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Day 45: Think Before You Act

“For to be wise is only one thing—to fix our attention on our intelligence, which guides all things everywhere.”


Why did I do that? How could I have been so stupid? What was I thinking?

Have you asked these questions yourself? We all have at one time or the other. But this stoic post is asking us to ask these same questions before doing things. Now if you are anything like, you are guided by emotions and impulses, then you know that this advice is easy to say but difficult to follow.

All human beings have emotions and if we don’t have emotions then we are no different than machines and robots. And hence it is natural for us to react with the emotional and gut feeling from time to time. The first thing I learned while reading and learning about Stoic principles and talked about in the post Reignite Your Thoughts too is that one needs to stop chastising yourself for your mistakes. And acting with emotions is not a mistake, it is just a part of being human.

Now, having said that we know that most of the decisions or actions are taken impulsively make us regret later. So, it becomes important to master this stoic principle in our life, so we can happier and guilt-free life.

Delay your decisions

I have talked about this in the post: Steady Your Impulses too, but I am going to repeat it for those who haven’t read it.

So, there is a principle or mantra that I have adopted in my life that helps a lot in avoiding most of the rash and impulsive decisions and that is: ‘Don’t take decisions when either you are too happy or you are too sad’. And I think by adopting this principle you can also save yourself a lot of time going on a guilt trip.

Be honest with yourself

As said in the first habit of the book “7 Habits of most effective people” by Stephen Covey, one must find his center. And one has to be very careful while choosing his center because it becomes your values and guiding principles for your life.

While taking any decision, stop and ask yourself why you are doing it? Does it align with your principles? You need not tell everyone the correct reason but you have to be honest with yourself. And if you can’t be honest with yourself then there is no point going through all these Stoic meditations.

Ques: Are you more of impulsive or a practical decision maker?

Published inPhilosophy & IdeasStoicism

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