“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius. Are you a pessimist? Do you see the glass as half empty? Do you often get depressed when you think about the state of the world? Today I want to talk about how stoicism can help make you an optimist.
“No man is free who is not a master of himself.” — Epictetus. Do you always act the way you want to? Do you struggle to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you find it challenging to make choices that are in line with what you think you want? Today I want to talk about learning to understand why often make choices and do things that don’t line up with that we think we really want.
It is necessary to care for the body, not for its own sake, but because it is the abode of the soul. — Musonius Rufus Do you take care of your body? To you treat it like a temple? Do you exercise it and strengthen it as much as your mind? Today I want to talk about how important it is to treat your body as good as, if not better than your mind.
Life is full of challenges that can knock you down, but the question is, are you going to stay down? As a romance novelist, Crystal Jackson might seem an odd choice for a guest on a podcast about stoicism, but Crystal has seen her fair share of hard knocks, and has some great lesson to share. We talk about how sometimes the greatest challenges in our lives are also the greatest teachers.
Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” —Marcus Aurelius How often have you been offended by someone? When we are offended by something it’s because of the thoughts we have about it and what we make it mean.
The life of those who live under a mask cannot be happy and without anxiety. — Seneca. How much of our lives do we spend living in way to please other people? How much unhappiness do we feel in our lives because we’re not being ourselves? Today I want to talk about why it can be really hard to live authentically.
When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval. — Epictetus. Why do we spend so much time trying to change other people or expecting that other people will change for us?
Today’s episode is about stoics and emotions. So earlier this week on reddit, in the stoicism subreddit, somebody posted a link to an article in Psychology Today called stoicism as a fad of philosophy. I decided to take the time to read the article and surprisingly I found that my podcast was mentioned in the second paragraph and called my podcast noncommittal, which I take as not an insult, but as very true about what I try to do with this podcast.
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. — Marcus Aurelius Amor Fati is the acceptance and the embracing of your fate, or what life brings your way. We usually think of applying this to just the events and circumstances of life, but have you ever thought of applying this to other people? For me I think of Amor Fati as loving everything in your life, especially those things that you don’t have control over, and one thing we don’t have control of is other people.
“To be always fortunate, and to pass through life with a soul that has never known sorrow, is to be ignorant of one half of nature.” ― Seneca Life is never meant to be kittens and rainbows. A good portion of our life is going to sadness, disappointment, and failure. In this episode, I want to talk about how being too positive can actually be bad for you.
“One cannot pursue one’s own highest good without at the same time necessarily promoting the good of others.” — Epictetus What kind of privileges have you had in your life? Do you recognize the advantages that you have enjoyed? In this episode I want to talk about privilege, and how the stoics encourage us to use the privileges we have to improve society.
“Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.” — Epictetus One topic that I revisit on the podcast repeatedly is how important it is to control the things that we can’ and let go of the things that we can’t. For me, this is one of the most important lessons we can learn in our lives. In this episode, I want to talk about how we be more mindful of what we can, and what we cannot control.
“While we wait for life, life passes.” — Seneca Time is the most important, the most in demand resource that we have in life. Are you spending yours wisely or do you let it go to waste? Today I want to talk about time, and how we can take some steps to be mindful of how we spend it.
“You may leave this life at any moment: have this possibility in your mind in all that you do or say or think.” — Marcus Aurelius Do you think about death? Are you afraid of death? Do you take the time to think about what the world will be like when you are no longer here? Today I want to talk about why death is so important, and how when we avoid thinking about death, we are missing out on one of the best tools to live a fulfilling life.
“The responsibility is all yours. No one can stop you from being honest or straightforward.” — Marcus Aurelius To you own your actions? Do you graciously accept the consequences of your choices? When you make a mistake do you try to cover it up? Today I want to talk about the idea that to have more control over your life, you need to accept responsibility for everything you do.
“Objective judgment, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.” — Marcus Aurelius How aware are you of what you are thinking? What you are feeling? Most of us like to think that we are pretty aware of what’s going on in our minds or what emotion is currently driving us. I mean, we’re the one inside of our mind, so we should know what we’re thinking or feeling, right? Well, not always…
“Humans exist for the sake of one another.” — Marcus Aurelius. When you choose to live by your values, it means that you are only controlling the things that you can control, and not trying to control those you can’t. But does this mean that you can ignore everyone around you and live in ways that are only helpful to you?
“So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?” — Marcus Aurelius One of the toughest things in life is to work at a job we don’t like. There are plenty of factors that can lead to job satisfaction. Many of them are outside of our control, but there are some that aren’t, and those are the most important ones because they can lead to true job satisfaction, and maybe to finding your purpose in life.
