Why do we suffer more in imagination than in reality? 

Anxiety can be a real burden, causing even minor issues to feel like insurmountable problems in our minds. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what if” thoughts that can spiral out of control. However, as the Stoic philosopher Seneca noted, we often suffer more in our imagination than in reality. I used to wonder how this could be true – surely physical pain would always be worse than mental pain. But upon reflection, I realized that there have been many times when I worried endlessly about something, only for it to turn out fine in the end.

Upon further examination, I discovered that there are two main reasons why we tend to suffer more in our imagination. First, we often underestimate ourselves and our ability to handle difficult situations. Second, we tend to overestimate the severity of the situation and blow it out of proportion in our minds. By better understanding and acknowledging these tendencies, we can work towards managing our anxiety and finding relief from the mental suffering it can cause.

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A gem cannot be polished without friction

A gem cannot be polished without friction

I’ve recently just started working in my dream career. It’s been a lot of new faces, names, and protocols but it’s been an amazing experience so far. However, the thought of failure has started rearing its ugly head again. What if I can’t get up-to-speed quick enough? Will I be a burden to the team? What happens if I make a mistake? As usual, I turned to Stoic philosophy for some guidance on my situation. Fortunately, I came across this quote by Seneca, “A gem cannot be polished without friction”. When you analyse this quote from a literal angle it makes sense. After all, diamonds are nothing but polished and compressed carbon. However, I’m sure that’s not what Seneca meant, and I decide to apply this to other areas of life. It got me thinking. So, we’re going to dissect this quote today looking at: 

  1.  Who are some important historical figures who faced ‘friction’ in their lives? 
  2. What actionable steps can we take from these people to better our lives?

Let’s discuss.

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