the stoic mantra to overcome all adversities

the stoic mantra to overcome all adversities
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash
“Let us not wait for other people to come to us and call upon us to do great deeds. Let us instead be the first to summon the rest to the path of honor. Show yourself to be the bravest of all the captains, with more of a right to leadership than those who are our leaders at present.”
– Xenophon

Epictetus was once asked what words could help someone live a good life. His answer was simple but powerful: “persist and resist.” These two words capture the heart of Stoic philosophy – having the courage to keep going despite tremendous difficulty and resistance. 

Throughout history, Stoic thinkers embodied this idea through their brave actions. For instance, there was Thrasea who dared to criticize the cruel Roman emperor Nero, even though he knew it would likely cost him his life. Or Publius Rutilius Rufus, who embodied integrity in the face of corruption, inspiring change despite an unjust exile. Or consider Marcus Aurelius, who ruled as an emperor himself yet constantly struggled not to be corrupted by absolute power. He persisted in living with virtue and resisting Rome's moral decline. And finally, there's Seneca, defiant to the end, reminding the cruel Nero with his dying breath, "You can kill me, but you cannot harm me."

In each case, these Stoics displayed remarkable courage. They chose to persist, to stand against injustice and decadence, even when victory was out of reach. They actively resisted the allure of conformity, the ease of resignation, and the comforts of the status quo. To them, courage wasn't about external triumph, but about aligning with an unyielding inner compass of virtue. 

Thrasea risked execution to resist injustice. Publius Rutilius Rufus, by resisting corruption, exemplified unwavering principle even at the price of social standing. Marcus Aurelius persisted in his principles rather than succumbing to the easy oblivion of unchecked authority. Their bold stances required tremendous inner strength and conviction.

Why would anyone willingly take on such difficult challenges that seem futile or hopeless? The Stoics believed that having the fortitude to persist and resist in the face of adversity is what allows us to live with honor and integrity. It's the struggle itself against difficult circumstances that allows virtue to shine through.

We all face obstacles and challenging people or situations in our lives. The Stoic path is to meet them steadfastly rather than taking the path of least resistance. Like a trail of footprints in the snow, our persistent efforts and resistance to compromise leave an inspiring example for others to follow, even if we cannot achieve complete victory.

Living by “persist and resist” demands incredible perseverance and courage. However, it's the very source of leading a life of purpose, authenticity, and inner peace – continuing on our principles despite the adversities that arise. The Stoics show us that this path of fortitude, while immensely difficult, is ultimately how we remain true to our highest values and ideals.

I’m so happy and grateful to announce the release of my new eBook “The Virtue of Courage: Volume I”.

In this second installment of the "Handbooks for Stoics" series, I provide a profound exploration of the virtue of courage from the ancient Stoic philosophers. With wisdom and insights derived from the teachings of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and others, “The Virtue of Courage” illuminates timeless principles for overcoming fear, remaining resilient through hardship, and bravely confronting life's inevitable challenges.

Drawing on classical texts and modern case studies, I illustrate what it truly means to lead a "courage-fueled life" in the 21st century. Readers will gain a new perspective on fear, anxiety, pain, failure, loss, and crisis – viewing them not as obstacles but as opportunities to strengthen their resolute character.

Whether facing daunting circumstances or daily micro-challenges, this indispensable handbook reveals the path to confronting problems with steady calm, clear judgment, and determined self-control.

For those seeking to honestly grapple with life's unavoidable adversities while embodying the wisdom of the ancient Stoics, “The Virtue of Courage” provides an inspiring and eminently practical guide. Reclaim your agency, embrace the philosophy of taking the high road no matter what, and become the courageous person you are meant to be.

Get your copy today! Learn more here.