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For centuries, all sorts of people—generals and politicians, athletes and coaches, writers and leaders—have looked to the teachings of Stoicism to help guide their lives. Each day, author and speaker Ryan Holiday brings you a new lesson about life, inspired by the thoughts and writings of great Stoic thinkers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca the Younger. Learn more at DailyStoic.com.
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It was a decade or so ago, in the depth of the global financial crisis, that the musician and writer Henry Rollins offered a prescription that once again feels relevant. Indeed, it feels relevant because his advice was timeless, and applies in ordinary and extraordinary times alike. It’s advice worth following in times of triumph and great trials. “People are getting a little desperate,” he wrote as unemployment spiked and markets crashed. “People might not show their best elements to you. You must never lower yourself to being a person you don’t like. There is no better time than now to have a moral and civic backbone. To have a moral and civic true north. This is a tremendous opportunity for you, a young person, to be heroic.”Well, here we are in rough and uncertain times again. People are not showing their best selves. People are scared. For several years in a row now, people have had their true north obscured and disoriented by daily examples of bad leadership—of ego and selfishness and downright incompetence. But, in a way, that doesn’t matter. As Marcus Aurelius said, what other people say or do is not our concern. What matters is what we do. We can choose to see this as a tremendous opportunity. This is a moment to be heroic. To think about others. To serve. To prepare. To keep calm. To reassure. To protect. This is a time to reevaluate our priorities. To ask ourselves what’s important and what we’re working towards. Courage is calling you. Self-discipline is essential. We need your moral and civic backbone. And man, do we need wisdom right now more than ever. We need you to embody those things. We need them right now. 
On today's episode, Ryan discusses the Four Stoic Virtues: Courage, Justice, Moderation, and Wisdom. Listen to find out why the Four Virtues are so important in today's world. And check out the new Daily Stoic Four Virtues medallion at https://geni.us/FourVirtuesThis episode is brought to you by Thrive Market, an online marketplace where you can get over 6000 products, whether it's pantry staples, food, wine, and other groceries, or cleaning products, vitamins, or even bath and body products. They have products for any diet or value system, whether it's vegan, non-GMO, paleo, keto, kosher, halal, non-FODMAP, and more. Visit thrivemarket.com/stoic to get 25% off your order today. ***If you enjoyed this week’s podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps with our visibility, and the more people listen to the podcast, the more we can invest into it and make it even better.Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: DailyStoic.com/signupFollow Ryan:Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanholidayInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/ryanholiday/Facebook: http://facebook.com/ryanholidayYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/dailystoic
In this super-sized edition of Ask Daily Stoic, Ryan talks about his visit to a Mastermind event in Nashville, where he shared ideas and inspiration with other successful authors. Ryan also chats with Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity, The $100 Startup, and the upcoming book The Money Tree: A Story About Finding the Fortune in Your Own Backyard. This episode is brought to you by Go Macro. Go Macro is a family-owned maker of some of the finest protein bars around. They're vegan, non-GMO, and they come in a bunch of delicious flavors. Visit gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.This episode is also brought to you by Four Sigmatic. Four Sigmatic is a maker of mushroom coffee, lattes, elixirs, and more. Their drinks all taste amazing and they've full of all sorts of all-natural compounds and immunity boosters to help you think clearly and live well. Visit foursigmatic.com/stoic to get 15% off your order.***If you enjoyed this week’s podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps with our visibility, and the more people listen to the podcast, the more we can invest into it and make it even better.Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: DailyStoic.com/signupFollow Ryan:Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanholidayInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/ryanholiday/Facebook: http://facebook.com/ryanholidayYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/dailystoic
