Mankind’s superfluous yet multifarious hounding for felicity has been a constant throughout history. Singapore’s stressful lifestyle and long working hours often leave one little time to indulge. Yet, contrary to Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics, I believe happiness is achievable by all without the dedication of one’s entire life. Happiness is intrinsically important for me as a source of motivation, productivity or coping mechanism in times of need. My pursuit of happiness aligns with Stoicism, where we rationalize away ineffaceably disturbing issues that upset us, allowing happiness to be independent of things beyond our control. I propose the adoption of Stoicism as stoic happiness is more achievable, helps in our everyday life, yet has a simple path to achieve it.
As a philosophy, Stoicism is easy for us to practice due to its minimal requirements and ever-present nature. Both the acquisition of material wants and longing for immaterial is irrelevant; This means neither a trip to a fancy restaurant nor possession of that expensive Chanel bag is requisite in our hunt for happiness. Instead, virtue is viewed as good while vice is bad – an already acknowledged notion in our lives – where we should be righteous and avoid debauchery. Thus, the espousal of Stoicism allows us to grasp happiness with simplicity and minimum anguish; unlike Nicomachean ethics – having to dedicate our entire lives – or Epicureanism – requiring certain conditions to be fulfilled.
Happiness through Stoicism helps our day-to-day living, be it in more trifling matters such as coping with bad grades to substantial circumstances like the loss of a loved one. The Stoic virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance have been key components throughout my life. They help maintain a positive outlook on life, curbing negative emotion while striving towards my ideals.
I strongly advocate you to adopt Stoicism with me, creating happiness through simply cultivating the mind. This can be done through Epictetus’ 3 disciplines of desire, action, and assent. Stop worrying about things beyond your control, live virtuously and always think before you act. This allows you to better deal with situations that trouble you in life, achieving better peace of mind and leading a more content life.
In brief, remember the Finnish proverb: “Happiness is between too much and too little”. I hereby propound to you to join me in nurturing our mind, enhancing our quotidian life to a fruitful and happy one.