The Daily Stoic

By Daily Stoic

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Subscribers: 1653
Reviews: 11

Kim
 Aug 6, 2020
I used to really enjoy his stoic mornings but he has abandoned stoicism for political beliefs and virtue signaling. It's a shame that if he reads this, he will think this adds to his virtue but it does not. and it is not in line was stoicism nor is it helpful.


 Jul 13, 2020

Zac
 Jun 22, 2020

Getting preachy...
 Jun 15, 2020
Thought this podcast was great a few months back. But since COVID and the protesting kicked off, it feels more like a platform for this fellow's political views. If it doesn't end soon, I'll be jumping ship.

Teri
 Jan 22, 2020

Description

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. Daily Stoic Podcast also features Q+As with listeners and interviews with notable figures from sports, academia, politics, and more. Learn more at DailyStoic.com.

Episode Date
Daily Stoic Sundays: Seven Stoic Ways to Find a Better Life
1131

In today's Sunday Podcast, Ryan goes over seven lessons for life that you can learn from the ancient Stoics (learn more about these philosophers in Ryan’s new book, Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius).

Learn about the preorder bonuses and virtual book tour events for Lives of the Stoics: https://dailystoic.com/lives

This episode is brought to you by GiveWell, the best site for figuring out how and where to donate your money to have the greatest impact. GiveWell’s team of researchers works countless hours to determine which charities make the most effective dollar-for-dollar contributions to the causes they support. Since 2010, GiveWell has helped over 50,000 donors donate over 500 million dollars to the most effective charities, leading to over 75,000 lives saved and millions more improved. Visit GiveWell.org/stoic and your first donation will be matched up to 100 dollars.

***

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.

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Sep 20, 2020
Guy Raz — “How I Built This” and Solving Our Big Problems
2674

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with How I Built This creator and host Guy Raz about how we deal with big collective action problems in an era of increased polarization, harnessing entrepreneurial energy to help society, and more.

Guy Raz is a podcast creator and host with a combined audience of over 19 million downloads a month. He is the creator and host of How I Built This, a podcast about entrepreneurs, and also co-created NPR’s TED Radio Hour and Wow in the World. Guy joined NPR in 1997 and has worked every single newsroom job from production assistant to news anchor.

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by Amazon Alexa. Amazon Alexa is the perfect system to use to set up your house with Smart Home functionality—and with the new Amazon Smart Lighting Bundle, it’s easy to get started. Just connect your Amazon Echo Dot with your first Sengled color changing light bulb and you’re on your way. Visit Amazon.com/dailystoic to get 20% off the bundle.

***

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Sep 19, 2020
This Is What Cicero Missed
220

"On the surface, Cicero appears the perfect Stoic. He studied with all the right teachers. He served in office for decades. He was friends with Cato. Diodotus, the old Stoic philosopher, even died in Cicero’s house and left his estate to him. But it’s ironic that Cicero, the author of a book called Stoic Paradoxes, would himself fail to embody a paradox that goes to the core of the philosophy."

Ryan explores this irony and shows how the Stoics avoided Cicero's mistakes on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Preorder Ryan's new book Lives of the Stoics and receive special bonus material from Ryan! Visit dailystoic.com/lives to preorder, as well as to get information on the virtual book tour.

***

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Sep 18, 2020
Some Folks You Just Can’t Reach
138

"It’d be wonderful if everyone could agree on some very basic things. Like, you can’t use racial slurs. And no, you shouldn’t judge a person for their gender or their sexual orientation. It’d be wonderful if nobody littered, if people didn’t blast music at 2 AM, if we observed some standard rules of civility for behavior in public. It’d be wonderful if everyone wore a mask and socially distanced as much as possible until we kicked the ass of this pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. 

Obviously we’re not there. Not everyone can agree on these things, apparently. The line from Cool Hand Luke stands eternal: Some men you just can’t reach."

Ryan describes how to deal with frustrating people on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 17, 2020
You Must Work Your Hardest at This
155

"There are lots of things you should be doing today. Your journaling. Your reading. Taking care of your work, of your children or family. Following the instructions of the authorities (to stay inside, to eliminate unnecessary travel, to make sure you have food and supplies on hand). All this is good. Most of it takes work.

But the thing you should be working hardest at? Being calm."

Ryan describes some great ways to achieve calm and stillness in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Sep 16, 2020
Martellus Bennett - Super Bowl Champion on Finding Success
4628

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with author and former NFL player Martellus Bennett about the clarifying effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their day-to-day lives, how readers should engage with the books they acquire, how Marcus persevered to help the New England Patriots come back from the largest Super Bowl score deficit in NFL history, and more. 

Martellus Bennett is a former NFL tight end who played for 10 seasons with teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New England Patriots, and more. Bennett was part of the Patriots team that defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, coming back from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime. In 2014, Bennett created The Imagination Agency, a production company focused on children’s literature and entertainment; they have released multiple children’s books and movies, all written and designed by Bennett.

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

This episode is also brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199.

***

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.

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Sep 16, 2020
This Is How You Learn
257

"It was Seneca who told us how to learn from history and literature. Ignore the facts and figures, he said, focus on the moral lessons. Focus on what the characters can teach you about life.

Plutarch, the great moral biographer of history, would take this lesson to heart. Unlike the biographers of our time, who publish big, thick books filled with footnotes and postmodern digressions, Plutarch was obsessed by what we could learn from the figures he wrote about."

Ryan discusses the lessons you should be taking from the biographies you read in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Preorder Lives of the Stoics, Ryan's new book, and receive one of the wonderful preorder bonuses that's available: http://dailystoic.com/preorder

***

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.

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Sep 15, 2020
You Do Not Need This
133

"You want it, don’t you?

That 'I told you so.' That 'Thank You.' That recognition for being first, or being better, or being different. You want credit. You want gratitude. You want the acknowledgement for the good you’ve done, for the weight that you carry."

Ryan discusses why the last thing you need is that recognition on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 14, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Five Life-Changing Quotes From Seneca
679

In today's Sunday Podcast, Ryan talks about five quotes from Seneca, one of the three founding fathers of Stoicism and a famous writer and advisor as well, and how they can change your life for the better..

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

***

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.

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Sep 13, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Lacrosse Legend Paul Rabil On What It Takes to Become the Best
3895

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with lacrosse star Paul Rabil about the mental obstacles that come with being a pro athlete, the experience of starting a professional sports league, and more. 

Paul Rabil is one of the best lacrosse players in history and the best in the world at the sport right now—some have called him the LeBron James of lacrosse. He has played for championship lacrosse teams from his time at college to the professional leagues. Rabil is one of the co-founders of of the Premier Lacrosse League, an American professional lacrosse league whose second season ended this past August.


This episode is brought to you by GiveWell, the best site for figuring out how and where to donate your money to have the greatest impact. GiveWell’s team of researchers works countless hours to determine which charities make the most effective dollar-for-dollar contributions to the causes they support. Since 2010, GiveWell has helped over 50,000 donors donate over 500 million dollars to the most effective charities, leading to over 75,000 lives saved and millions more improved. Visit GiveWell.org/stoic and your first donation will be matched up to 100 dollars.

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.  

***

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.

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Sep 12, 2020
Is This Really What’s Important Right Now?
299

"Never underestimate the ability of human beings to focus on the wrong thing. Think about the number of people this past summer who—as the world’s economy was melting down, as the bodies piled up from the global COVID-19 pandemic, as millions lost their jobs—decided that what we should really be focused on are the ethics of selling tiger cubs and the sexual cultic undertones at play among the zookeepers in the Netflix docuseries, Tiger King. What we should be worried about, judging by reactions on social media, is not how we can get everyone tested for coronavirus or for COVID-19 antibodies, but whether the de facto villain in the show, Carole Baskin, killed her first husband, and whether she fed him to a tiger or buried him under a septic tank."

Ryan tells us why we need to focus on the important things on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 11, 2020
It’s a Double Standard, but So What?
138

"The Stoics were hard on themselves. No question about it. They knew what was right and they insisted on holding themselves to that. They were absolutists. Even if it meant death. Even if it meant avoidable suffering. Even if it meant passing on acceptable pleasures."

But as Ryan explains, the Stoics judged themselves by a double standard—the results of which he talks about on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 10, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Niki Papadopoulos Go Inside Writing About Stoicism
4371

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with his editor Niki Papadopoulous about their long career together, from the origins of The Obstacle Is the Way and how Ryan became a writer to the development of Ryan’s books on Stoicism, the inner workings of the editing process, and Ryan’s latest book, Lives of the Stoics (now available for preorder).

Niki Papadopoulous is the editorial director for the Portfolio imprint at Penguin Random House. She has been Ryan’s editor since The Obstacle Is the Way, and has published several New York Times and Wall Street Journal best sellers. Besides Ryan’s books, Niki has also published works such as Hooked by Nir Eyal, Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke, and The Four by Scott Galloway.

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

This episode is also brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar.

***

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.

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Sep 09, 2020
It’s Good to Be Beaten Up From Time to Time
183

"You’ve been kicked around by life, that’s true. Where other people had it easy, you’ve had to struggle. You didn’t get into the college you wanted, your parents couldn’t buy you a car, you had to wear glasses. You’ve watched as other people hit it out of the park on their first try, getting breaks that you’ve had to work your ass off for. You’ve been insulted. You’ve been fired. You’ve been crapped on and you’ve been brought to tears. 

It’s unfair, you say. It’d be better if it had been otherwise. 

Is that true? Do you know that for a fact?"

Ryan discusses what going through a struggle can teach you in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 09, 2020
You've Been Doing It All Wrong
259

"For most of history, we’ve gotten it precisely wrong.

We have given far too much attention to what philosophers have thought or written, when really what counts is what they do. What someone says is not important; what’s important is if they live up to what they say. In the end, what matters—whether a person is ancient or modern—is whether their ideas work in the real world, whether they make our lives better or not."

Ryan shows why it's the actions of philosophers that are so important, and talks about the brand new book he's written to help shine light on those actions, Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aurelius.

Preorder your copy of Lives of the Stoics now and get exciting bonus chapters and more! Learn more here: https://dailystoic.com/preorder

***

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.

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Sep 08, 2020
You Must Let the Mind Go Lax
154

"People think they are too important, the stakes of their work are too high, that there is not a minute to lose. So they never relax. They never shut off their minds. They never check out, or let go. And far too often they end up losing it."

Ryan describes the importance of getting calmness and relaxation in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 07, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: The Stoic Art of Not Caring
688

In today's Sunday Podcast, Ryan talks about how to apply Stoicism, and the difference between not caring at all and only caring about what's important.

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.  

***

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.

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Sep 06, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Anne Applebaum Ask How Does a Stoic Resist Tyranny?
2721

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Anne Applebaum (Gulag: A History, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, Twilight of Democracy) about recent global political developments: the rise of authoritarianism in Western nations, the struggle against this movement, and how to fight for and defend democracy.

Anne Applebaum is an expert on 20th- and 21st-century authoritarian governments. She has written books describing the authoritarian actions of the Soviet Union (Gulag: A History, Red Famine) and has written recently about modern-day authoritarianism in Eastern Europe and the West, both as a journalist at publications like The Atlantic (in articles like “History Will Judge the Complicit”) and the Washington Post and in her newest book, Twilight of Democracy. Applebaum currently lives in Poland.

This episode is brought to you by GiveWell, the best site for figuring out how and where to donate your money to have the greatest impact. GiveWell’s team of researchers works countless hours to determine which charities make the most effective dollar-for-dollar contributions to the causes they support. Since 2010, GiveWell has helped over 50,000 donors donate over 500 million dollars to the most effective charities, leading to over 75,000 lives saved and millions more improved. Visit GiveWell.org/stoic and your first donation will be matched up to 100 dollars.

This episode is also brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar.

***

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.

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Sep 05, 2020
How You Can Change the World
208

"It’s increasingly hard to deny that we’re facing indisputably massive problems with ever growing threats to planetary health. Scientists, conservationists, ecologists, and environmentalists have been ringing the alarm on global warming, mass extinction, deforestation, and pollution for decades. At this point, the argument is no longer about whether there is anything to be alarmed about, but rather how alarmed we should be. We’re a long way from what the Stoics would have wanted—from their vision of sympatheia or from Seneca's line, Mundus ipse est ingens deorum omnium templum (The world itself is a huge temple of all the gods)."

Ryan describes recent insights that lend some hope to the climate fight in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 04, 2020
Every Single Day Is the Same
188

"As the pandemic has dragged on, you’ve probably found yourself asking one question, over and over again, to anyone who will listen—even to yourself: What day is it?  It’s a simple question, but also a very revealing one."

Ryan explains why the days seem to be blending together, and the Stoic insights that can help you make sense of this phenomenon, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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.

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Sep 03, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Jocko Wilslink On How to Thrive in Challenging Times
2366

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and author (Extreme Ownership, Discipline Equals Freedom) and podcaster Jocko Wilslink talk about maintaining a solid daily routine, how to react to adverse circumstances, finding the strength to fuel your personal endeavors, and more.

Jocko Wilslink is a retired Navy SEAL, author, and leadership expert. Wilslink served 20 years in the US Navy, including eight years as a Navy SEAL. Following his retirement from the Navy, Wilslink has written multiple books about the most effective ways to be a leader, such as the bestselling Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win and Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual. He also hosts a podcast, The Jocko Podcast, and has authored various children’s books, including his series The Way of the Warrior Kid.

This episode is brought to you by Mack Weldon, an amazing online retailer for men’s basics. Mack Weldon believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping—and they’ve created a great new loyalty program, Weldon Blue. Try out Mack Weldon today. And for 20% off your first order, visit http://mackweldon.com and use promo code STOIC.

