289 – Interview with Mark Tuitert: Olympic Gold Medalist Speed Skater and Stoic Author

This week's episode is an interview with Mark Tuitert, an Olympic gold medalist speed skater and Stoic author. We sat down in his home outside of Amsterdam and had a wonderful conversation about discipline, handling stress, forgiving parents, and about his new book The Stoic Mindset. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed the conversation. You can find out more about Mark Tuitert at

You can also watch the interview on YouTube.

Episode Transcript:
Erick: Hello friends, my name is Erick Cloward and welcome to the Stoic Coffee Break. The Stoic Coffee Break is a weekly podcast where I take aspects of Stoicism and do my best to break them down to the most important points. I share my experiences, both my successes and my failures, and hope that you can learn something from them all within the space of a coffee break.

This week's episode is an interview with Mark Tuitert. Mark is an Olympic gold medalist speed skater. He's from the Netherlands, which is where I'm living at the moment. And Luckily, his agent contacted me just as I moved here, and I was able to go down to his house and do an interview with him. And he just is working on a book right now called The Stoic Mindset, which should be coming out in the US and Canada and the UK in April.

We sat down, we talked about stoicism, we talked about his Olympic career, and we talked about how he was able to use stoicism to help him overcome a lot of challenges and eventually end up winning a gold medal in the Vancouver Olympics. So I had a really great interview with Mark, really enjoyed sitting down and chatting with him.

(I did mangle his name at the beginning of the podcast interview, but since then I've learned how to pronounce it properly.)

I hope you enjoy this interview with Mark Tuitert.

So hello everybody, today is my first live interview for the Stowe Coffee Break podcast. I'm here with Mark Tuitert so we're actually here in the Netherlands. I just happened to be here when we got contacted by him and it, so this worked out. So this is my first time actually doing a live interview and filming it.

So hopefully this will go well.

Mark: Do we actually have a coffee break? Here we go. Or a tea.

Erick: So for me, this is rather exciting because like I said, this is this is all new. And. I guess let's just jump right into it. First off, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself to my audience?

Mark: My name is Mark Tuitert.

I was an Olympic speed skater and speed skating here in Holland is a pretty big sport. So I was a professional athlete between my 18th and well, 34, 34 years old. And after that, I have now my own company, I'm a motivational speaker, I write books mainly also about Stoicism I'm a big and avid fan of the Stoics.

So yeah, for me, I'm a father of two. I love music. I love sports. I love life. But I've had some challenging situations as an athlete, as an Olympic athlete. And I still work for television sometimes I go to the Olympics and do commentary.

Erick: Oh nice nice. So you're your agent sent me over a copy of your latest book. You want to talk a little bit about that?

Mark: Yeah. Sure. Yeah, The Stoic Mindset. Yes I always used a lot of wisdom From philosophy during my sports career. So within my career I I had to deal with a lot of pressure being an Olympic athlete. I missed out on two Olympics actually in 2002 and 2006 by various reasons. We can dive into that later probably.

And that were really challenging times for me. So I had to deal with overtraining with. My parents in a divorce situation with pressure of sports, with pressure of well, the public here in Holland, speed skating is a big sport. So you have a lot of pressure. You can earn money with it, of course, but on the other side, missing two Olympic games was for me a tough situation because I've been training for four years for the one Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City training for four years for the Olympics in 2006 in Turin and I missed out on those.

So for me, I had one chance to train for Vancouver another four years. And during that time I read a lot and I really was intrigued by the meditations of Marcus Aurelius, by the sayings of Seneca, of Epictetus, and I really, during my career as I got older and a little bit wiser, I used these. texts and philosophy, philosophical ideas to yeah, not only be, be a better person or make wiser choices. And that helped me a lot. Leading up to the Olympics in 2010. For me, that was the pinnacle of my career, probably last chance. Mm-Hmm, . I I could start on an Olympic games and two or three weeks right before these games.

I did everything I could within my control to be the best athlete I can be. And I had to dive deep for that in my whole life. And yeah, for me, that was life changing. So, what, what my mindset was right before these Olympic Games, I think was really stoic. I don't judge my parents for what they do.

I don't look at competitors, what they do. I don't worry about the journalists, what they write about me. I only focus on my internal state of mind, my mindset. That's what I call the stoic mindset in my book. And so I, I, I concentrate on my, yeah, my inner voice being. Stable being yeah, being a voice of courage.

So not dealing, not pushing away the fear because you feel fear right before an Olympic Games. Absolutely. Working with it. So not pushing it away. Stoic. Yeah, could be in our English or Dutch language. Pushing feelings away. Not like that at all, but just embracing the fear, embracing the challenge.

And just look at yourself. No, I give everything I have. I can look in the mirror. I know I did everything I could to get here. I'm 29 years old. I was in Vancouver. Probably this is going to be the last chance you get on an Olympic Games. Yeah, absolutely. And that's you're nearing your retirement age as an athlete.

Yeah. So these things for me were Yeah, these thoughts that They were thoughts that kept me grounded and It's not that I didn't aspire to a big goal. I aspired to win Olympic gold, to be the best speed skater I can be. So that's what I wrote a book about. So how can you give everything you have, dream big, reaching your goals, but still detach from the negative emotions resulting you know, with that road leading up to that big goal.

And for me, that helped a lot. And after two, three years ago we had difficult times with my company first energy gum. COVID was happening production wise, things were going the wrong way. So I was really challenged. Yeah, I learned how to deal with this, and I see a lot of people struggling with this, so why don't I write it down in a book so people actually can, yeah, maybe learn something from it.

And it's not like I want to point the finger, but I want to tell my story so people can relate to that. And they don't relate probably to winning an Olympic gold medal, but relate to the journey, relate to the setbacks, dealing with pressure, dealing with Things that are not in your control, dealing with chaos.

That's where I find the beauty in Stoicism. It's like for me, how can you keep standing upright in the storm of life? Like Marcus Aurelius did, like Seneca did, like all these great thinkers and people did who adopted this philosophy. 

Erick: So what was it that first drew you to it? Do you remember how you found Stoicism?

Mark: Yeah. Well, I was always intrigued by history and in, in, in school, I loved history. And the first time I was really challenged by a situation was when I was 19, 20 years old. I was the hotshot talent in speed skating. I signed a big contract. I, well, I was on under the pressure of the Olympics of 2002 coming up.

I did a lot of interviews. My sponsor paid me a fair amount of money so there was a lot of pressure on me, but I still was living at home with my parents who were going through a divorce. So me being the oldest son, I tried to intervene between the two people I love and that didn't work out.

Actually, it, yeah, for me, what happened was I yeah, I, what was sort of a flight into the one thing I thought I could control that was training harder. So for me. I trained harder and harder and harder. I trained seven days a week, 2, 3, 3 times a day. So rest days, or I don't do rest days, you know? Yeah, I just grind.

