The Definition of Insanity

Stoicism & Philosophy: Most people fail over and over because they don’t change

If you are defeated once and tell yourself you will overcome, but carry on as before, know in the end you’ll be so ill and weakened that eventually you won’t even notice your mistake and will begin to rationalize your behavior. — Epictetus, Discourses, 2.18.31

If you claim you desire change but aren’t putting in the effort to make the change, you are straight-up lying to yourself. If you genuinely desire something, you will go after it, and you will tweak your actions until they provide you with the result you aim to accomplish.

Mediocrity is addicting.

“Sticking with the same unsuccessful pattern is easy. It doesn’t take any thought or any additional effort, which is probably why most people do it.” — The Daily Stoic, p188

It’s just too easy to do the same thing day in and day out, yet hope for a different result, but hope is not a strategy! Copious people believe that they will reap what they sow as long as they are working hard, but this isn’t so.

Work smarter, not harder.

Intelligence takes more effort to utilize than exerting energy without the inclusion of intentional thought. Think about it, most kids have an easier time with recess or P.E. than science, math, English, and history class. Why? Because it takes more out of you when you utilize your mind to grow, learn, and elevate your mind to think beyond what it’s familiar with.

The strangest secret in the world.

Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, “Doctor, what’s wrong with women/men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, “Women/Men simply don’t think!”

We become what we think about.

  • If you consistently think you will arrive at your goal when you aren’t progressively tailoring your actions, you will continue to be a mediocre person that experiences mediocre results.

  • If you consistently think you will arrive at your goal and are consistently altering your actions to reap better results, then you will attain your target.

When you think in terms of growth, you dedicate a part of your life to the development of your mind, which means you are continuously exposing yourself to new and lucrative ideas that can get you from point A to point B.

A proactive person is someone that notices what’s not working and makes adjustments immediately. On the other hand, a reactive person notices what’s not working and reacts by continuing down the same road with the same pointless actions thinking it will lead them somewhere when in reality it’s leading them nowhere, which is where they’ve always been.

The definition of insanity.

“It’s been said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. Yet, that’s exactly what most people do. They tell themselves: Today, I won’t get angry. Today, I won’t gorge myself. But they don’t actually do anything differently. They try the same routine and hope it will work this time.

Failure is a part of life we have little choice over. Learning from failure, on the other hand, is optional. We have to choose to learn. We must consciously opt to do things differently — to tweak and change until we actually get the result we’re after. But that’s hard.” — The Daily Stoic, p 188

It’s hard to change because habits are as addicting as any drug. We are creatures of habit, and once you get stuck in a routine, it becomes second nature. We hold on to our habits as we do our beliefs, ideals, values, and opinions. Changing our habits is like taking cigarettes from a chain smoker. It’s hard, and you will have withdrawals; however, once you get past the withdrawals, you get out of the pattern of insanity that most people stay in for most of their lives.

Which person will you be: the sane or the insane?


Related Reads