Do you remember the first time you heard about the Stoics? Maybe you read about them in another book. Maybe someone you know recommended them to you. Remember that feeling though? When those words first started going through your brain and you felt them in your soul for the first time? It was an incredible experience right? One of the most important and transformative moments in your life. Here’s the crazy thing though. Before the Vietnam war, James Stockdale had almost that exact experience when he was given a copy of Epictetus at Stanford. You could roll back the tape of history almost 200 years and find the exact moment that George Washington had his experience when, at 16, a neighbor passed along a copy of the works of the Stoics. Nearly 2,000 years ago almost the exact same thing happened, only instead of America it was in Rome, and a man named Junius Rusticus was loaning Marcus Aurelius a copy of Epictetus. A generation before that, someone was introducing Epictetus himself, then no more than a slave, to the works of Musonius Rufus. You could go back further still and sit in a book store and watch Zeno, washed up from a shipwreck, being introduced to philosophy by way of a reading of the works of Socrates. It shouldn’t take away from the beauty of your experience to learn that it wasn’t singular. In fact, it enhances it. It ties directly into the most moving passages of Marcus Aurelius, where he points out how long human beings have been doing the same thing, how we’ve been falling in love and fighting over money, improving ourselves and falling short, and yes, having our minds blown by great books, since as long as there have been books. We are part of a long tradition and it’s a long tradition that will continue after we’re gone. We’re not special. We’re a strong, but ordinary link in a timeless chain… that includes some of the greatest men and women to ever walk the earth. We don’t own these ideas. We are, as they say about Patek Philippe watches, just guarding them for the next generation. We are caretakers. And that’s important. 
We should always be looking for mantras and epigrams. Ideas that are true and applicable in every situation, to every generation, across all time. The Stoics had more than a few they liked:“Character is fate,” which came to them from Heraclitus. “Life is only perception,” which Marcus got from Democritus. “You become what you give your attention to,” which Epictetus wrote. Even memento mori and amor fati are short little reminders of concepts we should never forget. Lincoln was fond of the expression, “And this too shall pass,” which undoubtedly helped him through the depths of all the crises he faced. Here are three others worth keeping at hand: The obstacle is the way—there is nothing so bad that we can’t make some good out of it. We can treat every problem as an opportunity to practice virtue.Ego is the enemy—no problem is ever solved by introducing ego. Pride makes us complacent and intolerable and ignorant; for we cannot learn that which we think we already know.Stillness is the key—you can speed up by slowing down. People can only focus, be happy, and see clearly when they get rid of franticness and passions and get to that state of ataraxia that the Stoics talked about. What’s in the way is the way. Improve yourself by thinking of yourself less. Slow down to speed up. Remember, this philosophy is about taking ideas and applying them to our lives until they turn into muscle memory. Repeating it enough times to yourself that it becomes part of who you are. That’s what a mantra is—something to come back to, something to lean on in times of trouble and stress. It’s a tool for focus. A way of living. The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego is the Enemy, and Stillness is the Key (all bestsellers that have reached millions of people around the world) are now available in a box set from Portfolio. You can check it out at Amazon right now. “Ryan’s trilogy of The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, and Stillness Is the Key are for sure must reads.”—Manu Ginobili, NBA Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist
Let’s imagine a scenario in which almost all our modern scholarship was lost. Imagine if some great fire at the Library of Alexandria wiped away the last few hundred years of breakthroughs in psychology and biology. Suddenly, countless research papers and books and discoveries were turned to ash. The cost would be immense, no question.And yet, somehow, we’d be fine. Even if all that remained were just the writings of Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and Epictetus. Because as much as our species craves new-ness, the truth is that most truths are very old. In fact, it’s these timeless truths that teach us more about the future and about our current times than most of our contemporary thinking. As Douglas MacArthur wrote in the early 20th century, speculating about the future of warfare, the best lessons about what’s coming next come not from the recent but from the distant past. “Were the accounts of all battles, save only those of Genghis Khan,” he said, “effaced from the pages of history, and were all the facts of his campaigns preserved in descriptive detail, the soldier would still possess a mine of untold wealth from which to extract nuggets of knowledge useful in molding an army for future use. “Of course, one should always avail themselves of the latest research and the newest books. The problem is that for far too many people this comes at the expense of availing themselves of wisdom from the wisest minds who ever lived. “I don’t have time to read books,” says the person who reads dozens of breaking news articles each week. “I don’t have time to read,” they say as they refresh their Twitter feed for the latest inane update. “I don’t have time to read fiction—that’s entertainment,” they say as they watch another panel of arguing talking heads on CNN, as if that’s actually giving them real information they will use. Being informed is important. It is the duty of every citizen. But we go about it the wrong way. We are distracted by breaking news when really we should be drinking deeply from the great texts of history. We need to follow Marcus Aurelius’s advice to carve out “some leisure time to learn something good, and stop bouncing around.”It is from this learning, from the learning of the distant past, from the wisest minds who ever lived, that we can know how to prepare for the future. Everything else is noise. Everything else should be ignored. 
Perhaps you know the story of the 300 Spartans. It was first immortalized by Herodotus, and then has been passed down through the ages (there’s a wonderful Steven Pressfield novel about it). If you don’t know the story, here’s what happens: Facing an invading army of some 300,000 Persian soldiers that threatened to annihilate Greece, King Leonidas led just 300 Spartan warriors into battle in a desperate attempt to buy his neighboring countries a chance to coordinate and defend themselves. For three days, the soldiers fought at what’s known today as the Hot Gates, against so many Persian archers and soldiers that it was said their arrows blocked out the sun. Eventually, inevitably, the Spartans fell, but not before they had slowed Xerxes and his invaders down enough to save the free world. In their honor, the poet Simonides provides this epitaph:Stranger passing by, tell the LacedaemoniansHere we lie, having obeyed their orders. You sit here reading this email, in part, because of their brave sacrifice. Just as you sit here because of the soldiers who landed at Normandy, and, if you’re in a democracy, because of the sacrifices of Cato (who attempted to save the Roman Republic) and George Washington (who, inspired by Cato, founded America). These were missions that required immense selflessness, and all the Stoic virtues: Courage. Temperance. Justice. Wisdom. The few helped to save and serve the many. Have you seen the meme being passed around these days, in the time of COVID-19, the global pandemic ravaging countless nations? It shows a row of matches. The first several are burned out. One rests slightly below and all the matches to the right of it remain like new. “The one who stayed away,” it says, “saved all the rest.” (And think about the opposite: Patient 31 in South Korea, instead of staying away, potentially infected many people and may have ruined South Korea’s containment of the virus out of pure recklessness). If you want to know what you can do right now, how to help in this crisis, it doesn’t require a sacrifice like the heroes mentioned here. It’s much simpler. Stay at home. Listen to the pleadings and warnings—these are not for fun. Yes, you’re young. Yes, you’ll probably survive catching the Coronavirus, but a person you give it to, or the hospital bed you take from them? That’s a much more serious scenario. Help them by flattening the curve. Help buy them and the system some time. Rush to the Hot Gates… by staying home.This is not a drill. Don’t be selfish. We’ve talked for a long time about what a good person looks like, what a philosopher is. Well? Now is the time to be one. 