Wake up early, go to bed late and grind it through. But that's not how you become fit mentally and physically and emotionally. I was wrecked the winter of 2002. I missed out on these Olympic games. I was overtrained. Lying on my bed, I was sick. So I couldn't train that winter. I missed the Olympic Games.

And that was, for me, that was like a sort of an epiphany. Like, how can we fool ourselves like this? How can we think we know how it works, life works, no? If I put the hours in, and of course you have to work hard and put hours in to get somewhere, but we can get blindsided, we can have blinders on, and I had that.

So as I was really fascinated how that worked, like, how can I fool myself? I have to reflect on myself so that this doesn't happen again. I have to learn from this. So I read a lot about overtraining, about how psychology works. But I also read by then when I was 20 years old, beautiful text of Mark Aurelius.

So I read parts of the meditations already. And a beautiful quote of, of Marcus is that the impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. And for me, yeah, that's, that's, that were the first lights of stoicism that I thought, Hey, that's, that's a really, really beautiful way of thinking through setbacks, not as the end of the road, but it's an obstacle in your path and it's up to you to find a new direction in life.

So that's actually my first chapter in my book. That you can use obstacles or setbacks as a signpost. So what does this teach me? How do I deal with this? And from that point on I found a new journey with a new coach. And it went really well within two years. I was a European champion and everything happened.

In the right way, but I still was not there. It's not really, really what stoicism clicked for me was in the years leading up to Vancouver. But I learned through the years it, yeah, it sort of evolved. 

Erick: Yeah. No, I think that I think that over training is probably very common in a lot of sports. So I know that so I used to cycle a lot, not competitively or anything like that, but I used to cycle a lot.

and there'll be times when I'd just be riding, you know. You know, two, 300 miles in a week. And while for Tour de France athletes, that's easy, but I have a full time job and kids and all that kind of stuff. And it was, you know, I basically wore myself out and you reach a point where your body just says, Hey, that's fine that you want to do that, but you can't and learning to step back and go, okay.

And so I think over the years I've worked hard to try and develop that, that attitude of working hard enough. Yeah. And resting enough. Yeah. And that has really made a big difference on that. And finding that, like Stoic teaches, finding that temperance, that moderation. Yeah. And it's that balance of those two that's really going to get us there.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. It's the self discipline, the moderation you have to find. And of course, especially when you're young, you can grind. You have to grind. It's beautiful. There's something, there's beauty in there too. Yeah. To have a big dream and give it all you have. But it's a really thin line in blinding yourself.

So that's what I found is beautiful in stoicism. It's the practical philosophy side of it. Yeah. And we don't philosophize about concepts and abstract things. You can really philosophize and how, how is this helping me to lead a good life and what does it mean to lead a good life? What is that? Absolutely.

Is that winning an Olympic gold medal? A lot of people, a lot of athletes I know. Are under the misconception that if you win the medal, like entrepreneurs, if they sell the company, if you do this, then it's all been worthwhile. So you look back from that gold medal to your career and then you can say it's worth it.

But that's, that's the other way. That's the wrong way of thinking about it. It's a guaranteed failure for yourself. If you look at it like that, if you think of happiness like that, if you think of success like that. So you can still chase that gold medal But I think you really have to reflect on what it means to be successful.

What does it really entail? 

Erick: Yeah, very true. I think that One of the things that for me I actually approached this topic on my podcast last week. It was like, how do you stay content while you're striving for your ambitions?Yeah, and it's I people think of them as you would do one or the other like if I'm content with my life I'm not gonna be ambitious And it's not that, it's that you find contentment on the path, you don't find contentment, it's not an end point, it's not a static state of being, it's while you're journeying along, you find contentment there, while you're heading towards your ambitions, and if you can do that, you enjoy the whole thing all along the way and you're having a great time the whole along the way. 

Mark: And you can have hard times and you can have challenging times. And sometimes you feel sad or you feel lost and that can all be a part of that journey. But that's what life is, right? I find it beautiful in Epictetus or in Stoics.

Accept the reality of life. You know, it's not a dream or something far away. What life entails so it's to accept that and not run away from it, but yeah, don't shy away from that 

Erick: So I wanted to ask you, what are your daily practices in stoicism? What are the things that help you? Each and every day, because in Stoicism, we talk a lot about having practices, about having kind of rituals that we follow to help remind us to live these things and to get us there.

Mark: What are your practices? Well, I'm not like the dead ritual guy that has an agenda and says I'm doing, I'm doing this at six o'clock and then at eight o'clock, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. What I really do is before when I wake up and when I go to bed, I take a couple of minutes to reflect. That's it.

Actually, I, I, I make sure I, I, I am thankful for what I encountered that day. Thankful for everything. Also, if it's hurting or it's sadness, I'm thankful for that. And that helps me a lot. So when I go to sleep, like Seneca says, before we go to sleep, we have all encountered fortune or the mistress Fortuna.

And I find that it's a beautiful thing to do when you, right, before you go to sleep, what are you thankful for and what are the things you still have to learn on your path there because we're all prokoptons, right? We're all stoic learners. We're not the saints. We're not the Holy Spirit. We're not God.

We're human beings. So I'm not a natural stoic. I'm an athlete. I want to win gold. I want to beat everybody. I want to challenge myself. I want to go out there. So stoicism for me is like a really a sort of framework. And I use these reflections every day when I wake up and when I go to bed. Also thinking of death, contemplating death memento mori what, what if I look back at the end of my life, hopefully it will, I will be old.

My, my grandmother is a hundred years. She's still. Is alive I hope to reach that age, but if you look back at your life, did you make wise choices? Were you chasing the right things, not the wrong things? Were you in connection with the people around you, the people you love? So, so these reflections help me every day.

Am I doing the right thing? For me to say at the end of this life or even at the end of this day, because you don't know if there's a next one. Are these the choices I want to make? Am I on my own path? Am I leading my own path? For me, stoicism is a sort of way to reflect on that. And that's what I write in my book to the stoic mindset.

It's, I don't embrace stoicism or I don't teach stoicism through my book. Like this is stoicism, like a religion or a dogma – far from it. I think everybody, you can see it as an inspiration and a school of thinking, learning to think better, to look at life in another way. And that's what helps me a lot. So it's up to you.

It's not like we don't have a teacher to put it into practice, but it's not like we don't have a teacher saying, Oh, you can do that. Or you can do that. No, it's for me, it's a relief and a way of expanding my view and and doing it in a non judgmental way. That's what I tell myself every day too. What, what are the things you're judging others about?

What's the judgment you can withhold? What's the reflection you can do on this?

Erick: I think for me kind of , to kind of clarify, or to kind of put a point on that, the way that I've talked about it, and because I've had people ask me, it's like, so what is the difference between this and a religion? Yeah.

And you, you nailed it. It's, it's the dogma. There's no dogma with stoicism. It's about, these are tools, these are mindsets, these are principles. And because they're principles, they're flexible, they're, they allow you to adapt to any situation. You filter it through the principle, you know, is, am I using courage?

