Bryan Dijkhuizen

5 Stoic Practises That Will Help You Understand The Power Of Focus

I just finished reading “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius.

For anyone interested in philosophy, stoicism, or any other kind of personal development, I’d recommend it. It’s a really easy way of getting a grasp of what his intentions were.

There’s a lot of vagueness to this book.

You’ll need to interpret a lot of it yourself and that’s what makes it so good.

One big aspect of Stoicism is focus, discipline, and self-discipline. So many people don’t understand what it’s like to live a life where you control everything.

A stoic does.

You’re the one who’s in charge. Do you want to start working out? You’re the only one who can “convince” you to do it. I can’t force you to actually want it.

Read on if you want to learn more about the 5 Stoic practices that prove this point.

Start Focusing on Present Day

“Every man’s life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.” — Marcus Aurelius

There’s nothing more true than this.

If we could change or influence the past or future, things would get mad and I certainly wouldn’t want that.

Things are going in a way for a reason. Don’t doubt “the universe”.

A real stoic doesn’t focus on the past or the future, he or she focuses on the present because that’s where you can change yourself and make a change to the world.

If you want to get better at basketball, you can blame your parents for not going with you or not having enough money to get you a proper trainer.

But that’s not going to change anything.

You can dream about one day you’ll be a pilot. But you’re not doing anything for it? That’s not going to change anything.

Get those basketball classes, and take that pilot study.

Take Good Care of Your Mind, Time & Life

We’re only on this planet for a limited amount of time. Let’s spend it wisely and don’t do the things we don’t enjoy, that harm us, and that we shouldn’t be doing.

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Marcus Aurelius

Even though we can’t fully control what our life is going to give us, we can guard ourselves. Taking good care of our minds, time, and life. We’re the guards of our Kingdom that’s called life.

We weren’t put on this planet to do brain-killing jobs in an office from 9–5.

That’s not our purpose and some of us need to break that. It’s like we’ve all collectively accepted that that’s the way to go.

It’s not. I refuse.

You Don’t Know What Distractions Are

It’s no surprise that our attention span is getting shorter.

How’s that possible? Well, the answer is simple: social media and the internet. We’re not trained anymore to do complicated and longer tasks.

We’re so easily distracted.

TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, and all these short-format content platforms are killing our attention span and focus.

It’s a muscle that hasn’t been trained for years.

I’m trying to read more books to improve my attention “muscle”. Reading longer pieces for hours will train your brain to not get distracted as quickly.

That’s not easy.

But, you can train this in several ways:

  • Read a book without having your phone or other people around.
  • Get outside, find a spot by walk a sit there to read a book.
  • Start meditating without any technology around.

Or, if you’re a creator. Make stuff without letting yourself get interrupted — get into the flow.

You Can’t Control Other People’s Opinions

“If any man despises me, that is his problem. My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.”

Marcus Aurelius

One of the main points of Stoicism if you’re asking me is not worrying or caring about other people’s opinions.

It’s the fact that you can’t alter someone’s opinion about you.

The only thing you can do to make them like you try as hard as you can, but if in the end this person ends up not liking you — that’s their problem, not yours.

That’s why you should care about people’s opinions if you wouldn’t take advice from them.

It shouldn’t matter what they say.

You Shouldn’t Do It Alone

It’s a cliche, I know.

“Do not be ashamed of help.” — Marcus Aurelius

You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Most people would love to help you.

That’s who we are.

If someone would come up to you and ask you about something you know well, the chances are that you will end up helping this person.

I would.

Why wouldn’t I? We’re kind people I suppose.

Final thoughts

It’s not just about neglecting the past or the future. Stoicism says something about focus and the willpower that we all possess.

Some people don’t see it. That’s a shame but not our problem. If you’re reading this, you probably do understand it.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius

Changing yourself into something you want to takes a lot of power and strength. It’s not easy but if you know that it’s worth it, you already have decided that you will do it.

Whatever it takes.

It’s not just about the ability to stop caring about the things that don’t matter. It’s also about sacrifices that benefit you in the long run.

Do it and don’t let others influence your choice to be better.

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