I’ve been reading The Daily Stoic for just shy of a year. Each day, usually in the morning, I decipher its short quote from an ancient philosopher, who are sometimes dense and confusing, despite their modern translations of prosaic syntax. Then a few paragraphs of modern interpretation and advice follow. It’s good. It’s easy. It’s short. Although there are no pictures. It’s a quickly accomplished, yet sophisticated checkbox for the day, like making the bed. But sometimes too easily accomplished, in the haze of an early morning — and forgotten. Or too abstract. Or too thought-provoking, usually prescribing tough rigorous disciplines of gratitude and acceptance of that which you can’t control (which is very clearly dispelled as nothing short of the totality of the universe, save for your reactions). Which, without step-by-step instructions, sometimes is a curiously impossible strategy to just, you know, implement.
But in coming back around this month to my Kindle I discover the same sections that I highlighted last year, when I first began reading it on my travels through the Yucatan. Have I done some of these things? Is there a measure of change? Is it comforting to return to those gray highlighted passages? Have I tried everything these well-worn living philosophies suggest?
One of it’s co-authors, Ryan Holiday, launched an online thirty-day challenge series for this month of October, and in the final hours before it began, I signed up, paying thirty dollars, and feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing. Shouldn’t I just be able to do this all myself, without the daily email and the social pressure? Wouldn’t I always feel like a schmuck or a mark, paying to join one of these group excursions? It’s not a scam, though, I tell myself. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a become-a-stoic, slowly, methodically, day-by-day scheme.
And for this dollar a day, whatever incremental investment can be made in the month of darkening skies, seems to have codified and made impossible to avoid, at least for the first day — waking up an hour early. I’ve never, not once, been disappointed with that choice of action, as insurmountable as it so often feels, to make myself vertical, escape the gravity of softness and encounter whatever surprising edges of the day ensued.