Am I being wise? Am I being just? Am I being, 

Mark: Disciplined? And probably you know, right? If you're not making a wise choice, you sometimes you do that and you know, yeah, you know, this is not a wise choice, but I still do it anyway.

Erick: Exactly.

Mark: Okay. But then you cannot fool yourself. Right? 

Erick: Exactly. And, and the thing is, is it's, for some people that's harder. Some people want religion. They want a dogma because it's easier to follow, you know, you know, that's fine, too Yeah, and it's fine if that works for you But I think that I think that that's what attracted stoicism to me was that I grew up Mormon And so I was a very dogmatic religion, and I tried living all of the principles exactly the way they said and I was still unhappy.

I was miserable for so much of my life and so I left the church and that it wasn't until like I said about seven years ago when I finally found stoicism, and it was suddenly like, “Why didn't I know these things growing up these things could have really changed my life?” I learned what I can't control I learned how to change my perspective on so many things 

Mark: and It's freedom of thinking it is way more freedom. It’s funny that stoicism started off and then Christianity came in between and now Stoicism is on the rise again probably and then I think it will be for a couple of thousand years. So it's what suits you and for me too, for me getting rid of the dogmas. So I'm, I'm really also a little bit, there are also people of course who say, Hey, this is not stoic or that's, that's not stoic.

And I find that amusing because this is philosophy. It's not like a set of rules you have to abide to. It's a way of thinking which you want to adopt because it enriches your life and it expands your thinking. Without judging and that's I think the beauty of it. 

Erick: Yeah, I find that funny when somebody says when I I'll look on the reddit Stoicism forum sometimes and answer questions on there from time to time and I do think it's funny when somebody says well That's not stoic.

Yeah, whatever and I'm just like that's are you sure? I mean you're being very judgmental You see according to which stoic exactly you could say I don't think that follows stoic principles very well, and explain why but just to make a judgment, and you be the arbiter of, well that's not stoic. You know, you could say that that behavior doesn't seem to follow the principles, and I think that that's where, where for me, I like kind of having that, like I said, I like having that flexibility, because it allows you to, because life is full of nuance.

It's not black or white, it's not, It's not right or wrong all the time. It's things somewhere in the middle. It's like, for me, my favorite movies are the ones where you kind of like the villain. That there's empathy for the villain because nobody's all bad and nobody's all good. And I like it when people are darker and they're a little messier with things.

Because that's the way life really is. And I think stoicism allows for that messiness in life, and I think that's very important. Oh yes, it does. I think so too. And I think that too many, and I think that that's why it's becoming more and more attractive to people, because life is so complicated.

And I wanted to, I guess that kind of leads into one of my next questions is stoicism in modern life. I mean, how do you think that stoicism can help us with our fast paced technology to the world? 

Mark: Well, I think we, we get distracted a lot by, by phones, by news, by social media posts. People really are getting used to just putting their thoughts and their judgments out there and we have to react.

So it's a reaction. Yeah. Society. We react on reactions. Yeah. So we react, but nobody takes a step back and reflects and think, Hey, why am I doing this? Why is somebody hurting me? Or what do I feel? You know, if on Twitter or X or whatever you call it these days, if somebody reacts and has a vile opinion or about me or I am on television and, and, and somebody.

It hurts me, it really is, I think, why is, what you could do, and I think this is really stoic, like, why does this hurt me this much? Why? Is the opinion of one, one person, of me, valuable? It might be, it might be somebody I respect or somebody gives me feedback in a, but if I respect someone, he gives me feedback in a, in a way I can do something with that, that, that's.

That's what I find valuable, but that wouldn't hurt me actually. Right. So why does it hurt me? Is it my ego? Is it something I want to push back on? And like, well, you this and you that that's the, that's the impulse you have. Right. That's what, what the Stoics teach, teach us is like, okay, the impulse is there.

Of course, if somebody cuts me off in traffic. My first impulse I'm going to do something to you, you know and I think the beauty of stoicism is to take a step back and think about, okay, somebody, do I give this person the power to make me feel like this? Like Epictetus would say, you're complicit.

In the story, if you react, you can also detach from that story, leave your own life and let the impulse flow away and use your thought on why this matters. So for me what really helped me is when I, in 2006, I missed the Olympic games. I was in the final five others in the final six of touring and I was lost.

I did really well in tests. I had a perfect score. I had a great condition. My technique was good. Where I missed out on the Olympics again, because I, I fell in the strangest places during a race, right? In the corners I fall, like out of nothing. I was unstable. So I thought about this again, like not trying to work harder or react, but take a step back and say, where is this coming from?

So I had a mentor, I had a great conversation with a mentor of mine and he really showed me a beautiful thing. He said, okay, what do you, he asked me a question, how, where do you stand you towards your father and mother? Because my father and mother were still fighting each other in the divorce situation.

And I put myself in between them. I was the one, you know trying to fix the situation. And I thought. Also, if I fix the situation, I find rest. And if I find rest, I can become a good athlete. So I have to fix the situation. But I learned to see it the other way around. This is not my situation. This is not my fight.

This is a fight between two people I love, but it's not my fight. I have to step out of this fight and say that. I said, Mom, I'm not your co fighter in this fight. This is you. This is me. I have my own path. And I went to my father and that's where judgment comes in. I was really angry towards my father. So a lot of anger and that's what a Stoics teach us.

And I think the beauty of Stoicism is. You can't get rid of that anger. That anger has got nothing to do with my father. Epictetus would say, we have our, our things that happened to us. I mean my parents divorcing. And then on the other hand, we have these emotions, but there's something in between.

That's your judgment of the situation. So it was my judgment of my father that causes the anger. It's not my father. I would, and it's, we all do this, right? We blame someone for the feeling we blame the person, or we blame the situation and that's totally not stoic. So Epictetus really, I thought that resonated with me.

So I talked with someone and Hey, I know this. This is from Stoicism, it's from Epictetus, right? So I, I thought about this, and I asked him what to do. He said, just call your father up, just do that. And I did that, without judging him. Yeah. It's my judgment, not his. So I asked him questions, and I, that's I think what we should learn to do more often, and that's what the Stoics, and we all learned from Socrates.

Don't think you know this. Don't think you're the right person for this. Don't think your judgment is how the world works. It's your judgment. Yeah. So if you ask a good question and be really honest in your, in you wanting to know the answer. So I, I called my father up and I said, I miss him and let's get into contact with each other again.

So I, I withhold my judgment. Of course, I judge him somewhere for what happened, but I tried to not intervene. Let that judgment intervene between our situation. And even up to this day, I, I, I, now I can say I'm 43 years old. I, that whole judgment is gone. It's gone. Yeah. I love my father for who he is.