“If something is difficult for you to accomplish, do not then think it impossible for any human being; rather, if it is humanly possible and corresponds to human nature, know that it is attainable by you as well.” — Marcus Aurelius What is the key to success? Why are some people able to achieve what they want while others languish? Today we’re going to talk about how Stoicism can help you to develop the skills it takes to reach your goals, and live your best life.
“Be content to seem what you really are.” — Marcus Aurelius One of the hardest things in our lives is to be completely honest with our selves and with those around us. Why is that? Why do we hide parts of ourselves or lie about how we feel, especially with those we love the most?
“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue — if you care for yourself at all — and do it while you can.” — Marcus Aurelius. Does being a Stoic mean you can be apathetic? Does not reacting mean that you just give up? Because Stoicism is about controlling your response, it can easily seem that you just let things just happen and don’t take action. But to be a true Stoic, you are the opposite of apathetic. You are effective. By taking the time to choose your shot, you don’t waste time or energy on the things you can’t control.
Support this podcast by becoming a patron! Support this podcast! “It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.” — Marcus Aurelius How often do you find yourself upset over something someone said? Maybe you’re stressed out over something that is happened. Maybe it’s the opposite and you’re extremely excited about some event happening in your life. Whatever it is, every event that causes some kind of emotion for you is all driven by the story that you tell yourself. One of the most important aspects of applying Stoicism in our lives is understanding our perspective...
“I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent — no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” – Seneca Have you ever thought about how much energy and effort we as humans put into seeking comfort and avoiding challenging things? So many things that we spend money on in our lives revolve around making things easier or more comfortable. Part of human evolution has been to seek comfort. We try to make things easier for ourselves. But in doing so, are we robbing ourselves of a chance to grow? In our search for convenience, do we end up weakening ourselves?
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt When you find yourself in a challenging situation, how much time do you spend wishing things were different than they are? Do you get stuck in thinking how it’s not fair? What if instead of wanting to things to be other than what they are, we worked with what we have? What kind of change could you have in your life and in the lives of others if you instead focused on what you could do? How much time and frustration would you save yourself? Today I want to talk about how taking action, even if it’s just a small one, can help get you on the path of moving through challenges.
“You only live in the present, this fleeting moment. The rest of your life is already gone or not yet revealed.” — Marcus Aurelius How often do you think about the future? How much time do you spend thinking about the expectations you have for yourself, your life, those around you? How much time do you spend in your mind in the future, so much so that you don’t really live in the present? Last week I talked about how it’s easy to get stuck in the past, and how doing so is a waste of energy because it not something that we have control over. Today I want to talk about holding expectations of the future can set us up for frustration and disappointment, and the tools the Stoics give us to enjoy life in the present.
“Reason shows us there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” — Seneca One of the core tenants of Stoicism is to be aware of, and to focus on what we can control and let go of those we can’t. One area that we don’t have control over is what happened in the past. It is not something that can we can change, yet it is one of the hardest things for us to let go of. Regrets are a prison of our own making, but we are the ones that hold the key to our escape. Learning how to untangle ourselves from past can bring us so peace and freedom to move more lightly in the present.
“People exist for one another. You can instruct or endure them.” — Marcus Aurelius Everyone has needs. If you are a living, breathing human being, you have needs. Why do we find it so hard to ask for the things that we need? So why do so many of us feel like we’re broken because we have needs? In this week’s episode we talk about neediness as something to be understood, not to be ignored.
”It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius Deep down, we all harbor insecurities. We feel that we just aren’t as good as we pretend to be, or want to be. Because our ego, our identity, is wrapped up in who we think we are. When something threatens that identity, we can easily get defensive. Our ego tries to maintain the boundaries of who we think we are. This week’s episode is about one of the hardest things for us as human to receive – criticism.
“Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come.” — Seneca One of the hardest things that we have to deal with as humans is anxiety. As humans, we evolved to be constantly aware of threats around us. This is how our brains evolved to keep us alive. That rustling in the bushes could have been a snake or tiger. The adrenaline spike got us ready in flash should we need to fight for our lives or run for safety. Without these traits, humans would not have survived very long. The problem is that we are built to handle threats that don’t exist for most of us.
“Don’t set your mind on things you don’t possess as if they were yours, but count the blessings you actually possess and think how much you would desire them if they weren’t already yours.” — Marcus Aurelius When we think about things that we want in our lives, we also need to think about the thing that we already have, and appreciate those things. It’s easy for us to get stuck in the mindset of only focusing on the things that we don’t have in our lives. We focus on what we are lacking as a person and where we consider ourselves as failures. We can get too focused on all the material things that we don’t have and want.
“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” —Marcus Aurelius For people who live in a Guess Culture, learning to ask for what we want is particularly challenging. It can feel uncomfortable, produce anxiety, and in some instances can upset the “way things are supposed to be done”. But learning to be a better asker can help improve communication with those around you, and remove a lot of stress from your life.