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Sep 02, 2020
Think About How Lucky You Are
132

"Marcus Aurelius was wealthy on a scale you cannot even imagine. Seneca too. These were men with enormous fortunes… and control of imperial power. They controlled life and death. They had fame beyond fame. 

And yet, you are far more blessed and fortunate than they are."

Ryan describes how lucky we all are to live in this day and age in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Sep 02, 2020
Use It. That’s What It’s There For.
134

"There’s no question that the Stoics accustomed themselves to hard living. For many people, this is the image we have of them: Cato walking bareheaded and barefooted. Marcus sleeping on a hard mattress. Seneca practicing poverty and cold plunges. 

Yet less well known but equally true is that the Stoics knew the good life: Cato had a family fortune. Marcus lived in an imperial palace. Seneca threw epic parties. 

Is this a contradiction? No." Ryan explains how the Stoics found fulfillment despite their own personal fortunes in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Sep 01, 2020
No, It’s Good This Happened to You
151

"The divorce. The bankruptcy. The car accident. The night you’re having to spend at the airport. The business you poured your savings into that you now have to close because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not fun. It’s not fair. Why couldn’t it have happened to someone else?

When Stuart Scott found out he had cancer, when he knew that he would almost certainly die, you can imagine he thought all those things. How could he not? Yet, it was with profound grace that he refused to let that attitude take hold."

Ryan talks about the example that Stuart Scott set and how you can follow it, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 31, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: 10 of the Most Stoic Moments in History
1497

In today's podcast, Ryan discusses 10 moments in history where the power of Stoicism became apparent, from Adm. James Stockdale's time in a North Vietnamese prison camp to Michael Jordan's Flu Game and beyond.

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

***

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Aug 30, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Mark Manson Discuss What You Should Actually Give a F*** About
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On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and Mark Manson (author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) talk about working to figure out your true priorities, the balancing act between independence and conformism, how it feels to be a bestselling author, and more.

Mark Manson is a best-selling writer and blogger about living a balance, productive, and ultimately fulfilling life. He has written two New York Times best sellers, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope. Mark also publishes articles and videos about living better on his website, markmanson.net.

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.

***

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Aug 29, 2020
Here’s How To “Not Be All About Business”
173

"Marcus Aurelius had workaholic tendencies. Even if he hadn’t had the most important job in the world, we get the sense that he would have treated his work that way. He was one of those all-in types. When he discovered philosophy, he slept on the floor and practiced poverty to his mother’s frustration. When he found an author he liked, he dove deeply into their work. And when he became emperor, he was available around the clock, he hardly ever took extended time off, and his idea of leisure was attending philosophy lectures.  'People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it,' he wrote, 'they even forget to wash or eat.'"

Find out how Marcus countered these tendencies and how you can do the same in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 28, 2020
Why You Must Return Again and Again
200

"You were in high school when you read The Great Gatsby for the first time. You were just a kid when you read The Count of Monte Cristo or had someone tell you the story of Odysseus. Maybe it’s been many years now since you first picked up the Stoics, whether it was Marcus Aurelius or Seneca. 

The point is: You got it right? You read them. You’re done, right?"

Ryan discusses a better way to re-engage with books you've read before in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Sign up for the Daily Stoic Read to Lead challenge: https://dailystoic.com/read

***

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Aug 27, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Dominique Dawes on Olympic Gold and Pursuing Excellence
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On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes talk about the difficulty of striving for an extraordinary goal during a pandemic, how to maintain creative and athletic momentum while staying safe, the most important moments that an athlete experiences, and more.

Dominique Dawes is a retired American gymnast. She is a three-time Olympian and has won medals at the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games. She also won several gold medals in the USA Gymnastics National Championships between 1991 and 1996. Dawes is a member of the International Gymnastics and USA Olympic Halls of Fame.

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.

***

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Aug 26, 2020
Is This Teaching You To Appreciate Things?
164

"How suddenly life can take from us all the things we took for granted. 

Whether it’s a global pandemic that locks you in your house or one of the capricious exiles that the Stoics experienced, much can be taken from us. Our ability to see our friends. Our financial security. Even our freedom of movement. 

That sucks. But it sucks even more if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t take this moment as instructive and eye opening."

Ryan teaches one of the lessons that the pandemic has to offer us in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 26, 2020
You Must Challenge Yourself
198

"After returning from particularly notable campaigns, the commanders of Roman legions would distribute small coins to their men as rewards for their service and mementos of their time in those campaigns. These coins were the originators of a now-ancient tradition—the challenge coin—that continues all these centuries later, with generals like Washington, Grant, and Mattis handing out small, specially designed coins to their men the same way generals like Fabius and Scipio did."

Ryan discusses the history of challenge coins and their deeper meaning on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 25, 2020
You Should Know This Before You Get Angry
204

"People will piss you off in this life. That’s a given. You’ll get cut off on the highway. You’ll be spoken to rudely. You’ll get blown off. Someone will drop the ball. Someone’s screaming baby will keep you up all night on a plane.

But before you get upset, you should stop yourself. Because maybe there’s something you don’t quite know about the situation."

Ryan gives an example of the wisdom behind this advice in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 24, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: 5 Life Changing Quotes from Marcus Aurelius
1001

On today's Daily Stoic Sunday episode, Ryan goes over five of Marcus Aurelius' best quotes and describes how you can live up to his words.

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.

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Aug 23, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Robert Greene Discuss the Laws of Human Nature
3729

Today's episode features a 2018 interview in which Ryan talks with author and strategist Robert Greene. They discuss the core message of Robert’s latest book (The Laws of Human Nature), the research process that he uses to put together his books, and more.

Robert Greene is a bestselling author and strategist. Across his six books he has combined intense research with powerful stories from history and myth to uncover the key motivations behind human behavior and strategy.

This episode is brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business.

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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

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Aug 22, 2020
We Have to Be Smart
183

"Dr. William Osler was a giant of the medical field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also a fan of the Stoics. He was a deep reader who advised his students to read Shakespeare before bed to clear and refresh their minds. He was one of the founding members of Johns Hopkins University and impacted millions of lives through his research.

It was an incredible career that eventually ended, as Marcus Aurelius said of all doctors, on the same humble deathbed that Osler had spent tirelessly working around his whole life."

Find out the lesson that Dr. Osler's life and death has for all of us on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 21, 2020
You Must Burn the White Flag
160

"The odds are looking bad. They are asking you to compromise. They want you to betray what you believe in. It would be so easy to take your buyout and leave the mess to the people who come after you. Concede. Roll over. Give up. Beg to be spared. 

Ha! The Stoic says no."

Find out what a Stoic does instead on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 20, 2020
Why We Admire Socrates
163

"Socrates was smart. He was clever and funny. He was, as we can tell from just two of his students, Xenophon and Plato, clearly a great teacher. 

But is that the only reason we admire him? Because of his contributions to philosophy?"

Ryan explains the main reason we admire Socrates, and describes how we can emulate his example, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 19, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Angel Parham On Why Studying the Classics Is So Important
2980

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and Angel Parham of Loyola University New Orleans talk about the classics: how she first fell in love with them, the importance of classics in education, and what resources are available to bring them into your and your family’s lives. 

Angel Parham is a professor at Loyola University New Orleans. She was first introduced to the classics as a child and continued to study them in college and beyond. Dr. Parham currently uses a classics-based curriculum to homeschool her children and give them a solid foundation in the values that the classics convey.

This episode is 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. Four Sigmatic has a new exclusive deal for Daily Stoic listeners: get up to 39% off their bestselling Lion’s Mane bundle by visiting foursigmatic.com/stoic.

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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Aug 19, 2020
No One Can Trigger You
131

"There are things that just set you off. There are things that happened to you that you prefer not to think about. There are the things you asked repeatedly for someone to stop. There are the things that decent people are not supposed to do and say.

And yet they happen anyway.

So you get upset. You get triggered."

Find out how you can avoid being triggered on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 18, 2020
This Is the Perfect Time to Ask This Question
177

"Now, unlike any other moment in recent memory, we are being forced to reevaluate things. We’re looking at our jobs, at our finances, at the places we live. We’re looking at so many of the systems that have been set up, whether they’re governmental or cultural or familial. We’re having to ask questions about why they are what they are, how they’ve held up under the immense pressure and stress of this global pandemic."

Ryan discusses the key question that you should be asking yourself right now on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 17, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: The Daily Stoic, August 16 - How to Turn Your Trials Into Triumphs
973

On today's podcast, Ryan discusses today's reading from The Daily Stoic, about how to overcome your challenges through the Stoic mindset. We also present a discussion from Ryan about how to turn tragedy into triumph.

Get your copy of the leather-bound, limited edition of The Daily Stoic: https://dailystoic.com/leather

***

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Aug 16, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Donald Robertson On the Brilliance and Insights of Marcus Aurelius
3827

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and author and therapist Donald Robertson talk about the history behind Stoicism, including how the historical record treats catastrophes like the Antonine Plague and the Spanish influenza pandemic, what Marcus was feeling as he suffered through multiple tragedies while writing his Meditations, and more.

Donald Robertson is a cognitive behavioral therapist and writer who is an expert on applying and practicing Stoicism in a therapeutic setting. He has written How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, one of the best and most popular biographies of Marcus Aurelius in recent years.

Get How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: https://geni.us/Vkqvw

This episode is brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

This episode is also brought to you by Raycon, maker of affordable earbuds with incredibly high-quality sound. Raycon earbuds are half the price of more-expensive competitors and sound just as good. With six hours of battery time, seamless Bluetooth pairing, and a great-fitting design, Raycon earbuds are perfect for working out, travel, conference calls, and more. Get 15% off your order when you purchase Raycon earbuds now, just visit buyraycon.com/stoic.

***

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Aug 15, 2020
Start Each Day With This Habit
157

"Marcus Aurelius said we should get up early. But what should we do then? Seneca agreed, saying that it was important to start the day at a good hour, but what mattered was what you did next. A good start, according to the Stoics, was something that would 'shake the laziness out of [your] system.'"

Find out the habit that's a perfect start to any day, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 14, 2020
This Will Come and Go
221

"It seems terrible now. It does, of course. How could it not? Each day the number of new reported cases comes in. Each day the reports of overloaded hospitals increase. The markets continue to stumble—no, fall headfirst—into a major recession. 

You’re not working. You are afraid. But this is partly because you are right in the thick of it—you are looking at it up close. If we can zoom out, just a tad, we get some perspective. We are reminded that this too shall pass, that we will survive."

Ryan describes our options for coping with life during a pandemic in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 13, 2020
This Is Not a Drill
157

"Many of us can be forgiven for having thought that this life thing was pretty easy. The last few decades have been pretty good to us. Booming economies. Great technology. Our wars have had limited impact on our populace and our recessions have been short.

We were living, as one academic said after the fall of communism, after the end of history. All those tragic, bleak moments of the past…were past us."

Ryan describes how to break out of that mindset to see the reality of what's happening in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 12, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Author Rich Cohen On How to Succeed When Everyone’s Against You
2790

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan and author Rich Cohen talk about the ever-changing lens through which we judge historical figures, how the subjects of several of Cohen’s books reached success in the face of seemingly-insurmountable opposition, and more.

Rich Cohen is a best-selling author and editor. His books range in subject matter from Jewish gangsters, the Rolling Stones, and the formation of the original banana republics to the NFL’s Chicago Bears and the artificial sweetener Sweet’n Low. Cohen’s writing has appeared in places like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper’s Magazine. He has also worked in television on such shows as Showtime’s Magic City and HBO’s Vinyl.

Get your copy of The Fish That Ate the Whale: https://geni.us/haHQR

This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market. Thrive Market is the best online location for getting healthy and sustainable groceries delivered to your doorstep. Thrive Market provides for over 70 diets and value systems, and members save 25-50% off retail prices. Plus, orders over $49 qualify for their carbon-neutral free shipping. Visit thrivemarket.com/dailystoic to get a free gift up to $22 with your first order.

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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Aug 12, 2020
This Is How It Will Feel
156

"Zeno dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps, into the family business. Panaetius did the same, becoming a famous diplomat, just as he was expected to. Cicero strove, as few have ever striven, to cast aside his family’s humble origins and reach the heights of power. Seneca wanted to become the greatest writer of his age. 
 
How do you think it felt for these Stoics to achieve what they had worked so long and hard for? To get everything they ever wanted?"

Ryan describes the chase for accolades and its ultimate hollowness in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 11, 2020
You Must Run War Games
226

"In Rome, as today, things went wrong all the time. Wars broke out. Earthquakes struck. Pandemics infected populations. In Rome, as in our time, people were constantly caught off guard by these things."

Learn the exercise that the Stoics performed to prepare for disaster in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 10, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: The Daily Stoic, August 9
709

In today's episode, Ryan describes the new leather-bound edition of The Daily Stoic and reads today's entry.

Get your copy of the limited leather-bound edition of The Daily Stoic: https://dailystoic.com/leather/

***

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Aug 09, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Writer S.C. Gwynne Discuss the Great Stories and Leaders of the American Civil War
2596

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan takes a deep dive into the American Civil War with author and journalist S.C. Gwynne. They discuss the immense bloodshed of the conflict and the strategies utilized, compare the merits of its most notable political and military leaders, and more.

S.C. “Sam” Gwynne is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Empire of the Summer Moon (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award) and Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. His most recent book, Hymns of the Republic, covers the final year of the American Civil War. Gwynne has written for Texas Monthly and Outside magazine.

Get your copy of Hymns of the Republic: https://geni.us/fqGs

This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market. Thrive Market is the best online location for getting healthy and sustainable groceries delivered to your doorstep. Thrive Market provides for over 70 diets and value systems, and members save 25-50% off retail prices. Plus, orders over $49 qualify for their carbon-neutral free shipping. Visit thrivemarket.com/dailystoic to get a free gift up to $22 with your first order.