And yes, he has his troubles and his dark sides, but Hey, look in the mirror. I don't? So, so for me, it was really, am I a better 20, 30 years older? These reflections. Do I know what it feels like to have not any contact with your sons for six years? No, I don't. So instead of judging him, it's wiser to try to let him into my life again.

Yeah, and my father was there when when I won Olympic gold medal. So it was, that was great and in these four years between 2006 and 2010. I didn't feel any anger, so the anger faded and what made that situation better for me in my life was my life became better because my choices became wiser because they were not fueled by anger.

I could become a better athlete, more relaxed. That sort of paradox, right? The balance, what we talked about. So I was more relaxed I could dive deeper with training, I could work harder and I become a better person, but also a better athlete. And that's, for me, that was the one thing I needed to really get the best outta myself and to become Olympic champion.

Erick: Yeah. Yeah, I can relate to that very well. I had to. A lot of anger towards my father as well. Yeah. So my parents got divorced when I was 20, when I was 20 years old. Yeah, yeah, same age. Yeah, and and when I found out why and found out all the reasons for it, and I was, like I said, I grew up Mormon. I was on my mission in Austria when I found out.

Oh, yeah. And I was, I was very angry. I was. I came home, I tried to talk to my dad a little bit about it. He was very evasive about things. And then unfortunately we never got to really reconcile because he died just a few years after that. So, just completely out of the blue. So, his pancreas just started eating the rest of his organs and he died within 10 days.

But over the years as I've gotten older and wiser, and I've had kids of my own and recognize how challenging that is, learned to really work to forgive him and to understand him because, you know, with the fact that he was dead, all that hate did, all that anger did was hurt me. And so trying to understand him, because he wasn't all bad, there were plenty of things about him that were great.

But when they weren't, it was really awful. And so it was like, about an 80 20 split. Like, 80 percent of the time, he was good. 20%, he was awful. And so I, now I'm at that point in my life where I can look back on that and just appreciate it. The good things.. He was smart. He was funny. He was kind. 

Mark: Yeah.

Yeah. I think, yeah, that's a beautiful way of saying it. And I, that's also what I find fascinating is somebody to, to, to change that perspective. Yep. You don't need the other person. Actually, the person cannot be there anymore. It's your perspective, which you can change. 

Erick: And that was the thing that I learned was that I had to change my perspective about my dad.

And I choose that perspective. It's not that I ignore the bad things he did. He was very abusive when we were growing up. At certain points. But I can still appreciate the good things that he gave us.

Mark: That's what Epictetus says, right? I found it beautiful in his sayings. He said too. It's your parents, you don't get to choose your parents.

That's what's given to you. So you better learn and love what's given to you. They can be challenging, they can be bad, they can do horrible things, but they're your parents. And I always pushed that thought away. People say, hey, it's, it's your father. I say, yeah, well, to hell with that. But it's true. It's like, it's exactly what Epictetus says and what the Stoics, these wise people tell us.

It's like, you can be angry at your neighbor or your brother, or you can wish another father, but that's not the case. This is reality of life. And it's your role as a son to be a good son, to watch your father or to watch your mother and to respect what they've did. You don't know. You don't know where they come from.

They have their burdens. They have their share which, which they take on their shoulders and you don't know what that's like. So you can judge them, but you don't know. 

Erick: Yeah, and the only, and the thing is, is like I said, when you hold on to that, you're the person that gets hurt. You're hurting yourself.

It's that old Confucius saying, like, holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal that you want to throw at somebody. The longer you hold on to it, you're the one that gets burnt. And I was just like, I remember I read that when I was a teenager and I was like, that's an interesting idea. And then as I got older and found stoicism, I'm like, there's the coal again.

There's the coal. 

Mark: Totally get that idea. It's so powerful that you can just. You know, just so you can get rid of these negative emotions. That's, I think, the beauty in the way of thinking in Stoicism is philosophy. 

Erick: Yeah, absolutely. So I want to touch on something that I know is, it's probably one of the hardest topics in your book.

And that's about your mother's suicide. How did that impact you personally? And what was it that, maybe in Stoicism, maybe it was something else that helped you get through that? Because I imagine that was an incredibly hard thing. 

Mark: Yeah, it was really hard. So my mother was severely depressed. The hardest choice I ever had to make in my life in 2010, right before the Olympics was to call my mother up and ask her not to come to Vancouver, just stay home.

And she was there when I first stood in the ice. She was there going with me to training, et cetera, et cetera. So I love my mother but, but for me, there was, I think we all, that's the challenge we all face in life. We have our own path to take. We have to find our own path. And for me, I was heading. I my life where I had to really choose my own path and make hard decisions.

So I called my mother up and said, mom, I love you, but I cannot handle you being there emotionally, physically. So please don't come. And she couldn't handle that trip because she was not in a good way and not in a good position in life. Two years later, she committed suicide. And that's, that's sad. That's, that's terribly sad.

But what for me clicked after that was. And I look at it. It's not, dying is not, for her, of course, dying was a sort of a relief. Because she was in a lot of pain. And I cannot comprehend what it's like to endure that pain. I know people who are depressed. I know people who have thoughts of doing that. And I know, thank God, a lot of people who get through that and enjoy life.

Again, she couldn't. So And she's stubborn. And she has a powerful will. Ha ha! So she really, for her, it was a relief. So the, the, the pain is on us as sons or as and, and that's there, there is no love without pain and, and, and that's what life is like. So it's painful. So. With negative emotions, I, I don't say they're, I'm, I'm not against pain.

If, if it's natural pain, if it's there, it's, it's real, it's okay. It's hurts, but hey, this is life. I don't have to push that back. It's there. So I let that pain come through. And for me, the real pain was not in that moment. She, she died or committed suicide. It was more in the, at the 10 years leading up to that point, she didn't have a life.

Yeah, she was depressed and she couldn't handle it. You know me with my stoic mindset. I'm like just think this different. She couldn't she just couldn't .And we tried. So for me, it was letting go of that and letting go of controlling her life or controlling her decisions. So finding peace in the decision she actually made and not only finding peace in that, but also not wanting to change that.

That's of course, I want her to be there, but for me, I want, that's me, as a son, I want my mother to be there. My oldest daughter was just born. So I'm like, You have your first grandchild and you don't want to be here anymore. And I thought about it and probably it's for her. And she know the, she know how this feels to have a grandchild.

And, and then there's such a disconnect with the way she was feeling for herself. So you, I cannot comprehend that. So for me, what, what I find beautiful in Stoicism is, okay, I have my life. And I want to, the way I can commemorate or honor my mother is to live to the full extent of my life. That's what I can do with the people around me I love, with my brothers, with my children.

And that's what I, that's my mission. I can do that and I can show another way. And I don't get my mother back for that, but my mother lives through me. Her love is still there and that helped me a lot. So death is not something I fear or abolish or abandon from my life. It's there. And I'm gonna be there with my mother and it's gonna be there for me.