“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?” — Marcus Aurelius The Stoics teach us that we’re part of the human community, that we’re here to help and support our fellow humans. None of us can survive just on our own. Even understanding this basic principle, why is it so hard to ask for help?
One thing that fascinates me about humans is our desire to find the easy way to do almost anything. So many of the things that we think of as necessities in our modern lives are simply things that make our lives easier. None of these things are good or bad. They are simply tools to accomplish things in a shorter span of time. But just like everything, it comes with a cost. As we get used to the comfort and ease these tools bring to our lives, it gets easy to become complacent.
How often do we complain about the things that we don’t like about in life? There are so many things to complain about in life. The Pandemic. The government. Politics. Our relationships. Money. Even the weather. We can all find things to complain about. Complaining about something wishes things to be other than they are.
“It is our own opinions that disturb us. Take away these opinions and resolve to dismiss your judgment about an act as if it were something grievous, and your anger is gone.” — Marcus Aurelius Practicing stoicism is not about repressing emotions. It is not about pretending you feel nothing. It’s about understanding how your mind works, so that you can use it to benefit you and those around you. It’s about finding balance and equanimity. It’s recognizing that you have control over what you think, feel, and do. If you are swayed by every little thing other people say, or frustrated by outside events, you will be at the whims of your emotions.
I have a card in my office that I look at from time to time. It says, “Win or learn, then you never lose.” I have it sitting on my desk as a daily reminder that I when I feel like I’m failing at something to remember that I’m really just learning something.
“Some things are within our power, while others are not. Within our power are opinion, motivation, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is of our own doing; not within our power are our body, our property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not of our own doing.” — Epictetus One of the core tenants of Stoicism is understanding the things we control and the things we cannot control. Clearly seeing things we do and don’t have control over is a skill that can impact every aspect of our lives. It can help lower our stress and help us make better and faster decisions. It can save us energy by focusing on the important things in our lives and letting go of the rest.
“A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what they value.” – Marcus Aurelius. Every human being is worthy because they exist. You were not put here to live for someone else. You are here to realize your full potential, and if you are living for others, you are not following your path.
Change Your Perspective, Change Your World “It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.” – Epictetus Often times we struggle with our own perspective can color how we view ourselves and our lives. What would it take for you to change your perspective? In todays episode, we look at the story of one man who got a second chance at life, and how a shift in his perspective made all the difference.
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good person should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius On this podcast I talk a lot about being responsible for for your own actions and thoughts, but what does that really mean? How do you actually accomplish this?
“A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.” — Seneca. How different would your life be if you could live without fear? What kind of person would you be and what actions would you take if you weren’t afraid? Fear is a powerful force in our lives. It can be the driver of action or inaction. Because it taps into the hard wiring of our lizard brains, it pushes us into reacting in ways that are more basic and instinctual. In todays episode we talk about where fear comes form, and how to manage it.
“To achieve freedom and happiness, you need to grasp this basic truth: some things in life are under your control, and others are not.” – Epictetus There are things that we can control, and things we can’t. But how do we deal with things that we can’t control, but have a big impact on us?
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.” – Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius warned us worrying about the opinion of others is a waste of time. But, if we live with other people and are social animals, shouldn’t we worry about what others think?
Today I want to talk about the idea of self advocacy. One area that I really struggle with, and I’ve talked a bit about it on this podcast, is the fact that I’m a recovering people pleaser. Too often I’ll put my own needs aside and try to do what I think other people want me to do. Usually it’s not a conscious thing, but a built in habit from years and years of either wanting people to like me, or to avoid conflict. The thing about people pleasing is that it’s lying. When I do something so that someone...
Imposter Syndrome has killed more great works, more companies, more careers and possibilities than almost anything I know. When we begin something that we want to be skilled at, we understandably feel like we don’t deserve to call ourselves by the title that would accompany our work. Musician, actor, sculpture, entrepreneur, programmer, writer… We add qualifiers like “I’m working on becoming an actor.” Or “I work as an accountant, but my side hustle is composing.” Do I have to make money at it before I can call myself what I am? Do I have to wait until the title is...
One thing that I find vexes us in modern society is how to be angry. Anger is not a bad thing in and of itself. It simply is an emotion. When we get angry it is because something has bothered us. We’re not taught how to manage our anger very well. Things get pushed below the surface where they stew and remain unresolved. We are often afraid of dealing with someone that is angry because we as a culture, at least here in the U.S., avoid talking about it and dealing with it healthily. It is used to bully people,...
How often do we approach decisions in a black and white manner? We wonder if we are making the “right” choice, which often leads us to think there is only one choice. What if instead of there being a “right” choice or a “wrong” choice, we looked at choices based on their likelihood to achieve the outcome we want? In today’s episode we’ll discuss the book Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke. In this book, she teaches us how to approach decisions like a poker player by understanding probability, dealing with less than full information, and how sometimes we just...
