A few weeks ago I drastically decreased my engagement with Facebook and instead went to a friendlier competitor, MeWe, because Professor Massimo Pigliucci had founded a group there, How to Be a Stoic.
The group is great and refreshingly troll-free. Through this group I have met a few wonderful and inspiring people who are beginning stoics just like me.
In the course of interacting with the members of this group I encountered and/or accepted three challenges (between 0 and 3 are shared with other members and stoics in general but I will come to that):
Being a stoic is hard. The deeper you get into the subject matter, the harder it gets, at least to begin with. From facing challenges, adversity and stupidity (and you know, there is enough stupidity for all going around at the moment) with equanimity, to integrating the cardinal virtues into your life to not falling into the trap of stereotypical stoicism, becoming a stoic in itself is a challenge.
Studying The Stoic Guide to a Happy Life a lesson a week, brooding and pondering over the lesson, then apply it to your life and discussing it with fellow stoics and friends in a dedicated discussion group. You can find the discussion group within the MeWe group I linked above, if you are interested.
I have found this to be a most enjoyable challenge. I do get actionable advice and inspiring discussion with absolutely lovely people out of it.
This one is only secondarily related to the study group, but helps in practicing contentment and it follows this piece of advice by Marcus Aurelius:
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinkingMarcus Aurelius
A friend from the group has, independently from stoicism, decided to make 2021 a year of minimalism. No purchases of something new, only necessary replacements.
I shall do the same and stick to Marcus’ advice.
Given my nerd/geek impulses concerning electronic gadgets, this may be the hardest of the three challenges, and I have to say one thing right from the start: I will still purchase books.
So, three challenges accepted. Let’s do this!