Almost 50 years ago, the Beatles whispered to us some words of wisdom: Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.One of the most relatable passages in Meditations is actually about just that. Marcus writes about sitting next to someone who smells or has bad breath. You can almost feel his frustration, as if he too has sat on an airplane center seat and had to jostle for the armrests that are clearly his. What is wrong with this person? Can’t they figure out how this works? Do they have to be so rude? And yet, he catches himself. If it’s such a problem, he says, then talk to them about it. Or you know what? Just let it go. As he writes, “You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”It’s worth remembering today and every day. That we can just leave things as they are. We can let them be. We don’t have to get upset. We don’t have to have an opinion. We can listen to those words of wisdom…
Ryan discusses the merits of watching the news, and how to tune out distractions, with Steven Pressfield.
Here you are, stuck indoors, stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. Maybe also you’re stuck because you’re 17 going on 30. Maybe also you’re stuck because you’ve got another two years left on your enlistment or because you’re waiting for a position to open up at a new company. Or you’re stuck because there is a global pandemic and, like a good Stoic, you’re listening to the authorities, and staying home, and helping to flatten the curve. You can’t help that, the Stoics would say. But you can help what you do with this time. As we talked about recently, just because you’re stuck is not an excuse for killing time. More than two thousand years ago, Cato the Elder advised that in rainy weather, farmers must “try to find something to do indoors. Clean up, rather than be idle. Remember that even though work stops, expenses run on nonetheless.” Robert Greene says we always have a choice between alive time and dead time. What will it be? The answer determines the course of our life, whether what we face is an obstacle or an opportunity. Issac Newton did some of his best research when Cambridge closed due to the plague. Shakespeare wrote King Lear while he hid out from the plague as well. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, while he was laid up in the hospital, expressly forbidden from working on something as tough as a novel. Malcolm X educated himself in prison and turned himself into the activist the world needed. So we get it, you’re stuck. That’s not your fault. But what you do while you’re stuck? That’s on you. That’s what the Stoics meant when they said you don’t control what has happened, but you control how you respond. That’s what Marcus was talking about when he said we can turn everything that happens into fuel, and that the impediment to action can actually advance actionSo that’s where we are right now. Faced with a choice. A choice to use this or not. Make something of it or not. It’s the only potential silver lining...and it’s totally up to you. Check out the Daily Stoic Alive Time Challenge! It starts Monday 3/30, and is the perfect way to turn your quarantine into productive "alive time."
Ryan talks about the Edmund Morrison biography of Thomas Edison, reads a passage from The Obstacle is the Way (on sale for a few more days), and fields more questions from his readers and fans.
Most languages have some expression to the effect of “When it rains, it pours.” For instance, in Latin malis mala succedunt means troubles are followed by troubles. In Japanese, they say, “when crying, stung by bee.” The point of these expressions is to capture an unfortunate reality of life: that what can go wrong will… and often all at the same time. Obviously to the Stoics, the idea of premeditatio malorum is a kind of hedge against this. If you’re only prepared for a few, isolated and tiny things to go wrong, you’re going to be rudely surprised by how often difficulties come in pairs or triplets or entire litters. If you think life is going to be one lucky break after another, you’re going to be rudely surprised when, to quote Seneca, fortune decides to behave exactly as she pleases. The real lesson from the Stoics on adversity comes from Epictetus, however, who believed that while we don’t control whether it’s pouring, we do control how we respond. We control whether we can find something productive to do inside, while it’s raining. We control whether we put on a jacket. We control whether we’ve been smart enough to build a roof while the sun was shining. And Epictetus would have also liked the quip from the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadwick, who reminds us that in space, “there is no problem so bad you can’t make it worse.” So if you’ve been feeling some raindrops lately, first off, be prepared for things to really start coming down. Get ready for the bee sting on top of the stubbed toe. Get ready for your delayed flight to also have turbulence. But most importantly, don’t make it worse by overreacting, by taking it personally or doing something stupid. Whatever it is, know that perhaps the first step to making things better is just not making them worse. 
No One Escapes This Law

