Train your Stoic Mindset: 10 Exercises + Explanation
02 april 2022 
12 min. read

Train your Stoic Mindset: 10 Exercises + Explanation

Dear Happy Investor, today's performance society leads to more pressure than ever. Living a life full of technology, making a career, making lots of money and even desiring to become financially independent, and then also caring about family and friendships. Not everyone can handle this. Burnout is becoming more common.

How do we deal with it? Answer: train a stoic mindset.

A stoic mindset leads to more acceptance of the moment. This gives more peace and calm. Developing a stoic mindset is of great importance in today's society. Because, with all due respect, many of us have become mentally weak. A small setback within our perfect plan and we already become gloomy. Not exactly resilient.

Training a stoic mindset is also relevant when investing in ETF and/or stocks. Stock prices go up and down. Those who allow themselves to be distracted by daily news and, worse, prevailing emotions, can make costly mistakes. Actually, life is very simple: "stay and carry on...".

Contents

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Being bankrupt, ending a relationship, family conflicts, not being able to cover monthly expenses... Day by day, we face endless situations that seem to have no solution. We feel overwhelmed and do not find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Encountering all these problems, we feel that the whole weight of the world falls on our shoulders and that no one in the world could be in a worse situation than us. However, this phenomenon is not something unusual, and it is not something new either.

The solution? Develop a stoic mindset.

What is a stoic mindset anyway? Today, we use the word "stoic" to refer to someone who remains calm in the face of adversity. However, the philosophy behind this term goes much further. Although Stoicism was born centuries ago, today this philosophy is still useful to us.

A stoic mindset allows us to remain calm in the face of adversity, and understand that peace comes from within, not external circumstances.

Sometimes your projects may not go as planned. If you become desperate in those cases, there is not much you can do, but If you train your stoic mindset, you can think clearly and feel the courage to accept what happens.

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Below we look at 10 exercises for training a stoic mindset. You can apply these exercises on a daily basis. Thanks to training a stoic mindset, you will find much more peace and tranquility in life.

1. Imagine the worst-case and best-case scenarios

Instead of giving yourself false hope, and telling yourself that everything will be alright, the ancient Stoics propose to lead to peace of mind through another path: We must always imagine the worst scenario, assuming that what we fear so much will inevitably happen. And once there, we need to remind ourselves that no matter what, we're going to be okay. This is the only real peace we can find, the one that comes from within us and not from external circumstances. They give this peace the name of ataraxia, that is, tranquillity of the mind.

Try this exercise for training a stoic mindset: Imagine the worst-case scenario as detailed as possible, and see yourself remaining peacefully in the face of adversity. Then, imagine the best-case scenario and see yourself also feeling calm and not overreacting to it. Feel the peace that comes from within.

Another perspective on this is the law of attraction. This "law" states that we should think mostly about the good things we desire in life. Those who think too much about the negative can bring this on themselves.

We can combine the law of attraction with a stoic mindset. Perform the exercise above once. In either case, you will feel peace. Good. Now in the future, think only of best case scenario. After all, you don't have to fear the worst case scenario because you feel peace.

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2. Spend time alone

Spending time alone gives you time to examine yourself and your thinking patterns: Your fears, hidden negative emotions, or limiting beliefs that make you suffer.

So, try to spend some time alone during the day. Remove all distractions and try to meditate on why you act or think the way you do and how you can improve

3. Practice acceptance

Acceptance is important when training your stoic mindset. Accepting what happens to you doesn’t mean being a conformist. It means being responsible for your actions and to stop blaming others for your problems. Also, it means acknowledging that what happened, already happened and you can’t modify it. That allows you to focus on what you can change.

Don't fight back the next time you're treated unfairly; instead, accept it. Don't fight what's going on. It's the most you can do to accept it as it is and respond with tolerance and kindness.

Most rudeness, meanness, and cruelty are only masks for underlying insecurities.   Only persons with immense strength can be kind in these situations.

The Stoics considered your ability to be kind as a virtue. It's your opportunity to brighten someone's day. Nothing can stop you from being kind, whether it's with a smile, a honest praise, or thanking the cashier. It is always possible.

There is art in knowing when you should be silent and accept things as they are, instead of complaining.

4. Meditate for stoic mindset

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It is so important to learn to control our minds if we want to develop a stoic mindset. Meditation is like a gym for the mind. And of course, it may not be that easy. Even if you have been meditating daily for years, your mind will always produce thoughts. The thing is, you slowly begin to train it to be focused for longer periods of time.