This episode is also brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar.

This episode is also brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

***

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Aug 08, 2020
You Should Understand This by Now
153

"The iron law of history is that people do dumb things. 

They behave this way for many reasons: Ignorance. Fear. Bad habits. Because they’ve been corrupted. Because they are ordinary people with flaws, just like that. Because they are in pain. 

There is nothing like a pandemic to put a spotlight on these people and these reasons."

Ryan discusses how we should react to people who don't behave their best during times of crisis in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 07, 2020
There’s Always Been a Darkness on the Edge of Town
195

"It feels a little bit like things suddenly got really bad. Like the political order is not working. Like government agencies are failing. The stock market is falling. The economy turned out to be not nearly as robust as we thought. 

And it’s true, these things are happening. It’s just important to remind ourselves that this is not new. It’s just that the darkness from the edge of town, the one Springsteen sang about—the bad luck, the poverty, the struggle, the pain—shifted a little bit. Now that it’s your problem, you’re suddenly taking it seriously."

Ryan describes how these problems have always been around, and how we must change our behavior to reckon with this fact, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 06, 2020
Will You Be Proud of This?
167

"Marcus had no interest in posthumous fame. He was a private man. It’s a historical irony that today he is famous for a work of art he desperately wanted no one to see. What he really cared about was what he did in the moment, who he was as a person, how he responded to crises and difficulty. 'Just that you do the right thing,' he told himself, “the rest doesn’t matter.” That would be his legacy, that would be his source of pride, not the buildings he erected or the conquests he made."

Ryan describes how you should act in climactic moments in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 05, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Sportswriter Kate Fagan Talk About Stoicism in Sports
2995

Ryan speaks with sportswriter Kate Fagan about the issues surrounding physical and mental health in sports, how our society promotes sports to children and young adults, and more.

Kate Fagan is a sportswriter, author, and former college basketball player. She has written the #1 New York Times best seller What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen. Previously she spent seven years as a writer and commentator on ESPN, as well as three years as the Philadelphia Inquirer’s correspondent covering the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

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This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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Aug 05, 2020
This Is How Reading Is Supposed to Go
281

"We Stoics don’t just get a book and put it up on our shelf. We devour it. We take notes. We fold pages. We throw it in our backpacks and suitcases when we travel, it sits on the front seat of the car in case we have a few minutes. It moves with us from college to our first apartment to our first home and then, if it’s really good, perhaps, one day we’ll give it to our own children."

Ryan describes what books mean to a Stoic, and introduces the newest product from Daily Stoic: our collectible, leather-bound edition of The Daily Stoic, Ryan's page-a-day book of Stoic wisdom.

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***

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Aug 04, 2020
We Must Be Antifragile
169

"As Hemingway writes in one of the most beautiful passages in A Farewell to Arms, the world eventually breaks all of us. 'Afterward,' he says, 'many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.'"

Find out about the power of antifragility in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Aug 03, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Ryan Talks Stoicism with the Cleveland Browns
2946

Today’s Daily Stoic Sunday episode features Ryan’s talk to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns from 2019. In it, he gives the team a breakdown of Stoicism, and discusses how they can use its ideas for success on- and off-field.

This episode is brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar. 

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.  

***

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Aug 02, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and David Epstein Talk Range & Resilience
2356

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with author and journalist David Epstein about the power of range, how to get the right kind of experience to be successful, and more.

David Epstein is the author of #1 New York Times best seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. He has previously worked as a reporter at ProPublica and Sports Illustrated and also wrote the best-selling The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance.

Get your copy of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World: https://geni.us/BX7P90

This episode is also brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

This episode is also brought to you by Mack Weldon, an amazing online retailer for men’s basics. Mack Weldon believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping—and they’ve created a great new loyalty program, Weldon Blue. Try out Mack Weldon today. And for 20% off your first order, visit http://mackweldon.com and use promo code STOIC.

This episode is also brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

***

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Aug 01, 2020
People Are People and Places Are Places
221

"With all the change of history, with all the progress we’ve made, we’re still people. Places are still places, cultures still cultures—with all their unique tendencies, flaws, and patterns. We like to think we’re so different, that we’ve so moved on from the past, but have we?"

Ryan discusses how history repeats itself, and the lesson we can draw from this, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 31, 2020
You Have to Dye This With Your Own Color
227

"What has happened here is objective. A virus spread from China to countries all over the world. First to the Philippines, then to Italy and Iran, the rest of Eurasia, and beyond. While many of those countries have succeeded in flattening the curve, there are new epicenters across the globe, in the United States, Brazil, and India. States like Florida and Arizona are dealing with more virulent outbreaks than many countries."

What will you do with those objective facts? Ryan offers one potential path on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 30, 2020
How to Be Born Again
163

"One day, some 2000 years ago, Marcus Aurelius put up his stylus and jotted down six epithets for himself, values he said that should not be “traded” for any others. What were they? Upright. Modest. Straightforward. Sane. Cooperative. Disinterested."

Ryan describes what you need to do and how you should act in order to be "born again" in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 29, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Wellness Expert Kimberly Snyder Talk Stillness, Yoga, and the Beauty of Daily Life
2530

Ryan speaks with wellness and natural beauty expert Kimberly Snyder about the intersection of Stoicism and Eastern practices, the pursuit of simplicity, finding beauty in the natural world, and more

Kimberly Snyder is an author, celebrity nutritionist, and wellness expert. Kimberly founded the lifestyle brand Solluna and has written multiple New York Times-best selling books, including one co-written with Deepak Chopra. Kimberly has been featured on shows like Ellen, The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and more. She also hosts the Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder.

Get Recipes for Your Perfectly Imperfect Life: Everyday Ways to Live and Eat for Health, Healing, and Happiness: https://geni.us/kgGzG3

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar. 

***

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Jul 29, 2020
Don’t Ignore the Smell
180

"From 165 to 180 AD, Rome was hit by a plague. The “Antonine Plague,” also known as the Plague of Galen, would kill literally millions of people during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. It was horrible and terrifying. No one knew what caused this awful disease, or what had brought it on. Had the gods cursed the empire? Was it punishment for their sins? How could they stop the contagion, which could kill a person in two miserable weeks?"

Find out how Marcus dealt with his plague—and how we can do the same—on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 28, 2020
Congratulations, You Get to Start Over
138

"It’s fitting that the story of Stoicism began with a catastrophe. On a merchant voyage between Phoenicia and Piraeus in the 3rd century BC, Zeno’s ship and all its cargo sank. Was it a terrible storm? Did jagged rocks tear their boat to pieces? Was it pirates or human error? No one knows. All we know is that by the end of it, Zeno was stranded somewhere in Athens, while his ship sat at the bottom of the sea."

Find out how that story ended, and what lessons you can draw from it, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 27, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: How Seneca Overcame Stress
812

In today's Daily Stoic Sunday episode, Ryan talks about Seneca, author, playwright, and advisor to the emperor Nero, how he faced the multiple stressors that he encountered in his life, and how you can do the same.

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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Jul 26, 2020
Ryan and Comic Pete Holmes Talk Work-Life Balance and Why Joy Matters
4718

On today’s Daily Stoic Podcast, Ryan talks with comedian and writer Pete Holmes about understanding your own brain, finding personal fulfillment when things are out of your control, and more.

Pete Holmes has spent years as a touring comedian as well as a TV writer and actor. He was the creator and star of HBO’s Crashing and has appeared in a number of stand-up specials. Holmes has released four comedy albums as well as a book, Comedy Sex God. Holmes also hosts a podcast, You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes.

This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business.

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

***

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Jul 25, 2020
Now’s the Time to Sharpen Your Sword
176

"It’s when you actually need something that it’s too late to get it ready. It’s in times of peace that nations must sharpen their swords. It’s in times of prosperity that people must save money. It’s in times of leisure that we have to be learning. It’s before the onslaught that we need to be shoring up our defenses."

And it is precisely during this time, as bad as it is, that we should be preparing for worse things to come, as Ryan explains in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 24, 2020
You Decide the End of This Story
143

"I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

Ryan discusses Admiral James Stockdale and the meaning of this quote in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 23, 2020
What Else Can You Do?
183

"When all this began, folks were excitedly using this time at home to tackle projects they’d long been putting off. They were focused on being productive, connecting with family, not letting the moment go to waste... Then as time went on, the mood began to falter and resolve began to weaken. What, they started saying, I’m supposed to make the most of the biggest catastrophe of my lifetime? I’m supposed to turn it into an opportunity for self-development?"

Ryan describes why you must nevertheless persevere in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 22, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and James Romm Talk Seneca, Nero and Dying Every Day
2689

Ryan speaks with James Romm, an author and professor of Classics, about Seneca, one of the three key figures of Stoicism who later in life became an advisor to the emperor Nero. They discuss Seneca’s career as a writer and philosopher and the contemporary lessons we can draw from his life.

James Romm is the James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Classics at Bard College. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and in other venues. Professor Romm has written a number of books about classical antiquity, with subjects ranging from Herodotus and Tacitus to Seneca and Alexander the Great.

Get Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero: https://geni.us/VocBYP

***

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Jul 22, 2020
This Is Why You Can’t Care What People Think
173

"It seems silly: Cato, one of Rome’s most courageous and steadfast leaders, had to practice wearing ratty clothes and walking barefooted and bareheaded. He had to gird himself for it. For defying convention and ignoring the people glancing askew. It doesn’t just seem silly, it seems a little dramatic. How much courage should that really take?"

Ryan talks about why wearing a mask during the pandemic is more important than how you look wearing one in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 21, 2020
The Good News About Wisdom
137

"The bad news is that wisdom doesn’t come easily. The good news is that it is cheap. Or at least, cheaper than it has ever been before."

Ryan talks about the world of wisdom that's available for you to peruse if you choose, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 20, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: If You’re Not Seeking Out Challenges, How Are You Going to Get Better?
872

In today's Daily Stoic Sunday episode, Ryan talks about the importance of taking on new challenges so that you are pushed to greater and greater heights. He discusses it in the context of writing his book Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire’s Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire.

Get Conspiracy: https://geni.us/bCz57Nt
Read the original article: https://ryanholiday.net/seek-challenge/

This episode is brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar. 

***

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Jul 19, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Dr. Harvey Karp Talk Preparation, Patience, and How to Be a Great Parent
2297

Ryan speaks with Dr. Harvey Karp, a parenting expert and inventor of the SNOO Sleep System, about how people prepare for parenthood, the benefits of seeking out parenting expertise, and more.

Dr. Harvey Karp is a pediatrician and the creator of the SNOO Sleep System. Dr. Karp is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and teaches pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. He has achieved renown for his methods that help infants quickly and safely go to sleep.

Get the SNOO Sleep System: https://www.happiestbaby.com/

Sign up for Daily Stoic’s parenting course, The Stoic Parent: http://dailystoic.com/stoicparen

This episode is brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business.

***

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Jul 18, 2020
Are You Ready To Ration?
181

"It might have seemed crazy to read that, all those years ago, Seneca practiced a day of poverty each month. He fasted or he ate sparingly. He wore rags and slept on the ground. He got up close and personal with what it meant to have less, to remind himself of what life was like if many of his creature comforts disappeared."

Ryan describes the relevance of this lesson, and what we can all do to instill it within ourselves, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 17, 2020
Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast
145

"When you are talented and smart, you know what you want and you know when you want it done. You want it done now, that is. So you work fast. So you try to build momentum. So you look for ways to make efficiencies. You don’t want to waste time. 

The problem is that in hurrying we often end up causing delays worse than if we’d taken it slow."

Find out why it so important to be deliberate in your actions in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 16, 2020
Not What, But Who?
185

"We’ve spoken about the commencement address that Arnold Schwarzenegger made to the Class of 2020. In it, he makes an important distinction that the Stoics make themselves. If you want to endure and overcome obstacles, he says, it’s not about what you are in life, but who."

Ryan delves into Schwarzenegger's speech further in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 15, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Maria Konnikova Talk Poker, Psychology, and Focusing on What You Can Control
2313

Ryan speaks with writer, psychologist, and poker champion Maria Konnikova about how she uses Stoicism to win big at Texas hold’em, and how you can use knowledge of human psychology to make better choices, whether it’s in Las Vegas or elsewhere.

Maria Konnikova is an award-winning author who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, and many other outlets. Konnikova has also made a career as a poker player, winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournaments around the world, drawing upon her knowledge as a Columbia University-trained Ph.D. psychologist.

Get Maria Konnikova’s latest book, The Biggest Bluff: https://geni.us/XhsrPV

New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/books/review/maria-konnikova-the-biggest-bluff.html

***

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Jul 15, 2020
Always Think About What Is Above You
177

"It’s easy for power to go to your head. You see all the people that work for you and think you’re important. You fill out that online survey and find out that, hey, for what you make and where you live, you’re in the 1% or 10% or top 50% of earners. When you look at who is beneath you, who you’re doing better than, ego creeps in. Being someone’s 'superior'—whether that’s a superior officer or just a superior salesman—makes us feel superior."

Find out how to defeat that impulse in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.
***

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Jul 14, 2020
There’s a Bad Moon Rising
222

"The global economy was strong for over a decade. All sorts of wondrous new technology is cheaper than ever before. You might think this is cause for major celebration, and indeed, for many people, it was."

Ryan talks about how we must always be ready for the future, good or bad, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 13, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Find Contentment Where You Are NOW With Stoicism and Stillness
635

In today's Daily Stoic Sunday episode, Ryan talks about how the pursuit of stillness and inner calm can be found, how he finds it in his own life, and what it allows him—and you—to do.

