Always Remain Stoic is Principle #1. Acquiring the skill of stoicism is of utmost importance. It is a most powerful tool in your toolbox.
Stoic in Everyday Life
Unlike other skills that you are going to develop, you can NOT explicitly set aside time to practice being stoic or learning to be stoic. But, throughout the day you are going to be presented with many opportunities to practice being stoic. You just never know when they are going to come about.
You may stub your toe. Or be cut off in traffic. You may accidentally break something and make a mess. Or you could be forced to interact with agitated people. These are NOT aggravations. These are tremendously favorable circumstances for the development of your stoic state. You must take advantage.
Aggravations as Practice
- If you stub your toe, don’t react. Just keep walking. The urge to hobble around on one foot saying “ouch, Ouch, OUCH!” is going to be there. Don’t do it. Remain Stoic.
- When you you are cut off in traffic, don’t react. The urge to honk, or yell, or wave your fist angrily in the air is going to be there. Don’t do it. Remain Stoic. Breathe Deep. Let go of any nasty word you may want to yell out. Just keep driving like nothing happened.
- If you knock over a glass of water or wine, or break a dish or tip over a house plant and make a mess, don’t react. You may usually curse or get angry and frustrated. Don’t do it. Remain stoic. Forgive yourself for the accident. Clean up the mess.
- Even better if someone else knocks over the glass, breaks the dish, or tips over the plant. Especially if it’s a family member or close friend. Remain Stoic. Empathize with the person. He or she may already be upset by making a mess of your things. It was an accident after all. Clean up the mess.
- Don’t react when in a heated discussion. You may feel compelled to feed off the aggravated energy of the other person. Don’t do it. Remain Stoic. Bring a calm energy to the discussion. Present your case with a calm confidence. Each time other person tries to draw a reaction out of you, become calmer, more focused on what you want to say.
Just because you experience an emotion, it does not mean you have to react to it. Don’t suppress it. Don’t ignore it. Let yourself feel it. Observe the reaction in your body and in your mind. Then let it go. Remain Stoic.
It is very easy to make these recommendation. But the implementation is not so simple. You will have to think about. You will have to focus on it. And that’s a good thing. You are Deliberately Practicing your Stoic Skill.
Stoic during Practice
In the context of a sports practice or training, developing your ability to remain stoic is more simple. Aim to achieve your targets with as much ease as possible. Show no discomfort. This does not mean it will be easy. It will be just as challenging. But don’t show it. Always Remain Stoic.
Some may need to practice becoming stoic and remaining stoic during training. Others may need to learn to re-establish their stoic state in the midst of training. Most people will want to practice both.
Become and Remain Stoic
Create a game that you play with yourself, training partners and teammates. Call it the Statue Game:
- Set a training target;
- Achieve the target and maintain it without showing any external sign of difficulty;
- Eliminate any person (or yourself) that displays any visual cue of discomfort, pain or fatigue.
See who can last the longest? Who can accumulate the most discomfort without showing it? The Statue Game makes becoming and remaining Stoic a central focus of the drill, exercise, set or rep. Include a few rounds of the Statue Game in all your practices.
It is very possible that during a drill, exercise, set or rep you may lose your stoic state. This is OK. Quickly become aware of it. And act to fix it. There are two possibilities: You lost it lose right near the end or at the completion of a drill. Or you lose it in the midst of a drill far away from completion.
Stoic at the Completion of a Drill
Often times, the hardest aspect of a drill is right near the end. Perhaps the level of discomfort becomes overwhelming, your focus may wane, you may be forced to accelerate while under duress. If this does occurs, the moments immediately after the completion of the drill are critically important. You must re-establish your stoic state as fast as you can. Here is how:
- Keep Moving: Continue to Jog, Walk, Cycle, Swim, Row whatever form of locomotion you are doing, keep doing it;
- Remain Upright: Your Posture is intimately tied to your mindset. Alter you body position to reflect how you want to feel;
- Breathe Deep: Your Breathing is how you can consciously regain control of your body and mind. Regain it’s depth;
- Succeed, Celebrate, Reflect, Remember or Fail, Regroup, Reflect, Continue: This how to Become a Master. It will also keep your mindset firmly focused on the present moment.
Stoic in the Midst of a Drill
Other drills, especially drills of longer duration or repetition count, tend to follow this pattern:
- You start the drill feeling great;
- The challenge of the intensity, duration or repetition count starts to kick in;
- Then you feel awful, doubt creeps in, you begin to show fatigue and discomfort;
- All of sudden you realize the end is near, the difficulty remains high, but now you are “up” for the challenge.
Step 3 “Feel Awful” is NOT the stage to dread. Instead view Stage 3 as favorable for the development of your stoic state. Find what it is that you must do to return to your stoic state during this stage. Here are your options:
- Breathe Deep: Your Breathing is how you can consciously regain control of your body and mind. This is more important than ever during Stage 3;
- Adjust your Position: Your Posture is intimately tied to your mindset. Alter you stance to reflect how you want to feel;
- Look into your toolbox: When you Practice Deliberately, you develop new skills. If the manner in which you are currently moving is ineffective, change it. Attempt some other technique or skill you’ve developed in a previous practice. Or try a new skill and see if it works or not;
- Lead by Example: In your mind’s eye picture a group of allies following you. You are the leader. They are looking to you for cues on what to do next. If you show fatigue, discomfort or doubt the others will give up. If you are stoic the others will continue. You must remain stoic to help the others achieve success. You are Leading by Example. Often, this is the most powerful technique of all. Especially when you are actually training side-by-side by allies.