The basic ideas behind stoicism are:
- Virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge
- The wise live in harmony with the Divine Reason that governs nature and don’t try to change things that are beyond their power to affect.
- The wise are indifferent to the ups and downs of life and don’t get bent out of shape over pleasure or pain.
- “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” He is saying that happiness does not rely on external things. Happiness is an inside job.
- “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” He means, don’t try to control or change things that you have no control over. Instead, change your thinking about it to be at peace.
- “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” This is extremely helpful for people who are easily hurt by the comments and opinions of others. He is saying, don’t take anything personally. It’s their opinion and is not based on anything true, just what is going on in their conditioned minds.
- “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” He is a pioneer in positive thinking here. If you must think, focus your thoughts on the good in your life.
- “Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.” So many people fear death and know they cannot control it when it is their time to go. He is saying, if you can’t control it, go with it. Don’t fight it and live your life in peace while you have it.
- “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” All the laws of the universe also operate within us, as we are part of it. So if you are in a uproar, you are out of sync with the universe, where harmony prevails.