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Explore Stoicism to Lead Your Life With Purpose and Meaning

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With the advent of technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR), there is increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity globally. People find it challenging to predict where the technology will take them to the next level. They are excited with the innumerable advantages arising from automation and artificial intelligence but they are equally concerned about the threats arising out of them. Precisely, humans are caught between peace and prosperity.

Stoicism is a way of life. It is the unofficial religion of the Roman world. It is closely connected with mindfulness. It helps you identify what you can and cannot control. It enhances your self-awareness and enlightens your life. It strengthens your self-control, increases your inner strength, and enhances your endurance. It is an amazing therapy against heartache. 

Stoicism can be defined as the ability to encounter adversaries and face failures with a cool, calm, collected, and composed demeanor. It is working under pressure with grace. Life throws several curveballs and people must be ready to face them squarely which is possible when they adopt stoic philosophy. The philosophy of stoicism was founded in the 3rd century BC in Athens by Zeno of Citium and practiced by eminent philosophers including Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, Cato, Cleanthes, Hecato, and Musonius Rufus. It is practiced in the military also. 

Stoic philosophy is based on the pillars of character, courage, convictions, conscience, communication, charisma, compassion, consideration, and contribution.  There are innumerable advantages of adopting stoic philosophy. For instance, you differentiate between what you can control and what you cannot control. You make choices wisely. You don’t criticize, complain and condemn others. You become mature, remain calm, and evolve as a philosophical person.   

Myths and Truths about Stoics

There are several myths about stoicism and stoics. For instance, there is a myth that stoics are stone-hearted. The truth is that they have a heart with emotions, egos, and feelings, but can control and manage their emotions, egos, and feelings internally. They are extraordinary people who don’t exhibit their inner emotions and feelings to others. They appear calm like ducks because ducks struggle with their feet beneath the water to stay afloat but appear calm externally. 

There is a myth that stoics suppress their emotions but the fact is that they channel their emotions creatively and constructively to remain calm and composed irrespective of the outcome. There is a myth that stoicism is a religion. The truth is that stoicism is a way of life and not connected with any religion. It is a philosophy of living mindfully rather than existing in this world.  

Characteristics of Stoic Leaders 

Stoics are different, not indifferent to the sensitivities of others’ egos, emotions, feelings, and the external environment. Their attitude prepares them for failures and guards them against the arrogance of success. They are silent and resilient accepting the external realities and controlling and channeling their inner energies to turn the tide in their favor. They are emotionally intelligent and balanced and take both successes and failures equally. They know their limitations and work within the available resources without blaming external forces and factors. 

Stoic leaders have a high internal locus of control. They live in the present. They have detached themselves from the desire for an outcome. They emphasize excellence and have an attitude of gratitude. They live with the ground realities and lead simple and humble life. They expect less and embrace more. They understand that life is full of peaks and valleys and embrace change effectively. 

They know when to hold and when to fold. They suffer silently to achieve their goals and objectives. They are visionaries and optimistic and adopt different strategies to accomplish their goals. However, they are unsure about the duration of their success as they are aware that many things are beyond their control. They remain calm and collected despite encountering adversity after adversity. 

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

They internalize their education and experience to spark action with smarter and wiser decisions. They take feedback at the end of each day, journal regularly, and reflect a lot to improve themselves. They enjoy their solitude. They handle conflicts effectively and overcome crisis successfully. They lead all stakeholders mindfully. Precisely, they compare less, criticize less, and consume less. They create more, learn more, and live more.

Some of the Stoic philosophers such as Cato the Younger influenced leaders including George Washington, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. Eminent American leaders including Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, political thinker John Stuart Mill, and economist Adam Smith followed stoicism. The leaders who remained stoic in the face of adversity include Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, James Stockdale during the Vietnam war, and Lieutenant Michael Murphy during the Afghanistan war.  Here is a blueprint to be stoic in adversity. Understand and appreciate the fact that there is increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) across the world. Have an internal locus of control. Improve your attitude, personality, and behavior. Leverage your uniqueness. Treat your failures as lessons. Convert your negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Convert your threats into opportunities. Convert your scars into stars. 

Remember that troubles of the past and anxieties of the future are the thieves of present-day happiness. Hence, live in the present mindfully to lead your life with purpose and meaning. Observe the following nuggets to lead your life mindfully. Decrease your computer screen time. Avoid excessive viewing of TV. Avoid thinking too much about your unpleasant experiences. Avoid shopping addiction. Overcome relationship issues. Don’t procrastinate. Avoid clutter physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you view it negatively, life looks full of pain, problems, and challenges. If you view it positively, life looks full of harmony, happiness, and beauty. Hence, view life positively to overcome the challenges successfully and add value to others. 

Explore Stoic Philosophy 

Entrepreneurs and leaders encounter unprecedented challenges regularly. Adopting stoicism helps them greatly to overcome their challenges. To summarize, stoicism is a neglected field in ancient philosophy. Stoic philosophy is relevant in today’s world. It is time to understand and adopt it in the current complex world.  You cannot change everything in the world but you can change your attitude by acting towards them proactively to lead a happy and peaceful life. To conclude, explore stoic philosophy to achieve inner harmony, peace, and happiness. 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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