William Ferraiolo is a professor and author of the book, Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness. William describes stoicism as a school of Greco-Roman philosophy that advocates the pursuit of living well and virtuously, and notes that one should only concern himself with the attainment of wisdom and virtue. By focusing on one’s own will, he allows himself to be at peace, leading to living a more valuable life.
When many things go wrong, people tend to attribute blame to the external world, saying that it has power to throw to derail one’s progress. However, the view of stoicism is that people can control themselves through their will and determination. Insufficient will power and self-discipline is usually what prevents people from accomplishing their goals.
In discussing failures, William states that failure from the viewpoint of stoicism is not the same as how society typically views failure. Specifically, the only real failure is a failure of self-discipline or will power. These failures are indicative of one’s character. If one does the very best he can and still falls short, he has not failed. However, when one has not done his best and fails, it is due to a lack of self-discipline. In this case, the key to making progress is when one admits his flaws and is honest about his failures. This awareness provides the tools to prevent the reoccurrence of bad habits in the future.
William explains that people should not be afraid of the big goal or challenge and should at least make an effort to move in that direction. Though many challenges appear to be insurmountable, it is not an excuse to not try and improve one’s self. With this, it can be helpful and healthy to acknowledge not only what is yet to achieve, but what progress has already been accomplished. William recommends turning everything into an opportunity for mental exercise and improvement.
To connect with William Ferraiolo or to learn more about Meditations on Self-Discipline and Failure: Stoic Exercise for Mental Fitness, visit http://www.academia.edu to read some of his works or find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.
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