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Stoicism: A Philosophical Guide to Resilience and Tranquility

Updated: Jan 29

Written by Jir Dara Akcan

“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.”

Stoicism is a school of thought that originated in ancient Greece in the Hellenistic period. Stoics believe that even though we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we react to it. Although its emergence is old, stoicism is still relevant and thriving today. Stoics are seen as strong and unbreakable people who can get over every adversity that life throws at them. They believe that every rise will have its downfall, every shining star will fade away, and every smile will see a frown.

In the city of Cyprus in 300 B.C., there lived a wealth trader called Zeno. While on a voyage from Phoenicia to Piraeus, his boat sank along with all of his loot. A wealthy man became poor in an instant that no one could have foreseen. If most of us were in a situation like this, we would probably feel helpless and weak. Everything he worked for instantly went by the sheer power of nature. Most of us would feel like this. But not for Zeno, the father of stoicism.

After the event, Zeno read the works of important philosophers and created and taught stoicism. At its core, stoicism is the very definition of acceptance and

indifference. Above, we said that stoics are seen as strong and unbreakable people who accept and stay indifferent to hard times. But stoicism is much more than that. It is a way to observe, describe, and understand the world. The same principles of stoicism can be applied today just as they were applied centuries ago, and their benefits would still be as impactful.

Stoicism allows us to process the negative emotions from negative experiences and turn them into unique windows that open up to different perspectives of our world. One little compliment can make our whole day better, and one little thought can cascade into a massive philosophy. Perspective is key, and everyone sees the world differently.

Stoics thought that stoicism could help anyone and everyone, Because of this, they did not teach or discuss stoicism in schools or courtyards. They gathered and discussed stoicism in public places. Because of this, anyone could learn and be stoic, and they did. From Epictus to Aurelius, stoicism was widely popular and continued to expand.

In a world of unexpected events, emotions tend to get in our way. Because at the end of the day, we do not get sad because bad things happen to us. We get sad because they happen unexpectedly. For example, rain has a lot of advantages for the earth. It provides water for our plants and for our livestock. But we do not want to get caught under it without an umbrella. So why do we not cry when we get caught in the rain? We learned to expect it. Rain is unavoidable, so we accept it and continue with our lives. Even though it is a bad experience for us, it will pass and the sun will rise. This is the very core of stoicism. Picture the worst outcome and live knowing it can happen.

In the modern world, where advertisements are shoved right into our throats, we think that if we do not buy the latest stuff, we will not be happy. This is why stoicism is especially impactful today. We should focus on improving ourselves for ourselves. Attaching hope or any other attachment always ends in disappointment. Sometimes we do things for our external values instead of our internal values. Just like buying a fancy car or a house or even building a family. But stoicism says that if we live like this, our happiness would depend on the said external forces, forces that can always fail. Cars break down, natural disasters wipe away entire cities, and divorce rates climb higher each year. Our happiness depends solely on internal values. Values that cannot be physically acquired nor should be something we have We must do our best to stay calm through everything life throws at us. Because regardless of what we want, most of the things that happen to us happen out of our control.


  1. Garett John. (2023, May 10). What is stoicism? Explained in 3 beliefs. TheCollector.

  2. Stoicism (Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy). (2023, January 20). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

  3. Stoicism. (1999, July 26). Encyclopedia Britannica.


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