Applying 5 big ideas
Crypto space is anything but boring.
It is heart pounding at times and mind numbing at others, but it is never boring.
Obviously, these turbulent ups and downs are not for the faint of hearts.
Many have been burned during the 2017 rally while many have made it big. For both these classes, life would never be the same.
For those who bet the farm and lost most of their life savings, life seems bleak and depressing.
For those who made it big and made a boatload of money, life may have become somewhat drag due to ‘unearned success syndrome’.
It is easy to say ‘I should have done this or that’ after the fact but these ‘should haves’ never occur while the events unfolded.
As they say, hindsight is always 20/20.
Now that market looks to be setting itself up for another bull run, one that some experts say will last a lot longer and farther than the last one, we must prepare.
The preparation we are talking about is of mind rather than of wallets.
While coping with our own emotions in dealing with the volatility and crazy rides of crypto, we stumbled upon Stoicism.
We must say, it’s quite liberating to notice how some concepts of Stoic philosophy apply to life in general and crypto life in particular.
We endeavor to share those in this article.
Our intention is to at least put these ideas in front of you.
Whether you discard them or follow the rabbit hole is up to you.
5 Big ideas of Stoic philosophy
Stoicism has its roots in the Roman empire.
Stoicism is more of a ‘how to live life manual’ rather than philosophical musings.
The Stoics were slaves, kings and every class of society in between. Irrespective of the station these individuals were at – they all exemplified the qualities of Stoicism.
Marcus Arelius is probably one of the most adored Stoic figures.
He ruled Rome for 19 years and he lived by stoic philosophy. He wrote himself reminders throughout his life that he never intended for the public to see. However, those musings got out and have been passed on for centuries under the title “Meditations”.
There are many amazing ideas that we could use in times like these that we find ourselves in. However, for the purposes of this article, we are picking 5 big ideas.
1. Memento Mori: This too shall be taken away from you
Memento Mori teaches us to “meditate on our death” and reminds us that “we will die”.
At the first glance it sounds morbid.
It is not.
It is actually a much needed reminder for many of us that this moment that we are taking for granted could be taken away from us at any moment.
As such, reminding ourselves of our mortality keeps us grounded in the now.
Memento Mori also helps us discern what is important and what is not.
When we think about all the Alexanders and Gingis Khans of the world, we are humbled to remember that they all left the world with nothing.
If you have lost it all in crypto, good, remember the lessons but forget the incident. There is nothing you can do about the past but you can about today which will shape your tomorrow.
If you made it all and feel like God, reflect. Does having money make you God and can you take any of your fortunes with you?
It will also help us be more compassionate to one another knowing that we all meet the same destiny at the end.
The equanimity that the principle of Memento Mori brings us can serve us all well for our lives.
2. Amor Fati: Love what is
Memento Mori should not be looked at in isolation.
Memento Mori and Amor Fati are two sides of the same coin.
One teaches the impermanence and the other reiterates the importance of ‘loving each moment as it IS.’
Amor Fati translates to ‘Love your fate’, however, it does not instill apathy or non-action. Rather it encourages one to never complain about what is in front.
When you can love each moment as it is without complaining, you will have the opportunity to live life fully present.
We have read a lot of inspiring stories about people who adopted Amor Fati as a way of life and cured themselves of self pity, depression and general mood swings.
Obviously, we do not expect research to spend money on something that is literally free and one that could slash the spending on billion dollar escape route industries.
However, we do not have to let macro apathy stop us from adopting what is the ‘right’ way of living.
3. Two things: Things in your control and things not in your control
If the government declares a ban on Crypto and that creates the market to dump, can you control it?
What if the US Government declares Bitcoin as part of the reserve for the US dollar and that pumps the bitcoin price, can you control it?
However, you can control things like researching a project, making sure you only bet what you are comfortable losing and trusting your gut instead of hype.
Stoics believe that everything we face in life can be categorized into two categories: one that we can control and the other that we cannot control.
There is no bigger fool than he who tries to control what’s not in control.
There is no sadder person who relinquishes his control on things he has control on.
This clear distinction between what is in our control and what is outside of it makes life easy to tackle.
Suddenly, all the mental burden feels unnecessary.
If you can control something, then by all means control it to your will.
If you cannot control something, do not waste time in even thinking about it.
Give yourself into things that you can control and leave those alone that you cannot.
4. Understand your emotions
Another foundation of Stoicism is the concept that we respond to our own emotions not to external events.
Stoic philosophy urges people to “understand their own emotions as there is no need to suppress or assent to your emotions.”