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.” — Marcus Aurelius One of the things the Stoics teach us is that we shouldn’t worry about the opinions of others. This advice is very sound and seems pretty easy when it’s people that we don’t really know or care that much about. When it comes to the opinions of people closest to you, this is not always an easy thing. For example, if...
Often, we dismiss an idea because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We may dismiss the idea out of hand because it conflicts with our preexisting beliefs. We may not like the idea because it could mean that we supported an opposing view, and we are often loath to admit that we were wrong. We can be blind to seeing the merits or truth of something based on our own feelings or prejudices. Feelings are shortcuts to making decisions, and while they are very useful, we need to be deliberative and analytical thinking to make better decisions. What are some areas...
We want to feel like we are “doing things right”. Often this means we compare ourselves with others, making sure that we appear or at least feel like we are “better” than they are. But what does that mean? Why are we better? Who is the judge of what is better? Can we just look at someone else and see that they are the same just that they’ve made different choices? Anthony De Mello in the book Awareness, said: “Someone once had a terribly beautiful thing to say about Jesus. Thisperson wasn’t even Christian. He said, “The lovely thing about Jesuswas...
What if you could look at the world and yourself more objectively? What if you could see things without so much judgment or emotion attached? In today’s episode, we talk about a basic concept about the self from Anthony De Mello that can help us act in a more objective and less reactive manner. You can read more about this idea in the fantastic book, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, by Anthony De Mello.
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it…Life is long if you know how to use it.” — Seneca Time is the most important, the most in-demand resource that we have in life. Are you spending yours wisely or do you let it go to waste?
“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” ― Marcus Aurelius Humans are very social creatures. It is our ability to be social and to cooperate in large numbers that has enabled us to create such amazing societies. We usually feel most at home when we’re with others, but there are times when we find ourselves alone. Most of us find it rather uncomfortable. How do we learn to be alone?
“If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it.” — Marcus Aurelius One of the hazards of being alive is the fact that we’re never going to please everyone. We’re going to have people that will not like what we do. People are going to criticize whatever it is we’re doing. And in the 21st century, this is nowhere more apparent than in social media. This weeks episode is about how to be your best online.
“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life” — Marcus Aurelius What could possibly go wrong? One of the biggest mistakes that we as humans make is that we are far too optimistic about how something we’re planning might go. In doing so we often fool ourselves into believing that it will work as planned, and overlook what could go wrong. In this weeks episode, we’ll discuss how we can take steps to avoid the blind spots that can easily derail us.
This weeks episode is an interview with Jeff Emtman from the Here Be Monsters podcast. This is my first time interviewing someone, and Jeff is a very interesting and thoughtful guest. We talk about life challenges, creative challenges, and what it’s like to drag main. Enjoy!
One of the weirdest things about being a human is how we get comfortable with our habits, and resist change, while at the same time we get bored when things stay the same. In this weeks episode will talk about how to deal with the paradox of change.
“Whoever does wrong, wrongs himself; whoever does injustice, does it to himself, making himself evil.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Hate seems to be at an all time high. In this weeks espisode we discuss if hatred is part of Stoicism.
Why is it hard for us to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to those we care about the most? Partners, children, family, close friends – if these are the people we are the closest to why would be afraid to be ourselves around them? In this weeks episode we’ll talk about vulnerability and the real you.
Do you struggle to live up to your principles? Do feel like when you make a mistake that all your efforts were not worth it? In this weeks episode, we’re going to talk about how to approach mistakes in a much more helpful way.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Emerson Do you struggle to find happiness within yourself? Do you despair every time you watch the news? In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to get over this despair and how pursuing happiness may not be the best to actually finding happiness.
Dealing with strong emotions in life is something that all of us have to do. But in order for us to actually deal with these different emotions that we have, we need to be sure what we’re actually feeling. We need to expand our emotional vocabulary to give us the words to be able to really identify what it is that we’re feeling and then respond appropriately.
How often do we compare ourselves with others? Why do we get down on ourselves when someone is better than us at something? This weeks episode is about comparison, and how to get past the need to compare ourselves with others, and change the inner critic.
“Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig. ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. How often do we look outside of ourselves to know what to do? How often do we doubt ourselves and look to others to find a solution to a problem?
How many great things have never happened because of fear? How many times did you give up on a dream because of fear? This weeks episode, we’re going to talk about fear, what it is, what it does, and how to move past it.
“Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.” — Epictetus This weeks episode is about finding your values and holding true. As children, we’re taught how to get along with others, how to be congenial, to fit in. Kids that are seen as different or weird are often ostracized or teased. As we grow up, I think that most of us have a time in our lives where we feel like we’re not like everyone else, and we try so...
