Rodrigo Hänggi

August 05, 2017

Stoic Tapas

Be content

Be content with what you already have. Do not make your happiness depend on possessions or achievements. Wanting to have what you already have will make you more grateful and happy on a daily basis. Don’t believe me? Try practicing poverty.

“You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.”
– Seneca

Everything is neutral

Ever heard people say: “Looks like bad weather today” before it’s going to rain? But why? Rain has no motivation. Or does it get up in the morning just to fuck with your hiking weekend? Of course not! So how can we say that rain is bad?

Everything in the world is neutral. There is no good or bad. Only your own perception of things cause things to be either good or bad. And labelling things as either good or bad will cause a lot of unhappiness in our lives.

Focus on what you can control

Separate your life in two sections. Things that you can control and things that you can’t control.

You can’t control the outcome of a fight, but what you can control is how much effort you put in when you prepare. How hard you train and what else you do to increase the odds of succeeding.

You can’t control if the train is late. But you can control whether you get angry or decide to make the best out of the situation and relax by reading a book.

Here are some more things that you can’t control: The mood of your boss, the economy, the circumstances you were brought up in, other peoples opinion about you, the fucking weather.

Turn the obstacle upside down

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Seek to interpret things that you would normally consider negative, as positive opportunities. Realize that you can turn any obstacle upside down to suit your purposes.

Your business failed? Instead of feeling devastated and helpless, dissect what went wrong and start coming up with ways to negate the possibility of the next one failing.

Make it a habit to force alternative thought patterns to gain perspective so that you can rationally move forward. This mentality can be applied to all negative events.

“A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points”
– Alan Kay

See the negative events as an opportunity to practice inner strength, calmness and levelheadedness.

And the more you turn the obstacle upside down the more you realize that there is again, no such thing as good or bad. There is only your perception of it and you decide how to deal with it.

Assume voluntary discomfort

Make your life artificially difficult and uncomfortable for a set period of time in order to get the perspective that you are trying to avoid.

The more you seek the uncomfortable the more you will be comfortable. Sleep on the hard floor, eat only bread and water, don’t eat food for five days, take a cold fucking shower.

Just because you can afford yourself a nice meal every day doesn’t mean you should do so. You are better of if you skip a few meals from time to time just to experience real hunger.

Build perseverance and grit. Demolish the sense of entitlement that chips away at your daily happiness.

Your fears will melt away, because anxiety and fear is often based in ignorance and uncertainty. So by experiencing discomfort, you will walk away stronger, realizing that you’ve experienced what you’ve dreaded but suffered no ill effect form it.

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”
- Seneca

Emotions are created internally

Emotions come from within and we cannot control when or how they appear. What we can control is how we react or act on these emotions.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Viktor Frankl

It’s human nature to blame other people, look for excuses or dodge responsibility. When you feel resistance regarding an obstacle in your life, don’t look at the things happening outside of you, focus instead on what happens inside you and how you are framing that issue inside your mind.

You are always in control.

Care less

Don’t ignore everything that is going on in your life, but stop caring about the things you cannot control. Free up your internal resources to focus your time and mental energy on things that truly matter.


The most precious asset is not money but time. You can always earn money back but once a single minute of your life has passed it’s gone forever.

“You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”
– Seneca