When you train your mind, you are less likely to be influenced by external events. This is important in developing a stoic mindset. Think: patience, compassion and acceptance.

5. Understand that you have a choice

Life's difficult challenges are just obstacles if we allow them to be. It all depends on how we approach those challenges—we might see obstacles and become stuck, or we can see possibilities and move forward.

In every challenge, the Stoics looked for an opportunity for growth. They had a choice, no matter what life threw at them: would they be hampered by obstacles or would they move past them?

How do you become a Stoic? Adopt this attitude. We either shrink or expand.

It all basically comes down to how we see things. You can see the same circumstance as an impediment or an opportunity to grow. The way you understand the challenge will determine whether or not you succeed in solving it. It's never the obstacles themselves that matter in the end, but what you do with them.

This isn't about believing that the world is perfect.  Unfortunate events will always occur. Nevertheless, what a stoic mindset recognizes is  that you always have an option. When things seem to be going against you, you may either bury your head in the sand or keep your head up and see it as an opportunity for progress. It is all up to you.

Related to this topic is to develop a Growth Mindset. In our blog category on personal development you will find many knowledge articles regarding Mindset development.

6. Focus on what you can control according a stoic mindset

We have little influence over most of what happens in life. This indisputable truth was recognized within a stoic mindset, who instead focused on what they could do.

Train your stoic mindset with this exercise: when you worry about something, ask yourself “do I have any control over this?”.  If you can, great, If you don’t, then let it go and focus on what you can influence.

What you have control over falls within your circle of influence. There are ways to increase your circle of influence. Take investing as an example: the more knowledge and skill you have, the more likely it is that you will get a (high) return. This is why you should always do very good research before you decide to invest. Within our search for the best stocks, we sometimes spend hundreds of hours doing research, following the stock for years (experience).

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7. Journal

Looking inward is the most important thing we can do each day.   Self-reflection forces us to examine our own preconceptions about the world and to challenge ourselves. It's how some of the world’s most challenging questions have been answered.

One of the most effective strategies to practice mindfulness is to keep a notebook. It simultaneously enhances creativity, increases gratitude, and acts as therapy. There are numerous advantages. In writing, your thoughts and feelings become more evident than they are in your head.

8. Control your emotions with a stoic mindset

Sometimes our feelings are harder to control than our minds. That is why we need to learn how to channel our energy.

For example, we may get enraged, furious, sad, or frustrated, and that creates pent-up tension and built-up emotions in our bodies. Of course, that affects our physical and mental health.

Controlling emotions is also crucial when investing in stocks. Emotions lead to mistakes. As investors, we need to be data-driven. What do the facts tell us? And stick to your course if the facts show it is the right path. Don't allow emotions into your decision-making, as this will irrevocably lead to mistakes.

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9. Remember how little we are

In the larger scheme of things, none of our accomplishments are truly meaningful. For example, look how small we are in contrast to the whole universe.

It's a difficult thought to consider. We all get the impression that we are at the center of the universe. This creates an illusion in which our importance is exaggerated. We imagine ourselves as the main character in our own story.

But, in reality, this perception just exists in our heads. Everyone around us has the same perspective, but in the end, we are all insignificant. Not to say that your reality is unimportant or irrelevant.

It may be hard to process the fact that we are not that important, but it is a relieving thought when we think about how small our tragedies are.

How can we train a stoic mindset with this thought?

When you feel overwhelmed about life’s circumstances, say to yourself “the universe is bigger than all of my problems.”

10. Contemplate

Walk slowly, go to a park, examine every detail you encounter in everyday life. Whether you are at home, at work, walking down the street, cooking, taking a shower… The point is you take a second to pause and contemplate what you are doing.

When you cultivate a contemplative state of mind, it is easier to adopt that state when you are facing challenges. It will allow you to think clearly and more objectively.

These were ten exercises for training your stoic mindset. If you are reading this, it already says a lot about you. You really want to develop a stoic mindset to find more peace in your life. Now you have two choices. You're going to close this article and do nothing. Or you choose three exercises to repeat every day. A stoic mindset gives very practical benefits.

About the author
Happy Investors is all about your long-term growth, both financially and in personal development. We write about long-term investing: stocks, real estate, crypto, and alternative investments. Grow your life. Become a Happy Investor!
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