When was the last time that you felt a really strong emotion? What was that emotion? Gratitude? Joy? Anger? Jealousy? Emotions are a powerful force in our lives. When channeled properly, they can be the fuel that helps push us through to accomplishing what we want. They can also drive us in ways that we aren’t expecting or don’t want.
As human beings, we have an amazing gift – the ability to be conscious of our own thinking. How are you taking advantage of this gift? When we are unaware of the thoughts running through our head, we are relinquishing control of our mind to the old habits and patterns that we have created in our lives and letting ourselves run on autopilot. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Marcus Aurelius is...
Why do we feel a sense of injury when disagrees with us? Why do we feel hurt when someone tells us we are wrong? In this week’s episode, we’re going to talk why were worry so much about what others think of us and how to learn to deal with our ego.
I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation and how we accomplish the goals that we set out to do. And I think there’s a bit a confusion about motivation and how it helps us get things done. Let’s take a look at the definition of motivation: The state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something And let’s look at the definition of willpower: Control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control. Motivation is the reason why you want to do something. It’s the fuel that gets going. It is not the thing that...
“Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.” – Epictetus How do we deal with difficulties? Do we see them as challenges or opportunities? As something that is to be suffered through, or something that teaches us who we are? In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about difficult circumstances and how they are the things we should be most grateful for. Show Notes: What does that mean? Aren’t tough challenges supposed to make us stronger?The stoics remind us that circumstances in and of themselves are neutral. They are not good or bad unless we label...
Show Notes: How many times have we made judgments about someone when we first meet them, that later turn out to be completely wrong? “Impressions, striking a person’s mind as soon as he perceives something within range of his senses, are not voluntary or subject to his will, they impose themselves on people’s attention almost with a will of their own. But the act of assent which endorses these impressions is voluntary and a function of the human will.” – Epictetus We are constantly being bombarded by strong impressions, and making snap judgments. We’re constantly creating unconscious judgments about things...
“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca Show Notes: – Do you think too much about the future that you are not living in today?– This quote from Seneca hits two...
“Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast…and one day you will build something that endures: something worthy of your potential.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: One of most important habits to cultivate is a strong work ethic. Time and dedicated effort make it more fulfilling. There’s a saying: “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” Often, trying to take shortcuts, we’re...
“The honest and good man ought to be exactly like a man who smells strong, so that the bystander, as soon as he comes near him, must smell him whether he chooses or not.” ― Marcus Aurelius Show Notes: This quote cracked me up. And even though Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome, I like that fact that he had a sense of humor. His example is a potent reminder that we shouldn’t have to tell people how good we are, they should just notice. Because if someone has to tell people how good a person they are,...
“You must know that it is no easy thing for a principle to become a man’s own, unless each day he maintain it and hear it maintained, as well as work it out in life.” – Epictetus Show Notes: How often do we hear something, think that we understand it, but yet it still takes us quite a while to make it a part of our daily life? Change is not easy. Studies show that it takes 3-6 weeks for a habit to become ingrained, depending on the complexity of the habit. It also depends on if you are...
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ” ― Epictetus Show Notes: If you were to sit down and write a list of all the things that you want in your life, what would be on that list? Maybe a new house, a new car, new clothes? Would the things that you already have be on the list of things you want? One of the core tenets of Stoicism being grateful for the things that we already have. Because if you can want...
“Very little is needed for everything to be upset and ruined, only a slight lapse in reason. it’s much easier for a mariner to wreck his ship than it is for him to keep it sailing safely; all he has to do is head a little more upwind and disaster is instantaneous. In fact, he does not have to do anything: a momentary loss of attention will produce the same result. It’s much the same in our case. If you doze off, all your progress up to that point will be negated. To keep a sharp eye on your...
“How ridiculous and unrealistic is the man who is astonished at anything that happens in life.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Book 12 Show Notes: – How often do we think that something in life shouldn’t happen to us?– As if we are somehow immune to the things that happen to anyone else in life.– How often do we think that we are owed something?– As if we are somehow privileged above others, that we deserve something– We may think it’s unfair when something we worked hard for fails to materialize.– We may think it’s unfair that someone we love...
“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: – Have you ever been around someone that uses words they don’t understand?– How many times have you said something, then had to say, “Well, what I really meant was….”?– What if we took time to make sure that we were saying what we really meant?– How many arguments could be cut short if we stopped, thought about what we wanted and what we were trying to convey, and clearly expressed what we really meant or felt?– How many flame wars on facebook could...
“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.” ― Seneca Show Notes: How often have you stressed over something or worried yourself sick, only to have the scenario you were so worried about never happen? When you worry about something, and you let your imagination run with something, then you suffer many times before you even get to the event that might happen. Unless you can know the future, worrying about something is inventing problems that may never happen. And that kind of suffering is something that we can all probably do without. I’ve talked about...
