An attempt to adapt and translate Stoic philosophy. I find a lot to like in Stoicism, but the book itself is not a very satisfying adaptation.
Advises articulating an explicit life philosophy, to avoid the risk of being directed by short-term impulses and dying full of regret at a wasted life. In Greek and Roman times there existed schools that would teach life philosophy - advice on how to live well. Sadly lacking today.
Stoic philosophy was based around striving for tranquility - the absence of negative emotions - whilst doing your duties as a human - socializing, statecraft, raising a family etc.
Author recasts it for modern sensibilities as using reason to deprogram evolved imperatives that
Various concrete ideas on how to combat hedonic adaption and master negative emotions, most of which show up in modern CBT:
- Negative visualization to help you value what you have
- Avoid desiring things you can’t control - set internal goals like ‘play really well’ rather than external goals like ‘win the match’
- Be fatalistic about the past and immediate present, only try to change the future.
- Self-denial - occasionally inflicting discomfort to expand your comfort zone
- Allocate time to reflect on failures and plan improvement
Why play this game against my other self? In part to gain self-discipline. And why is self-discipline worth possessing? Because those who possess it have the ability to determine what they do with their life. Those who lack self-discipline will have the path they take through life determined by someone or something else, and as a result, there is a very real danger that they will mislive.