An Accidental Philosopher

Several years ago, I heard Tim Ferris talk about The Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine. I was intrigued by the contradiction of stoicism and joy. I’m a sucker for paradoxes, and, like most people, I’d only heard the term stoic used in referring to someone that was emotionless and cold, not anywhere near being joyful. The more I learned more about what stoicism was really about, I began to see a worldview that was not devoid of emotion, but a framework to test your opinions against which give events and circumstance their proper weight. Being a stoic simply means that you choose how you want to let things affect you, rather than being at the whim of life circumstances.

As someone that often had a short fuse, I found Stoicism made sense in a way that I could use my reason to calm my brain down rather than give in to my usual rash impulses that often led to deep apologies the next day, or ended friendships altogether. Stoicism offered a way that used my logical nature to help temper my passionate nature. I can still choose to be angry because at times anger can be a very useful emotion. I can choose to be sad because sometimes I want to feel sad.  But as a Stoic, I am in charge of my emotions, not the other way around.

I’d wanted to create my own podcast for the last few years but always seemed to resist actually doing so because I was so afraid of what others might think. As a New Years resolution of 2018, I made myself a promise that I would actually put in the effort and just do it. I began the whole thing as just a “practice”. I would just record what I was journaling about each day in a Stoic Journal that I bought in an effort to be more mindful of my year and resolutions. Pretty soon, I hit 10 days of recording something and posting it. It wasn’t very good and was often very rambling, but I put out there anyway because I treated it as a practice. Then I was up to 20. Woah.  Shit was getting real. I actually had people listening to me. At 30 episodes, I had someone from Brazil contact me and thank me for my work. (OMG, an international fan!)

The podcast has continued to grow slowly but consistently and that’s been very rewarding as the ideas reach more people.  But more than the popularity, the personal growth that has happened from focusing on an aspect of Stoic principles each episode, has honestly changed my life. The principles have really become a core part of my thinking, and have changed my worldview. While I still have my moments with my temper, I find that I am generally calmer and more self-assured I focus more on the things I can control and much less on the things outside of my control.

It feels good to take an active part in creating something each day, and giving it to the world not because I want praise, but because I want to do my best to contribute something good to the world. If you’re here reading this, then you probably have found some value in it as well.

Be good to each other.

Be good to youself.

Thanks for listening.

 

– Erick