Reflecting on Reflecting in 2017: My year of The Daily Stoic

The Fog Warning/Halibut Fishing by Winslow Homer (1885).
Public Domain via Wikimedia.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and SerenityThe Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity by Ryan Holiday

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I used The Daily Stoic to trigger my daily journalling, along with James Allen's As a Man Thinketh and La Rochefoucauld's Maxims, for all of 2017. The book is well-presented in hardcover with a ribbon bookmark, which makes it easy to use every day and rugged enough to withstand the rigours of travel (if not a little bulky). I have purchased The Daily Stoic Journal for 2018, but think I might use The Daily Stoic again. Journalling is key to Stoic practice, and the practice must be daily if the logic is to stick. I find if I miss a day when travelling (and even if I catch up later), it is easy for old habits to return and thwart one's peace. I used James Allen's work for my morning and evening reflection, and, in the first half of the year, I went through two cycles of Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues. I intend to go back to Franklin's program recommencing tomorrow, and maintain this for as long as I can. The chief problem is to avoid over-burdening my journalling, and sticking to the words of others. It is a habit I hope to break and I am reading other famous journallers (such as Sir Walter Scott) to see how they journalled (in addition, of course, to Aurelius' Meditations). There is always the risk that we will lose our own voice (which The Daily Stoic points out on 22nd December, using Ralph Waldo Emerson and Seneca to encourage one to "Stake Your Own Claim"). This book is now part of my Stoic toolkit. As much as I would like to be self-motivated, this book is a useful prompt to get one thinking and reflecting. The last twelve months have been a godsend, and Stoic practice - the practice is the important part - has helped me keep my calm (to the point where I reflect on my previous self as if he were a neurotic stranger). I am looking forward to using The Daily Stoic Journal this year. I must admit that subscribing to Ryan Holiday's Reading List some three years ago was one of the best things I ever did. I discovered the reading list via The Art of Manliness, and I haven't looked back since.

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