Habits and My Daily Stoic
Since reading the Slight Edge many years ago I have seen the value of habit forming. Just like eating one chocolate digestive won’t kill you, eat one every day for a month and you’ll soon see the negative effects. At any point in your life you’re either performing habits that will improve your life, or habits that are having a negative impact on your life.
There are many excellent books on building good habits but my favourite is undoubtedly Atomic Habits by James Clear (his email newsletter 3,2,1 is also incredible and very digestible). He argues that any success in life is built upon good habits, that there are very few ‘overnight’ successes and most are built upon weeks, months and years of making the right choices. Sometimes they’re small choices, but compounded over time they have a huge impact.
I first read the Daily Stoic (Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman) in 2016 and have read it every year since. As the name suggests, the book is a series of daily quotes by Stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus. The book is set out like a diary with the quote then some elaboration on how the quote could relate to our modern lives.
It forms a crucial part of my morning ritual, a habit that has given me grounding but also a timeless concept to ponder throughout the day. Here’s an example from my birthday this year.
It’s also a fantastic reminder that the pains and struggles that we face today were no different from those faced centuries ago. We should focus on the things we can control and not worry about things we can’t.