This means that emotions should not drive our actions but our actions should drive emotions, as we will them.
Stoicism teaches us that the moment you become enslaved by body (emotions are basically felt in body) you lose control of your mind and that is literally the death of a wise man.
On the other hand, those who know how to command their minds command any emotion that pays them a visit.
The sturdiness of a man who has learned to keep his emotions under control is looked upon as god among the men.
5. Do less – do well, this is the only way to live well
“Men waste life at the expense of life itself,” said Seneca.
Those lines kept ringing in my ear long after I read them.
Seneca was talking about how men waste every second of their lives that they have in the hope of ‘tomorrow’, the life they do not yet have.
When you try to catch everything in life, you end up just chasing, not catching or arriving.
When we try to do everything – there is danger that we are only dabbing superficially.
Life is too precious to squander around on things superficially.
Whatever station we are at life, Stoicism encourages us to dive deeply into it.
When we are deliberate about what we choose to do and do them with complete focus, living takes on a new meaning that can only be experienced.
Also, this discipline of diving deeply helps us to ‘live the moment’.
How we do one thing is how we do everything, as such, this discipline could become the cornerstone of all other facets of our lives.
The good news is that when you apply this discipline with honesty to one aspect of your life it automatically colors other parts of your life.
How these 5 big ideas of stoic philosophy apply to crypto?
Memento Mori: This too shall be taken away from you
Don’t get too attached to your crypto and your computer.
There is life outside of crypto, trading and money.
Go out and live a little. Share a smile. Spend an evening with your loved ones.
Play a game.
Remember, when life is gone, none of your profits will come with you. There is a chance that your memories will go with you – so – make sure to make good ones.
Amor Fati: Love what is
Fall in love with the process.
You never know if your efforts will yield any result. Even if they do – how can you be sure that you are going to be around to enjoy them?
That is why it is important to fall in love with what is. At any point in your journey – what you have is the journey itself.
Fall in love with the process and the journey it takes on you. This takes away the heartache attached to the results.
This means if you are currently busy digging out a good project and then investing in it, then that is the process you should love.
Do not postpone your joy or love for the future event.
Two things: Things in your control and things not in your control
If the government declares a ban on Crypto and that creates the market to dump, can you control it?
What if the project shuts down without notice?
What if you lose your computer along with your digital assets?
Stoics meditate on worst case scenarios so that they are prepared for the worst. They do not welcome the bad situations but they make peace with whatever bad that could happen.
If and when such a bad event happens, they are not disturbed by it.
Also, this meditating on the worst case scenario helps you prepare, which in turn also contributes to peace of mind.
In the crypto this could mean, having secured redundancies. Having 2FA in place. Not leaving assets on an exchange, etc.,
Knowing what is in your control and what is not helps you keep your sanity.
Understand your emotions
This stoic principle can be applied to the FOMO and FUD. Those who do not know how to control their emotions will be burned by the FOMO and FUD.
This principle alone can make or break fortunes in the crypto space.
When one gets a grasp on their emotions they can decipher whether or not they are acting rationally.
At any moment you catch yourself acting out of emotions: Breath. Distance. Distract yourself in a worthwhile endeavor (playing with your kid, taking a walk, listening to a lecture, exercise, whatever appeals to you).
Come back to it after a while and see if your perspective has changed.
Do less – do well, this is the only way to live well
When you have 6000 projects to look at, it is easy to get distracted.
It is easy to chase after every ‘next Bitcoin’, and it is very easy to squander away the life that we have.
Instead, build a criteria. Make it your routine to test everything through the lens of your criteria.
Invest only after you have done your research.
This principle also means, do not be invested in 1000 projects. Pick 10. Research fully. Invest and let time do the heavy lifting.
This takes away the stress and leaves you with more time to enjoy life.
How are we applying Stoicism to our own crypto life?
We have just started incorporating the following changes to our lives:
- We are prioritizing spending time with our loved ones
- We are chasing fewer projects
- We are more composed when FOMO/FUD visit us
- We are building better routines so that even if it were our last day – we have lived it
We have a long runway to go.
We are super glad that we stumbled on Stoicism and its application in life. The great thing about this philosophy is it doesn’t meddle with any beliefs.
You can continue to believe in your own faith while incorporating Stoic principles.
For the crypto folks, there is real life wisdom in this philosophy and we hope that you found our effort to bring it to your attention useful.
Let it be known that we are neither experts in stoicism or crypto. As such, please leave room for our ignorance.
Thank you for reading and sharing this article. We appreciate you.
Stay safe and healthy!
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