How to Upgrade Stoicism

Written by
Miles Rote

How to Upgrade Stoicism

Written by
Miles Rote

How to Upgrade Stoicism

Written by
Miles Rote

A tofu salad changed my life – here's how it can change yours.

I need to tell you a story – and at first, you’re going to think it’s trivial because it’s about a tofu salad.

But if you stick with me, I think it can change your life. 

Often times when you read about life lessons, people use extreme examples – like how a close brush with death changed their life or how travel transformed how they see the world. 

Of course, that’s great and all, but what if you could have the same type of transformation during countless, seemingly trivial situations?  

How ordering a salad can change your life

We don’t need big examples to learn big lessons – all this shit is connected. Which means: what is above, so is below, what is macro, so is micro, how you do one thing is how you do everything.That’s why ordering a salad can alter how you live life. For the better. 

I hadn't eaten all day, just finished an intense workout, and then drove 30 minutes to my favorite salad joint to be told they were out of tofu for the next hour.

Now, first of all, I told you this story sounds trivial so don’t get your panties in a bunch as a vegetarian complains about a salad joint not having tofu ready. 

A normal reaction would be frustration but a stoic one would be acceptance because it was outside of my control. What if I told you it made me happy? 

Responding without an emotional charge & not being angry is neutral: I’m neither happy nor sad.

This is the essence of stoicism but it’s never been good enough for me – it's too passive.

Upgrading Stoicism

For the rest of your life you'll experience things outside of your control – why not utilize every one of those opportunities to become better instead of just accepting the outcome?

Upgrading stoicism means you respond to unfavorable circumstances in a positive way instead of a neutral way.

When they told me they didn’t have tofu prepared I took a microsecond to process & recognize it as an opportunity. Instead of being upset or just accepting it, I smiled at the woman & responded I didn’t mind at all since it’d be great to sit and read.

She was taken aback, confused even, but had no choice but to smile and thanked me for my patience. I looked for the lessons and realized it was an opportunity to be patient, and in this hyperspeed world, that is a virtue we are losing on a daily basis. 

Second, it was an opportunity to feel hunger – and in that moment, as hungry as I was, I could remind myself I wasn’t starving…but about 800 million people actually were. 

The Reward

After reading for an hour and reflecting on all of this, I got in line. The moment I reached the front – not only was I greeted by a huge smile – my meal was comped and I was thanked many times. 

I suppose they’d never encountered telling a customer they were out of something and having them respond with joy but it was obvious it made their day a little bit better.

And there I was, having people make me a delicious superfood salad, thanking me, and then giving it away to me for free with a gracious smile – all while upgrading my self a little bit.

The truth is, you will encounter far more trivial situations than extreme ones – but you can design your response to experience transformation regardless. 

This is how you upgrade stoicism.

PS:  Want to learn how to do this first hand? Come with me to Bali for this amazing retreat I'm co-leading. It's my favorite event of the year and it will help you go #nextlevel.