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” ― Marcus Aurelius Show Notes: – So many things in our lives that we experience and accept to be “true” is simply a matter of perception.– Often we make the mistake of thinking that just because we see or hear something that because we experienced it, it must be what reality is.– That the way the we experience the world is the way the world really is.– But the Stoics remind us that everything in our experience is simply our perception...
“Man is affected, not by events, but by the view he takes of them.” — Epictetus Show Notes: • Human beings are creatures that love good stories. Stories are the things that we use to make sense of the things in the world.• Myths, such as the Greek and Roman or even Norse gods were used to explain why things happen in the world.• Human beings like to give meaning to the things in their lives.• It’s part of what makes us human. We give meaning to the expressions on other peoples faces. We give meanings to the...
“If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: When I read this quote the first thing that came to mind was “I laugh in the face of evil!” 🙂 How often do we get upset at what others say about us? How often do we let what others say about define who we are? Why get upset about their opinion, esp if it’s a lie? Remember, as Stoics we need to open to correction, because what we believe and how we see...
“To admonish is better than to reproach for admonition is mild and friendly, but reproach is harsh and insulting; and admonition corrects those who are doing wrong, but reproach only convicts them.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: Stoics believe that we can only control ourselves. But also believe that we are here to help others. As a Parent I’ve tried to be good about correcting there actions, but not make them feel like they’re a person because the make mistakes. I was often told I was bad person for my mistakes. My partner is great about giving constructive feedback Often out...
“Well-being is attained little by little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.” ― Zeno of Citium Show Notes: • Zeno of Citium was the original founder of the Stoic school of philosophy. • Not much of his writing survived, which is why he is not quoted very often when it comes to Stoic philosophy. • But I really like this quote as it talks about the importances of small habits to help us attain our well being and inner peace. • Working on things daily like recognizing what we can and can’t control, recognizing how our opinions on things...
“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.” ― Seneca Transcript: Hello friends, welcome to the Stoic Coffee Break. Today’s episode…Stuff “Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.” ― Seneca One of my favorite George Carlin routines is where he talks about stuff and he talks about how we work at our jobs...
“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.” ― Seneca Show Notes: • How often do we wish the world would change for us? • How often do we think that we can run from our troubles? • Maybe we work at a place where we feel like if our coworkers or our boss would just get their shit together then we’d be happy with our jobs. • Maybe we’re in a relationship where we feel like if the other...
“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: – It’s important to be careful about the ideas we entertain.– Because the ideas we hold determine who we are– How we show up in the world– How we treat others– Let’s take money for example.– If you hang around people that think that money is the measure of a person, you will treat people differently than someone that doesn’t.– If think that that people who are poor are lazy and deserve what they...
“Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” ― Seneca Show Notes • Today’s topic is one that is a bit personal to me. It’s something that I struggle with at times. • I’ll get upset about something, and because I let anger get the best of me, I make the situation far worse than the event that I got angry about in the first place. • And getting angry also causes me to ruin my inner peace. We make myself unhappy by not dealing with anger in a constructive way. I...
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ― Seneca Show Notes: – Are you a lucky person?– The Stoics understood that most things in life are out of our control.– The reason that they stress that ideas so much, that we try so hard to control things around us.– Trying to control things outside yourself causes yourself and others a lot of suffering.– Other people, events, and circumstances are certainly outside of our control.– So much of our life is simply up to chance.– The people we meet and become friends with and fall in love with.– The jobs...
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.” ― Epictetus Show Notes: • Stoics believed strongly that we are all in control of our own emotions • One of the strongest emotions we have to deal with is anger • From an evolutionary standpoint it seems to makes sense. We feel threatened and we respond in a way that we think will deal with the threat. • But the thing is, fear is usually the response to a physical threat. Anger is usually response from...
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Seneca Show Notes: – Does Seneca mean that we shouldn’t think about the future and strive for anything? Seneca himself was a wealthy merchant, which means that...
“Even as the Sun does not wait for prayers and incantations to rise, but shines forth and is welcomed by all: so should you not wait for clapping of hands and shouts and praise to do your duty; nay, do good of your own accord, and you will be loved like the Sun.” ― Epictetus Transcript One of the ideas that is common in a lot of religions is the idea of doing good works without the fanfare of other people. That we should do things because they are the right things to do, not because everyone will see...
“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” ― Seneca Transcript We live in a time where the average lifespan is almost double what it was 200 years ago. Advances in medicine, sanitation, and agriculture have made it possible for more people to live longer. And in many other ways, the physical and external parts of life are better. It’s certainly much easier than it was 200 years ago. But as we work on increasing our lifespans, are we working on increasing the quality of our lives? Are we...