No One Escapes This Law

2020-03-2603:232

This is not another note about memento mori.It’s about a different immutable, inescapable law of human existence that comes to us from the Stoics through Heraclitus (one of Marcus Aurelius’ favorites): Character is fate. After death and taxes, this is a timeless adage that the Stoics believed will determine our destiny whether we like it or not. And just a quick glimpse around the world and across history confirms it: Liars and cheats eventually destroy themselves. The corrupt overreach. The ignorant make fatal, self-inflicted mistakes. The egotistical ignore the data that challenges them and the warnings that could save them. The selfish end up isolated and alone, even if they’re surrounded by fame and fortune. The "robbers, perverts, killers and tyrants" Marcus Aurelius wrote about always end up in a hell of their own making. It’s a law as true as gravity. Bad character might drive someone into a position of leadership—because of their ambition, their ruthlessness, their shamelessness—but eventually, inevitably, this supposed “strength” becomes an Achilles’ heel when it comes time to actually do the job. Who trusts them? Who actually wants to work with them? What kind of culture develops around them? How can they learn? How can they know where the landmines are?If you want to know why things are the way they are right now—on Wall Street, in politics, in Silicon Valley, on college campuses, everywhere—it’s because character is fate. And for too long we have ignored the predictive—no, prophetic—power of character. When you make excuses for liars and cheats and egomaniacs because they agree with you, or they might benefit your business or help your cause in the short term, not only do you do so at your own long term peril, but you are exhibiting bad character yourself. And that is what will come back to bite you. That is what is biting us right now, on every continent, in every corner of culture, at nearly every turn. Because character is fate. Always has been. Always will be. 
Jeannie Gaffigan is a control freak. She takes charge. She cares about the little things and getting those things right. She always has. It’s hard to argue that this part of her personality hasn’t served her well. She and her husband, the comedian Jim Gaffigan, have created an enormously successful partnership that birthed not only multiple television shows and comedy specials but five healthy, well-adjusted children. You can imagine, you have to be a stickler for details to pull all that off. The problem was when three years ago, a routine doctor’s appointment revealed a pear-sized tumor on Jeannie’s brain. A 10-hour surgery successfully removed the tumor, but not without a series of life-threatening complications, a few more surgeries, and a long road to recovery. Life does that to us. It takes the balance we’ve created or the systems we take comfort in and it dashes them to pieces. In a recent interview on Marc Maron’s podcast, Jeannie explained how this obstacle required her to re-examine her life and her need for control. She really had no choice. “I am a person who naturally sweats small stuff,” she explained. “I didn't change my entire personality. I still sweat small stuff. I still get irritated by this and that. But I have a different level of awareness that it's small stuff. It doesn't have to ruin my day. I see the big picture.” It was at this point in the conversation that Marc Maron, the host, responded about how he has managed this side of his personality as well: “I understand that, you know, to take that pause… And the weird thing is, if you have that personality, you know you're going to do it. You're going to freak out. And it's really about trying to nip it in the bud a little bit. Like in the middle. or, it seems hard to do it before because sometimes maybe it's necessary. Maybe that's how you do it. But there's a point where you’re like, 'well I don't need this to be toxic. I don't need to ruin everyone's day. I don't need to make everybody crazy.'”It’s important to realize that the Stoics were not perfect. Nobody was. It’s exceedingly unlikely that Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor of Rome, didn’t have a desire to control things. That he didn’t worry. That he didn’t sweat the small stuff. That he didn’t have the impulse to get up in other people’s business or to expect things to go his way. We all have these inclinations. The key is that you don’t give yourself over to it entirely—that you pause and try to stop or slow it down before it spirals out of control. “Don’t let the force of an impression when it first hits you knock you off your feet,” Epictetus said. “Say to it, ‘Hold on a moment; let me see who you are and what you represent. Let me put you to the test.’” And as Marcus told himself, “You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you. Things can’t shape our decisions by themselves.”The Stoics don’t hold us responsible for our initial impulses or impressions—we can’t be too hard on ourselves from habits we picked up from our own parents or in responses to experiences or responsibilities in our life. But what matters is whether we give ourselves over to these drives and flaws, or whether we actively work to improve ourselves. We feel anxiety or a desire to control. Ok. But does that mean we accept it unthinkingly? No. We must put it up to the test. We pause. We put it in perspective. We try not to vomit it all over other people, or let it ruin anyone’s day. We can nip it in the bud. We can blunt its extremes. We can get awareness. We can get better. 
This is an email we weren’t expecting to send, but sometimes sudden events call for sudden responses. Right now you, and much of the world, are locked down, doing your part to fight the spread of COVID-19. Perhaps you’ve already been trapped inside for weeks. Perhaps you just got back the test results and now you are in complete isolation. Perhaps your job has furloughed you and you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. Things seem serious now, but the truth is, it’s only going to get more serious. All of us are looking at the potential for some serious lost time. Dead time, as Robert Greene calls it. But do we have to be? A Stoic knows that while we don’t control what happens, we do control how we respond. So that’s the real question: How can we use this time to get better? To grow? To be of service and use?   