Right Action vs Result

Some people think of Stoicism as a passive philosophy. What will be will be, so why get worried about it. I’ll admit there is something to that, but at the same time, one of Stoicism’s strongest proponents, Seneca, also forcefully endorsed rising to meet challenges head on.

How does it help…to make misfortunes heavier by complaining about them…The more precarious his situation, the more immanent his fall from power, the more firmly he should be resolved to stand and fight. It isn’t manly to retreat from fortune.

So yes, life happens, and complaining doesn’t improve anything. However, that doesn’t mean you just sit and let the world walk all over you either. You rise to meet your challenges. But here I think is where the real value of this philosophy shines, because even though you fight, you do not become wedded to the result. Our purpose is to live and live well, and that will sometimes include standing up against misfortunes. But the results will be what they will be. Our goal was achieved when we decided to act virtuously, regardless of result.