Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/a-guide-to-the-good-life-summary/
The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Stoics marked the beginning of an era filled with mysterious findings about the human’s innate essence.
You cannot neglect the fact that ancient Greeks, were among the biggest contributors to the rise of a civilized society.
In this book summary, we sure reveal some of their secrets and more.
Who Should Read “A Guide to the Good Life”? And Why?When planning to take a break from all the noisiness, what’s the main incentive for such endeavor?
“A Guide to the Good Life” will provide insights for all passionate wisdom-seekers. So, if you are really into understanding life, and all its features, - you’ll have to endorse the Stoic’s vision and perspective.
Make sure that you’ve got all the tools at your disposal.
About William B. IrvineWilliam B. Irvine is a Stoic expert, an author and professor at Wright State University based in Dayton, Ohio.
He is the author of several books such as On Desire and A Slap in the Face.
"A Guide to the Good Life Summary"Let’s look at things hypothetically and imagine that you are a Greek kid living in the age of Alexander the Great (around 300 BC). For instance, since a young age, you cherished a passionate attitude towards studying and sensed the pull to receive a top-class education.
If that same “temper” arises nowadays, you’ll probably end up in some college, only to get a better understanding of the market. Instead of going for profits, in those days, people were eager about philosophy and everything associated with the soul.
The Stoic School was a representative of the education center in ancient Greece – concerned with the progress from a philosophical standpoint.
In the same manner, modern-day philosophers have a hard time trying to understand life. With thousands of obstacles occurring each day, placing focus on one thing is a sensitive matter.
Stoicism is anything but dead. By appearing in another form, it sure aides each person to find its route to clear insights. It makes a distinction between an absolute form of asceticism and hedonism; and supports none! The Stoics are middle-walkers, they make their own pat, following no extremes.
Over the years, they developed a formula for happiness and prosperity. How’s that possible? In order to enjoy yourself, one must share understanding and compassion for its surroundings. One of these methods is referred as negative visualization.
So, what would an average Stoic do, if he must take a road? A simple way to endorse their way of life is by underlying things under your control, and outline matters beyond your reach and influence. They, unlike other wisdom-seekers, emphasize aspects, which have an impact on their happiness – and go no further.
We as humans during our evolution thought that living by nature’s basic rules is not enough for achieving true wisdom. However, unlike other creatures, we’ve been given a gift to be rational, and logical.
Social links are an integral part of our daily growth, and as such beings, we have a responsibility towards the community. So, the foundation of Stoicism is actually built on right actions, and compassion. Their primary concern was the laws leading to a full-scale virtuous life.
In general, such emotional glimpses are associated with empathy and love. Respect towards your parents is also a valuable asset in achieving inner satisfaction. The meaning of life is yet to be understood, due to the fact that philosophers reject the notion that life as a concept exists. Nevertheless, it’s best if you digest first these ideas and then move to the next level.
Why would someone deliberately prolong suffering? In some circles, making yourself uncomfortable manifests your devotion and hunger for spiritual knowledge. Think of it this way, basketball players train hard so that when matchday comes, they can give an excellent individual performance.
So, instead of thinking about the end-goal, stay focused and remain sharp to handle any danger. Let’s assume that you are in an exam hall. You feel stressed and worried that you’ll not be able to pass. As you can see, these mental distractions are causing a shift in focus and reduce your chances to perform better.
Make sure that you stick for simplicity, and take one step at the time, the outcome is irrelevant.
As we mentioned earlier, thinking about things that are beyond your concern is a counter-effective measure. For instance, you cannot impose an opinion and expect an honest response. Regardless of your efforts, there are a handful of matters, which are not manipulative.
Being aware of this, will give you the upper hand, and make your self-sufficient or independent.
Key Lessons from “A Guide to the Good Life”1. The recipe for getting a good grip on reality 2. Real leaders advocate for uniqueness 3. Stoic’s understanding of happiness
The recipe for getting a good grip on realityGenerally speaking, a little tough time serves a higher purpose, and it’s highly linked to the ability to absorb balance.
Second, when you finally get out of that painful circle, you’ll feel a sense of gratitude and sincere appreciation, which is crucial for a good life.
Real leaders advocate for uniquenessIn the modern day’s madness, it seems almost too natural being dependent on another person’s opinion.
Your push and strive for admiration is like bargaining with your freedom and allowing other parties control your life.
If you want to be enslaved, this strategy will surely give you a hint or two.
Stoic’s understanding of happinessAccording to them, investing in your mental state is much more beneficial than being too concerned with worldly pleasures.
Don’t become a victim of your own mindset!
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“A Guide to the Good Life” Quotes[bctt tweet="Your primary desire, says Epictetus, should be your desire not to be frustrated by forming desires you won’t be able to fulfill." username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“We humans are unhappy in large part because we are insatiable; after working hard to get what we want, we routinely lose interest in the object of our desire. Rather than feeling satisfied, we feel a bit bored, and in response to this boredom, we go on to form new, even grander desires.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“One reason children are capable of joy is because they take almost nothing for granted.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“To be virtuous, then, is to live as we were designed to live; it is to live, as Zeno put it, in accordance with nature.18 The Stoics would add that if we do this, we will have a good life.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Pre-Socratic philosophy begins … with the discovery of Nature; Socratic philosophy begins with the discovery of man’s soul.” username=“get12min”]
Our Critical ReviewIf you are impressed with the Greek civilization, this book will come as a blessing to you. At first, we thought that this is yet another average self-help classic, but we’ve been proved wrong.
In fact, nothing instigates ideas more than a good book such as this one.