There is an old joke (saying?) that I remember hearing when I was younger (as opposed to when I was older). I can’t remember if it was when I was in high school or the military when I first heard it, but it stuck with me.
Remember, for every hot girl there is a guy that is tired of fucking her.
Crude… yep. Harsh… absolutely. Contains a nugget of wisdom… I think so.
We humans get tired of things relatively quickly. My dog, Higgins…
Wait, does anyone reading this not know that I have a dog named Higgins? That would be weird. But just in case, I have a dog named Higgins. He is a black lab, bulldog, American Staffordshire terrier, American bull terrier, unknown 1, unknown 2, unknown 3, unknown 4 mix. He is 55 lbs, black with little white paws, and kind of lazy. He also traveled with my partner and I when we bicycled around the country for a few years because we don’t really understand how people can foster without adopting.
Anway, my dog, Higgins, doesn’t get tired of things. He will chew on the same type of bone until the day he dies. If we let him, he would eat peanut butter until he was sick and then he would come back the next day to do it again. He is never bored and he is always content with the simplist things. He is kind of lucky. Even my cat, Poncho The Cat, seems to want some variety in the color of hair bands that he will fetch.
We humans are not like Higgins. No matter how important, amazing, special, loving, or influential a person, place, thing, or idea is, we want something a little different. Since my brother is only 16-months younger than me I guess that is about as long as I was special to my parents.
I guess it is part of human nature. Kind of shitty, but not necessarily bad for the species. The relentless pursuit of the new probably helped our primate ancestors survive.
So, why do I bring this up? Because I have found myself bored with my daily reading of “The Daily Stoic”. I read through it last year and actually spent a fair amount of my morning routine reflecting, highlighting, and commenting on it. But I’ve found it has just become another mindless routine and I generally forget what I read by the time I finish my coffee. Sure, it is possible that what I read is still lodged in my subconscious somewhere and is helping me make better decisions, but I want more than that.
Today, when I read my daily reading I tried to really focus on what the old Stoic was saying (in this case, Epictetus) as well as the younger Stoic (Ryan Holiday). Additionally, I tried to really expand upon it.
The key for today’s post was in Holiday’s half where he lists the attributes necessary to win a war, because “life is a battlefield”. I actually fucking hate non-combat references to “war” or “battles”. I side with Jim Halpert on this one. Unless there are guns, explosions, and bloody body parts flying around you while some old Boomer dickhole sits in an air conditioned office and decides where to send you to die, then no, you aren’t in a battle or war… no matter how shitty your job is.
Ugh, I’m off track.
The things I focused on expanding my understanding of are the parts of Holiday’s list. He simply put the words down but I decided to write down what they mean to me.
Discipline – Doing what you should even when you don’t want to. Fuck motivation, motivation is a flighty dickhole. What I need is discipline.
Fortitude – Gotta have strength to stand up to the rough times and weather the storm. Stand strong like a fortress. Hmm, I wonder if fortitude and fortress share a common word ancestory. (Quick wiki search later… yep, it looks like it comes from fortis meaning “strong”. Good job Latin)
Courage – Do what is right, even when it is difficult. I feel like this is kind of tied in to the above too but I can’t articulate how. Any way, do what should be done even when everyone else sucks.
Clearheadedness – This is totally a Stoic addition. They are all about being clearheaded, knowing what is real and not, understanding what is under our control and what should be ignored, etc.
Selflessness – I’d like to hear Holiday explain this one a little bit more. I guess it is all about degrees. Total selflessness probably won’t win any wars, whether it is against al-Queda or the neighboring coffee shop who is stealing customers by providing better service, cuter baristas, and free non-dairy milks instead of charging for them.
Sacrifice – You gotta figure out what you want to suffer for. Life is about trade-offs (I have a BS in Economics, I should know) and you can’t let FOMO get you down because you will miss out on 99.999999…% of the things in this life. You are sacrificing all those options every time you make a decision, so it is probably best to try and make a good one that is in line with your values and goals. Basically, if I want to lose these last five lbs. I should probably ignore the non-dairy milk in my coffee even if it is free and Allyson sounds cute when she says “almond milk”. Abs require black coffee.
So, there you have it. A completely meandering blog post that has left us all unsatisfied. I hope you have had a great week so far and the summer is off to a glorious start!
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Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”