Stoicism, action items and my experience!

Elena Azais
4 min readFeb 1, 2021


Best way to practice Stoicism is NOT to talk it but to WORK it! I took on a few challenges which taught me a lot about myself and I suggest that you try them too.

My number one takeaway from these action items was that I am SO much stronger than I thought. In fasting for example, the first time I tried I failed and had a nice portion of spaghetti but the next day I crushed it and was so proud of myself. You might be thinking that perhaps fasting isn’t exactly good for my health and that I shouldn’t celebrate it…however first of all fasting for one day isn’t dangerous and secondly it is the intention behind fasting that matters. So what was the intention behind all these uncomfortable actions?

Gratitude! Seeking discomfort lead me to be more grateful for having a bed, water when fasting, food afterwards, hot water, good music and lie ins :) So often we can give these for grated as well as the people in our lives, another lesson from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius is that death is knocking on your door. Before going to sleep I asked myself what i would change about my day if I were to never wake up after falling asleep and that really put into perspective what it is that is worth spending my time on. On Monday night instantaneously I decided that school was something I wouldn’t do, so the next day I payed less attention and did things I enjoyed instead. On Tuesday night after a day of spending little time investing it and more enjoying it I realised that if I were to die that night i would have rather spent time paying attention in school as it is something for my growth thinking long term that adds value to me and so isn’t wasteful, even if that knowledge were to die with me that same night.

Stoicism is a lot about putting things in perspective. One must visualise death and acknowledge it but also look long term which can seem very different but what stoicism urges is to do things that matter: whether you were going to die today or in 50 years.

Sadness in not necessary! Unlike discomfort is necessary for gratitude sadness in not necessary for happiness. The Stoics argue that we are in control of our feelings unlike we think rather than using the ‘he said that and he hurt me’, ‘he said that and i decided to get hurt’. This also applies with giving what other people think fo us too much value, is the opinion of others (usually strangers0 more important than our own opinion of ourselves? Or of our peace of mind? Hell NO!! Easy to say but putting it into practice is hard and the best way is to actively choose to engage in activities you dislike and make yourself like these, LOVE these and eventually even be grateful for arguments for example.

As much as sadness isn’t necessary sometimes we choose to feel sad and i think that’s when another value of Stoicism comes in: not suppressing but acknowledging one’s feeling and acting accordingly. Stoics wouldn’t tell someone he should be having the time of their life after someone they cared about died instead they encourage one to grieve but also to realise that spending years feeling upset and not doing things one loves isn’t using their time as they could.

Acceptance is key in Stoicism, but Stoics don’t limit themselves to just accepting but they go as far as loving everything about life and it’s ‘inconveniences’. Appetitive what is under their control and isn’t is what empowers them so not worry about things they will never be able to change the outcome of and to instead work on those they can. Acceptance for the limits of humans, we can’t control weather, other people’s feelings to an extent, the future or past but instead we can control how we feel, what we feel and how ‘good’ our life is. But just for a second, what if we could control the weather, HAD to control the weather, what other people felt and future and past, would we be happy? Most likely not, we wouldn’t like the responsibility, even the responsibility for our own life being ‘good’ is sometimes too much!

Stoicism makes life easy: focus on what you can control, do less, don’t care about what other think, death is knocking at your door etc.. All these encourage us to have a good stress-free life. Does it also lead to selfishness? It does not. It leads to investing more in ourselves, sure, but it also leads us to invest in what we care about and if those around us fit in the equation these people will most likely have a supportive friend/brother/sister/daughter/son/mom/dad.

Stoics are great people to be around that have direction and are fulfilled no matter in what circumstance, they often become successful not because they desire success but because they are following their passion and what they truly enjoy doing. Stoics are strong because they choose to do so and because they know they can be strong, you can be a stoic too and here are a few challenges to get you started.

A week as a Stoic:

  • All cold showers
  • Slept on the floor (2x)
  • Fasting (1x)
  • Cooked 6 meals for $2
  • Listen to 15 minutes of music you hate
  • Wake up at 5am and be productive (4x)

Me sleeping on the floor: hope this motivates you to keep going! You are SO much stronger than you think!



Elena Azais

15 yo student curious that writes articles on technologies and mindsets!