But that the only thing I want is to live and go out there in life, not hold back, not hold back on love, not hold back on being pushed back by negative emotions. So let go of these negative emotions, clear space for joy, for zest, for freedom, for living. And and if death comes, then I can look back if I have the chance.

Maybe it's swift, maybe not and say to myself, wow, this is this has been a work of art. That's, yeah, that's how I look at it. 

Erick: Yeah, I hope I hope I can get to that point as well. And right now I'm, like I was telling you earlier, I'm kind of in a state of flux of just finding my, my own path right now.

And I can appreciate what I've, what I've done in my life and accomplished, but I feel like I could do so much more. And sometimes I, I struggle with that because I don't feel like I've done anything great in my life yet. I don't have any, like, I don't have a gold medal that I can look back on, but I can at least look at, you know, I've got two great kids who turned out to be great people.

And I, I, I enjoy being around my kids. They're happy. They have their struggles, but they're just, they're good people. And they grew up, you know, even though my, my ex wife and I divorced when they were pretty young they grew up with two fairly supportive and healthy parents. And that's been That's something that I didn't really get because, you know, my dad, like I said, was very violent.

He was very, very tortured soul. And so,

Mark: yeah, so you broke the cycle.

Erick: Definitely broke the cycle.

Mark: Yeah, that's great, man.

Erick: Yeah, yeah. My sister one time, like, she, her biggest insult is you're just like dad. And there was one time where she saw me and my kids and she's like, You're not like, dad, you're a good father.

Oh, I was like, oh, wow. Thanks. Yeah. So

Mark: I would like to, we, I think a lot of people ask me this question if I, if I give motivational talks here in Holland and, and, and abroad too. A lot of questions, and I talk about this, I talk about the death of my mother. I talk my, about my parents. I, I share deeply personal stories also because I don't want to be a, a taboo or anything around that.

This is what happens in life. So for me, the question I get a lot is if it's hurting me or I feel guilt. And I could let go of that guilt too. So it's also again, Epictetus, you can blame other people. You can blame the situation or you can blame yourself. You cannot, you can also do not do that. Right. Don't blame other people.

Don't blame the situation and don't blame yourself. I did everything I could. I love my mother, but this is her choice. She wanted this. So we better abide to her wish because it's her wish. It's not my, I, my wish is that she would be here also in pain, but don't let her go. So I don't feel guilt in that way.

And like for you, you know, it's not, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I think in modern society too, to be accomplished or be a good person. So of course we also feel guilt or we don't feel enough. And we have to, I think, get rid of that idea of not being enough. Or feeling guilty, of course you can make your, you make your own decisions and you're responsible for these decisions and that can be shitty decisions.

Yes. And you bear responsibility for that. It's not to. To wane off the responsibility. But if you do that and you do it with a intent, well, well intended, yeah. You should think of it every day, like it's a stoic reflection maybe. So where, where I, I don't have to feel guilty because I did what I could.

Did I do this? Did I make the right decision? Yes. Then I don't have to feel guilty. Do I feel accomplished? Maybe not, but me being the best person there is, that's an accomplishment. If we could all do that, raise beautiful children, that's the accomplishment. That's where, and that's great. That's enough. We don't have to add anything to that.

We want to. We want to build legacy. We want to be known until the end of their careers. Like Marcus Aurelius said, like Alexander and 

Erick: his stable boy, 

Mark: you know, they're, they're both buried. You can't see any distinction between their bones. What are you talking about? It's you. It's your own path. And you have to take that path.

Nobody else can do that for you. And that's, I think, the challenge in life that's, that's, that's hard. But that's where I think the purpose lies and the motivation lies and the beauty lies, it's the pain and the beauty, it lies there. And that's the road you follow. It's no, I'm not good enough. It's no guilt.

That's not there. You know, in the, Zeno of Citium, the original founder of stoicism. These were all ideas that were not there. Jealousy. You know, if we can get rid of these human ideas, which function right, they make us win gold medals because like, I have to beat that other guy. So it's not, there's nothing wrong with it.

But it's not good or bad in a, in an ethical sense. It's not a good life. 

Erick: Yeah, it just, it's, it is, it is what it is.

Mark: Yeah, it can be beautiful. It can, it can, I've, I derive a lot of pleasure from it and I love that. But that's another concept of being happy or feeling fulfilled. 

Erick: Yeah. And I think that, that we do sometimes feel that drive, like we have to accomplish something in our life.

And the thing is. We don't, we don't have to accomplish anything. You don't. What we have to do is be a good person. But, often times, when we, 

Mark: And we have to, sorry, but, Go ahead. This is funny, because, You say we have to be a good person, Or you don't have to, You know, these are all also normative thoughts. If we look at Socrates, and his questioning, And his style of questioning, If you're not good enough, Or you have to be a good person, These are, normative thoughts.

You know, when you're looking back at Socrates and what he learns is if you challenge yourself, challenge yourself or others with questions, let's say Socratic questioning. I did courses on that because I find it a beautiful instrument. And Epictetus uses it in his colleges. So you can ask, so, okay, you have to be a good person.

Why? Why is that? That's a question, why do we have to be a good person? 

Erick: Why do you have to be? And also, what defines a good person? 

Mark: What is a good person? Yeah. And why do you have to be Or do you want to be a good person? Why do you want to be a good person? Do you? You can also say, well, I don't feel great about myself, but I have to be a good person.

So I can feel great about myself. I have something like that. You know, it's, it's all, we, we, we make up stories in our mind, of course. Yeah. So the challenge is I think to really challenge these thoughts. So why is this? Stoicism, when it comes down to the four categories the values, you know, the temperance justice.

Courage, wisdom, practical wisdom. If you think through it and you ask yourself these questions, you get down to the core of this. That's what you cannot debate, actually, because that's what, if you think about it, is what a great person or a good person, that's probably what it looks like. 

Erick: Exactly. And for me, what I found fascinating was I've been studying some Socrates lately, because that was something that I found the Stoics and was like, oh, wait a second.

Basically the Stoics took Socrates stuff and this is the conclusions they came to using the Socratic method. Yeah, so basically he gave them the tools and they're like, hey, well, we're gonna refine it a little bit more. What I really liked about that was, like I said, they they used it and then they came to these conclusions.

So it's like, so they distilled down a lot of hard questions for us and answered some of those. But we can still use that same methodology to help answer any other questions for us. And so I've, that's one of, for me, that's been great coming from the stoics and then slowly working back into Socrates and trying to understand those things.

And I wanna get better about using that and think through that more. I, I think I use some of it naturally, but not in a more, in that kind of formal way. Yeah. So that's something I've been reading a book by Ward Farnsworth. He's a professor at the University of Texas, and he's written a couple of books on Stoicism and other philosophy, and he has one that's about the Socratic method, and it's like a practical handbook, and I remember, I was like, so I read part of that, and then I was like, okay.

