Leading up to Stoic Week this year – which runs from Monday, October 1 to Sunday, October 7 – we are publishing a series of shorter weekday posts, focused on the theme of “Happiness”. Since we’ve had so many submissions, we’re running one of them in place of our longer Saturday post this weekend
Are you interested in writing a 300-600 word post, well-informed by Stoicism, on that topic? Email your draft to me, the editor of Stoicism Today. We have posts running up to Stoic Week, but if we get more in, we’ll run additional short posts during Stoic Week as well. And now, Logan’s post!
We all yearn for happiness. However, happiness sometimes seems to come and go, with the tides or with the wind. We might be happy because of an upcoming event, like going to the movies or out on a date. It might also come in the form of some radical changes in our lives, such as moving to a new home or starting a new job. Of course, these give us excitement and energy. A sense of eagerness. Yet, this fleeting happiness attributed to such external events really does not compare to the stable and steadfast deep internal happiness one experiences from living in accordance to nature.
“Let us therefore inquire, not what is most commonly done, but what is best for us to do” – Seneca, Of a Happy Life, Book 2
Waking up each morning, knowing that our actions and intentions will be virtuous and consist of no ill repute, gives us the foundation on which to move forward and enjoy every moment of the day. We must act the way we wish to act. This alignment of actions with our own moral compass gives a sense of calm not available to us from anything else. No longer worried we will be “found out,” or angry that someone treated us in a certain way. No, rather, we are happy that all life has to offer during our moment here on this earth comes to us and comes to pass. The experiences enrich our lives, and teach us new skills and wisdom along the way.
The drop of life that has been given to the select few of us here on earth is such a precious gift. It is utter nonsense to throw it away in an immoral lifestyle filled with remorse, stress, anger and contempt. Let us rather build our lives on solid ground, a firm foundation in the virtues. Thus, regardless of what situations may be placed before us, we have already chosen the ability to have our lives filled with true unwavering happiness.
Logan Vallandingham is a PhD candidate in Health Care Logistics in Trondheim, Norway. He is currently learning about and trying to apply Stoicism in both his professional and private life. He also has ambitions of starting a Stoic community in Trondheim.