6 Ways Stoicism Mentally Prepared Me For Life on The Road
¬†"We live life struggle to struggle. The rare type that can find joy between a rock and a hard place, because our gaze is focused on the distant setting sun."
Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy with the foundational belief that a virtuous life is both necessary and sufficient to live a Eudaimoniac life (A life worth living), now translated as Happiness. By educating yourself about the nature of things, and unveiling the illusion our perception shrouds a circumstance in. Stoicism has lasting influence in literature, religion, and has shaped the modern world. The Stoics impacted St.Paul of the Bible, and their tenets are paralleled by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Stoicism guided Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, and Epictetus, a slave turned philosopher, as they searched for the same goals we struggle with today. Each finding the path offered by Stoicism ample guide to their destination.
1. Embrace The Suck
Every mile added to my odometer brought me closer to the next adventure. While bringing me the same distance closer to my next obstacle. Keeping this in mind prepared me for the adversities of the road¬†because each mile is not guaranteed to be problem-free. But the exact opposite, it taunts misfortune. The teachings of the Stoics parallel that on the road, simply there are things we can control and things we can not control. Effort spent on what we can not control is wasted resources, and time spent on solving problems in the capacity possible is spent wisely.
"Courageous is he, who ventures into the unknown, embracing misfortune with the same vigor as he does triumph."
¬†2. Give Things The Attention They Deserve/ Develop Perspective
By embracing the suck, in extension, requires that we understand what we can control and what we cannot. While on the road there is only so much you can do to prepare. Literally and metaphorically a nail in the road can bring your adventure to a halt, in both cases all that is possible is to deal with the nail. To fix the problem efficiently and continue back on the road, enjoying the distance between now and the next nail. If you haven‚Äôt decided your values for yourself, you‚Äôve learned them subconsciously from your environment, whether conducive or not to happiness. So when your home-on-wheels gets a flat, starts to overheat, or any number of the myriad of issues the road will bring you.
"He who has not questioned all he was taught is a fool, while he who has not questioned the values underlying what he was taught is a blind fool."
3. Law Of Karma & Your Moral Sphere
The Road is a boomerang of your deeds, it's fair and it's consistent.¬† A side-effect of it always being the right time to do the right thing is you develop a Moral Sphere. A theoretical idea that you surround yourself with virtue, and attract like-minded individuals. You‚Äôll notice others, along your travels, who you gravitate towards because of their own ability to be self-sufficient. This crossing of two people with their own Moral Spheres culminates in a deep understanding, initiated by a chance meeting. Some of my best encounters have been with men and women who embody a virtue, who's lifestyle pays homage to a characteristic you wish you had in yourself at the level they do. This mutual mentorship is the bedrock of your development, and may or may not be a coincidence.
Karma: Action driven by intention that brings about future consequence.
Commonsense: Your actions have consequences.
4. Present Struggle Reaps Future Opportunities
A non-van-dwelling related example is Biosphere 2 in Oracle, AZ. Trees in the rain forest are held up by ropes attached to the roof. If the optimistic Biosphere 2 taught us anything, its that struggle builds strength. ¬†Without the pressure of the wind, the trees grew limp and unable to support their own weight. And such is true for all life on Earth, struggle builds strength.
The Road is the grindstone that will test you, mold you, and eventually make you into the person you were meant to be.
All tunnels have a light at the end, but nobody can guarantee the road to the end is well-kept. But it is guarenteed once you make it, you'll have realized why you were there in the first place.
5. Carpe Diem
Well-grounded men and women understand the battleground of happiness isn't in the material world, but in the mind. The less material distractions, the easier it is to see the enemy behind his legions.On the road opportunity rarely "falls into your lap", more often I have found opportunity at the crossroads of effort and uncomfortableness. That has been my interpretation of seizing the day, using each day to expand yourself and test your current state of mind. The end goal of life is to enjoy each and every moment, in the capacity possible in every situation. To find a place, purpose, provision, an identity, and finally expand your limits; being the constituent gears in all human life. A constant reminder we should have each day is ‚ÄúMomento Mori‚Äù the understanding that each day could be our last. Each and every moment is not guaranteed, but a gift that you‚Äôve been chosen to experience.