June 24, 2014
How can a bunch of philosophers who lived over 2000 years ago help you become a better software developer? The ancient philosophy of Stoicism has tools that can help you become happier and more productive.
This post is the first part in a series where we’ll explore different techniques from Stoic philosophy and how to use them to become a better software developer.
Zeno of Citium founded Stoicism around 300 B.C. in Greece. The school continued through the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180 A.D. The Stoic philosophers came from a variety of backgrounds. Some Stoics, like Marcus Aurelius or Seneca, were important and powerful, while others, like Epictetus were slaves.
The modern usage of the word “stoic” would make you believe that Stoicism is about being a melancholy robot. This is not the case. The primary goal of Stoic philosophy is to focus only on the things you control. The Stoics used reason to temper negative emotions. The Stoics worked to achieve a peaceful state of mind, regardless of adversity. They found happiness and peace in a chaotic world.
To achieve this peace of mind, the stoics developed a set of mental tools. These tools can be used to deal with chaotic situations, like those encountered by software developers.
Stoicism is useful because software development is an emotional and chaotic field.
Most of these situations occur because we get too emotional over things that are not in our control. Studying stocism won’t make these issues go away, but it will make it much easier to deal with them.