Stoic Week 2015 Review

Three years of Stoic Week. For three years I’ve witnessed the stoic community grow and the team at Stoicism Today improve Stoic Week. The following is a recap of my personal Stoic Week 2015 and observations of my results over the years.

I have been reading, practicing and writing about stoicism for about three years. There have been periods where I’ve been less “active” but the core concepts and principles are pretty rooted in my daily thoughts and activities now and I feel good about the impact on my life.

Stoic Week begins with preliminary questionnaires, has themed readings and exercises throughout the week and finishes with the same questionnaires. The following is a recap of the results of those questionnaires from 2013–2015.

Satisfaction with Life

The Satisfaction with Life Scale attempts to measure just that, a person’s satisfaction level with their life. The higher the score the more satisfied. Here are my scores for each year, pre Stoic Week and post Stoic Week respectively:

  • Stoic Week 2013:  24 to 28
  • Stoic Week 2014: 26 and 26
  • Stoic Week 2015: 29 and 29

What does this mean? Well, in this PDF, Ed Diener describes the results in detail. I fall near the top of the second highest score range, which means overall I am supposedly satisfied with the major domains of my life—work or school, family, friends, leisure, and personal development. I agree with that. Diener points out that high satisfaction does not necessarily mean complacency; and that the smaller areas of dissatisfaction can motivate further development.

The conclusion I draw from this data is, though my satisfaction with life may not be dependent on my participation with Stoic Week necessarily, it is perhaps dependent on my practicing stoicism as a whole. There are other factors to consider as well. In 2015, for instance, I left a five year job to launch my own business—this has had a significant impact on my quality of life.

Flourishing

The Flourishing Scale, proposes to be a measurement of flourishing (from the Greek word eudaimonia), thriving, happiness, or welfare. The Greek word eudaimonia literally translates to “good spirit.” The questions are along the lines of purpose and meaning in life, rewarding relationships and activities, respect and overall “goodness” as a person.

Oddly, I’ve witnessed these numbers fluctuate a bit. Again, pre Stoic Week followed by post Stoic Week numbers:

  • Stoic Week 2013:  50 to 54
  • Stoic Week 2014: 46 and 50
  • Stoic Week 2015: 50 and 51

I explain these fluctuations with a couple of reasons. I think in 2013 I was a bit naive and didn’t completely understand all the topics. It seems each year my understanding improves and I believe my answers are more accurate.

Stoic Week participation does appear to have an impact on my flourishing.

Stoic Attitudes and Behaviours

The Stoic Attitudes and Behaviours Scale measures how much you “think” and “act” like a Stoic. This one also has some odd results; the last two years my attitudes and behaviours have actually decreased over the course of the week. Pre and post Stoic Week results:

  • Stoic Week 2013:  49 to 57
  • Stoic Week 2014: 116 to 108
  • Stoic Week 2015: 172 and 167

One thing that is clear is my attitudes and behaviours are becoming more stoic every year. It’s odd though that the data shows Stoic Week to have a negative impact on my attitudes and behaviours. The only explanation I can come up with relates to the previous scale; my understanding improves over the course of the week which makes my answers more accurate. I’d be curious to see if this is the case for any other participants.

Positive and Negative Experience

The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience proposes to measure a balance of positive and negative feelings. I am leaving a bit unfinished because the team is still crunching the numbers. Once I get the data points I will update; but overall I have seen a net effect of more positive feelings. That’s nice.

Conclusion

So, what. Well, I have found Stoic Week to be very beneficial. It helps me internalize the concepts and ideas more firmly. Each year I learn more about Stoicism. Each year I grow, and I feel that it has been at an increasing rate since finding an interest in Stoicism. Each year I seem to have a cycle of stoic activity and I’ve been finding Stoic Week provides a much needed fuel for my focus.

Where am I now versus three years ago? I have a greatly reduced temper. It is becoming rarer to get frustrated to the point of an outburst or tantrum. I have better strategies for managing my emotions and remaining calm when dealing with my kids. I’ve learned that twin four year old boys can act as a perfectly chaotic testing ground for stoic attitudes and behaviours.

Additionally, this year I decided to combine a few ideas. I like the idea of mantras or maxims. I love calligraphy and hand lettering. Each day I chose a quote related to the day’s theme and created a hand lettered quote. This gave me an opportunity to practice calligraphy, do a small design exercise and more importantly, reflect on the day’s theme and quote. I spent 1–3 hours working on this each day, which turned into a nice exercise. As a result, I feel more intimate with these maxims and I have found them to be more readily at hand when I need them. The first day after I made “Endure and Renounce” i found myself repeating it when one of my boys was throwing an particularly intense tantrum. These quotes are posted here under the category of quotes and also on an Instagram under @stoicbydesign.

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