Stoicism was a popular philosophy in the Victorian era. It was even the basis for the prevailing honour codes of the time. In the simplest terms, stoicism is soldiering on and maintaining a calm demeanour as much as possible, the quintessential British “stiff upper lip.” Doesn’t that sound manly, facing challenges head on and being ruled by logic rather than emotion? In case that wasn’t enough I’m going to be making some more arguments for embracing stoicism.
Emotion Feeds Emotion
When one person expresses emotion others react to it. If you yell in anger, others get angry. If you cry, other become sad. Before long everyone becomes extremely emotional. When emotion takes over, a whole plethora of problems appears.
Emotion Impairs Logic
We’ve all made bad decisions because we were upset. It’s how the human mind works. The more emotional we are, the more important emotions seem to be. Not only that, emotion clouds the mind so nothing shines through and you can only think about whatever inspired the emotion.
Emotion Blocks Communication
Have you ever been calmly discussing something, until someone starts yelling and suddenly it’s a fight? I’m guessing you have. When emotions boil over, advice becomes demands, observations become insults, and communication breaks down. All you can do anymore is hurt feelings.
Good Leaders Stay Calm
What’s the most terrifying thing that can happen on a plane? Weird noises from the engines? Turbulence? Smoke in the cabin? No. It’s panicking flight attendants. Why is that so terrifying? The flight attendants only panic when there’s genuine danger. Calm flight attendants means there’s no real danger. Followers always look to their leaders for guidance, stay calm will allow a leader to make wise decisions and make it easier for the followers to stay calm as well. Virtually all men will eventually become leaders, like when they become husbands and fathers.
Stoicism Can Make Unpleasant Situations Palatable
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation you can’t change, like a hot summer day. If you let your emotions get the better of you, you’ll just make yourself and everyone around you miserable. A mildly unpleasant situation just becomes progressively worse and you’re blind to the good points. If you soldier on it can even become a point of pride that you were able to keep your composure and face the hardship with dignity. I often get headaches on sunny days, but I never hide in a corner and complain, instead I soldier on.