stoicism

197 - What’s Your Excuse?

197 – What’s Your Excuse?

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice–now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! […] Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do–now.” — Epictetus We all have events and challenges that happen in our lives. That what life is all about. When the stoics use the term Amor Fati, what they mean is to love your fate, to love and accept what life sends your way. How you feel about the events that happen to you in your life will not change if they are going to happen or not. They will happen. What thoughts you have around these events, how you feel about them, and how you respond to them are the only things that you have control over.

196 - How To Win An Argument

196 – How To Win An Argument

“It is possible to curb your arrogance, to overcome pleasure and pain, to rise above your ambition, and to not be angry with stupid and ungrateful people — yes, even to care for them.” — Marcus Aurelius How do you win an argument? All of us have to deal with conflict in our lives. To think otherwise is completely unrealistic. But when we have an argument, what is our goal? What do we hope to achieve? To change the other person’s mind? To prove that we are right?

194 - Find Your Why

194 – Find Your Why

“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.

192 - Self-Sovereign

192 – Self-Sovereign

“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?

191 - Get Busy With Life’s Purpose

191 – Get Busy With Life’s Purpose

“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.

190 - The Stories We Tell Ourselves

190 – The Stories We Tell Ourselves

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...

189 - What You Are Capable Of

189 – What You Are Capable Of

“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?

188 - Do What You Can

188 – Do What You Can

“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.

186 - Stuck In The Past

186 – Stuck In The Past

“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.

185 - Needy

185 – Needy

“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.

184 - The Truth Never Harmed Anyone

184 – The Truth Never Harmed Anyone

”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. 

183 - Mind And Body

183 – Mind And Body

“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.

182 - Want What You Have

182 – Want What You Have

“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.

181 - Askers and Guessers

181 – Askers and Guessers

“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.

180 - Ask For Help

180 – Ask For Help

“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?

179 - Do Hard Things

179 – Do Hard Things

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.

177 - Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

177 – Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

“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.

175 - Circumstances and Choices

175 – Circumstances and Choices

“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.

174 - You Are Good Enough

174 – You Are Good Enough

“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

173 – Change Your Perspective, Change Your World

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.

171 - Beyond Fear

171 – Beyond Fear

“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.

170 - Boundaries

170 – Boundaries

“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?

169 - Why Do You Care What Others Think?

169 – Why Do You Care What Others Think?

“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?

168 - Self Acceptance

168 – Self Acceptance

“Equanimity is the voluntary acceptance of the things which are assigned to thee by the common nature.” – Marcus Aurelius How often do we hold ourselves back because of our inner critic? What if instead we practiced self acceptance, and treated ourselves like we treat a good friend – with honesty, kindness, and forgiveness? The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one of your life.

157 – Don’t Feed the Trolls

“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.

150 – The Un-Pursuit of Happiness

“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.

148 – Comparison and Self Judgment

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.

147 – Look Within

“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?

146 – Fear is the Killer

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.

145 – Hold True

How do you remain true to the aspirations you have? How do you not let other people’s opinions sway you from your principles? This weeks episode is about finding your values and holding true. “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 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...

144 – Emotional Management

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.

143 – The Quality of Your Thoughts

  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...

142 – Reject the Injury

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.

141 – Motivation and Willpower

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...

140 – Circumstances Don’t Make The Man

  “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...

139 – Judgments

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...

138 – The Greatest Obstacle to Living

  “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...

137 – Worthy of Your Potential

  “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...

136 – The Scent of a Good Man

  “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,...

135 – No Easy Thing

  “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...

134 – A Wise Man

  “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...

133 – A Momentary Loss of Attention

  “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...

132 – Anything Can Happen

  “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...

131 – Say What You Mean

  “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...

130 – Suffering Before It’s Time

  “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...

129 – Opinions and Perspective

  “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...

128 – Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?

    “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...