To create “alive time” where we’re actively getting better.With that end in mind, we have been scrambling to put together what we’re calling the Daily Stoic Alive Time Challenge: Resilience, Productivity and Service in the Time of Coronavirus. It’s 14 days—the length of the suggested quarantine—of Stoicism-inspired challenges, practices and reading that will help you grow and help you help others. If you’ve done any of our other challenges over the last two years, you know we pack them full of great content, actionable advice, and strategies to make the habits stick. This one will be all that… and incredibly timely. We’re taking our best material and the best insights from the Stoics and organizing it to help you make the most of this time we have. Why shouldn’t you emerge from this process having at least wrested from it some real advantages? Why would you kill time when you could be seizing that time? Why not use it to create better habits and a better perspective?Since there is little time to lose, we are putting the challenge on sale right now and starting it this coming Monday (March 30th). The more of us doing it together, at the same time, the better (people who sign up late can still do it, but they’ll miss some of the fun). We’ll create a Slack channel for sharing and holding each other accountable. And we’ll do a wrap-up call at the end to discuss keeping these good practices going. More important, we’re giving $5 of every sale (20% of all proceeds) to Feeding America. By doing this challenge together we can create what Marcus Aurelius calls a double bonus—doing good for ourselves and the people on the front lines fighting to keep us safe. Sign up today. 
This was all pretty sudden, wasn’t it? The economy was chugging along. Life was going well. We had travel plans. We had work plans. We had things we were doing. We had a sense for what we’d do next. And then… bam. Now, here we are. You know what that is? It’s a reminder. It’s a reminder that Seneca—a man who experienced exile, illness, financial setbacks, and all sorts of other adversity—wrote about more than 2,000 years ago. He told us “never to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases, treating her as if she were actually going to do everything it is in her power to do.” His point was that events can change quickly, and that we have to be vigilant, particularly in good times, because vigilance is the first step towards preparation. “Whatever you have been expecting,” he said, “comes as less of a shock.”The events of the last few weeks have been an expensive and merciless reminder of the truth of that advice. We ignored it at our peril, for too long, as humans often do. Fate is fickle. Reversals happen. Black Swans are real. Nothing is stable, change is the only constant. No one is so rich, so healthy, so strong or smart that they cannot be brought low. That is obvious to anyone looking around today. Yet we are likely, as things get better (which they inevitably will), to forget this fact if we’re not careful...and that is a waste of the pain we are experiencing right now.The world is always teaching us. The question is whether we’re open to listening. The question is whether we’re ready to hear. 
In today's episode, Ryan reads his piece from March 12, "Remember: You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond." He discusses how to stay safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—and how to think and act Stoically during this crisis.
In this week's Saturday episode, Ryan discusses the coronavirus pandemic and how to deal with it like a Stoic.
We all have our way of doing things. We have what we were directly taught. We have the values that our culture gives us. We have the lessons we picked up by experience. It’s understandable then, when we see someone else doing things totally differently, that we might assume they’re doing it the wrong way. That’s not how that’s supposed to go, we think to ourselves.This, the Stoics would tell us, is a recipe for folly. “It’s impossible to begin to learn that which you think you already know,” Epictetus said. Cato the Elder, the great-grandfather of Cato the Younger, coined a maxim in his famous essay, On Agriculture, which explained best practices for farming in the Roman era. “Be careful,” he said about the management practices of your neighbors, “not to rashly refuse to learn from others.” This lesson was picked up on and rephrased by hundreds of writers since, including Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack. Only an idiot turns up their nose at how other people do things. Sure, nine times out of ten, you’re right and they’re wrong. But that one time? That’s the game changer. It’s worth always remembering that other people have different perspectives, different experiences, and, in some cases, better schooling than you. What if they discovered a shortcut? What if they learned, painfully—through trial and error—something that could save you from suffering? A Stoic cannot allow their logic and their habits to become rigid or their mind to harden into condescension. We have to be open. We cannot be rash or dismissive. There is always something to learn—from everyone and in any situation. Even if it is only a reminder of why you do the things you do the way you do them. But hopefully you seek out disconfirmation even more than confirmation.Learn from others, always. 
It’s possible, Marcus Aurelius said, to not have an opinion. You don’t have to turn this into something, he reminds himself. You don’t have to let this upset you. It’s not that the Stoics lived in a world where people didn’t do bad things or a world free from rudeness and cruelty. On the contrary—those things were far more prevalent in Rome than they are today. But what the Stoics worked on was not letting these things get to them, not letting it provoke them to anger. If someone insulted Cato, he pretended not to hear it. When someone attacked Marcus Aurelius’s character, he tried to think about the character of the person saying it. When someone said something offensive to Epictetus, he told himself that if he got upset, he was as much to blame as they were. He also joked that if they really knew him, they’d be even more critical. It wasn’t that the Stoics were apathetic or that they never tried to change the world. Clearly, they wouldn’t have been engaged in politics if all they cared about was the status quo. Why would Seneca have written those letters if he didn’t believe he could have an impact on people? It’s just that the Stoics saw only danger in getting angry. They refused to be provoked. They tamed their temper so they could do the work they believed they needed to do. And that’s what you must do also. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t have to turn things into bigger things. You can control your emotions. You can do what you need to do. 
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Comments (40)

