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Thinking correctly and clearly

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In this article, we will look at 5 main rules from the Stoic philosophers that will teach you to express your thoughts correctly and clearly.

In Stoic rhetoric, five advantages of speech were distinguished:

 1. Correct grammar and rich vocabulary

 2. Clarity of expression, making ideas easy to understand

 3. Brevity – use no more words than necessary

 4. Compliance of style with the subject of speech and the level of understanding of the audience

 5. Perfection of expression, avoidance of vulgarity

Stoics, in contrast to the sophists, turned to reason, tried to avoid value judgments and emotional rhetoric.

The Stoic approach was to separate value judgments from facts. By sticking to the facts, we reduce our own anxiety. The same tactic is used in psychotherapy. The founder of cognitive therapy, Aaron T. Beck, encouraged people with anxiety to describe disturbing events in a fact-based way, avoiding value judgments and emotional language. When we catastrophize a situation, we torture ourselves with the question: “What if?” The cognitive approach involves alternative questions: “So what?” or “What’s next?”

Therefore, it is worth developing the ability to distance yourself from your thoughts and emotions, learn not to perceive them as an objective reality.

If you want to learn more about Stoic philosophy, how it can be applied in modern life, and what behests of the last good Roman emperor will help you to live consciously, read our sprint “Thinking Like a Roman Emperor.” These are key ideas from the bestselling book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor by Donald Robertson, a psychotherapist and co-founder of the popular non-profit organization Modern Stoicism.

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