So, yeah. Got rid of it because I have to sell my house and get rid of all of these things and so I need to go buy the e books so I can finish reading that book. But it was so good and he does such a great job of explaining it, you know, why, the how and everything but in a way that's very approachable.

It's not very dry like a professor, it's actually, you know, he's a good writer and so. . Yeah. 

Mark: That's a great method. It's really, you can learn it and practice it and it's hard to do. Yeah. 'cause you have to put your own judgment out of the situation. 

Erick: Exactly. And that's hard. Exactly. Go well. Well I know what good is.

We'll do you Yeah, of course. This is good. Yeah, exactly. Or why is that , why is it good? 

Mark: And then you, and I think that's a weird stoicism you, if you think about it. And that's, I think the, the, the nature part where the nature part comes in. The ethics, the logic, and the physics. It's. Like this is how nature works.

This is works. This is how life works. This is how the world around us works. And if you call it God or will or et cetera, et cetera, it doesn't really matter. This is, yeah, this is the way we see nature works. So if you use your reasoning. And you use the, the, the, the, the knowledge, you know, about nature and the, the, the, the knowledge that we are social animals, so we connect with other people, learn from other people, can question other people.

I think you derive these ideas from stoicism. If you, if you think of it, well, that's, you come down to this. That's for me, actually, where I. And I ended up with, in Stoicism, it's like, okay, if you follow all these philosophical ideas, you know a little bit about how the world works, how we work as people, then this is what I find most fitting.

Erick: Yeah, it seems to be the most close to, you could say, almost a universal truth. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Or a set of universal truths because, one because they're principles so they can be applied and there's a bit of flexibility but also it just seems like the natural end to those questions. Yeah, yeah. Okay, yeah.

And that's, that's what I like about stoicism is that it's not an absolute you have to do these things. It's a. It's, here's the end result. And if you apply this in almost every situation, you will find this works and this is true. True. And, and I haven't found a situation where it hasn't worked. And so for me, that's been, yeah, that's why it's been so life changing for me because it helped me to see so many errors in my own thinking about things and my own reactivity and I used to be, I used to be much more hotheaded.

And now I'm much more calm about things like, like the other day, somebody sent me a really nasty note on Instagram because they didn't like a 60 second video that I put up and they were like, I can't get my time back and swearing at me. And I was like, wow. And at first I was like, you know, I, like you said, I felt that anger and I was just like, well, that's his problem.

Mark: You know, or like the stoics would say if it's his. reasoning So it's funny if, if somebody takes time to react on a message that took 60 seconds and he takes another 60 seconds to react, that's, that's okay. You've thought about this before you reacted like this. That's what, that's what you can define as stupid.

Erick: Exactly. And so I, I just was like, but I felt that little zing of like, and I had to just be like, okay, well, and oftentimes when I do that, I take even one further step back and I'm like, Wow, if somebody feels that way or feels that upset about something so small like that. Yeah, 

Mark: imagine where they are in life.

Erick: Exactly. It almost, it made me feel sorry for them. And I have a little bit of empathy towards them. I'm just like, wow, that's, that's tough. If you're, if you're that upset because I had a 60 second video that you thought was me just rambling because I talk, I was in Florida at the time because I'm talking about the weather in Florida and then I, I, I proceeded to finish my lesson.

It was like, you know, 15 seconds of, Hey, here's the weather like this. It's kind of cool, blah, blah, blah. And then the, you know, the rest of the 60 second video was talking, you know, I think I was like, Hey, I'm going to be doing a Q & A session. Once you dance, you know, go ahead and post some questions here and I'll try and put them in there.

And I was like, wow, if he's that, if he's that upset over that. Wow, I feel, I feel kind of sorry for him. 

Mark: Yeah, I think that's an empathic, empathetic way of looking at a situation. 

Erick: Whereas before I would have been like, you're such a jerk. You're a jerk, no, 

Mark: you're a jerk, no, you're a jerk. 

Erick: Exactly. And so I decided that for me, it has been helpful because this allowed me to get more space in between that. Rather than reacting, I can respond better. And it's, it's definitely helped my life a lot. And I, I like not being reactive like that because I used to be much more reactive because it's how my dad was. That's how I grew up. Things, something upset you. It's just like, 

Mark: Oh yeah, that's how you're probably wired and what you saw around you.

So that's really hard to change, but it gives a lot of freedom to, to feel that, right? That's, there's the freedom or else you become a slave of your upbringing or your father or your, or your, or somebody else who hurts you. And you can, you can be a leader for yourself instead of being a slave to the situation.

Erick: Yeah, and it's been really, really helpful. And I'm not perfect at it. I mean, there's still times when I get upset about things. Then I just have to 

Mark: No, but I don't think Marcus Aurelius was or all these Stoics were. 

Erick: Yeah. And they understood that. And that's, that's what's so great about Stoicism. It's not about perfection.

It's not about that you don't get angry. It's about how you choose to deal with that anger, you know, do you let it just consume you? Do you let it be reactive? Do you give that pause and just let it feel and just take a breath and let it out and then choose your response and there are many ways to do that And you just have to figure out which one's gonna be most effective for you.

Mark: Yeah, it's a misconception Stoicism right that stoic means that there's no anger or there's no I'm a normal guy. I'm not in the ideal situation. I'm not in the ideal situation of course, but of course there is in normal life. I, when I give presentations, that's the first thing I've done. When I talk about my father and I tell my story of being angry, I, I ask the audience who's angry sometimes and all the hands go up, you know, I say, well, good. Welcome in life.

This is what you feel. It's not a, it's a misconception that stoicism or being stoic means that you don't feel that anger. No, it can be there, but we're grownups. We have the ability to reason, so we can make a conscious choice to not give into that anger, but to give, to take distance from it and think about it and react in a different way and let it go.

That's what we as wiser, grown up people could do. That's our capability. That's up to us. 

Erick: Yeah, and that's one of the things on my podcast. I talk a lot about people. I'm like, it's okay to feel all your feelings. Yeah. If you feel sad, okay. There are times where you want to feel sad. I mean, when somebody dies or If you love someone and you have to 

Mark: let go, that's sad.

Erick: Yeah, and you want to grieve. You don't want to not feel those things. No. You want to grieve and you want to feel the full, you know, range of emotions in life. That's what makes life great is that you have all of these. And, and I see that on the Reddit sometime, you know, people will be like, ah, I'm feeling so sad about this thing and I don't want to, you know, how do I get rid of this emotion?

And it's like. You just gotta go through it. Just feel it. The more you resist feeling sad, the more it's gonna come back and get to you. And if you're able to just kind of flow with it, you know, you follow nature. Your nature is, nature is that we are emotional beings. So flow with those emotions.

But, but, what we're talking about is not letting them do, make you, not letting them drive you to do stupid things. 

Mark: No, or not blaming anyone. Oh, you left me and now I feel hurt or sad. It's your fault. No, you're sad because somebody, you have to let somebody go or you don't want to let somebody go or else you wouldn't have felt sad.

