Voluntary Discomfort

But neither a bull nor a noble-spirited man comes to be what he is all at once; he must undertake hard winter training, and prepare himself, and not propel himself rashly into what is not appropriate to him

– Epictetus

This quote from Epictetus talks about the Stoic practice of voluntary discomfort.

The thought behind this is that if we put ourselves through situations of voluntary discomfort, we won’t be so attached to that comfort. If we were to lose it, it wouldn’t have that much of an impact on our lives.

Some of the things suggested are:

  • Taking a cold shower
  • Exercising in the morning
  • Sleeping on the floor
  • Fasting for a day

There will be some point in your life where you will forced to experience some sort of discomfort, such as those above.

Isn’t it better to be prepared and not need something, rather than to need something and not be prepared for it?

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