the four stoic virtues

the four stoic virtues

“One of the first lessons from Stoicism, then, is to focus our attention and efforts where we have the most power and then let the universe run as it will. This will save us both a lot of energy and a lot of worry.”

― Massimo Pigliucci, How to Be a Stoic

To become a Stoic, we need to practice virtue and excellence in our lives and let them be our guide in the roller coaster journey of life. We need to be mindful of all the consequences of our actions, not only on others but primarily on ourselves. Stoicism is not only about learning how to take the right actions but also about how we can tap into the correct moral and psychological dimension before we act.

Virtues not only help us in identifying obstacles but they also help us in staying grounded and calm. Below are the four cardinal virtues of Stoicism:

  1. Practical Wisdom: Overcoming obstacles and complex situations in the best way possible with the resources available in hand.
  2. Courage: To not be swayed by desires and pleasures, and do what is right in all circumstances. To do righteous actions both physically and morally.
  3. Justice: To treat every individual as equal with fairness and kindness regardless of their financial and social status, caste, color, creed or ethnicity.
  4. Temperance: To exercise moderation and self-control in all aspects of life.

PS: If you enjoyed reading this essay and are inclined to learn the essential tools and strategies of Stoicism in these uncertain and difficult times, I encourage you to read my eBook Daily Stoicism which is the third book in The Daily Learner series. Through this book, you can be in tune with the Stoic philosophy on a daily basis as you face the challenges of everyday life with practical wisdom and inner fortitude. The wisdom of great philosophers such as Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius as well as modern authors such as Ryan Holiday and Donald Robertson has been distilled in a form that is easy to digest and consume (even if you’re not a reader!).  The condensed timeless knowledge in these meditations will guide you in navigating through the complexities that come with modern living, and help you in your quest to living a virtuous and meaningful life, especially in this global health crisis.