So it's up to you. And not to change it, but to accept it. And feel it.

Erick: And accepting that. Absolutely. Accepting your emotions is an incredibly powerful tool. Because you're saying, it's one, it's acknowledging reality. I feel this way. That's reality. And 

Mark: that's the beauty where logic comes in.

And I write it in a chapter five of my book, The Stoic Mindset, it's about amor fati. Hey accept your fate and love it. I think that's a really hard thing, especially if life throws you around or you, you get hurt or you have a terrible disease you have to encounter. And I think it can be really hard.

I have an example of Vivian Mantel. She was an Olympic Paralympic snowboarder and she had a beautiful life. She was a beautiful person. I interviewed her for my podcast. She's here in Holland. She's like. The pinnacle of, of the radiation of positive emotions of beauty, but still she was diagnosed with cancer, which she died from, from two years ago, sadly.

And she knew this, she knows, she knows she was going to die, but she still did all these things in life, which with a positive attitude, she never complained. She was there. She was cared for other people. She was a beautiful person. So that's also what's possible in that situation. So I think the funniest thing is that that's what I find the beauty in Stoicism.

It's in that sense rational because If you have the choice, you, she had like she, there was a doctor and the doctor told her you cannot snowboard anymore and you're going to die. You have cancer. So the logical thing to lead a good life and a fulfilling life is to, and this is terribly hard and I, I, I'm healthy.

So it's for me, it's easy to say, but if I look at her the logical thing to do is the only thing you can do is not only accept that, but also love it. The reality of life. This is my reality right now. And you can come, you can push it away, you can get angry of it, but that hurts you. So the life you have left is not going to be good.

It hurts you. So logically, if you want to lead a good life, the only option you have is to accept it. And if, if, if you want to lead a really good life, love it. Yeah. And that's, that's so hard, but it's logically, it's the only option you have. 

Erick: There was a great article that I just read the other day and you'll love the title of it.

It's called “Welcome to Holland” Oh, yeah, and this woman wrote it and it was about how, kind of the story goes along. It's like so imagine you're planning a trip. You're going to Italy, you were excited. You wanted to go to Italy your whole life. You plan this trip. You've got it all down and you you make all the arrangements, you get off the plane, and the first thing that happens is, you, the stewardess, you know, welcomes you, and goes, “Hello! Welcome to Holland”.

You're like, wait a second, let's just go to Italy. 

Mark: What's going on here? Why is the sun not shining? Where's my pasta? Where's my espresso? 

Erick: So, and then you walk in and you're just like, but all these things I won't see. And, and, the woman who was talking about it, in regards to, sometimes the life that we want, flying to Italy,

it's not the life that we get. We end up in Holland. But if all we do is pine away for Italy and why we didn't get to Italy and life's unfair because we didn't get to go to Italy. Then we miss all the beautiful things about Holland. Yeah. We miss the windmills, we miss the canals, we miss

Mark: We miss the weather.

Erick: It's actually, I mean, I don't mind this weather. It's better. I lived in Minnesota for five years, so this weather is fine. 

Mark: Well, I, I, my holidays I go to Italy because I love, I love Italy. I want to go there too, but I, we're here at the waterfront and it freezes over here. It's beautiful.  

Erick: Absolutely. And that's the thing. It's just like all of the things here. Yes, we don't have, you know, Michelangelo's, but you have Rembrandt's here. You have Van Gogh's. 

Mark: Yeah, we have Amsterdam. It's beautiful. That's what Epictetus is to quote. Do not seek to have events happen to you as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen and all will be well for you.

Exactly. It's just that I could not understand exactly what I mean. This is, yeah, Mark Aurelius said not this is a misfortune, but to bear this worthwily is a good fortune. 

Erick: Yeah, absolutely. And so I, it was just funny that I stumbled on this article just a couple of days ago and I was like, that's so great. And I was like, given that I'm here…

Mark: So that's why you ended up here in Holland. You wanted to be here. 

Erick: I didn't know where I was going. So I just, “Welcome to Holland!” Yeah, it was, it was, it was, but I really like that kind of metaphor about that and I thought it was appropriate for where we are. So just, I guess we'll finish up with a few more questions.

Here's a good one. Advice for aspiring Stoics. So if somebody is interested in Stoicism, what advice would you give? Are there specific books, practices or thought exercises you'd recommend? 

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Well, actually this is the question I got a lot especially during COVID and during presentation.

So the Stoic mindset, I really. I wrote it because it's an introduction into how you can think more stoic and how I deal with that. And there are 10 lessons in the book, which you can follow. So it's really an intro to stoicism. If you want to dive deeper, of course, I would say people yeah, get to the original text of Seneca, of Marcus Aurelius, of Seneca is easy to read.

It's a good intro. Marcus Aurelius. It's not something, you know, the meditations you, you, you probably will read from A to Z within an evening is more, you read it through it and you contemplate and, and Epictetus, it's a little harder to, to, to follow and grasp, especially the whole bundle. So, but it's definitely worthwhile, I think, if you look at the Stoics and think of where they come from and what situation they were in life and it's unfortunate that we don't have all the texts of the early Stoics.

Yeah. And, and if you think of the Greek empire and the Roman empire and the Greek city state, Athens. What happened there? It's a beautiful way where these, these people went through challenges. So, so read them and think about that. What, what does that mean? If you, you know, if you're the emperor of Rome and you encounter not only the loss of children and the betrayal of your best general, but also a pandemic that ravages your empire, how do you deal with that?

How do you keep sane? How do you keep doing the right things? So if you wanted the leadership lessons, start with Marcus Aurelius. If you want to have a friend who gives you some friendly and more worldly advice, go to Seneca. If you want to have a teacher who sometimes is stern and tells you what to do, look for Epictetus.

So that's. Where I would start off with and with practices. Yeah, for me making the distinction between what is up to you or what is not up to you is really powerful. Stephen Covey borrowed it of course from Epictetus and it's beautiful I think because if There's a high pressure situations that that's what I always do.

If I have a hard time, I tell myself, okay, if I have to let someone go or it's a situation I am having trouble with handling or a companion in my company, which, which I have a situation with or a confrontation with it's okay, what's up to me. What's not up to me. It's my internal state. I can do the things for myself in a good manner.

I focus on the right things to do. And I work hard for that, but the reaction of the other person is not up to me. The goal we want to reach as a company is not up to me, especially in COVID you can make a perfect business planning. You can think of products coming your way and then COVID happens and everything goes down the drain.

Every plan you had. So it's not only the output, it's the input you put in. You have to devise a new plan. You have to sit together, et cetera, et cetera. So try to do that. And for me, like I said, at the end of your day. Like Seneca did, try to think of, I think thinking of death, it sounds a little scary or not natural for people to do, but I think that's a liberating thought.