Get Stillness Is the Key: https://geni.us/dr4yG

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199

***


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Jul 12, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Congressman Dan Crenshaw Talk Fortitude, Outrage, and How to Be Inspired By History
2848

In today’s episode, Ryan and Congressman Dan Crewnshaw talk about personal accountability, who if anyone we should commemorate as heroic figures, how to follow the lead of Epictetus and “choose not to be offended,” and more.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) has served in the US House of Representatives since 2019. He is a former Navy SEAL who served three tours in Afghanistan, losing his right eye in an IED attack during his final tour. In addition to serving in the House of Representatives, Dan Crenshaw also hosts a podcast, Hold These Truths with Dan Crenshaw, and has recently written his first book, Fortitude

Get Dan Crenshaw’s book Fortitude: https://geni.us/71B7Agx

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by Trends. Trends is the ultimate online community for entrepreneurs and business aficionados who want to know the latest news about business trends and analysis. It features articles from the most knowledgeable people, interviews with movers and shakers, and a private community of like-minded people with whom you can discuss the latest insights from Trends. Visit trends.co/stoic to start your two-week trial for just one dollar.

***

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.

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Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hold-these-truths-with-dan-crenshaw/id1498149200

Jul 11, 2020
Don’t Let Them Steal What Can’t Be Replaced
175

"In early January, Kobe Bryant got a note from a reporter at ESPN. She was working on a story about a moment in Lakers’ history and she wanted to feature Kobe in the story... It would not have taken Kobe long to answer that inquiry. Maybe fifteen minutes. Maybe a few emails... Like with so many requests, it would have been so easy to say yes."

Find out what Kobe did instead, and what that should mean to you, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 10, 2020
This Is What Living Through History Looks Like
183

"Perhaps you’re alarmed about the state of the world. Perhaps you’re horrified at the risks and dangers that lurk about. Pandemics, political chaos, riots, people at each other’s throats, unprecedented events—from cancelled NBA seasons to impeachments to a collapse in order in cities all over the world.

What did you think living through history was going to be like?"

Ryan talks about how we can best deal with the fits and spasms of history in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 09, 2020
It’s Time for Class
160

"No one is saying you’re not smart. No one is saying that you aren’t pretty well-versed in philosophy. You might even be the most informed out of all of us. 

But that doesn’t change the fact that education is a process. It’s not something you do once. It doesn’t stop, no matter who you are or were."

Ryan describes the importance of education, and why you can't stop learning, ever, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Sign up for Ryan's Stoicism Masterclass on Calm and get your first seven days free: http://calm.com/blog/ryanholiday

***

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Jul 08, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Writer David Frum Discuss Political Courage and Standing Up For Your Beliefs
2838

In today’s episode, Ryan and conservative pundit David Frum talk about how it feels to be a conservative who opposes Donald Trump, the limitations that political correctness imposes on our culture, and more.

David Frum is a journalist and conservative political commentator who is currently a senior editor at The Atlantic. Frum worked as a speechwriter for the second Bush administration and coined the term “Axis of Evil.” He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Canada’s National Post, Tablet, and numerous other publications, and is also the author of several books such as Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy and Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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.

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Jul 08, 2020
Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
204

"It’s so easy to be reactive these days. We are drowning in information from unlimited sources. Much of it is inaccurate, most of it is sensational. We’re told of crises and failures, we see the worst of our fellow humans, and rarely are we given the much needed context of how events fit in with the grand scheme of things… because that would render a great deal of it unworthy of coverage."

Ryan explains how to filter through the noise of everyday life to find the signal in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 07, 2020
It’s Never A Straight Line
172

"You had plans for how this year was going to go. You had plans for your business, for your relationships, plans for your house or your finances. Maybe you had a cause you had been working on for years. Maybe you thought your moment was approaching. Things were going in the right direction. It was about to happen. 

And now? Boom. It seems like all progress has stopped. Maybe it feels like things are suddenly going in the opposite direction."

Ryan discusses how to deal with the sense that your plans have all gone awry on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 06, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Billy Bush Discuss the Stoic Reaction to Public Shaming and How to Grow Beyond It
2199

In today’s episode, Ryan and TV news anchor Billy Bush discuss how to deal with being publicly shamed, the practical use of premeditatio malorum, and what Billy learned from being enmeshed in a significant public controversy.

Billy Bush is the current anchor for TV’s Extra, with a career in broadcast journalism spanning over 20 years. He was part of one of the defining moments of the 2016 US presidential campaign, when footage was leaked of a 2005 appearance by Donald Trump on Access Hollywood during which Trump made lewd comments about various women.

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199.

***

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Jul 05, 2020
This Work Must Continue
1309

“Today is the 4th of July. It’s the celebration of the American Declaration of independence, which was signed on this date in 1776. There’s no question that document—inspired as it was by ideas from the Stoics—was an essential one. As we have talked about before, it asserted man’s inalienable rights and began a great experiment in human liberty and equality under the law that was, and continues to be, unparalleled in history. 

But it is important that today, and on all days, we do not mistake July 4th or the Declaration’s signing as the accomplishment we should be celebrating.” 

Ryan discusses the meaning of the 4th of July, and the work we all must do to make sure that its promised freedom is one day fulfilled for all of us.

This episode is also brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

***

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Jul 04, 2020
This Is the Challenge We’re Rising To
181

"There’s almost nothing more difficult than other people. They’re just tough. They fall short. They get in our way. They do hurtful things. They surprise and scare and bewilder us.

This was true in the ancient world, just as it’s true today.. And perhaps nowhere in life is that challenge greater than in our own families."

Ryan describes how Stoicism can help you deal with the challenges of raising or being part of a family in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Sign up for The Stoic Parent here: http://dailystoic.com/stoicparent

***

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Jul 03, 2020
So What Do We Do?
276

"It’s hard to argue that we are not beset by many problems as a society. Depending on where you sit, those problems might be different, and that’s its own problem in and of itself. But the good news is that the path to solving those problems is the same, regardless of what you sit: we have to turn to the Stoics, or at least their method of problem solving."

Ryan discusses a number of Stoicism-grounded methods that you can use to help deal with the issues of today's society in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 02, 2020
We Are Who We Honor
296

"It was Malraux who said that we judge a society by the monuments it puts up

So imagine a society that puts up statues to tyrants, to someone who nearly succeeded in tearing an empire apart, who did horrible, inexplicably cruel things, even by the standards of their own time."

Ryan tells us why monuments dedicated to the Confederacy must come down in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jul 01, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and E.S. Schubert Talk the Purpose of Monuments and Why Statues Matter
2380

In today’s episode, Ryan and sculptor E.S. Schubert discuss the purpose of monumental statues and the complex issues surrounding who society venerates and why.

E.S. Schubert is a sculptor based in Kansas City. He has designed and sculpted monumental statues for cities, sports teams, and Hall of Famous Missourians. Schubert has also crafted busts for Daily Stoic featuring famous Stoic figures.

Get Daily Stoic’s busts of Marcus Aurelius (https://store.dailystoic.com/products/marcus-aurelius-bust) and Seneca (https://store.dailystoic.com/products/seneca-bust), designed and built by E.S. Schubert. 

This episode is also brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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Jul 01, 2020
It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
127

"We have fought very hard, together, in an unprecedented display of global and national courage, justice, discipline and wisdom.

How many people have been saved from COVID-19? Too many to count. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t handled perfectly. We didn’t do everything we could have, but we did a lot. You did a lot. 

But before you congratulate yourself, you must remember what the Stoics said: that Fortune deceives us."

Ryan discusses what we must do instead of letting our guard down on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 30, 2020
You Need to Have a Vision
175

***

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Jun 29, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: How to Feel Like You Have Enough
604

In today’s episode, Ryan discusses how to feel satisfied with what life has brought you—whatever that may be—using the wisdom of the Stoics.

This episode is brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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Jun 28, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Jessica Lahey Talk Parenting, the Process of Writing, and How to Fail Gracefully
2607

In today’s episode, Ryan and author and teacher Jessica Lahey talk about how to teach your kids to fail, the process of putting together a book, and more.

Sign up for The Stoic Parent, Daily Stoic’s newest course, today: http://dailystoic.com/stoicparent

Jessica Lahey is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. She has written for The New York Times and The Atlantic and has taught middle and high school for over a decade. 

Get The Gift of Failure: https://geni.us/R8mA4

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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—the perfect fuel for your summer expeditions. Visit http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order over $60, plus free shipping.


This episode is also brought to you by the Theragun. The new Gen 4 Theragun is perfect for easing muscle aches and tightness, helping you recover from physical exertion, long periods of sitting down, and more—and its new motor makes it as quiet as an electric toothbrush. Try the Theragun risk-free for 30 days, starting at just $199. 

***

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Jun 27, 2020
They Still Hide Money In Books
427

"As a young boy, the famed basketball coach George Raveling learned an invaluable lesson about the power of both knowledge and ignorance from his grandmother, who raised him. 

'Why did the slave masters hide their money in books, George?' she asked the young boy, standing together in her kitchen.

'I don’t know, grandma,' he said.

'Because they knew the slaves wouldn’t open them,' she said.

Learn more about George's story, and the importance of reading, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 26, 2020
It Keeps Coming and Won’t Stop Coming
180

"In March, Brent Underwood thought he’d found the perfect place to ride out the pandemic: a small California ghost town he’d been slowly renovating and turning into a resort. 

It was safe and isolated, beautiful and quiet. Then a freak series of snow storms trapped him there in Cerro Gordo for weeks with dwindling supplies and no running water. His retreat turned suddenly into a prison. Then he had a bout with appendicitis that required him to drive himself 2 hours to the closest clinic.

As we’ve said before, life comes at you fast."

Hear the rest of the story in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 25, 2020
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Should Stop
194

"If you’ve ever made it to the end of Homer’s Odyssey, you might have noticed a rather strange part of the ending. It’s a part that’s talked about a lot less than the rest of the poem, possibly because it makes so little sense. You see, despite spending every waking second for ten years fighting to get home, despite overcoming nearly insurmountable obstacles on his way, despite all the carnage of the final battle to reclaim his kingdom, Odysseus does something almost inconceivable the second he possesses what he longed for…"

Find out what that is, and how you can avoid doing the same thing, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 24, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Lauryn and Michael Bosstick (The Skinny Confidential) Talk Stoic Morning Routines and How to Manage Your Life in Quarantine
1873

In today’s episode, Ryan speaks with Lauryn and Michael Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential, They talk about how they start their days off strong with their morning routines, the value of their time and how they protect it, and how they have changed their lives to not only survive but thrive during the global quarantine.

Lauryn and Michael Bosstick are the producers of The Skinny Confidential, the lifestyle brand that delivers blogging, podcasts, workout and meal plans and more to its followers. Lauryn and Michael have used the teachings of Stoicism to help fuel their success as they reach out to a global audience of millions of fans.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is also brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

***

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Podcast: The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast

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Jun 24, 2020
This Is Your Fight
191

"It’s tempting to tell yourself that we don’t have a problem. That you don’t have to get involved. This doesn’t affect your community. It’s not actually that big of a deal. 

Look at these numbers instead, a commenter whispers. But what about this other case or that one, they say. I’m not an activist, you think. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, I don’t want to make things political. Someone else can probably do a better job. 

These are lies. All of them."

Ryan describes how the fight for justice in our society is everyone's fight, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 23, 2020
Life is Overwhelming. Or Is It?
152

"It’s incredible to think of what has occurred in the last twenty years. The tech bubble. 9/11. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Great Recession. The Syrian Civil War. The Arab Spring. And now the COVID-19 Pandemic, and unprecedented protests and clashes between authorities and civilians. Even the last few months, as people have come to joke, feel like years all by themselves. Impeachment. The primaries. Pandemic. Police. It’s too much. Overwhelming, yeah? Or is it just… life?"

Ryan talks about the chaos inherent in life and how we all can deal with it on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 22, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: This Is Your Most Important Job
335

“How do we emulate the great parents of history? How do we work on improving ourselves at this essential job? The one for which we are given next to no training, for which many of us had less than ideal models for in our own childhood?”

Ryan talks about the importance of preparation for the role of a parent—and discusses a great way you can make yourself ready for this critical job.

Sign up for The Stoic Parent, Daily Stoic’s newest course on how to be the best parent to your kids, today: http://dailystoic.com/stoicparent

This episode is 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 http://foursigmatic.com/stoic to get 15% off your order.

***

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Jun 21, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Brett McKay Talk Parenting, Living Through History, and Modern Manliness
2418

In today’s episode, Ryan and Brett McKay, founder of The Art of Manliness (https://www.artofmanliness.com/), talk about being a parent in the age of COVID-19, the changing definition of manliness, and more.

Sign up for The Stoic Parent, Daily Stoic’s newest course, today: http://dailystoic.com/parenting

Brett McKay is founder and editor-in-chief of The Art of Manliness, the massive men’s lifestyle website with over 10 million monthly page views. For over six years, Brett has published articles about how to be a strong, conscious, thoughtful man in the modern age. Brett lives in Oklahoma with his wife and children.

This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business.

This episode is also brought to you by Felix Gray, maker of amazing blue light-filtering glasses. Felix Gray glasses help prevent the symptoms of too much blue light exposure, which can include blurry vision, dry eyes, sleeplessness, and more. Get your glasses today at http://felixgrayglasses.com/stoic and try them for 30 days, risk-free.

***

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Jun 20, 2020
You Need Less Philosophy
108

"All this reading, all these quotes. This love of learning, our fascination with books

No one is saying it’s a bad thing. Because it isn’t. 

Still, it’s worth using, from time to time, a quip from Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire on yourself."

