Hey You, what’s up? It’s Sunday and it’s about that time to throw ourselves into a new week challenge! This time I’m having so much mixed emotions for what lies ahead. Thrilled because I know it’s going to be a real challenge, which is always exciting. But equally fearful because I know it’s probably going to suck as bad as opening the fridge, realizing it’s as empty as your stomach. Yes, that is among other things on far out on the suffer scale.
You see this week I will be practicing suffering, and I’m of course inviting you to join. Removing a bunch of those ‘good’ things I take for granted. In practicality, this means I will be eating cold none tasting food, no nice beverages like tea or lemon water, expose myself to cold by biking 2 hours daily to work in the snow, not allow any music, podcast, audiobooks or whatever, banning the usage of internet, social media and all electronic devices – except for when it’s really needed for work or posting a video. Basically, all the things I love will be excluded from my life, Monday through Friday at lunch.
Now why the heck would I go on and do somethings stupid like this? I’ve for a long time said that booth good and bad changes in life serves you, as it makes you reflect on what you truly value but also opens you up to new perspectives. However, recently I stumbled upon stoicism through Tim Ferris. Stoicism is a ‘teaching’ or a ‘practice’ that many great leaders have embraced through history. And as Tim says, it can be a bit dray and is by far perfect. But it has some good practices that could be integrated with great pay off. One of these things being practicing suffering and misfortune.
Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.
Stoicism doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon. It’s built for action, not endless debate.
Stoicism differs from most existing schools in one important sense: its purpose is practical application. It is not a purely intellectual enterprise. It’s a tool that we can use to become better in our craft, better friends and better people.
“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.” -Seneca
Seneca, who enjoyed great wealth as the adviser of Nero, suggested that we ought to set aside a certain number of days each month to practice poverty. Take a little food, wear your worst clothes, get away from the comfort of your home and bed. Put yourself face to face with want, he said, you’ll ask yourself “Is this what I used to dread?” ( Source )
So by putting ourselves through some suffering, the idea is to make us realize that perhaps the worst cases we so dread aren’t that bad. In Tim’s best selling book the 4-hour work week, he talks a whole lot about asking yourself this question; if you quit your job and lose all your money, would it really be that bad? And even if that happen, would it be that hard to get back to a base level? More to it, at least for me, I see it as an opportunity to distance myself from the things I love, so that I to a greater extent can appreciate all the things I take for granted.
Ask yourself -what do you love the most? And then, at least consider, remove some of those things this week! As I started out with saying, I’m really having mixed emotions for this one. But once I’ve dared myself – there’s no going back!
So I welcome you to join me in this EPIC WEEK OF SUFFER!
My full Suffer week will entail:
No tea or other baverages
No YouTube, podcasts or audiobooks
Expose myself to cold
Not Spend any money
Not use any of my favourites clothes
No social media
No phone except when must for work
No chewing gum
Biking to work no matter what weather (2 hours)
Here’s a playlist I’ve put together on Stoicism, including The Tim Ferris video (Tim Ferriss on how to apply stoic philosophy to your life | Tim Ferriss ) : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxw2jMXwRfsmcXWT0Asjq5fQQNpLjvBKt
Good luck – And let me know if your in!