If you think about death, it's for me, it's liberating in life. I write in my book, one of the principles I write about is death makes life more epic. Yeah. Thinking about death, about the end, makes Life more epic because it makes you think about the choices you make. Are these good choices? Do you stand by them?

Do you live a life where you live a life according to your values? Do you live the hardest thing people ask themselves when they die? If they have regrets, the regrets always revolve around that they didn't lead their own life. They led a life what other people wished for them or put upon them. Yeah. So that's powerful stuff.

You should think about that every day, not at the end of your life, but right now. Yeah. 

Erick: I think most people regret the things they didn't do. 

Mark: Yeah, exactly. So live a life with no regrets. And of course, like again, you will have some. You have some. You will do stupid stuff. You're a human being. 

Erick: Yeah. And you may regret the dumb things you did, but I find that the things that I regret the most are the things that I didn't do, or the chances that I didn't take.

You know, I, you know, yes, there's some things that I did and I wish that I hadn't done them because they were tough, but I learned from them. And so I don't necessarily regret them. I, I may not think fondly on them, but I don't necessarily truly regret them. 

Mark: No, but if you see a herd of people doing something and it becomes right, or it becomes, that's why these questions are so powerful.

What is good? You know, is it something we do in the society? Is it, is it the norm? Is this in a society which we follow? Does this, is this your way you really want to live or is this your own path or do you follow a safe path, which everybody will not judge you or everybody won't be mad at you or et cetera, et cetera.

So there are a lot of powerful things working against. We have freedom for us. To reach our full potential and to break through these barriers. To break through the mold and to open up and be free with regards to other people. It's not like, well, I'll do whatever I want and woohoo, freedom. Yeah.

That's not what real freedom is. So what is it? Well, maybe Stoicism has pretty good answers on that. 

Erick: but yeah, I mean, for me, that's kind of why I'm here. It was that it, it was actually kind of scary and there were times I mean there's even, you know, time leading up to here where I just kind of panicked and be like, what am I doing?

And I'm like, well, this is crazy. I'm just coming over 

Mark: You come over to Amsterdam, maybe live here, et cetera. 

Erick: Yeah. And I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just making it up as I go along and trying to find new opportunities and try to see what I'm supposed to do in this life. And so right now it's very much exploring and it's, it's scary at times.

I'm just like, what am I doing here? I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm meeting people. I, you know, I met some people at a meetup last night that were really cool. Just getting out there and trying to make things happen. I mean, I never would have gotten to do this if I hadn't. No. And this has been great.

I've been really enjoying this. 

Mark: So you have to sit with the discomfort. You have to sit with the chaos. You have to. Do not change it, but sit with it. And I think that's I think, yeah, there, there, there's beauty on the other side. If you want to go there and sometimes things happen, you never would have imagined.

Erick: And since I've been here, there've been some days where I'm just like, ah, what am I doing here? I should just go home. It's much more comfortable there. You know, I know all these, I know, I know people, I know how life lives, you know, trying to navigate things here because I don't quite speak Dutch yet, so working on learning that.

I mean, I speak German, so I understand, I understand a lot of it and it's actually made a big difference. I can understand, I can sit in most conversation and understand most of what's going on. 

Mark: And it's funny, you know what, because I have, I'm, I'm going to the world championships in Canada and Calgary for speed skating commentary on television.

And I love Canada. I love going to the Rockies and I thought about, Oh, I have to, maybe I want to go there a couple of days earlier and see it. And I do that because I'm gone from home a long time. And it's such a. It was really, I said, well, if I think about this two days, I really already could have made the choice to go two days earlier.

I don't have to think about it. Just do it and see what I do because I want to do that. So why not? Yeah. There are 10 reasons why you couldn't or shouldn't, et cetera, et cetera. And there's one reason like, let's, I want to do it. Let's just do it and see what happens. Yeah. And that's the thing is you, that's so small.

This is a small example. 

Erick: Yeah. And I mean, I, I know that if I didn't come that I would regret it. And I had a good friend of mine, she kept saying that. She's just like, if you don't go, you will regret it. So just, you're living, you're living a dream that you've wanted to do for quite some time. And that so many people would love to do. And you have this opportunity. You are in, you are in a place where this works for you, so you better go do that. And I'm like. Thank you. 

Mark: Oh, that's great, man. Just kind of resetting my mind. That's kind of funny because I thought, hey, we have a digital conversation, maybe through a podcast, but you're actually here.

So, okay. Now I know the story. 

Erick: Yeah, no, it's been great. All right. I think kind of exhausted most of my questions. Is there anything else that you want to add to it? So go ahead and tell people where they can find you. And anything else you'd like them or you want any socials that kind of thing.

So go ahead. Yeah. 

Mark: You can always find me through Instagram, Twitter LinkedIn, Mark Tuitert. And my surname is T U I T E R T. 

Erick: And I will put that in the show notes for the episode. So if you want to go find him, you can find him. 

Mark: So you can find me here with contact info. I do speaking engagements and my book, the stoic mindset is out in April in the US, Canada, UK.

So I'm really excited to to, to tell my story. I hope. Yeah. But with maybe even if it's one person I can relate to or have an impact on in life and get into contact with stoicism in that way. Yeah. That will be worthwhile for me. So I would love to come over to the U. S., to the UK, to Canada to to deliver my story.

And thank you for being here in the Netherlands. 

Erick: Yeah, and thank you for inviting me into your home. I really appreciate it. Yeah, no problem. This has been really great. So, all right. Thank you. All right. That concludes our interview. Like I said, I'll have a bunch of stuff in the notes for the podcast.

And thanks again for listening.

And that's the end of this week's Stoic Coffee Break. I hope that you enjoyed this interview with Mark Tuitert. And as always, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and thanks for listening.

Hey friends, just wanted to give you a quick reminder. If you aren't following me on social media, you really should. So I do post videos from time to time on Instagram and Threads and X, formerly Twitter. I'm also going to be posting this interview on YouTube and I will be adding more and more video content to YouTube, more long form stuff.

So hop on there and find me. So on instagram and threads, it's On x/twitter, it is @stoiccoffee. As well as on LinkedIn, you can find me there at StoicCoffee. Alright, thanks again for listening. Bye.

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244 – Interview with John Chancey of Knowledge Brew Supreme

This weeks episode is an interview I did with Dr. John Chancey of the Knowledge Brews Supreme podcast. It was really fun to dive into all kinds of interesting philosophical topics with John. He's sharp, warm, and fun. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed chatting with John.

Hello friends! Thank you for listening. Stop by the website at where you can sign up for our newsletter, and buy some great looking shirts and hoodies at the Stoic Coffee Shop.

Want to help support this podcast? Become a patron on patreon!

Like the theme song? You can find it here from my alter ego. 🙂

Find me on instagram or twitter.
Lastly if you know of someone that would benefit from or appreciate this podcast, please share it. Word of mouth is the best way to help this podcast grow. Thanks again for listening.