Learn about that quip in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 19, 2020
You Must Avoid This Weakness
165

"We’d like to think that our mind is our friend, but of course it isn’t. The Stoics knew this. The mind wants to jump to conclusions. The mind wants us to get worked up. The mind wants not to be challenged, not to have to admit it was wrong. That’s why they worked so hard to question their assumptions, to build strategies for questioning their own thinking and not being at the mercy of it."

Ryan describes the weakness that you must not fall prey to, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 18, 2020
The One Purchase That Pays You Back
231

"Is a Stoic stingy and frugal about everything? Some take it that way, but that’s probably the incorrect view. Instead, a Stoic should think both about eliminating needless expenses as well as spending liberally on the things that matter."

Ryan discusses the one thing that a Stoic can always justify spending money on, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 17, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Ben Hardy Talk Family, Self-Improvement, and How to Take On a Challenge
2522

In today’s episode, Ryan and Ben Hardy, the author and organizational psychologist, talk about the path of self-improvement, being a parent to foster children, and how to make permanent positive change.

Ben Hardy is an organizational psychologist who has written multiple books and articles on the power of changing your personality to achieve success. From 2015 to 2018, he was the most popular author on Medium with over a million people reading each one of his posts. Ben also speaks at multiple leadership and entrepreneurial events each year. Ben and his wife have fostered three children; together with their new twins, they live in Orlando, FL.

Get Ben’s latest book, Personality Isn’t Permanent: https://geni.us/AjG8

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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—the perfect fuel for your summer expeditions. Visit http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order over $60, plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business.

***

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Jun 17, 2020
We Have To Try Harder To Get There
200

"It’s not that our ancestors didn’t know what was right, it was that they had trouble fully getting there. 

In the opening pages of Meditations, Marcus Aurelius describes how the early Stoics like Thrasea, Helvidius, and Cato inspired him to believe in a 'society of equal laws, governed by equality of status and of speech, and of rules who respect the liberty of their subjects above all else.' 

Nothing is more important or just than that, Marcus believed. And yet he ruled a Rome that could not have been further from it in many ways."

Find out more about how we need to work to live up to the promises of our forebears in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 16, 2020
Are You Holding Your Shield?
175

"The world has asked a lot of us over the last few months." Ryan describes the sacrifices we've all had to make and why they were so necessary on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 15, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: It’s Always the Time to Act Bravely
764

In today’s episode, Ryan reads an excerpt from Stillness Is the Key, describing the importance of actually taking action and living the way that your philosophy would direct you to act.

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is a custom formulation of 75 vitamins, minerals, and other whole-food sourced ingredients that make it easier for you to maintain nutrition in just a single scoop. It tastes great and gets you the nutrients you need, whether you're working on the go, fueling an active lifestyle, or just maintaining your good health. Visit athleticgreens.com/stoic and receive 20 free travel packs with your first purchase.

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Read the excerpt here: https://ryanholiday.net/act-bravely/

***

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Jun 14, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and UT Basketball Coach Shaka Smart Talk Self-Control and Using Your Time Wisely
2497

In today’s episode, Ryan and University of Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart talk about focusing on what you can control, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected college basketball, and more.

Coach Shaka Smart has been involved with college basketball since 1995 and has been a head coach since 2009. In 2011, he led the VCU Rams to a historic Final Four finish at the NCAA Tournament. Since then, he has become the head coach at UT Austin.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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—the perfect fuel for your summer expeditions. Visit http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order over $60, plus free shipping.

***

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Jun 13, 2020
This Is the Most Powerful Force on Earth
165

Over and over again, the Stoics remind us how weak we are compared to the force of nature and the whims of nature. Why get angry at the world, Marcus asks—quoting Euripedes—as if the world would notice? Seneca pokes fun at Claudius and his absurd delusion to immortalize himself. His impotent declaration of war against the sea and command to his soldiers to attack the waves with their swords. 

***

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Jun 12, 2020
This Is Why You Have to Slow Down
162

"There’s no question that we are facing a number of pressing issues as a planet: Public health dangers. Homelessness. The rise of authoritarian China. Police brutality. Failures of the regulatory state. 

It’s an interesting question: Are these crises suddenly coming to a head now? Or is it that we’re just finally noticing them?"

Ryan describes the importance of slowing down, so that we don't miss all these trends, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 11, 2020
No One Can MAKE You Upset
152

"These are strange times. We all have entrenched political beliefs, for which the stakes seem dreadfully high. There are trolls everywhere. There are stupid people everywhere. Both the trolls and the ignorant seem to revel in saying things designed to piss us off. And if that weren’t enough, most of us are spending extended and unprecedented amounts of time trapped inside with people whom we may love but still have the ability to make us upset."

Learn how to control your feelings of upset and unease in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 10, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Author Tom Mueller Talk Whistleblowers, Courage, and Doing the Right Thing
2876

In today’s episode, Ryan and author Tom Mueller talk about the history of whistleblowers, the need for organizations to employ people of conscience, and how we treat whistleblowers in modern times.

Get Tom’s latest book, Crisis of Conscience: https://geni.us/AjG8

This episode is brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor. Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today.

This episode is also brought to you by Shippo. Shippo is a top-to-bottom shipping solution that works great with small and large businesses. Shippo will help you get the lowest rates on postage for your customers from dozens of global carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. Visit goshippo.com/stoic to get a shipping consultation and a six-month trial of Shippo’s pro plan (up to $700 value) absolutely free.

***

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Watch Tom’s TEDx talk on whistleblowing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77rjqnNsP8Q

Jun 10, 2020
This Is the Hardest Thing
190

"So much is happening. 

At home. Abroad. On the news. At work. 

You have the things you need to do. And the emails that keep pouring in. You have the distractions that your own head creates. You have the criticisms and actions of the mob outside. There are a million different options, different opinions, different orders that things can be done."

What should you do in moments like these? Find out on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 09, 2020
How Can You Lighten the Load for Others?
189

"When things get hard, a Stoic steps up. We’ve talked about that before. We do this because we know we can carry a heavy load, a load heavier than most people. 

That’s what Marcus Aurelius was saying when he said it doesn’t matter whether something is fortunate or unfortunate. What’s fortunate, he said, is that it happened to you."

Ryan discusses the benefits that abound when you help others in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 08, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: This Is Why You Have to Care
663

In today’s episode, Ryan reads his latest article, discussing the unfair advantage that privilege gives to certain of us because of the color of our skin, and how it is incumbent on us to fight back against it.

This episode is also brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor. Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today

Read the original article here: https://ryanholiday.net/this-is-why-you-have-to-care/

***


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Jun 07, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Sunday Night Football’s Michele Tafoya Talk Stoicism and Making the Most of Each Day
2180

In today’s episode, Ryan and Michele Tafoya, NFL sideline reporter and radio host, discuss self-improvement in quarantine, sympatheia, and more.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is brought to you by Mack Weldon, an amazing online retailer for men’s basics. Mack Weldon believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping—and they’ve created a great new loyalty program, Weldon Blue. Try out Mack Weldon today. And for 20% off your first order, visit http://mackweldon.com and use promo code STOIC.

***

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Jun 06, 2020
You Have to Fight
146

"Maybe you don’t have to worry about being pulled over for little reason. Maybe you don’t have to worry about not getting the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you’ve never been in trouble. Maybe you know how to de-escalate tense situations, maybe you can afford a good lawyer. Maybe you’ve never been in the wrong place at the wrong time."

So why is racial justice still a you problem? Ryan explains in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 05, 2020
You Should Meditate on Greatness
244

"The Stoics were some of the keenest admirers of human greatness. Marcus Aurelius opens his Meditations with seventeen entries—nearly ten percent of the book—reflecting upon the various influential individuals in his life. Nearly every other page thereafter has at least one quote or one story or one mention of a story about his heroes: Socrates, Plato, Epictetus, Hadrian, Augustus, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Diogenes—'When you need encouragement,' he wrote, explaining this practice, 'think of the qualities the people around you have.'"

Learn about the importance of reflecting on the best of those who came before us, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 04, 2020
To Wrong One Is To Wrong All
163

"It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to think small. 

But this life is not just about us. Our loyalty and duty is not just to ourselves, to our family, or to our immediate neighbors. 

The Stoics believed that we were all one."

***

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Jun 03, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Charlamagne tha God Talk Opening Your Mind and Political Power
2652

In today’s episode, Ryan and Charlamagne tha God, host of The Breakfast Club and author, speak on a number of different topics—from reading and fatherhood to Charlamagne’s always-present interest in politics.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. And right now, LinkedIn is helping companies like yours find the essential workers that they need in these trying times. Visit http://slinkedin.com/stoic to post your healthcare or essential job for free, or to post another job for your business..

Get Charlamagne tha God’s Shook Ones: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me: https://geni.us/msLZ3v 

***

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Jun 03, 2020
This Is a War We Are Fighting
201

"It would be easy to say that this is someone else’s fight. It is easy to say, as some pundits have said, that this is not a fight at all. You don’t go to war with a virus. That’s not how it works. 

But according to Andrew Roberts, the great biographer of Churchill and Napoleon, that is exactly what is happening and exactly how this works."

Hear more from Andrew Roberts, and listen to Ryan discuss the importance of a total fight against the pandemic, on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 02, 2020
You Always Have The Power To Resist
217

"When one considers the notion of 'resignation and the principle of 'amor fati,' it might not seem like the Stoics and the idea of political resistance would go together. But this modern misconception would come as a surprise to the many tyrants and oppressors that found themselves in conflict with the Stoics over the centuries."

Learn how a Stoic handles the presence of injustice in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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Jun 01, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: How Marcus Aurelius Conquered Stress (and the Rest of Us Can Too)
643

In today’s episode, Ryan reads his latest article describing how Marcus Aurelius fought against the stresses and anxieties that come with running a continent-spanning empire. He draws actionable insights and tactics from Marcus Aurelius’s practices during his reign.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

Sign up for Daily Stoic’s Slay Your Stress course here: http://dailystoic.com/stress

Read the original article here: https://ryanholiday.net/how-marcus-conquered-stress/

***

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May 31, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Cal Newport Discuss Staying Productive in a Pandemic and How to Maintain Focus
2923

On today’s podcast, Ryan talks with author and computer scientist Cal Newport about staying productive during the pandemic, how to maintain your focus on what's most important to you, and more. 

Get your copy of Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism: https://geni.us/Eh4IX2

This episode is also brought to you by Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is a custom formulation of 75 vitamins, minerals, and other whole-food sourced ingredients that make it easier for you to maintain nutrition in just a single scoop. It tastes great and gets you the nutrients you need, whether you're working on the go, fueling an active lifestyle, or just maintaining your good health. Visit athleticgreens.com/stoic and receive 20 free travel packs with your first purchase.

This episode is also brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor. Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today.

Join Daily Stoic’s Slay Your Stress course: http://dailystoic.com/read

***

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May 30, 2020
Remove These Three Words From Your Life
221

"You’ve said them a thousand times. You said them when you were a kid. You said them last year. You’ve caught yourself saying them recently as you watched the world tear apart your carefully made plans.

It’s not fair."

Find out how to get "it's not fair" out of your system on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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May 29, 2020
At Least It’s a Chance to Do This
150

"It would have been much better if this hadn’t happened. If your employee had listened. If your parents could respect your boundaries. If your neighbor wasn’t so rude. If people hadn’t been reckless. If your kids had passed their math test. If nobody had taken offense to your joke... But that’s not how it shook out."

So how do you deal with it? Find out on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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May 28, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Coach George Raveling Talk Meeting Harry Truman, Reading and the Perils of Ego
2540

On today’s podcast, Ryan talks with Coach George Raveling, the longtime college basketball coach and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. They talk about Coach Raveling’s encounters with historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Harry Truman, the benefits of reading, and much more. 

This episode is brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. It’s the largest marketplace for job seekers in the world, and it has great search features so that you can find candidates with any hard or soft skills that you need. Visit http://linkedin.com/stoic to get fifty dollars off your first job post.

Join Daily Stoic’s Read to Lead Challenge: http://dailystoic.com/read

***

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May 28, 2020
Stress Is a Fact Of Life, Being Stressed Is Not
258

"You think the Stoics didn’t experience stress? 

Of course they did... Seneca had health problems, was exiled, and then had to show up to work for years in Nero’s court—walking on eggshells around an unstable man with a penchant for bloodlust. Epictetus survived thirty years of exile. Marcus Aurelius’s reign included a plague, health problems, wars, flooding, bankruptcy, and family issues... That’s the definition of stress."

Learn the Stoic solution to stress in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

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***

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May 27, 2020
There’s Nothing Better Than A Simple Pleasure
162

"The Spartans were known for their simple, rustic ways. Unlike the citizens of Athens, who dined on the most gourmet fare, the Spartans ate almost nothing but “gruel,” a kind of broth or blood pudding. Visitors noted just how unappetizing this soup was, but to the Spartans, who were constantly training and working, it was delicious. Why? Because they said that hunger was the best flavoring."

Learn more about the simple pleasures in life in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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May 26, 2020
This Will Make You Feel Better
150

"It’s been rough. We’re not meant to be inside this long. We’re not meant to spend this much time with our devices. We’re not meant to hit pause like this on our jobs, on our businesses, on whatever projects we have been working on.

How long will this continue? No one can say. 

But there is something you can do to maintain your mental and physical health..."

Find out what that is on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

Get Stillness Is the Key on sale for just $3.99—ends today: https://geni.us/StillnessSale

***

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May 25, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: You Must Stare This Scary Fact in the Face
779

On today’s podcast, Ryan discusses the idea of memento mori as depicted in art throughout the centuries, and why it might be such a common motif.

