To Be Young and Stoic

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photograph By
Adhelia Sani Pramita
Fadhli Zaky

Yes, being young is—perhaps—all about fun. What can go wrong where our body is still in such prime condition and a head full of ideas? It is a phase of exploration, so it is such a shame if anything could crush the ‘teen’ spirit inside. The thing is, while it might be too early to talk about identity crisis and how much pressure society put to our shoulders, it is unclear knowing between what we want and need in that phase. It could awake our inferiority cells and raging emotions, potentially making youth full of regrets. Knowing that those problems remain unanswered, the author of the worldwide phenomenal The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson writes his book based on his experience where he noticed that prioritize and value the wrong things is the root from the suffering. Interestingly, what Mark Manson has been trying to deliver it is relevant to lessons from 300 years BC is known as Stoicism.

Stoicism sounds kind of heavy knowledge thing, but it’s a path that could lead a better self and life. Stoicism is a branch of philosophy that’s emphasizing on mindfulness. Then, how Stoicism helps us to reach mindfulness? The answer is living following nature. What ‘nature’ refers to isn’t merely just the environment; it’s much bigger than that. Henry Manampiring wrote in his book Filosofi Teras that ‘following nature’ means in a human context is how we should use the logic and common sense, differentiating from another living organism to live in virtue. So, anyone could have lived the following nature principle by controlling mind— rather than letting it master us.

Some things are up to us, others not

It might be confusing how to control our minds in finding a virtue. Stoicism gives more details about how to practice and to find the right state of mind. Epictetus, one of the stoic philosophers once said in his book Enchiridion ‘Some things are up to us, others noy’ It means that there are things that we can control and things we can’t. Things like perception, emotion, desire, opinion, judgment, behavior, and thoughts of our self are indeed in our control. However, things like others’ opinions, views or perceptions, wealth, health, and all the things that outside of our self are included in something that we can’t control.

Undeniably, youth is the time when all kind of emotions mixed up with problem keeps coming incessantly. In Stoicism, we taught that these problems are only an illusion of our perception. Problems will be problems if we think that as a problem. Rather than spending time to feel positive all the time, it’s better to accept our emotions and focused on solving it.

Less worry and happier

Being Stoic also excludes all negative feelings or emotions within as negative emotions are born from mistaking our perceptions. In Stoicism, we learned to be rational rather than letting out anger. It doesn’t mean that we become cold, ignorant, or emotionless, but instead makes us appreciate what we have and channel it wisely. It’s time to train your minds as it can filter and control negative things.

Stoicism is a principle which proved to be a powerful way to bring joy, serenity, and virtue according to several kinds of research. Focusing on oneself without being bound by things outside of our self makes Stoicism related to daily life. Even so, there are plenty of people who find it challenging to make Stoicism as a lifestyle. The key to being Stoic is continually practicing because the more we adjust to practicing Stoicism, the easier it will be for you to enjoy the youth.

As a starter, find interesting insights on several books like Filosofi Teras by Henry Manampiring or How To Be Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci. You are also can listen to a list of Practical Stoic Podcasts every day. For last, let’s keep one’s finger crossed to be young and stoic!


More productive

When you do some work, sometimes there’s a tendency to prioritize results rather than enjoying the process. It would lead to high expectations to achieve perfect results. In Stoicism, we are encouraged to enjoying each process ahead. It doesn’t mean that we only relied to positive thinking, but rather practicing mental contrasting—combining negative and positive thinking. So, we will find much more enjoyable with the work we do and more considerable the effort we put in. Moreover, we won’t worry about results that we can’t control.

Less consumptive

Today social media has become the platform for most of us to show our existence through lifestyle and things what we have. It pumped up their consumptive behavior, especially with the convenience provided by shopping and finance applications. By practicing Stoic, we’ll be able to think about the impact. It would also make us aware that there are actually more important things to pursue more than just existence in the cyber world.

Pressing down depression

Depression is also one of the problems that came from negative emotions continues to grow. Whether it’s because of bad comments from other people, tragic event, or other things we labeled as bad things. When we stressed out, we tend to depend on others to help us resolve our problems. Instead of expecting others, we should count our self to deal with it. By practicing Stoicism, it could help eliminate negative feelings by controlling our perception of things, because they’re born from mistaken our perception. Through Stoicism, we can see that our strength could provide solutions for the problems we encounter. In other words, we are the solution to our own problems.