The Stoic Challenge

Abhinav Thakur
2 min readJul 19, 2021

There has been a lot of changes in my personal life lately. I moved to a new country, got a new job and recently even bought a house. Things have been extremely busy and I have not been able to keep up with my reading these last couple months.

On that note, I did finish reading this gem of a book called The Stoic Challenge. William Irvine has done an excellent job explaining the basics on stoicism and his experiences with this philosophy.

Photo by Mike Gorrell on Unsplash

Stoic Tests
According to the author, obstacles in life are to be seen as tests created by Gods of Stoicism. Au contraire, Stoicism doesn’t have any Gods. It isn’t even a religion. The author gives that status to the original founders and practitioners of the philosophy. If your flight is delayed, Stoic Gods must be watching to see how you handle this setback.

In his descriptions, the author lists many obstacles and setbacks that come his way. He is honest that he doesn’t keep his head each time, however, more often than not; he sees these as opportunities and tests.

Negative Visualization
A technique the author describes to hone one’s stoic acumen is called negative visualization. Sometimes, we take life for granted. In such times, it is not just enough to be grateful according to him. Sometimes, we ought to think what could have gone wrong and resulted in worse…