually start with the foundation. Therefore I recommend starting with Stoic mindfulness exercises. Next, you should do the mortar that will attach your pillars to the base. Then erect one pillar at a time, and finally, set the ceiling on your pillars.

Okay, okay. That's very simplified, and it isn't always that linear. The more you practice, the more everything fades into each other. But when you have yet to experience practicing Stoicism, it's an excellent approach to get started.

Let's quickly explore how to learn and internalize Stoic teachings to benefit from your practice. With this understanding, your chances of establishing Stoicism will increase - happiness and a flourishing life will follow.


The best way to learn Stoicism: 4 simple steps

Learning involves experience, and no one except you can create this experience for you. There are four simple steps to learning Stoicism:

  • Learn the theory.
  • Practice (experience) what you've learned.
  • Reflect.
  • Use and adapt what is helpful for you.

It is important to understand that it is not a one-time event but an ongoing process of consciously making Stoic principles part of your life.

Stoic Buddy can help you at each of these stages.

  • Exercises to learn the theory.
  • A task list and habit tracker to practice what you've learned and to make it a part of your identity.
  • The possibility of writing about your reflections for each exercise. With time you'll learn a lot about yourself.
  • A Stoic community to share and discuss your experiences. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of Stoicism. By interacting with others with similar interests and beliefs, you can gain new insights and perspectives that will further help shape your Stoic practice.

There you have it! These are the steps I recommend to get started with Stoicism. So go ahead and start your exciting journey into the world of ancient philosophy! Who knows what kind of life-changing experiences await you?

Have fun building your mental Stoa (or inner citadel), and join Stoic Buddy today. We offer a free trial period, so you have nothing to lose. Worst case scenario: you end up with a new experience at no cost.


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