I have been refreshing my understanding of the philosophy of stoicism and thinking about how it relates to the writings on hormetism on this blog. In addition to the connections between stoicism and hormetism discussed elsewhere, I think this quote from the Wikipedia entry on stoicism helped clarify a common denominator between the two of "constant practice and training":
"Philosophy for a Stoic is not just a set of beliefs or ethical claims, it is a way of life involving constant practice and training (or askesis, see ascetic). Stoic philosophical and spiritual practices included logic, Socratic dialogue and self-dialogue, contemplation of death, training attention to remain in the present moment (similar to some forms of Eastern meditation), daily reflection on everyday problems and possible solutions, hypomnemata, and so on. Philosophy for a Stoic is an active process of constant practice and self-reminder."
I've been asking myself whether I am a stoic or a hormetist. I don't "train," whether physically or spiritually in the sense of having a routine, a regimen, anything one would call a daily discipline--and in that sense, I don't think of myself as either a stoic or hormetist, yet I do feel engaged in the process of living a good life, managing stress and "getting stronger" (both literally and figuratively) in an ongoing way. I might not be sitting for 20 minutes and meditating in a formal way or going through a set routine in the gym according to a set schedule, but I am naturally predisposed toward self-dialogue and reflection as mentioned above, and I am continually challenging myself to become stronger in various ways, through a variety of physical activities, as well putting myself in situations that I see as growth-promoting, even though I may be overcoming my own inclination to shy away from them. I think what I'm wondering is whether the "active process" really has to be a formal routine or whether it can be how one thinks and lives.
In rereading this, I think I said something misleading. I am pretty much intellectually, physically, and emotionally/spiritually "active" every day, but not according to a schedule or set routine. So I'm not saying that my approach is casual and sporadic. I'm consistent but not organized. I can see that to achieve certain types of goals, such as being an Olympic athlete, one would need to be train in a more disciplined way and one would be setting progressive goals and monitoring progress, etc. Some people like to have a lot of structure. I like some but not too much. I seem to give the impression that I'm disciplined because I'm high achieving, and others comment on it, but I always deny it because there isn't a set pattern to anything I do. I wonder if that is inconsistent with stoic/hormetic principles or simply a variation.