This episode is brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

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May 24, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Coach Buzz Williams (Texas A&M) Talk Habits, Time Management and the Lessons You Can Learn from the Pandemic
3140

Today Ryan talks with Buzz Williams, head coach of the men’s basketball team at Texas A&M. They discuss the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine on college sports, the personal progress they have made during the pandemic, how they practice reading, and more.

Get your copy of Stillness Is the Key for just $3.99 on Amazon: https://geni.us/StillnessSale

This episode is brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

This episode is also brought to you by Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is a custom formulation of 75 vitamins, minerals, and other whole-food sourced ingredients that make it easier for you to maintain nutrition in just a single scoop. It tastes great and gets you the nutrients you need, whether you're working on the go, fueling an active lifestyle, or just maintaining your good health. Visit athleticgreens.com/stoic and receive 20 free travel packs with your first purchase.

This episode is also brought to you by Shippo. Shippo is a top-to-bottom shipping solution that works great with small and large businesses. Shippo will help you get the lowest rates on postage for your customers from dozens of global carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. Visit goshippo.com/stoic to get a shipping consultation and a six-month trial of Shippo’s pro plan (up to $700 value) absolutely free.

***

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May 23, 2020
There Is Nothing Special About Money
206

"For all the poverty he practiced and Stoic philosophy he wrote, clearly there was some part of Seneca that was dazzled by money. Even though he was born into a wealthy family, he wanted more and more of it. That’s what drew him into Nero’s service, where he accumulated a net worth of millions and millions of dollars. So too with Cicero, who was born to a less prestigious family, but still strove for fame and fortune. Although Cicero refused to take bribes as a politician, he had no problem marrying rich or accepting large gifts from benefactors. 

What’s striking, though, about these two men’s lives is that while they eventually achieved their grand ambitions—accumulating much fame and fortune—they, with time, came to be disillusioned by it all."

Find out the true importance of money, and what trumps it, in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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May 22, 2020
Do You Know How To Wait?
177

"Shakespeare waited out a plague. So did Isaac Newton. The poet John Keats spent 10 days in a harbor, waiting out a typhus epidemic. Think of the soldiers who spent years being posted overseas. Think about the ones who spent years recovering from their wounds.

Life is full of waiting. It’s filled with moments of forced stillness. We’re delusional to think we’ll be exempted from this—that things are going to happen at our pace and on our terms."

Ryan talks about dealing with periods of forced stillness in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

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***

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May 21, 2020
The Horror of Words Not Turned Into Deeds
168

"It’s always been tempting to talk a good game. People have been doing it for thousands of years. But today, it’s never been easier to talk and virtue-signal. There are whole social networks designed to enable you to do this. They reward you for what you say, for the image you project. They don’t much care for what you do."

Ryan talks about the importance of backing up your words with actions in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

****

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May 20, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan Talks Freedom and Personal Responsibility with David French
2539

Today Ryan talks with author and reporter David French about the balance between personal and civic responsibility, the ability to take criticism, the polarizing battles between the left and right in today’s politics, and more.

This episode is brought to you by Mack Weldon, an amazing online retailer for men’s basics. Mack Weldon believes in smart design, premium fabrics and simple shopping—and they’ve created a great new loyalty program, Weldon Blue. Try out Mack Weldon today. And for 20% off your first order, visit http://mackweldon.com and use promo code STOIC.

This episode is also brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor. Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today.

***

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May 20, 2020
Bring On Your Wrecking Ball
128

"What does a Stoic say to adversity? To recessions? To pandemics? To setbacks and struggles and months stuck inside? To uncertainty and cramped quarters and a collapse of confidence? What do they say to the looming question that has so many people scared—'What if things get worse?'"

Find out on today's Daily Stoic Podcast episode.

***

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May 19, 2020
Don’t Learn This Dangerous Lesson
195

"It’s easy to look at history and learn the wrong lesson. You see Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar and can’t help but connect their enormous ego to their incredible successes. Or you watch Elizabeth Holmes escape consequences for her frauds and Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, get rewarded with a golden parachute and think: the upside of ego is enormous and the downside is pretty minimal. You look at a Steve Jobs or a Kanye West and it’s understandable to think that ego is an asset. 

This is a mistake. Correlation and causation are not the same thing."

Get another perspective on the costs of ego on today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

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May 18, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Ryan Talks with South Carolina Football About How to Practice Stoicism
1645

Today’s podcast features Ryan talking to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team, discussing how you can use Stoicism in a practical way to keep learning, make (and stick to) your own standards, and make the most of your defeats.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is also brought to you by GoMacro. GoMacro 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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May 17, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Historian Andrew Roberts Talk Leadership, Character and How One Person Can Change The World
2736

Today Ryan talks with writer and historian Andrew Roberts about the process of writing about historical figures, the ways that character is tested during trying times, Roberts’ take on figures like Napoleon and Lloyd George, and more. 

Books by Andrew Roberts

Churchill: Walking with Destiny: https://geni.us/vi8z

Napoleon: A Life: https://geni.us/p3JMb9n

Leadership in War: https://geni.us/MCzyPy

The Storm of War: https://geni.us/CKRDmyw

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This episode is 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 http://foursigmatic.com/stoic to get 15% off your order.

This episode is also brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor. Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today.

***

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May 16, 2020
Better To Have Than Not To Have
185

"It’s easy to think—given their spurning of so many of the pleasures that other people chase—that the Stoics didn’t want or like anything. When you see the lengths that Seneca and Marcus go to criticize luxury, you might assume they lived like paupers. Or when you hear about how blasé Epictetus was about his crippled leg, that maybe he had gotten so philosophical that like one of those monks, he had somehow transcended his physical form altogether. 

While this might all be inspiring if it were true, the reality is that the Stoics were regular people just like you. They had wants and desires, and they generally didn’t like feeling pain. So what did they mean by all that writing then?"

Find out their meaning in today's Daily Stoic Podcast episode.

****

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May 15, 2020
We Are All Tied Up Together
291

"These are rough times. 

Then again, times are always rough for someone. If not for us, then for someone else. And according to the Stoics, that means they’re rough for everyone. What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee, Marcus Aurelius wrote. Meaning: we’re all in this together. Our fates are all tied up with one another. "

Learn more about what you can do to help in today's Daily Stoic Podcast episode.

Donate to Mobile Loaves & Fishes and Community First! Village here: https://geni.us/ozIaIW7

****

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May 14, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and NBA G League Coach Coby Karl Answer Your Questions About Stoicism and Sports
1760

Today Ryan talks with Coby Karl, a former member of the Los Angeles Lakers and current head coach of the NBA G League’s South Bay Lakers. They take questions from Daily Stoic readers and listeners about the merits of coaching, and how to stay physically and mentally healthy with the tenets of Stoicism.

This episode is brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro.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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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May 13, 2020
Always Keep A Role Model In Mind
173

"It’s key then, if you want to be good and do good, that you have a kind of North Star in your life that keeps you centered. A role model who draws you back on course when the events of life or the drift of inertia subtly misdirect you."

Learn more about the importance of role models in today's Daily Stoic Podcast

****

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May 13, 2020
This Is Who To Turn To When You’re Struggling
249

"For thousands of years people have been turning to Stoicism when they had problems, big and small. Obviously you know that on some level or you wouldn’t be reading this email. But do you really practice this? Or, are you treating philosophy like some sort of side gig, as Seneca put it, or treating it, as Marcus termed it, like a stepmother?

Whatever you’re going through, the Stoics have written about it." Find out what else Stoicism applies to in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

This episode was brought to you by Magic Spoon. Magic Spoon makes delicious cereal just like you remember from when you were a kid—only this version has only 3g carbs and 11g of protein. Use code DAILYSTOIC at magicspoon.com to get free shipping.

****

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May 12, 2020
Just Do One Thing Every Day
159

"Seneca wrote a lot of letters to his friend Lucilius. We don’t know a lot about Lucilius, only that he was from Pompeii, he was a Roman knight, he was the imperial procurator in Sicily then its Governor, he owned a country villa in Ardea. For all his success though, we get the sense that he struggled with many of the things we all struggle with: Anxiety. Distraction. Fear. Temptation. Self-discipline."

Find out Seneca's simple solution to Lucilius's problems in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

***

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May 11, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Life Comes at You Fast. So You Better Be Ready.
621

In today’s episode, Ryan reads his latest article about the unpredictability of life, and how we should always be prepared for the worst and the best that it has to offer us.

Read the original article here: https://geni.us/rLEd0

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

***

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May 10, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: How Do I Deal With Imposter Syndrome?
2008

In today’s episode, Ryan talks about the new box set (https://geni.us/A6gX) of his first three books on Stoicism. He reads from Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic (https://geni.us/GMzk) and tackles your questions, too.

This episode is brought to you by WHOOP. WHOOP is a fitness wearable that provides personalized insights on how well you’re sleeping, how much you’ve recovered from your workouts, and how much you’re stressed out from each day. It’s the ultimate whole-body tracker for someone who needs an all-in-one solution. Visit WHOOP.com and enter STOIC at checkout to save 15% on your order.

This episode is also brought to you by Future. Future pairs you up with a remote personal trainer that you can get in touch with from your home. Your trainer will give you a full exercise regimen that works for your specific fitness goals, using the equipment you have at home. It works with your Apple Watch, and if you don’t already have one, Future will give you one for free. Sign up at tryfuture.com/stoic and get your first two weeks with your personal trainer for just $1.

***

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May 09, 2020
Can You Help Others First?
207

"Here we are in tough times. A global pandemic has struck wide swaths of the population. Governments are struggling under the load. Economies are crashing. These are the kinds of moments that make average people want to shrink, to turn inward, to focus on themselves. 

A Stoic resists that impulse."

Find out what a Stoic does instead, in today's Daily Stoic podcast.

****

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May 08, 2020
There Is Only One Person to Listen To
199

"Like any person in power, any person in the public spotlight, any person striving to be great, Marcus struggled with caring too much about what other people thought of him. Good or bad—as animals, we are designed to think this matters, lest our evolutionary ancestors risk being driven from the tribe. So Marcus worked to remind himself that praise and criticism were really the same thing: a clacking of tongues. Throw away the recognition, throw away the gossip, throw away all grousing from your haters, he said—it’s worthless."

Learn more about tuning out the clacking of tongues in todays' Daily Stoic podcast.

****

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May 07, 2020
Now Is The Time For Structure
151

"Maybe right now you’re stuck at home, maybe you’re not working. Your kids might be home with you. Certainly the normal way of doing things has been significantly altered. Well, now is the time to follow the Stoic practices more than ever." Find out what kind of practices you should incorporate into your life in today's Daily Stoic podcast.

****

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May 06, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and Robert Greene Talk Plagues, Politics, and Polarization
3338

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with his mentor, author and strategist Robert Greene. They discuss historical links to today’s pandemic, the 2020 US presidential election, Robert’s thoughts on making alive time out of the state-imposed quarantines, and more.

This episode is 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 http://foursigmatic.com/stoic to get 15% off your order.

This episode is also brought to you by Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is a custom formulation of 75 vitamins, minerals, and other whole-food sourced ingredients that make it easier for you to maintain nutrition in just a single scoop. It tastes great and gets you the nutrients you need, whether you're working on the go, fueling an active lifestyle, or just maintaining your good health. Visit athleticgreens.com/stoic and receive 20 free travel packs with your first purchase.

***

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And follow Robert Greene:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robertgreene

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Homepage: https://powerseductionandwar.com/

Get Robert’s latest book, The Laws of Human Nature: https://geni.us/pmH4

May 06, 2020
It’s Important to Have Reminders
185

"It seems crazy now, but amongst the Stoics in the ancient world there was once intense disagreement over whether philosophers should have “precepts” or sayings to remind them of their teachings. Stoics like Aristo, who lived around the time of Zeno, believed that this was cheating. A wise man, properly trained, should just know what to do in any and every situation. "

Ryan discusses how we should use reminders to stay on the right path in today's episode.

****

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May 05, 2020
Yours Is Not to Reason Why
142

"It just doesn’t make sense, does it?

They have every incentive in the world to get it right, and they can’t. They’re putting their own livelihood at risk. All the information is out there. They had the same opportunities as you did, maybe even better ones. 

And yet… and yet… "

Ryan discusses how you can keep from being distracted by the actions of others.

This episode was brought to you by Magic Spoon. Magic Spoon makes delicious cereal just like you remember from when you were a kid—only this version has only 3g carbs and 11g of protein. Use code DAILYSTOIC at magicspoon.com to get free shipping.

****

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May 04, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: All You Need Are a Few Small Wins Every Day
556

In today’s episode, Ryan describes how success rarely comes in one fell swoop, but rather is built a little more every day, bit by bit.

Building success day by day is just one of the many things you can do with an effective, efficient habits regimen. Get your habits in order with Daily Stoic’s Habits for Success, Habits for Happiness (https://geni.us/DShabits) course. It’s six weeks of challenges designed to revitalize your habits and make them start working for you.

This episode is brought to you by GoMacro.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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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May 03, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and NBA Legend Pau Gasol Talk Books, Basketball, and Stoicism
2771

In today’s episode, Ryan talks with NBA All-Star, Laker legend and humanitarian Pau Gasol. They discuss everything from Pau's reading habit to his advocacy for female coaches in basketball and more.

1:51 - Intro

6:22 - Being a big reader—and how that was encouraged by Phil Jackson

8:22 - What Pau gets out of fiction

10:32 - Phil Jackson recommendations

11:52 - Stoicism and reading

16:02 - The Meditations and marginalia

18:28 - Why do athletes always like quotes/aphorisms?

21:52 - The importance of reminders

24:42 - The importance of female coaches in basketball, and why discrimination is so harmful, and how hardship makes us stronger

37:25 - COVID-19 economic consequences: how did Pau process his experience with the Trailblazers, and how is that informing his decisions now?

