Get the Mindset of Seneca the Younger – Stoicism and Self-Mastery

Siim Land

This article tells you how to get the mindset of Seneca.
One of the most recognized Stoic philosophers Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or Seneca the Younger, was a statesman, the richest man in Rome and the advisor of emperor Nero. His words echo throughout history and can ring resonance in the ears of those who would listen today as well.

Most Powerful is He…

In particular, one of his quotes talks about the immense power of our mind which we all possess.

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.“

What it basically means is that we all have the potential to be in control of our own thoughts and actions, but it’s only the select few who are capable of being in such control. It also silently refers to the fact that lack thereof breeds weakness and thus being subject to circumstance, not the other way around.

The core essence of this quote is self-mastery, which is a recurring idea used by many other famous thinkers. Lao Tzu said: “He who controls others is powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” That’s the truth, because, paradoxically, it’s much harder to master oneself than it is to rule those around us. We’re social creatures and unwary minds tend to follow suit to figures of authority. Unconditioned minds also have the potential danger of falling victim to their own subconscious

We’re social creatures and unwary minds tend to follow suit to figures of authority. Unconditioned minds also have the potential danger of falling victim to their own subconscious behaviour, whether that be bad habits, belief systems, self-doubt or giving in to immediate gratification. If someone has managed to achieve self-mastery, then it would reflect in their whole being, which in turn makes them that much more credulous and attractive.

How to Attain Self-Mastery

How do you attain this invaluable skill for mastering yourself and being awesome at life?

Self-mastery consists of the two things that truly belong to ourselves. They are our thoughts and actions – the voice we have inside our head and the activities we’re capable of accomplishing on the outside.

It starts with coming to terms with the fact that we can’t control what happens to us but we can always control our response to it. This puts the responsibility solely on us – not our circumstance, not other people, not our bad genes and not the weather, but entirely on our own desires, beliefs and willpower.

Another one of Seneca’s quotes says: “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” Whatever we hold to be true or right, our mindset has the potential to override any physical feeling of discomfort or mental hindrance. The only thing separating you from what you want to accomplish is yourself.

Get the Mindset of Seneca
Get the Mindset of Seneca

To not fall victim to yourself, you need to master yourself – be in control, or be controlled – that’s the conflict between our subconscious mind and higher self. Achieving self-mastery starts with mastering your own thoughts and actions, not in a restrictive sense but as a means of achieving true freedom – freedom from whatever may come to be, while knowing that you can always find happiness and strength from within.

Become Meta-Aware

Self-awareness plays a crucial role in this – it’s the highest of meta-qualities you would want to develop in your life because it allows you to see yourself from an external perspective and to make the necessary adjustments in your behaviour.

Without knowing thyself, you would not be able to master anything. Nor to tap into your inner creative genius. Consciously reflecting on your own behaviour and actually trying to make improvements marks the point where you can start making progress and slowly become a master. There are many practices you can do daily to increase your level of awareness, such as meditation, journaling, self-enquiry and listening to the silence.

Get the Mindset of Seneca

What Seneca did to routinely become more aware of himself was a session of deep contemplation every evening. He would ask: “What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? Our vices will abort of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.”

That’s the key here, you have to do this regularly as to make being conscious in the present moment a habitual part of who you are. Don’t think that you’re somehow above this and that you don’t need to self-reflect. Thinking like so is just another trap created by your subconscious mind. Those who achieve great things haven’t done so because of luck – it’s about making honest decisions all the time and following best practices of mastery day in and day out.

To end here with Seneca: “No man was ever wise by chance.” (Click to Tweet)

Make sure to watch the video I made on my friend Isaac’s YouTube channel, but also subscribe to mine.

Stay Empowered!