A Piece of Pie and a Stoic Lesson

Ricardo Guaderrama Caraveo
2 min readAug 4, 2022

What is important? To raise your life high above chance occurrences, and to remember that it is a human life — so that if you are fortunate, you know this will not last long; or if you are unfortunate, you know that you aren’t really, if you don’t think you are. Seneca

Yesterday, after eating this amazingly healthy and also a bit late lunch, I ate a massive piece of cheesecake. Today, as I write this, I can feel the gruesome consequences of doing so. You see, sugar destroys my sleep, I’ve come to notice, and sleep to me is vital.

Why?

The usual. Mental health, exercise recovery (I train a lot), being able to be in a good mood when interacting with people, you know, the usual. But anyway.

What happens when I don’t sleep, I’ve noticed, is that I tend to fall into vicious cycles. Last week, after a late flight to Mexico City, I felt groggy in the morning, and it was a Sunday, I bought that pie that day, because hey, it was Sunday, right? I realized just today, that the pie had been messing with me the entire week, destroying my sleep. The next day, I felt the craving again in the evening, and hey, the pie was there waiting for me to console me after beating my ass. What a toxic relationship Jesus Christ.

So, just stop, right?

Right.

Seneca says that you aren’t unfortunate if you don’t believe you are. So, following that logic, I could either sit here and keep complaining or learn from what happened.

Virtue is the highest goal, the stoics claim.

When I’m tired, I tend to fall into vicious cycles, and getting off of that cycles is hard. The opportunity, today, for example, is to find the virtue that counters the viciousness that I’m falling into. Simple as eating an apple instead of pie. But it goes much beyond a simple apple. Let’s take grumpiness, for example, which is a hard one to control, how could I counter that one?

And I believe here is the lesson. The realization that I have a moderate amount of power over my responses, and that I can realize my predicament and work towards virtuous cycles instead.

After all, I wouldn’t be writing this piece had I not bought that pie.

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
Epictetus

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