Want Happiness? Become A Practicing Stoic

The ancient art of stoic joy…

Thought Catalog

Tim RothTim Roth

About one year ago I stumbled upon a splendid little book entitledA Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. By Professor William Irvine, the book promised something extraordinary: that happiness can be found in the doctrines of the aging, often-misunderstood philosophy of Stoicism if one will only take its teachings to heart by becoming a practicing Stoic.

Needless to say, I was initially pretty skeptical. My only prior exposure to Stoicism had come from a cursory reading of a battered old copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, the personal journal of a Roman emperor who doubled as a philosopher. While Aurelius’ exhortations to stand firm in the face of hardship — to be like “the rocky headland” that prevails in the midst of the ocean’s battering — left a mark when I first read them years ago, I’d never actually attempted to…

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