Raphael Fajersztajn

I'm literally listening this episode everyday

Mar 23rd
Reply (1)

Dakvayli Ken

Thanks Rayan for this great piece of podcast, really valuable to get us through these tough times. BTW I purchased the book ' the obstacle is the way' I read it ten times.

Mar 21st
Reply (1)

Tanu Rana

This podcast is the best way anyone can start their mornings in modern times!

Mar 19th
Reply

Matthew Kress

Future seems like a great service, but requires that you own an Apple device. Sadly, they don't tell you that until AFTER you've filled out all their forms.

Mar 11th
Reply

DameoftheDead

I have had a similar conversations in regards to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. When I read this book as a girl I saw Hester Pryne as not only a heroine, but a warrior. She was never broken by her community or circumstances.

Mar 8th
Reply

Cam

Slow motion multi-tasking, with regards to the writing process sounds like.

Feb 23rd
Reply

Riley Luna Williams

Seneca and Epictetus both talk about questioning why you feel the way you feel. They did not ever condone "stuffing down your anger"

Feb 12th
Reply

Gareth Robinson

This is such a good episode! Emphasises the importance of language as well...

Feb 4th
Reply

Frank Beard

I love this podcast!!!

Oct 30th
Reply (1)

Vivek

hey man would love more longer form content.. going in depth with 1 topic over a period of hour an half would be amazing to listen 😊 thanks for this it really helped me improve my bad mental state

Oct 10th
Reply

Cam

Was the "traitors" bit really necessary? Not specific to the American Confederacy, but with any (losing) opposition - time and the opinion of a writer determines whether they are are remembered as rebels, traitors, vindicated in their cause, martyrs, villains, etc.

Sep 21st
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Eric Battle

Greetings, listening to this particular episode got me to thinking about how would stoicism have helped a slave deal with his life. I am aware that there were Stoics that survived slavery but, history has shown us in many examples that the Atlantic Slave Trade was quite different. especially in the Southern states of America. ~Dr. Battle

Aug 19th
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Cam

Great message... and then more pendants.

Aug 11th
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mc

i love you Daily Stoic, but I beg of you, please stop talking about donald trump. I dislike him too (maybe not as much as you guys do) but I get the most meaningful lessons out of your unbiased work!

Aug 8th
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Tim Kuhlman

great podcast and grounding topics

Aug 4th
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Cam

I love this podcast but the daily advertisement of pendants is grating on me.

Aug 1st
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Emerson Jongeling

exellent as someone how studys hard and want to give my gf a good life thought my stuggle to give a life were we can live off the furits of mine and ladour bening a stoic mean living in modatrion even with my gf i work long hours to give her a good life

Jul 25th
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Sachin Bishnoi

very excellent

Apr 28th
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Sachin Bishnoi

very good

Apr 23rd
Reply

Sachin Bishnoi

very good

Apr 23rd
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