“it’ll toughen you up”
It was February, the sand beneath my feet was freezing and the wind howled down the beach. I’d taken my shoes off to stop them getting full of water whilst we walked when my Grandad suggested I should take a dip in the sea.
“it’ll be freezing!” I protested
“go on don’t be a Jessy”
I didn’t realise it at the time (and neither did he) but what my Grandad was trying to teach me this day in Whitby was a central tenant of Stoic philosophy. I have heard it referred to as getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Stoic philosophy is used by all manners of business and fitness gurus from Jocko Willink to Dan Pena. Their essential message is that you can do more than you realise if only you would push yourself harder to find out.
Going forward I am likely to have a lot of content related to the many lessons and benefits of embodying some version of Stoic philosophy in your life. It is something I have an insatiable desire to read about and one of the few principles I think can be applied regardless of your age or level of success in any field.
Being a stoic does not mean you avoid pleasure, nor does it mean you must subject yourself to unhappiness. What it does mean is that you can find the opportunities to make yourself uncomfortable in ways that have a net positive effect on your life.
The Millennial generation often gets referred to as “snowflakes” particularly by baby boomers who like to remind us just how tough they had it whilst living off their defined benefit pensions in their fully paid off houses which cost 1/10th of their current value.
(I’m from Yorkshire)
I’m going to keep this post short and snappy as I want to address the individual teachings and lessons of stoicism in separate posts. Sufficed to say that if you have never heard of Stoicism or have never read much on the subject, the below is readable, witty and applicable.