Books mentioned:

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens is a custom formulation of 75 vitamins, minerals, and other whole-food sourced ingredients that make it easier for you to maintain nutrition in just a single scoop. It tastes great and gets you the nutrients you need, whether you're working on the go, fueling an active lifestyle, or just maintaining your good health. Visit athleticgreens.com/stoic and receive 20 free travel packs with your first purchase.

This episode is also brought to you by Shippo. Shippo is a top-to-bottom shipping solution that works great with small and large businesses. Shippo will help you get the lowest rates on postage for your customers from dozens of global carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. Visit goshippo.com/stoic to get a shipping consultation and a six-month trial of Shippo’s pro plan (up to $700 value) absolutely free.

This episode is also 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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

***

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/signup

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And follow Pau Gasol:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paugasol

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Gasol Foundation: https://www.gasolfoundation.org/

May 02, 2020
You Do the Math
278

"At least 200,000 people are marked for death worldwide and they don’t even know it. They are the back half of 'the curve.' They are essentially walking dead.

That is the cold, harsh reality of statistics. Of the numbers."

Ryan describes why we can't let our guards down against COVID-19—and why we must use it as a reminder that we could leave life at any moment.

***

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May 01, 2020
In the End, It’s Nothing
145

"From the outside, it can all seem very impressive. Think of Marcus Aurelius, marching into Rome in triumph. Think of him looking down at the crowds in the coliseum. Think of him looking up, as they erect a 39 meter marble column to his accomplishments.

But those who have had these things, they know."

Find out what they know in the rest of today's podcast.

This episode is also 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 https://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.

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Apr 30, 2020
You Will Not Be Made Whole
179

"This was not your fault. You work hard. You pay your taxes and your insurance premiums. You follow the law. So you should be good, right?"

Ryan shows why, when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic or any other misfortune, that's not necessarily the case.

****

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Apr 29, 2020
This Is a Critical Strength to Cultivate
226

"Whatever you decide to do with your life, whatever path you decide to walk, people are going to  stand in your way. They’re going to doubt you. They’re going to give you bad advice. They will do you wrong. On purpose and unintentionally. They’ll lie. They’ll undermine you. They may well actively take steps to stop you."

Find out how to deal with this in today's meditation.

This episode was brought to you by Magic Spoon. Magic Spoon makes delicious cereal just like you remember from when you were a kid—only this version has only 3g carbs and 11g of protein. Use code DAILYSTOIC at magicspoon.com to get free shipping.

***

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Apr 28, 2020
You Have to Care About the Most Vulnerable
210

"By now, you’ve probably seen the viral CNN clip of the woman heading to church in Ohio. Aren’t you worried about being exposed to COVID-19, the reporter asks? No, she says confidently, I am bathed in Jesus’s blood. But aren’t you worried about exposing other people? No, she says, angrily. I go to Wal-Mart everyday. I go to the grocery store. Those people could infect me."

Ryan talks about how a Stoic looks at the idea of flattening the curve, and why the lockdowns are so important.

***

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Apr 27, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: What Marcus Aurelius Can Teach Frontline Responders During COVID-19
2862

This past January, Ryan spoke with the USAF’s 31st Fighter Wing, stationed in Aviano, Italy. Later this area would experience a virulent outbreak of COVID-19. Ryan recently recorded a follow-up call with the Aviano base, which you can hear in today’s episode.

This episode is 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 http://foursigmatic.com/stoic to get 15% off your order.

This episode is also 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 https://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/signup

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Apr 26, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan Talks Social Media, Social Distancing, and Stoicism with Congressman Mike Gallagher
3763

In this episode, Ryan speaks with US Representative Mike Gallagher from the 8th District of Wisconsin. They talk how not to be distracted by social media and disinformation, how Stoics dealt with plagues both past and present, and how anyone can implement the lessons of Stoicism.

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 http://gomacro.com and use promo code STOIC for 30% off your order plus free shipping.

This episode is also brought to you by Leesa, the online mattress company. Each of their mattresses is made to order and shipped for free right to your door. All mattresses come with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident in your investment in a good night’s sleep. And Leesa's hybrid mattress has been rated the best overall mattress by sites like Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Mattress Advisor.

Daily Stoic listeners get 15% off their entire order with the code STOIC. Just visit Leesa.com and get your mattress today.

Finally, this episode was also brought to you by Magic Spoon. Magic Spoon makes delicious cereal just like you remember from when you were a kid—only this version has only 3g carbs and 11g of protein. Use code DAILYSTOIC at magicspoon.com to get free shipping. 

***

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Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: DailyStoic.com/signup

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And follow Representative Mike Gallagher:

Home page: https://gallagher.house.gov/

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Apr 25, 2020
This Is a Game of Inches
215

"Zeno lost everything in a shipwreck in the 3rd century BC. A family fortune. His occupation. Everything. He washed up in Athens anonymous and penniless. When he died, an old man, some forty years later, he was not only prosperous, he was one of the wisest men in the world. He’d been offered the keys to Athens and an honorary citizenship too. The school he founded, on the old stoa in Agora, would influence millions of people for the next two thousand years. 

How did he do it? How did he recover? How did he make his way to greatness?"

Find out in today's Daily Stoic podcast.

***

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.

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Apr 24, 2020
We All Fall Short
170

By now, you may have seen the video. A devout religious woman grabs the hand of Pope Francis as he greets the crowd of pilgrims and children. He tries to move on.  She refuses to let go. In frustration, he slaps her hand and continues on. 

It’s not a pretty sight for sure. Especially for a man who has spoken so beautifully about kindness and compassion and humility. To call it “violence” would be an overstatement, but it was rudely out of character—a contradiction of what the man teaches and is supposed to be an example of. 

But here’s the thing: If you’re surprised and horrified, the problem is not the pope, it’s you. We all fall short. Seneca fell short. Marcus Aurelius fell short. Epictetus did too. Do you think they never lost their tempers? Never did the wrong thing? Ever failed to live up to their impossibly high standards? 

They, like the pope, like you, are human. Which means flaws. Which means messing up. Which means doing the exact opposite of what you believe and how you want to be (because you’re tired, because you were tempted, because you weren’t thinking). “Is it possible to be free from error?” Epictetus said. “Not by any means, but it is possible to be a person stretching to avoid error.” 

So don’t be too hard on other people, or even yourself. Accept apologies when given. Offer them readily when necessary. Learn from both other people’s mistakes and your own. And remember Pope Francis’ apology, because it was a wise one: "Love makes us patient. So many times we lose patience, even me, and I apologize for yesterday's bad example.”

Apr 23, 2020
Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light
209

"In April 46 BCE, 1,974 years ago, Cato the Younger died. In one sense, you might say he died willingly, as he chose death by his own hand rather than life under the tyranny of Julius Caesar. But no one who ever met Cato, nor anyone who reads of his death, should see anything resigned in the man."

Listen to learn more about Cato the Younger's inspiring death, and about how we can follow his example in how he led his life.

"Do not go gentle into that good night," by Dylan Thomas

The sponsor of today's episode is Magic Spoon (https://geni.us/dslmagicspoon). It's delicious cereal that tastes just like breakfast when you were a kid. Each bowl has 11g of protein and only 3g net of carbs. If you use the code DAILYSTOIC at magicspoon.com, you can get free shipping on your first order. Check it out 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.

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Apr 22, 2020
Ryan Interviews Brent Underwood, Ghost Town Proprietor
2257

On this special bonus episode of the Daily Stoic podcast, Ryan interviews Brent Underwood, a partner in Ryan's marketing endeavors and the owner of an actual ghost town, Cerro Gordo. They discuss the practice of Stoicism when you're the only person around for hundreds of square miles.

***

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.

Follow @DailyStoic:

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Follow along with Cerro Gordo, the ghost town, on Instagram at:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cerro.gordo.ca/

Website: https://cerrogordomines.com/

And Brent at:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brentwunderwood/

Website: http://brentunderwood.com/

Apr 22, 2020
We Are What We Repeatedly Do
259

Arete.

That’s a powerful word. 

To the Greeks, it meant excellence. It was the ultimate expression of human greatness—moral, physical, spiritual. It’s what the Stoics were chasing. It’s what you’re chasing today. 

But how do we get there?

Ryan discusses how we can achieve arete through the power of habits, and introduces the Daily Stoics's newest online course: Habits for Success, Habits for Happiness. It's six weeks of emails designed to completely rework your relationship with your habits—and make them the best they can be.

Purchase it here: dailystoic.com/habits

***

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.

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Apr 21, 2020
Keep Calm and Carry On
203

"Things are rough out there, it’s hard to argue with that. The stock market. Quarantines. Hospitals filled to capacity, and beyond. Travel plans cut short. Families cut off from loved ones. 

What is happening?! you might find yourself asking. This is terrifying, are things breaking down? Maybe. But it’s helpful to recall in times like these that, as the broadcaster Paul Harvey once explained, there have always been times like these."

Every day, Ryan Holiday reads the Daily Stoic meditation for the day. To receive these via email, sign up at
https://dailystoic.com/email/

Apr 20, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Using Stoicism To Become Unbeatable
602

In today’s episode, Ryan talks to the University of Alabama football team and discusses how to use the concepts of Stoicism to take on any challenge.

When you keep one of the Daily Stoic’s medallions by your side, it helps to cement into place the messages espoused by Stoicism. Use the Obstacle is the Way medallion to remember that any obstacle you encounter contains an opportunity as well. And our Ego is the Enemy medallion is a great token of the idea that you need to get your ego out of the way in order to succeed against whatever challenges you face.

https://prints.dailystoic.com/products/the-obstacle-is-the-way-medallion

https://prints.dailystoic.com/products/ego-is-the-enemy-medallion

***

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Apr 19, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan and John Brownstein Discuss the Science Behind the Pandemic
1593

In this episode, Ryan speaks with John Brownstein about the COVID-19 pandemic and what we all should do to stay safe and fight back against it. John Brownstein is a professor at the Harvard School of Medicine and Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. He’s spent his whole career learning about pandemics: how to track them using cutting-edge technology, and how to fight against them.

This episode is 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.

This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. LinkedIn Jobs is the best platform for finding the right candidate to join your business. It’s the largest marketplace for job seekers in the world, and it has great search features so that you can find candidates with any hard or soft skills that you need. Visit linkedin.com/stoic to get fifty dollars off your first job post.

***

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Apr 18, 2020
How Will You Remember This?
186

Right now, we’re looking at this all up close. It’s in our face. Being stuck at home. Watching business—and money—evaporate. Our plans are cancelled. Opportunities that we so looked forward to are gone, never to return again. 

How long will this last? Another month? Another year? How long will we be in the hurt? No one can say. 

A couple weeks ago, we interviewed Chris Guillibeau for Ask Daily Stoic, our Saturday podcast, while he was feeling the fresh sting of having to cancel a 40-city tour for his new book, The Money Tree. But instead of feeling sorry for himself, Chris said he was trying to focus on that old idea from Epictetus: go to what you control. Look for the positive. See what you can do with what’s in front of you. 

“Everyone is going to remember this,” he said. “We’re all going to have very sharp memories of this time.” The question, he said, is will you be proud of how you used it? How will you feel about who you were in this moment?

Flashing forward like that is a great way to hold your current self accountable. It can be easy to let yourself drift when suddenly the structure and routine of your life is torn away. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when your plans are wrecked (imagine being Chris—all the work and preparation and expense lost). But a Stoic has to be stronger than that. A Stoic knows they can’t afford to waste the present—because they know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

No, we must seize this moment. We must turn this down time, this dead time, into “alive time” (here’s our challenge to you about that). We can’t get lost in the chaos or the despair or the unpleasantness. We have to get back to work. We have to make the most of what we have. We don’t control what has happened, but we do control how we respond

And so we will respond well. We will keep going. We will be proud of what we did, and who we were, in this moment. We will make it so we can look back at ourselves—and this experience—fondly. 

We can start to earn that pride and positive memory...today.

Apr 17, 2020
We Cannot Be Servants To Our Stuff
176

There is a story about King Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. He was leading a massive army campaign, and had picked an ideal spot to stop to break camp. As he began to give out orders, an aide rushed up to inform him that the location lacked enough pasture for the army’s pack animals and that they would have to move. “O Hercules,” Philip cursed in frustration, “what a life I lead if I am obliged to live for the benefit of my asses!” 

Philip may have been powerful, but not more powerful than the reality of logistics. His unstoppable, all-powerful army was—for all its victories—at the mercy of its weakest link. It has always been and always will be thus. As Marcus Aurelius would write in Meditations about Philip’s son, Alexander—for all his victories too—was buried in the same ground as his mule driver.  Reality has a way of cutting us down to size like that. 

But the real message of that story is how easily even the most powerful people can become a slave to their stuff. Every soldier Philip pressed into service meant more supplies, which meant more pack animals to carry them, which required larger and larger amounts of fodder. Every ounce of treasure that Philip acquired in victory meant the same. Everything he accomplished or did was actually slowing—weighing—him down.

And so it goes for us. Which is why we should remember Seneca’s advice today: “Get used to dining out without the crowds, to being a slave to fewer slaves, to getting clothes only for their real purpose, and to living in more modest quarters.”

Apr 16, 2020
We Always Lose When We Lose Our Tempers
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Something happened. You got pissed. Now two bad things have happened. That’s just a fact. 

Because getting angry rarely makes things better—even if it helps you get what you thought you wanted. It taxes your heart. It causes you to be mean to other people. To “win” you had to lose your self-control

This is not to say you should merely accept everything in life. The Stoics were not passive weaklings. It’s that they preferred persuasion, patience, and persistence to yelling. They focused on addressing root causes, not catharsis. 

