If we observe the many people around us, we can easily note how many people
exercise the concept of ‘external locus of control’. In short, this concept explains
the tendency of an individual to exert responsibility on external factors, rather
than themselves. For example: saying “I failed my exam because the chair I was
sitting on was uncomfortable,” instead of assuming you did not pass because you
didn’t study hard enough.
From Ancient Greek philosophy, one belief, among many others, remains powerful
up till this very day.
This belief is Stoicism.
The basic elements that combine the Stoic philosophy is that, although we might
not have full control over events that affect us, such as an earthquake, for
example, we do in fact have control on how we choose to look at things.
In Ancient Greek times, there was an active ‘battle’ of philosophies, all competing
to point out which philosophy best described the ‘ideal state’ and/or the ‘ideal
life’. In this regard, the Stoic philosophy was considered a realist philosophy, as it
involved observing the world as it is, whilst desiring self-improvement.
For the Stoics this could only be attainable if an individual follows these four
i. Justice – Seeing everybody as they are, thus making no distinctions.
ii. Practical Wisdom – involving the use of logical thinking and calmness.
iii. Courage – which for the Stoics was the ultimate value that allowed them
to face difficulties which enabled growth.
iv. Self-Control – the ability to control and moderate actions and emotions.
Stoicism puts into question many actions that we carry out in our daily lives. One
major concept of Stoicism is that to ignore uncontrollable events, such as traffic.
Because being stuck in traffic is an uncontrollable event, it is useless getting angry
waiting. Instead, one should simply sit back and enjoy the music – as per the