Lessons on Stoic Way From Grandpa’s Diary!


s far back as I can remember, I have this memory of my Grandpa sitting down on a quaint chair with a fountain pen in hand and a diary on a brown mahogany table. Every afternoon.

A  lamp would lit up just his table in an otherwise dark room. While Granny would be ready to take an afternoon power nap, with curtains drawn or doors closed, Grandpa would be doing his afternoon writing.

Grandpa would write in the diary every day without fail.

I would usually be laying down with Granny playing a word finder game with her on her Hindi newspaper. I would be overjoyed in that simple game until I fell asleep.

I can’t imagine anything more comforting than the vivid memories of those times.

If you think you know your grandparents well enough, then you’re lucky because as far as my Grandpa was concerned, he always guarded his emotions like those were the jewel Kohinoor.

And not only back then when he was alive, even his diaries which he wrote every single day and I unquestionably inherited, are apparently sans any of his feelings.

Now, I have all the Grandpa’s diaries (yay! my treasure!), but to be  honest it’s a little disappointing because I have lost my last hope of knowing what went through Grandpa’s heart on a day to day basis. Well almost..

The Leo I am, I haven’t given up though. Every now and then, when life grapples me with a challenge, when most people would look for solace or answers in Bhagwat Geeta or other religious texts, I seek my answers in Grandpa’s diaries.

Call it divine intervention or luck, I get taken to a page from Grandpa’s diary, which has just the answer I needed at the time.

For example, I recently felt that despite my devotion and sincerity in keeping the collective best interest in mind for a project, the partner’s would interfere and directly or indirectly nitpick me for past decisions for no fault of mine. All this showing me that there was something else in their mind.

This letter from Grandpa’s diary has a clear answer for what he would do in such a situation. 

Sure, that would have been a tough decision for Grandpa. But not making a decision is sometimes the worst decision you will ever make.

The slow daily pain is worse than the pain of moving on. This is beautifully expressed in this quote from Sri Aurobindo:

Progress: To be ready, every minute, to give up all one is and all one has in order to advance on the way.

I realize that it’s not that Grandpa didn’t have any feelings or was unaware of them, it’s just that he chose to act a stoic.

Stoics don’t consider emotions as a good guide for behavior. Therefore, Grandpa trained his mind to not fan any emotional flames. He practiced this daily until it became second nature for him.

He, like all stoics, would treat emotions like the weather. Just like during a hard rain, you may need to grab an umbrella and drive slower, but you still need to get to work.

The same goes for emotional storms. Grandpa believed that we can still act well despite feeling a “bad emotion.”

Well, that’s about me and my Grandpa, how about you.. How do you handle your emotions every day?

Do you get all carried away and turn red and blue or do you act like stoics and get the emotions pass you without causing any harm.

Find this out so that next time when emotions come to wrap you, you are able to deal with it a different way – the stoic way!

All the best.

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