Living in the UK can be a challenging experience, especially for Nigerians who have migrated there. The country's high cost of living, coupled with taxes and other financial burdens, has led to a reputation of Nigerians being perceived as "stingy." However, it is essential to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior and how it relates to the principles of stoicism.

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Sep 23, 2023

4 min read

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Living in the UK can be a challenging experience, especially for Nigerians who have migrated there. The country's high cost of living, coupled with taxes and other financial burdens, has led to a reputation of Nigerians being perceived as "stingy." However, it is essential to understand the underlying reasons behind this behavior and how it relates to the principles of stoicism.

Stoicism, an ancient philosophy that emphasizes the importance of self-control and resilience in the face of adversity, can provide valuable insights into the mindset of Nigerians living in the UK. In stoicism, one of the fundamental tools is knowledge - the more we understand something, the less likely we are to be scared by it. This principle can be applied to the Nigerian experience in the UK.

One common point between stoicism and the financial challenges faced by Nigerians in the UK is the concept of control. Stoics believe that true happiness comes from within, rather than relying on external factors. Similarly, Nigerians living in the UK have little control over the financial burdens they face, such as high taxes and living expenses. Understanding that these circumstances are beyond their control can help them adopt a more stoic mindset and focus on improving their inner selves.

Another parallel between stoicism and the Nigerian experience is the pursuit of material possessions. In stoicism, it is believed that relying on external things for happiness leaves us at the mercy of a turbulent universe. Similarly, Nigerians in the UK often find themselves caught in the trap of consumerism, believing that material possessions will bring them joy and fulfillment. However, the truth is that material things only offer temporary happiness. Cars break down, phones freeze up, and the desire for something newer and shinier is never-ending.

To escape the trap of consumerism, Nigerians in the UK can practice voluntary discomfort, a concept advocated by stoics. This involves subjecting oneself to discomfort in something they typically enjoy. For example, instead of taking a warm shower, they can take a cold one. Holding onto a phone until it is no longer usable, rather than constantly upgrading to the latest model, is another way to practice voluntary discomfort. By doing so, they can break free from the cycle of constantly seeking material possessions for temporary happiness.

The financial challenges faced by Nigerians in the UK can also be viewed through the lens of stoicism. Stoics believe in accepting things that are beyond our control and focusing on the actions we can take. Nigerians in the UK may feel that the universe is opposed to their happiness due to the financial burdens they face. However, by accepting these circumstances and focusing on the actions they can take, such as budgeting and saving, they can gain a sense of control over their financial situation.

Incorporating stoic principles into their lives can empower Nigerians in the UK to navigate the challenges they face with resilience and self-control. By understanding that external circumstances are beyond their control, focusing on inner growth, and practicing voluntary discomfort, they can break free from the cycle of seeking happiness through material possessions.

In conclusion, the financial challenges faced by Nigerians in the UK can be viewed through the lens of stoicism. By embracing stoic principles such as accepting the things they cannot control, focusing on inner growth, and practicing voluntary discomfort, they can navigate these challenges with resilience and self-control. Here are three actionable pieces of advice for Nigerians in the UK:

  • 1. Embrace knowledge: Understand the factors that contribute to your financial challenges, such as taxes and living expenses. By gaining knowledge, you can better navigate these circumstances and reduce fear and anxiety.
  • 2. Practice voluntary discomfort: Break free from the cycle of consumerism by subjecting yourself to discomfort in things you typically enjoy. Start small, such as leaving your phone behind when going to the bathroom, and gradually increase the level of discomfort.
  • 3. Focus on inner growth: Instead of relying on external factors for happiness, prioritize inner growth and self-improvement. This can involve developing skills, pursuing meaningful relationships, and finding fulfillment in non-material aspects of life.

By incorporating these principles into their lives, Nigerians in the UK can overcome financial challenges and cultivate a stoic mindset that empowers them to thrive in the modern world.

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