“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” ― Marcus Aurelius Have you ever considered the possibility that you don’t need to have an opinion about something? That you don’t need to pass judgment on everything? Before you spend your time worrying about something, what if you took the time to decide if it was worth having an opinion about? There are so many things in...
“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” — Epictetus Transcript Have you found your tribe? Have you found that group of people that are your “chosen” family, who just make you feel good? Where you feel like you are accepted and understood? Where you don’t feel like you have to be on your guard? You can make mistakes. When you find your tribe, you thrive. It took me years to find my tribe. And the reason that I knew it was my tribe was that I felt like I could just...
“He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ― Epictetus Transcript One of the most important things in life is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Remember, Stoics keep in the forefront of their minds the knowledge that one day they too will die, and when you look at life through that lens, you learn to give things their appropriate weight. Is that thing that you are stressing about going to be of importance in 10 years? 100 years? 1000? 10,000? We talk a lot about how you can’t control the opinions of others and...
“How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course. Would anyone think it normal to return a kick to a mule or a bite to a dog?” — Seneca Transcript I was talking with a friend the other day about how to deal with anger. He asked me specifically about how to deal with anger in life, so I felt it only appropriate to talk about anger today. Anger...
“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus Transcript Epictetus was known for his clever wit and pithy sayings, and here he’s giving us some very good advice of how we should handle ourselves in any social situation. We’ve all been around people that dominate conversations, and maybe we’ve been that person. As I’ve mentioned before on this podcast, I used to talk over people in conversations all the time. While mine was born out of insecurity and wanting people to like me, learning how to...
“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.” — Epictetus Transcript Often, we find it difficult to take the steps to improve in an area we’re weak in. We can see how we want to be, and we get impatient when we’re not make the progress that we think we should. It also hard because we often know what not to do, but we don’t quite know what we should do to get where we want to be. When I was in high school, I accidentally ended up in choir. And I do mean accidentally. I missed...
“Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.” ― Epictetus
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.” — Marcus Aurelius Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash
“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash
“Epictetus being asked how a man should give pain to his enemy answered, By preparing himself to live the best life that he can.” — Marcus Aurelius Photo by Fervent Jan on Unsplash
“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.” ― Epictetus
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by Brittney Burnett on Unsplash
“It is unrealistic to expect people to see you as you see yourself.” ― Epictetus Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash
“Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there’s no need for that to happen if...
“Do not try to seem wise to others. If you want to live a wise life, live it on your own terms and in your own eyes.” ― Epictetus
“A boxer derives the greatest advantage from his sparring partner – and my accuser is my sparring partner. He trains me in patience, civility and even temper.” — Epictetus
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” — Marcus Aurelius
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.” — Epictetus
“Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit the evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now. You are not some disinterested bystander. Participate. Exert yourself.” ― Epictetus
“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.” ― Epictetus
“Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.” ― Epictetus
“Accustom yourself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, try to inhabit the speaker’s mind.” — Marcus Aurelius
“When you have been compelled by circumstances to be disturbed in a manner, quickly return to yourself and do not continue out of tune longer than the compulsion lasts.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.” — Epictetus
“Remember, too, on every occasion that leads you to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.” — Marcus Aurelius
“So does this misfortune prevent you in any way from being just, generous, sober, reasonable, careful, free from error, courteous, free, etc. – all of which together make human nature complete?” — Epictetus
“If money is your only standard, then consider that, by your lights, someone who loses their nose does not suffer any harm.“ — Epictetus
“Show me one person who cares how they act, someone for whom success is less important than the manner in which it is achieved. While out walking, who gives any thought to the act of walking itself? Who pays attention to the process of planning, not just the outcome?” — Epictetus
“Let us overlook many things in those who are like opponents in the gymnasium. For, as I have said before, it is in our power to get out of the way and to have no suspicion or hatred.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Everything is only for a day, both that which remembers and that which is remembered.” — Marcus Aurelius
“When somebody’s wife or child dies, to a man we all routinely say, ‘Well, that’s part of life.’ But if one of our own family is involved, then right away it’s ‘Poor, poor me!’ We would do better to remember how we react when a similar loss afflicts others.” — Epictetus
“This, then, is the beginning of philosophy – an awareness of one’s own mental fitness.” — Epictetus
“We are responsible for some things, while there are others for which we cannot be held responsible.” — Epictetus
