Stoicism 101: Interpret All Experiences in Your Life in a Positive Way!

Is having a new experience the same as re-experiencing an old experience we might have forgotten?

eric kim hanoi

Dear friend,

One thing I’ve been doing is looking back at some of my old photos, from 2013-2014 (which were shot on film), and I’m getting so much joy re-experiencing the past joy from the past!

Then I had an interesting philosophical thought:

Is having a new experience the same as re-experiencing an old experience we might have forgotten?


Is it better to have a new experience, than to re-live old experiences?

Then another thought:

If you have an experience in the past, but don’t remember it — was it worth having in the first place?

And even deeper:

What is the purpose of experiences — especially if you might end up forgetting them one day?

Let’s get deep:

  1. First of all, regardless if you ‘remember’ an experience or not, it has somehow shaped you into who you are today; conscious or subconscious.
  2. I don’t think we can categorize an experience as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Because for example, I grew up with an abusive father, who gambled, and did all this shitty stuff to my mom. But was that really a “bad” thing? In a strange way– he was the ultimate role model for me, because he was the best example of an ANTI-ROLE model (he taught me morals and ethics by teaching me what not to do to women, my future wife, or others). In some ways, I think that traumatic life experiences (if you survive them), actually make you stronger. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (Nietzsche). Or, you can think: “People who try to harm you and if you survive, these people end up benefitting you, because it makes you stronger and more resilient in life”.
  3. Therefore, all experiences are ‘positive’ in the sense that we can shape/interpret them however we want. For example, whenever something shitty happens to me in life, I always think to myself: “How can this shitty experience make me into a stronger person? Or how will I look on at this experience in the future, and laugh about it, or feel gratitude from it?”

Lesson: Interpret ALL events and experiences in your life in a positive way; and then your life will be ALL upside, no downside #STOICISM

Whether you like it or not, you’re going to die. I think in life, photography is one of the best tools to live more adventurously, more boldly, and to create artwork which can inspire future generations.

Also, photography serves as a good self-therapeutic/self-therapy. Whenever I feel shitty, and look at old photos from the past — it actually makes me feel better! Because it makes me remind myself:

Eric, don’t take your emotions too seriously. You’re probably only feeling depressed because it is dark outside, you’re not getting sunlight, or today is just an off-day (you might have slept poorly). Don’t let your emotion or your mood be an indicator of how good your life is. Soon this negative emotion will pass, and the sun will come out again!



eric kim portrait by cindy

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eric kim photography black and white hanoi-0009910

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