Sunday evening, 20h13, last day of Stoic Week 2021.
I said in my Friday post that I would post yesterday, but I did not. Unlike the previous time I did not post, this time it was a decision not to do so. My Stoic practice was not neglected, but I was working on the project I mentioned before. I decided to rather give it as a birthday gift instead of waiting until Christmas, and needed to work to get it done urgently - her birthday is this coming week. The basic construction of the book is completed - I finished it about two hours ago - but there is still some work to be done before it is ready as a gift.
It also means that I spent most of today working on it. Aside from the time I had to draw today's Inktober prompt (you can see it here) and preparing for the prompt for tomorrow, and a few chores, most of my day was spent on the book. Still no new bone folder, but I managed. It can be frustrating to wait for glue to dry (boring, right?) especially since the deadline moved from weeks to days. Unfortunately, I cannot use a hairdryer like I can for a watercolour painting. Patience is the only option. LOL!
Source: Stoic Week 2021
I have read that some people believe that Stoicism cannot be practiced by creatives because it dampens the creative spirit (it is after all a rational philosophy) but from personal experience I found it to be the opposite. Even though I am not a professional artist or writer (meaning that I don't earn my primary income from the sale of my art or books), Stoicism has also helped me in my creative endeavours.
Here is how it works for me:
1. Self-control: Procrastination is the universal enemy for many creatives, myself included. I have not won this battle (yet), but I find that the discipline of "getting out of bed, and doing my duty" (a creative reference to Marcus Aurelius's Meditations 5.1) is the essence to getting things done. Inspiration is a thing, but the muse works when you do - by showing up and doing the work. (You can learn more about getting things done in this YouTube video. I can definitely recommend the book discussed in the video.)
Practice makes better. I have been writing since 2000, and doing art since 2012 (Stoicism since 2018) and only by showing up and doing the work can you improve.
2. Wisdom: I found it interesting that the VIA Institute questionnaire results indicated that Wisdom is my number one character strength. I wish I could say it came with age, but I know it is not the case: age has very little to do with wisdom. I am far from being wise, but I have learned over the years that learning something from a book, or video, or other means, can only benefit oneself with actual practice. Learn, practice, and adjust where necessary. The same applies for Stoicism and any creative skill: learn a technique, practice it, adjust where you didn't get it right, or go back and study it again. Only with this iterative process can one improve - whether it is learning to draw, write a novel, or become better at being a Stoic.
It is for this reason that the words from Epictetus resonate with me from the moment I read it the first time, to right now when I can see on the wall of my office: First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.
Whether I am doing my daily job (business owner, and consulting engineer), studying and practicing Stoicism, being an artist, art teacher, or writer - I have to show up and do the work.
If Stoicism is something that resonates with you, then be patient with yourself. Becoming a better human being is a lifelong endeavour.
A last note from me before I conclude my comments on Stoic Week 2021: I am a Christian (Calvinist) and I practice Stoicism within that belief system.
All the best with your Stoicism study and practice - until next time!