The four virtues of stoicism are:

  • Wisdom
  • Temperance
  • Courage
  • Justice.
What are the 4 virtues of stoicism

In this post, you will learn about the virtues of stoicism and the benefits associated with practising them. You will also learn how they relate to success and happiness. By the end of this post, you will be better informed on topics like the importance of self-care, living a life that aligns with your values, and having humility.

Let’s dive deeper into the virtues.

1. Wisdom

The virtue of wisdom is one of the most important virtues we can practice because it will help us make smarter decisions. Wisdom is the ability to learn from our mistakes and then move on from them.

Wisdom means understanding that there are many factors involved in forming our opinions, beliefs, opinions, and actions towards others around us. We tend to associate wisdom with having knowledge of something but we forget that wisdom also involves appreciating what we already have and being forgiving to ourselves for not knowing all that much.

The absence of wisdom can lead to many destructive habits:

  • Blindly following an idea or opinion with no consideration of the consequences.
  • Constantly seeking validation for our beliefs through others.
  • Using denial to avoid looking at the realities of our life.

When it comes to stoicism, the virtue of wisdom is closely related to being mindful and grateful, thinking about the bigger picture, and acting with compassion rather than anger.

2. Temperance

Temperance means the ability to control our emotions, especially when they are disruptive to our behaviors, relationships, and experiences. Temperance implies being able to set boundaries for our actions and behaviors without getting angry or resentful about it.

By practising patience we are better able to understand how emotions affect our behaviors towards others because we will also be better able to understand why we act the way that we do at specific times.

Why is temperance important?

  • Because it helps us resist temptations and distractions.
  • Because it helps us build resilience towards obstacles, failures, and disappointments.
  • Because it helps us be more tolerant towards others.
  • Because it makes us better at time management because we will be able to get rid of petty tasks that take up our time without contributing much to our life.

3. Courage

Courage helps us to face our fears and accept things we cannot change. Courage also means having the conviction to stand by your principles and values regardless of what others do or say about you.

Courage is important because it helps us to take action even when we know there is a possibility of failure. With courage anything is possible and it gives you the power to make the most out of your life.

It is easy to say that we are courageous but when it comes to doing something that requires courage, it is often difficult to follow through on. Facing our fears takes a lot of work and practice. It means accepting that there will be times when we will be afraid and then finding a way to do what it is that we have determined is the right course of action anyway despite our fear.

Why is courage important?

  • You will have more purpose and direction in your life.
  • You will be better able to achieve the goals that you set for yourself.  The biggest obstacle in achieving goals is giving up too early when things get tough or when you encounter setbacks.

4. Justice

The virtue of Justice means doing what is right and fair by ensuring that everyone gets equal treatment under the law. It means seeing yourself as part of a larger whole and treating everyone with the same respect and dignity.

Justice means you do not cheat your own self-interests to benefit others without giving them a fair chance as well. Like the other virtues, justice should not be an emotion but instead, a habit built out of the way you treat people in your life.

Just as we should not be resentful of others, we should not be jealous of others or feel as if other people are getting more than we are. There is enough to go around for everyone. Everyone deserves the same opportunities and equal opportunities to live a happy life through proper guidance from parents, teachers, and leaders of all kinds.

Practising justice can be very difficult because it means having a deep understanding that the world is not fair. It means understanding that there will always be people that get everything handed to them and others who have to fight for everything.

It is easy to get upset when we see someone getting something we think we deserve without working for it. But if we understand the virtue of justice, then we can also understand that the person who worked hard for what they got may have had many more obstacles in their way than you did.

Why is courage important?

  • Courage is related to empathy. When you practice courage, it makes you empathetic towards others. It means knowing that everyone is struggling against what they may view as a lot of obstacles in their lives and that everyone has the ability to overcome them.
  • Courage is also related to self-control. Because we exercise courage, we are better able to control our behaviors and behaviors towards others. Self-control also means allowing ourselves to have more free time so that we can do what we want without too much external influence on our lives.

How to practice stoicism with the virtues in mind

To begin with, it helps to clean and organize your home. Begin by writing down all your goals for the next month. For example: “clean my room” or “spend time with my family” or “finish reading that book I started last year”. It helps to think about everything that you want to have happened in the next month, even if it is not possible yet. Take a piece of paper and write down as many different ways as you can think of to reach those goals.

After you write your goals down, write down a list of steps that could help you reach those goals. Make sure your list has at least 3-4 steps to each goal. For example: “clean my room” could have as steps: “put things away where they belong”, “sweep the floor”, “vacuum the carpet”.

This is the most basic version of taking action towards your goals and it will allow you to see what is holding you back from doing the things you want in life. Another actionable version could be to write down your excuses for not taking action to achieve your goals and then create a list of solutions to those excuses.

For example, you may say “I am too tired” when you don’t want to do something. So then you take out another piece of paper and write “too tired = go to sleep earlier” which could be a solution. Once you have your list of steps, it is good practice to do one step every day and commit yourself to do that step no matter what happens in the day.

Another way to practice is to take one of your long term goals and make it a daily goal for the next 6 months. For example: “finish reading that book I started last year” could be your daily goal every day. Do not put any pressure on yourself because you are already doing so well with this small goal. This is why this practice works so well because you are making progress towards your long term goals but in a small, easy-to-handle step-by-step manner.

One more way you can practice stoicism is to do it with others. Make sure you work on someone else’s goals as well and ask them to work on yours. So, for example, if one of your long term goals is to make a new friend or a new romantic partner, then you could be the person helping someone else make a new friend or find a boyfriend or girlfriend. It works the same because it helps with self-improvement and then you get social validation from helping someone else improve their life as well.

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