Here is an excellent article on Greek Stoicism with nine points to remember as you go about your life which should help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled. The core idea is one of embracing your challenges as opportunities for growth (some might say the only opportunities for true growth).
One thing that is remarkable is the similarity of Stoic teachings to those of Buddhism. They both place great importance on the idea of being mindful of your thoughts and realizing that they originate from within you, not the circumstances around you, and you are always in control of how you react/relate to these circumstances. Just recognizing unproductive or emotionally-controlled states of mind is a huge first step.
Do you observe any of the practices in the article? How have they helped in your life?
Fear is such an overused emotion. It seems to me that most people let fear control their choices more than they realize.
From something as benign as trying new foods to something as genuinely risky as motorcycling, I see people refuse new experiences simply because of this overbearing fear of the unknown. Risk is a real thing to manage, and genuine danger is a thing to avoid, but letting the fear drive you only keeps you from doing so effectively and thereby gaining useful experience. I see so many people going through life saying “Nope. Nope. Nope.” instead of “Yes. Yes. Yes.”.
It is said that we fear what we don’t understand. This is why I make it my life’s mission to understand everything to the best of my ability- and the more I understand, the better my ability! Next time you find yourself rejecting an experience, ask yourself “Am I acting out of fear or love?” and “Is this fear really justified?”. Only open minds get filled, and if you never leave your comfort zone you will never expand it. A life lived in fear is limiting. A life lived with zeal is rewarding.
In this spirit, I propose a challenge: Do one thing each week that is new, uncomfortable, or unfamiliar. Leave your comfort zone. You might be pleasantly surprised!