Stoic Optimism

This Timeless And Boldly Optimistic Idea Could Change Your Life:

“Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.

And then [Marcus Aurelius, in Mediations] concluded with powerful words destined for a maxim.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

These words were scrawled by Marcus Aurelius himself, to himself, likely on the battlefront as he lead the Roman Army against barbarian tribes or possibly at the palace amongst the intrigue and pressure. Not exactly a happy or encouraging place to be.

Yet in the years since I first read it, I’ve started to understand is that this little paragraph is the perspective for a special kind of optimism. Stoic optimism.

I’m sure that sounds like an oxymoron, but stoicism gets a bad–and unfair–rap.

What Marcus was writing — reminding himself — is one of the core tenets of Stoicism. What it is prescribing is essentially this: in any and every situation — no matter how bad or seemingly undesirable it is — we have the opportunity to practice a virtue.

(Via Ryan Holiday)

It’s a long-ish but worthwhile read regardless of your view on Stoicism. Ryan cites specific examples of this view in his pleasantly digestible way.

In our daily lives we forget that the things that seem to be blocking us are small and that the obstacles blocking us are actually providing us answers for where to go next. It’s a timeless formula that can be revisited again and again.

All I can say is that this attitude is something I try to think of always. I try to envision these people facing much more significant problems than me, and seeing it not only as not bad but as an opportunity.

We all face tough situations on a regular basis. But behind the circumstances and events that provoke an immediate negative reaction is something good — some exposed benefit that we can seize mentally and then act upon.We blame outside forces or other people and we write ourselves off as failures or our goals as impossible. But there is only one thing we really control: our attitude and approach

Which is why the Stoics say that what blocks the path is the path. That what seems to impede action can actually advance it. And that everything is a chance to practice some virtue or something different than originally intended. And you never know what good will come of that.

The obstacle is the way.


35° 41.876 N 139° 42.726 E

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Are we all suffering from data breach fatigue?

Are we all suffering from data breach fatigue?:

It could also be, as New York Times reporter Mike Isaac noted on Twitter, that the constant barrage of news about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the never-ending outrage about whatever Donald Trump just tweeted tends to use up the oxygen in the media; there is little left for things like a garden variety Facebook data leak. But as Isaac and others have also pointed out, this wasn’t just a routine breach—in this case, hackers got access to the full accounts of certain users, which means they also got access to whatever other services those users had logged into using their Facebook credentials. That significantly expands the potential damage of the hack, since many people sign into other services such as Tinder and Spotify with their Facebook login (on Tuesday, Facebook said in an update that it hadn’t detected any evidence of compromised third-party logins, although its investigation is still ongoing) …

Some users threaten to delete their accounts, and it’s possible that some do, but the vast majority don’t seem to care.

(Via Columbia Journalism Review)

I’m tired of the breach news barrage and it’s my job to stay current. Other topics dominating the news outside of my immediate personal and professional needs I muffle or mute if possible.

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crab legs, y’all!

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