Is Stoicism designed for you?
We often associate Stoicism with emperors, generals and world Leaders - with entrepreneurs, high performing business moguls and world class athletes and all too often with stiff-collared professors hidden away in lecture halls.
What we often miss is the large majority of people who Stoicism was designed for - You.
It was designed for the butcher, the software developer, the budding, self-employed worker, the first responders, the prisoner and everyone in-between; it is for mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters; whatever your occupation, whatever your position in life is, if you seek truth then, Stoicism is for you.
‘The truth lies open to everyone,’ Seneca said.
Not just a chosen few, but everyone; the halls of wisdom and philosophy belong to us all and we all have a right to enter them.
There is a reason why Zeno (the founder of Stoicism) and his followers met in the Agora, not hiding their school behind walls, like most philosophical institutions of the day. For them, philosophy was for the people, for those in the marketplace, it belonged on the street; if it had no place there, it has no place anywhere.
Stoicism was designed for the man or woman in the arena, for anybody who wants to fulfil their function as a human being and for those who want to excel in life and bring calm and tranquility to their mind.
Does the fact you will never be an olympic runner or weightlifter stop you going to the gym? Or the fact you will not be a premier league footballer stop you playing for your Sunday team? Then nothing should not stop you from practicing philosophy - why would the fact that you are not a world famous intellect, scholar or world leader prevent you from practising Stoicism?
If you need courage, then Stoicism is for you.
If you find yourself needing a helping hand overcoming the obstacles in life, Stoicism is for you.
If you need to overcome destructive emotions, Stoicism is for you.
If you want to live a life of inner peace, Stoicism is for you, and if you believe you could be more but don’t know how to achieve it, then Stoicism is for you.
Stoicism is there for when the alarm doesn’t go off, the dog urinates in the kitchen, you spill your coffee, end up stuck in a traffic jam or find out the colleague who you thought was your friend has been talking about you behind your back.
To live in accordance with nature and live with virtue taking the Stoic doctrines to heart is for all of us, not just the select few. You may not be a president or a renowned millionaire but you can still be a Stoic, you can still strive for personal excellence in your life.
Many famous Stoics, despite being wealthy or important people, more often than not spoke of the everyday issues we face. The very first thoughts that entered Marcus Aurelius head each morning may be similar to you own; he spoke about struggling to wake up, and wanting to be warm under the blankets, or when he prepared himself to meet rude and ungrateful people.
So, if you are ever wondering if Stoicism is for you, so long as you are a being of reason, one that wants to live in harmony with nature and for the common good, then the answer yes, it is for you.