If you’re in business, you might have encountered Stoic philosophy as a business practice at some point. Maybe you’ve heard the stoic happiness triangle mentioned in coaching circles. Could even be you’ve associated it with some kind of passing trend. And maybe you’ve assumed that it’s really just insider jargon that entrepreneurs and coaches use to sound knowledgeable.
Truth is, the Stoic Happiness Triangle is an incredibly effective tool for personal and business transformation. And it’s not as esoteric as it sounds. In fact, it’s one of the most down to earth, practical life management skills you’ll ever encounter.
What is the Stoic Happiness Triangle, Exactly?
You’ve probably heard about the Stoics. Prominent almost two thousand years ago, their teaching is still incredibly relevant today. Philosophers like Seneca, Epictetus, and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, are among the most well-known Stoics.
So, what made them so special? Simply this: they taught a method of living in serenity and personal power that could be applied regardless of circumstances. In fact, Stoicism displays its greatest power in times of crisis or chaos.
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you’re likely very familiar with stress, uncertainty, and moments of crisis. Now, imagine having a formula that enables you to not only cope better, but to thrive under pressure – without stress.
This is how it works:
Three Simple Pillars of Living
The Stoics demonstrated that the ideal human state of existence was one where wisdom, self-control, and personal responsibility blended together. They visualized these pillars as a triangle, with the center point being a state of human balance.
Living Your Best Life
The Stoics understood that everyone basically wants to be happy. But the happiness they strived for wasn’t temporary, like the rush from closing a major deal. Instead, they looked for equanimity, for a state of deep contentment in all circumstances.
The word they used for this condition was Eudaimonia. Translated literally, the word is a blend of 3 concepts:
- ‘Eu’ is a prefix meaning ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’.
- ‘Daimon’ translates as your ‘inner spirit’ or ‘inner voice’, your deep authentic self.
- ‘Ia’ simply means ‘relating to’ or ‘along the way of’.
So, Eudaimonia is a state of living that is deeply happy, purposeful, prosperous, and hallmarked by clarity and inner peace. And to get there, you simply need to ensure that those 3 supporting pillars are in place:
The Stoic Happiness Triangle Pillar 1: Practical Wisdom
There’s nothing fancy about this one. It simply means cultivating the habit of making decisions that are for the common good of everyone. In a nutshell, it means being considerate and fair in everything you do.
Pillar 2: Self-Control
The key word here is ‘self’. It’s about living with the understanding that there are some things you just can’t control. Instead, focus on what you can control and rather work with that.
Or, to put it another way, you can’t control what happens – but you can control how you respond. This is really important. Constant stress means you might already be at one of the
5 stages of burnout.
Pillar 3: Personal Responsibility
This is a big deal. Basically, you need to commit to accepting responsibility for your own circumstances and happiness. No more blame, no more evasion, no more excuses. You choose, because you have the power to do so!
What can the Stoic Happiness Triangle do for Your Business?
So far, you might think that this is all cute theory. But business is different, right? It’s cutthroat and pressurized. The touchy-feely stuff won’t work.
Except that it does. By practicing the Stoic Happiness Triangle personally, you develop more head space. You become more purposeful, and your priorities become clearer. You become a better, stronger version of yourself.
Your leadership skills will also evolve dramatically. And as you example the Stoic Triangle thinking and behavior, so your peers and employees will begin to imitate you. It’s also simple enough to teach – and you should.
8 Simple Lessons from the Stoic Happiness Triangle
If you practice this way of approaching life and business, a couple other things quickly become obvious. The Stoic Happiness Triangle produces changes in your thinking and behavior. You’ll find that there are some powerful realizations that begin to take place:
1 . Control Your Own Mind First
You’ll constantly be reminded of the source of your greatest power: your own mind. You’ll feel less stressed and more in control as a result.
‘You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.’
– Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius was an extraordinary human being. If you’d like to see firsthand how deeply he thought and lived, you may want to read his short manual for life called the Meditations.
2 . Focus on Being Present
Being present is an important skill in business. It’s easy to become so entangled in reviews and plans that you lose focus on the here and now. Immediacy, and being hyper-aware of present situations, can prevent catastrophic mistakes or miscalculations due to distraction or fatigue.
3 . Use Time Wisely
The Stoics constantly reminded themselves that time is a finite resource. They constantly focused on doing the most important things rather than just ‘being busy’. If you knew you only had one year to live, what would be your priorities? This is a good question to ask, in life and in business.
4 . What’s Your Greater Purpose?
Clearly defining your ‘why’ – both personally and in business – gives you clarity and energy. It’s what gets you through bad times and inspires you more deeply in good times. Here, think deeper purpose, not just goals and strategies.
5 . Happiness is an Inside Job
You’re responsible for your own happiness. It’s already been said, but let’s say it again. Detach your happiness from external events and anchor it by making it a deliberate response to everything. This isn’t always easy. But it’ll completely change your world and give you incredible power over adversity.
6 . Gratitude Creates Opportunity
The Stoics taught that gratitude is an essential strength to cultivate as part of your journey to better living. Gratitude shifts your mindset from dissatisfaction and neediness to self-confidence and enablement. Quite literally, gratitude is a key to greater abundance.
7 . Don’t Fear Failure
We all hate failing. We associate failure with disappointment or shame. But the Stoic Happiness Triangle teaches that failure is an excellent teacher. You shouldn’t aim for failure, obviously – but embrace it as a healthy and natural part of growth.
8 . Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Above all, the Stoics taught that words and ideas are empty and meaningless unless you actually apply them. We live in an age where we’re bombarded daily with information. It’s a good practice to deliberately cut out the noise and focus only on what you’re doing right now. Focus on acting decisively and smartly and measure the results. Don’t get caught up in endless talking and theorizing.
The Best Way to Regain Your Time
To create the space to develop the Stoic Happiness Triangle, you might consider outsourcing some of your tasks. Hiring a professional virtual assistant means you have less distractions – and it’s a smart, cost-effective solution.
Book a discovery call today, claim your free trial, and see just how a virtual assistant can benefit your business.