“Impressions, striking a person’s mind as soon as he perceives something within range of his senses, are not voluntary or subject to his will, they impose themselves on people’s attention almost with a will of their own. But the act of assent which endorses these impressions is voluntary and a function of the human will.” — Epictetus
“I have a bad neighbour – bad, that is, for himself. For me, though, he is good: he exercises my powers of fairness and sociability. “ — Epictetus
“If we try to adapt our mind to the regular sequence of changes and accept the inevitable with good grace, our life will proceed quite smoothly and harmoniously.” – Epictetus
“[Treat] unenlightened souls with sympathy and indulgence, remembering that they are ignorant or mistaken about what’s most important. Never be harsh, remember Plato’s dictum: ‘Every soul is deprived of the truth against its will.’“ — Epictetus
“If you like doing something, do it regularly; if you don’t like doing something, make a habit of doing something different. The same goes for moral inclinations. When you get angry, you should know that you aren’t guilty of an isolated lapse, you’ve encouraged a trend and thrown fuel on the fire.” — Epictetus
“If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?” – Epictetus
“When a guide meets up with someone who is lost, ordinarily his reaction is to direct him on the right path, not mock or malign him, then turn on his heel and walk away. As for you, lead someone to the truth and you will find that he can follow. But as long as you don’t point it out to him, don’t make fun of him; be aware of what you need to work on instead.” -Epictetus
“Take a lyre player: he’s relaxed when he performs alone, but put him in front of an audience, and it’s a different story, no matter how beautiful his voice or how well he plays the instrument. Why? Because he not only wants to perform well, he wants to be well received – and the latter lies outside his control.“ -Epictetus
“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.” – Epictetus
“All our efforts must be directed towards an end, or we will act in vain. If it is not the right end, we will fail utterly.” – Epictetus
“People with a strong physical constitution can tolerate extremes of hot and cold; people of strong mental health can handle anger, grief, joy and the other emotions.” – Epictetus
“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.” ― Seneca
“There are two vices much blacker and more serious than the rest: lack of persistence and lack of self-control … persist and resist.” – Epictetus
“So when you hear that even life and the like are indifferent, don’t become apathetic; and by the same token, when you’re advised to care about them, don’t become superficial and conceive a passion for externals.” – Epictetus
“Where does the good lie? ‘In the will.’ And evil? ‘Also in the will.’ And things neither good nor bad – ‘… lie in whatever is external to the will.’” – Epictetus
“Is any man afraid of change? What can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature? And can you take a hot bath unless the wood for the fire undergoes a change? And can you be nourished unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change? Do you not see then that for yourself also to change is just the same, and equally necessary for the universal nature?” – Marcus Aurelius
“What illusion about myself do I entertain?” – Epictetus
“Settle on the type of person you want to be and stick to it, whether alone or in company. “ – Epictetus
“The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” – Epictetus
“For what does reason purport to do? ‘Establish what is true, eliminate what is false and suspend judgement in doubtful cases.’ … What else does reason prescribe? ‘To accept the consequence of what has been admitted to be correct.’“ – Epictetus
“What makes for freedom and fluency in the practice of writing? Knowledge of how to write. The same goes for the practice of playing an instrument. It follows that, in the conduct of life, there must be a science to living well.” – Epictetus
“So make a practice at once of saying to every strong impression: ‘An impression is all you are, not the source of the impression.’ Then test and assess it with your criteria, but one primarily: ask, ‘Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?’” – Epictetus
“If you learn that someone is speaking ill of you, don’t try to defend yourself against the rumours; respond instead with, ‘Yes, and he doesn’t know the half of it, because he could have said more.’” – Epictetus
“If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance. “ – Marcus Aurelius
“People to whom such things are still denied come to imagine that everything good will be theirs if only they could acquire them. Then they get them: and their longing is unchanged, their anxiety is unchanged, their disgust is no less, and they still long for whatever is lacking. Freedom is not achieved by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it.” – Epictetus
“Do not be disgusted, discouraged, or dissatisfied if you do not succeed in doing everything according to right principles; but when you have failed, return again, and be content if the greater part of what you do is consistent with man’s nature. “ – Marcus Aurelius
“In your conversation, don’t dwell at excessive length on your own deeds or adventures. Just because you enjoy recounting your exploits doesn’t mean that others derive the same pleasure from hearing about them.” – Epictetus
“To care for all men is according to man’s nature; and man should value the opinion only of those who openly live according to nature. “ – Marcus Aurelius
“When someone criticizes you, they do so because they believe they are right. They can only go by their views, not yours. If their views are wrong, it is they who will suffer the consequences. Keeping this in mind, treat your critics with compassion. When you are tempted to get back at them, remind yourself, ‘They did what seemed to them to be the right thing to do.’” – Epictetus
“Acquire the contemplative way of seeing how all things change into one another, and constantly attend to it, and exercise yourself in this part of philosophy. For nothing is so well suited to produce magnanimity.” – Marcus Aurelius
“If someone bathes quickly, don’t say he doesn’t bathe properly, say he bathes quickly. If someone drinks a lot, don’t say he is a drunk, say he drinks a lot. Unless you know their reasons for their actions how can you be sure of your negative judgment of them? Not judging others too quickly will save you from misperceiving their actions.” – Epictetus