I am a practicing stoic and have been for many years.
My introduction to stoicism came by way of a book authored by Sharon Lebell in which she translates the work (thoughts, writings) of Epictetus in The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness & Effectiveness.
I cannot recommend the book highly enough.
This has lead me on a ongoing quest to continuously improve the quality of my life by practicing stoic concepts in my daily life. I’m not perfect but I can absolutely see how it has benefited me over the years and I am so grateful for what I have learned along the way.
But I digress. This post is supposed to be about indifference. Specifically, it is supposed to be a response to the question that I posted in the title of this post which came from a Stoic Philosophy group that I follow on Facebook.
I feel like learning how to be indifferent to certain things has really been useful to me in a lot of ways. It’s kind of a twist on the idea of “pick your battles”. But it goes beyond that because some things really tug at us and aren’t so easy to shrug off.
In those situations, I have several stoic tools in my toolbox to help me move to a place of indifference so I can get on with the rest of my life. The following is my response to the question that was posted on Facebook.
For me, becoming indifferent is about making a mental note about what I can and cannot control.
The things I cannot control, I “compartmentalize” by envisioning them being in a box somewhere else.
For the things I can control that are still bothersome, I ask myself how my reaction or feelings are helping me. If they aren’t serving me in a good way, I try to redirect my thoughts and feelings to something that is at the very least, a little more helpful.
I could say much more on this topic and perhaps I will in a future podcast episode.
In the meantime, if you are interested in Sharon Lebell’s plain English, modern day interpretation of an old Stoic named Epictetus, you should check out her book on Amazon.
I have given away countless copies over the years so if you order one for yourself, consider ordering 2 or 3 copies because you might find yourself giving away copies to friends, family and colleagues as well.
How do you achieve indifference?