Stoicism on Self Control: Teach Yourself How To Do The Right Thing (Always)

If you want to get more wisdom on self-control and habits, I strongly suggest that you read Charles Duhigg’s book – Habits: Why Do We Do What We Do

It delves in deep into the science of habits and builds a solid foundation for what it takes to practice self-control as a Stoic.


Stoicism holds these 4 concepts in extremely high regard:

1- Courage: The ability to trust you are on the right path, take action and pursue your life’s purpose.

2- Wisdom: Education of self-development and stoicism are the foundations of building an extraordinary life.

3- Self Control: Having the ability to be able to govern the conflicted desires of lower and higher consciousness

4- Justice: Wisdom applied to social living. Being fair, honest and generous. We all have this one big purpose: helping other people.

Most often in our lives, we go through life like a leaf in a wind – getting swayed here and there. Our desires are conflicted and so are our actions.

For example, some part of us may want to self-actualize and pursue our life’s purpose but the other part of us just wants to binge watch TV shows and scroll on social media.

You may want to go to sleep early but still, find yourself watching Youtube videos at 2 am.

You may want to start that business of yours, but rationalize going out with friends, partying and traveling as equally urgent pursuits.

I call this conflict: The Battle Between Higher and Lower Consciousness

Here is how I define this conflict:

There are two versions of you. The version that is low conscious is interested in the short term pleasure gains.

The entertainment industry, junk foods, drugs, video games, pop culture, chitchat, laziness, procrastination are sort of subjects that low consciousness is interested in.

The low conscious version of you states:

“The path of least resistence is the way because it requires minimal effort and energy. Build your life around short term gains and pleasures.”

Then there is the high conscious version of you. Your higher self is interested in the long term game.

Strategy and planning serve an essential role with your higher self. Whenever you make decisions based on strategy and long term planning, you fundamentally use your higher self.

Here are some examples when you use your higher self:

You decide to find your life’s purpose and start a business rather than getting into an ordinary job because it is comfier.

You decide to take care of your health, start a weight lifting program, drop the grains and eat more vegetables.

You decide to understand your own psychology, motives and consciousness, study stoicism and self-development work.

These are all decisions made by your higher self. None of the benefits and results of these activities come quickly. They all require up front investments – money, time, energy.

The high conscious version of you states:

“All good things in life comes to those who are patient, strategic and hard working. The longer something takes, the more satisfaction it will produce. Build your life around long term gains and pleasures.”

If you’ve been reading my articles and watching my videos for awhile now, you’d know that I am a big advocate of listening to your higher self.

Not only you’ll practice 4 main stoic virtues (courage, wisdom, self-control, justice) but also practice self-development and fulfill your highest potential as an individual.

The amount of satisfaction you get by being a game designer in a multi dimensional company where there are thousands of other employees like you is minuscule compared to the amount of satisfaction you get by becoming an indie developer, creating your small little team and designing your games with maximum freedom.

The reason why I praise the entrepreneurial mindset is precisely because it exponentially increases the creative output and life satisfaction.

Becoming a stoic leader is one of the surest ways of balancing low and high conscious desires.

This is the key word: balance

Your low conscious self may want to make money, promote and get the all the material needs it wants but your high conscious self wants to help people, do creative work and express its lofty ideals.

The point is not to eliminate the low conscious desire and become a starving artist. That’d be a dispreferred indifferent as Stoics like to call.

The key is being able to balance those: finding your life’s purpose and getting paid doing it.

As Nassim Taleb put it, “domestication of the emotion.”

The starting point of self-control starts with the awareness of these two different consciousness.

When you take action today, ask yourself:

Am I satisfying my higher or lower consciousness with this decision/action?

This question will create an inner awareness mechanism in your brain. Mindfulness is the key to breaking out of the shackles of lower consciousness.

Keep asking this question every day before you take action. Do this for 7 days.

The results may surprise you. 

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