- tranquility ↔ virtue
- art of living
- contemplate bad things to: prevent them from happening, lessen their impact when they happen, prevent boredom
- learn how to want the things we already have
- negative visualizations : wife, job, theft, house burnt down, gone blind, death of other persons, own death
- enjoy what we have without clinging to it = every time we do something could be the last time we do it
- trichotomy of control : there are things over which we have complete control, things over which we have no control at all, and things over which we have some but not complete control
- internal goals instead of external goals
- we should periodically cause ourselves to experience discomfort that we could easily have avoided ⇒ voluntary discomfort (vaccine) ⇒ we might periodically allow ourselves to become thirsty or hungry
- insults ⇒ respond with humor (including self-deprecating humor)
- evolution favored goals to maximize our chances to reproduce, not to maximize our happiness ⇒ it favored social status, more of anything we already have, etc.
Among their recommendations were the following
- "We should become self-aware: We should observe ourselves as we go about our daily business, and we should periodically reflect on how we responded to the day’s events. How did we respond to an insult? To the loss of a possession? To a stressful situation? Did we, in our responses, put Stoic psychological strategies to work?"
- "We should use our reasoning ability to overcome negative emotions. We should also use our reasoning ability to master our desires, to the extent that it is possible to do so. In particular, we should use reason to convince ourselves that things such as fame and fortune aren’t worth having—not, at any rate, if what we seek is tranquility—and therefore aren’t worth pursuing. Likewise, we should use our reasoning ability to convince ourselves that even though certain activities are pleasurable, engaging in those activities will disrupt our tranquility, and the tranquility lost will outweigh the pleasure gained."
- "If, despite not having pursued wealth, we find ourselves wealthy, we should enjoy our affluence; it was the Cynics, not the Stoics, who advocated asceticism. But although we should enjoy wealth, we should not cling to it; indeed, even as we enjoy it, we should contemplate its loss."
- "We are social creatures; we will be miserable if we try to cut off contact with other people. Therefore, if what we seek is tranquility, we should form and maintain relations with others. In doing so, though, we should be careful about whom we befriend. We should also, to the extent possible, avoid people whose values are corrupt, for fear that their values will contaminate ours."
- "Other people are invariably annoying, though, so if we maintain relations with them, they will periodically upset our tranquility—if we let them. The Stoics spent a considerable amount of time devising techniques for taking the pain out of our relationships with other people. In particular, they came up with techniques for dealing with the insults of others and preventing them from angering us."
- "The Stoics pointed to two principal sources of human unhappiness—our insatiability and our tendency to worry about things beyond our control—and they developed techniques for removing these sources of unhappiness from our life."
- "To conquer our insatiability, the Stoics advise us to engage in negative visualization. We should contemplate the impermanence of all things. We should imagine ourselves losing the things we most value, including possessions and loved ones. We should also imagine the loss of our own life. If we do this, we will come to appreciate the things we now have, and because we appreciate them, we will be less likely to form desires for other things. And besides simply imagining that things could be worse than they are, we should sometimes cause things to be worse than they would otherwise be; Seneca advises us to “practice poverty,” and Musonius advises us voluntarily to forgo opportunities for pleasure and comfort."
- "To curb our tendency to worry about things beyond our control, the Stoics advise us to perform a kind of triage with respect to the elements of our life and sort them into those we have no control over, those we have complete control over, and those we have some but not complete control over. Having done this, we should not bother about things over which we have no control. Instead, we should spend some of our time dealing with things over which we have complete control, such as our goals and values, and spend most of our time dealing with things over which we have some but not complete control. If we do this, we will avoid experiencing much needless anxiety."
- "When we spend time dealing with things over which we have some but not complete control, we should be careful to internalize our goals. My goal in playing tennis, for example, should be not to win the match but to play the best match possible."
- We should be fatalistic with respect to the external world: We should realize that what has happened to us in the past and what is happening to us at this very moment are beyond our control, so it is foolish to get upset about these things.
- "At spare moments in the day, make it a point to contemplate the loss of whatever you value in life."
- "After mastering negative visualization, a novice Stoic should move on to become proficient in applying the trichotomy of control."
- "As a Stoic novice, you will want, as part of becoming proficient in applying the trichotomy of control, to practice internalizing your goals."
- "In your practice of Stoicism, you will also want, in conjunction with applying the trichotomy of control, to become a psychological fatalist about the past and the present—but not about the future."
- "Self-deprecating humor has become my standard response to insults. When someone criticizes me, I reply that matters are even worse than he is suggesting."
- "I have experimented with a program of voluntary discomfort. I have not attempted to go barefoot, as Musonius suggested, but I have tried less radical behavior, such as under-dressing for winter weather, not heating my car in the winter, and not air conditioning it in the summer."