How much worse getting mad is than the things that caused it, Seneca said. “Anger always outlasts hurt,” he advised. “Best to take the opposite course. Would anyone think it normal to return a kick to a mule or a bite to a dog?”

So if you want to win—at life, at philosophy, at accomplishing what you have set out to accomplish—you’ll need to rein in your temper. You’ll need to figure out the opposite course, develop more than one kind of response to things you don’t like. It’s easy to get angry, but it’s more effective to remain calm and come up with solutions. 

Tame your temper. Don’t make problems worse by getting angry. 

Apr 15, 2020
Your Job is to Get The Best Out of People
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One of the trickiest parts of holding yourself to a high standard in life is that it’s only natural to start to expect others to do the same. You’re not taking the easy road, why should they be able to? You’re putting in the work, why aren’t they? You don’t lie, cheat, or steal, is it so crazy to assume others shouldn’t either? Look at your results—where are theirs?

Marcus Aurelius must have struggled with this too. He hadn’t wanted to be emperor, but he was pressed into duty. Still, with all this power, he was trying to be good and do good. What was everyone else’s excuse? It’s something that lots of brilliant leaders and talented people have wrestled with through the centuries, whether it’s Kobe Bryant trying to figure out why his teammates aren’t as dedicated as he is, or an A student wondering why the other people in their group aren’t striving for the grade they are

What we know is that Marcus Aurelius found a way through. We’re told of it by the historian Cassius Dio, and it’s a worthy example for us to think about today:

“So long as a person did anything good, he would praise him and use him for the service in which he excelled, but to his other conduct he paid no attention; for he declared that it is impossible for one to create such men as one desires to have, and so it is fitting to employ those who are already in existence for whatever service each of them may be able to render to the State.”

We only control our behavior. We can only fully uphold our standards for ourselves. As leaders, we have to work to meet everyone else where they are—get as much as we can from them and of them—but we can’t make ourselves miserable expecting them to be like us. Because they aren’t. What they do is in their control. What we do is in ours. Remember what Seneca learned with Nero: You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink

Never forget that. Get the best you can from yourself and hope—but don’t expect—for the best from everyone else. That’s all you can do.

Apr 14, 2020
You Have A Gun To Your Head
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It’s one of the most surprising scenes in literature and film. In Fight Club, Tyler Durden walks into a 24-hour convenience store and puts a gun to the head of the cashier. It’s an act of disturbing violence and cruelty. 

“Give me your wallet,” Tyler says as he presses the barrel against the man’s temple. Then he reads off his name and address: Raymond K. Hessel, 1329 SE Benning, Apartment A. “What did you want to be, Raymond K. Hessel?” Tyler asks, seeing the expired student ID card in the wallet. Then he cocks the pistol. “The question, Raymond, was what did you want to be?”

You start to squirm in your seat as you witness this. Please don’t kill him, please don’t kill him. Because up to this point, Tyler Durden has been clever and cool. He has not been a murderer. Is that going to change? Finally, to our relief, Hessel, panicking, manages to stammer out an answer. A vet, he wanted to be a veterinarian, he says, but gave up because it was too hard, too much school. And now here he is, working behind a counter. Tyler, still holding the gun to his head, makes this promise: If Hessel isn’t back in school by the time he returns in a year, he’s going to kill him. 

It’s a dark scene, for sure. But it’s also beautiful. “Tyler is practicing a form of tough love,” Fight Club’s author Chuck Palahniuk writes in his new book, Consider This. “Tyler reminds the man of his mortality.” He is doing what the Stoics tried to do to themselves constantly: To remember that there is a gun pointed at our heads always—that we do not have time to waste or fritter away. 

“You could leave life right now,” Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Do everything as if it was the last thing you were doing in your life, he said. Seneca even tells us a story of an emperor who did have the power to kill, as Tyler Durden did in fiction, and said to a weeping prisoner, Is the life you’re living really all that different than being dead?

Well, that’s the question and command today: Do not be Raymond K. Hessel. Do not give up on your dreams or live a kind of living death. You have to seize this moment. You have to let your awareness of your mortality give you urgency and purpose. You have to show up. You have to live each second as if it was the last thing you were doing in your life. 

Because Tyler Durden or not, it just might be. 

Apr 13, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: The Important Thing is to Not Be Afraid
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On today’s episode, Ryan talks about the importance of courage in the face of great peril—and the distinction between being scared and being afraid. It's especially relevant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the original article here: https://ryanholiday.net/the-important-thing-is-to-not-be-afraid/


We’ve made a Four Virtues medallion commemorating courage along with the other Four Stoic Virtues. Get yours at https://geni.us/FourVirtues

This 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 https://thrivemarket.com/stoic to get 25% off your order today. 

Apr 12, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Ryan Holiday & Tim Ferriss Discuss "Alive Time vs Dead Time"
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In this episode, Ryan speaks with Tim Ferriss, the author, podcaster, entrepreneur and investor. Tim has written five New York Times best selling books, including The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors. His podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, has over 400 million downloads on iTunes and ranks at or near the top of its leaderboards at any given time. He has been an early investor in over 50 companies, including Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, and Alibaba. Tim writes a hugely popular blog and has spoken in front of millions of people, whether on TV or to organizations like Google, MIT, Microsoft, and Palantir.

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Apr 11, 2020
It’s Okay To Ask For Help
159

It’s the strongest and the most helpful among us that often have the most trouble asking for help. The frontline responders know that their duty is to rush toward the bang, while others run away. A parent knows that they put their own interests and needs behind those of their children. The person who others rely on to be cheerful and fun can feel like they have no one to express their sorrow and pain to. 

Yes, a Stoic is strong. Yes, a Stoic is brave. Yes, a Stoic does their duty—without complaint, without hesitation. A Stoic carries the load, and willingly carries the load for others when necessary. But they also have to be able to ask for help. Because sometimes that’s the strongest and bravest thing to do

“Don’t be ashamed to need help,” Marcus Aurelius wrote. “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?”

Exactly. So what? You’re not looking for a handout. You’re looking for advice. You’re not looking to be exempted. You’re getting your wounds treated so you can get back into the fight. You’re not looking to get an unfair advantage over anyone else. You’re taking advantage of the opportunities that were designed for precisely the situation you’re in. 

If you need a minute, ask. If you need a helping hand, ask. If you need reassurance, ask. If you need a favor, ask. If you need therapy, go. If you need to start over, go for it. If you need to lean on someone or something, do it. 

We’re in this mission together. We’re comrades. It’s okay to ask for help. If it makes you better, it’s the right thing to do. 

Apr 10, 2020
In Any Event, Do Your Best
182

Look: none of us are truly self-sufficient. The success of a salesman depends on whether they’ve been given a good product and solid leads. The project manager is only as good as the projects her bosses give her to manage and the employees she decides to hire to work on them. The movie needs a marketing budget if it is to have a chance to build an audience. An athlete’s performance is shaped by their coaching, the teammates the GM gives them, and the resources the organization provides for winning. How a general fares on the battlefield depends on the support of the nation behind them and the courage of their troops. 

It does not take much to say that history is replete with examples of these critical ingredients not being provided. All sorts of sales teams and armies and athletes being given only a fraction of what they need. The draftee—in sports or in the service—reports to find that morale is crap and the facilities are falling apart. The executive lacks the budget or the direction they need. 

And? And what should they do? Quit? Whine? Get comfortable with defeat? No. They must say to themselves and their team, as MacArthur did in World War II, looking at the woefully deficient resources provided to him in the Pacific, “In any event, I shall do my best. I shall keep the soldier’s faith.” He said it and then he got to work. He fought island by island, until in the end and despite the odds, victory was his. It was a victory for free people everywhere. 

The Stoics knew a thing or two about lost causes. They knew about low probabilities. They never let that stop them. Cato gave everything he had, despite what many saw as the inevitable rise of Caesar, to preserve the Roman Republic...and very nearly pulled it off. Washington sat in Valley Forge at the lowest point of the American Revolution, poorly supplied by Congress, undermined by his generals, and put on a play about Cato to inspire him and his men to keep going. Stockdale resisted his captors for nearly a decade, doing his best under incredible circumstances, keeping the soldier’s faith in his country, his soldiers, and himself. 

You can’t do the same? You think you’re entitled to give less than your all because someone else has let you down? Because things are not to your liking? 

C’mon. 

Apr 09, 2020
You Don’t Control When, You Do Control How
176

As we’ve discussed, one could look out at the world right now and see a lot of negative. Or you could grab the other handle, as Epictetus says, and see the positive. It’s an open question: Is this a great time to be alive or a terrible one? Are we blessed to have spent twenty years without any major wars, without any truly global crises, with sustained periods of economic prosperity and incredible technological advances? Or has it been twenty years with three major recessions, with the terror of terrorism, disruptive or disappointing tech, and now with a global pandemic?

Here’s the Stoic’s answer: It doesn’t matter. Because you don’t control when you live. What history will think of this period compared to other periods is meaningless. The only thing that counts is that you’re alive right now. 

We don’t choose when we live, we choose how we live. That’s it. You didn’t ask for this moment. Maybe you’d prefer things to be different. Well...they aren’t. And you’re going to have to make do. Understand this and you will be wise. Adhere to it and you will be successful. 

How can we make the most of right now? That’s the question. How can we live well within—or in spite—of what’s happening? That’s our job. You think Marcus wanted to live through the plague or Epictetus in a time where slavery existed or Seneca during Nero’s rule? Nope. But they figured it out. They made it work. 

And so can you. 

Apr 08, 2020
When You’re Going Through Hell, Do This…
242

When Seneca was exiled, he wanted to give up, but he didn’t. He wrote. He prepared for the opportunity that would eventually come. When Musonius Rufus was exiled, he did the same. He kept himself busy not just with writing, but by discovering a natural spring on the island he was trapped on, one that provided for inhabitants who had long been without fresh water. When Epictetus was born into slavery, he endured it for thirty years until his freedom finally came. When the plague fell upon Rome during Marcus’s reign, he found a way to create and keep a new normal, for all fifteen years of it. 

In each case, these Stoics were in a kind of hell. But you know what they did? They did what you’re supposed to do when you find yourself going through hell: They kept going. 

Which is what we have to do today, through this pandemic and all that life throws at us. We have to keep going. We have to find a new normal. We have to find things to focus on. We have to find ways to do good for others. We have to keep busy. We can also follow this help list of rules from Austin Kleon (who has a wonderful book by the same title):

  1.  Every day is Groundhog Day.
  2.  Build a bliss station.
  3.  Forget the noun, do the verb.
  4.  Make gifts.
  5.  The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary
  6.  Slay the art monsters.
  7.  You’re allowed to change your mind.
  8.  When in doubt, tidy up.
  9.  Demons hate fresh air.
  10.  Plant your garden.

Most of all, we have to follow Churchill’s advice to KBO: Keep buggering on. Just keep going. You’ll get through this.

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Apr 07, 2020
Now Is The Time For Heroes
163

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. 

Apr 06, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: The Four Stoic Virtues
437

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/FourVirtues

This 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. 

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Apr 05, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Chris Guillebeau
2723

In this super-sized edition of Ask Daily Stoic, Ryan talks about his visit to Nashville Masterminds and has a Q+A with Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity and visitor to all 193 countries in the world.

Apr 04, 2020
We’re Part of This Beautiful Tradition
205

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. 

Apr 03, 2020
The Way, The Enemy and The Key
182

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 waythere 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 enemyno 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

Apr 02, 2020
From The Past, We Are Able To Tell The Future
228

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. 

Apr 01, 2020
How a Few Can Help The Many
228

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 Lacedaemonians

Here 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. 

Mar 31, 2020
These Are The Three Most Important Words of Wisdom
158

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…

Mar 30, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Should I Watch The News
553

Ryan discusses the merits of watching the news, and how to tune out distractions, with Steven Pressfield.

Mar 29, 2020
Alive Time or Dead Time. What Will It Be?
217

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 action

So 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."

Mar 28, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic - How Do I Use Stoicism To Fend Off Negativity?
1239

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.

Mar 28, 2020
When Things Are Tough, Remember This
204

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. 

Mar 27, 2020
No One Escapes This Law
203

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. 

Mar 26, 2020
We All Have Flaws… What Matters is What We Do With Them
316

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. 

Mar 25, 2020
You Can Seize This Moment
310

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

Mar 24, 2020
The World Is Trying To Teach You
170

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. 

Mar 23, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: You Don’t Control What Happens, You Control How You Respond
569

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.

Mar 22, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Keeping Calm About Coronavirus
1536

In this week's Saturday episode, Ryan discusses the coronavirus pandemic and how to deal with it like a Stoic.

Mar 21, 2020
You Should Always Find Something to Learn
189

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. 

Mar 20, 2020
This Is One Thing You Must Not Do
174

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. 

Mar 19, 2020
When the System Breaks Down, Leaders Stand Up
713

It began in the East. At least, that’s what the experts think. Maybe it came from animals. Maybe it was the Chinese. Maybe it was a curse from the gods. 

One thing is certain: it radiated out east, west, north, and south, crossing borders, then oceans, as it overwhelmed the world. The only thing that spread faster than the contagion was the fear and the rumors. People panicked. Doctors were baffled. Government officials dawdled and failed. Travel was delayed or rerouted or aborted altogether. Festivals, gatherings, sporting events—all cancelled. The economy plunged. Bodies piled up.

The institutions of government proved very fragile indeed. 

We’re talking, of course, about the Antonine Plague of 165 CE, a global pandemic with a mortality rate of between 2-3%, which began with flu-like symptoms until it escalated and became gruesome and painfully fatal. Millions were infected. Between 10 and 18 million people eventually died. 

It shouldn’t surprise us that an ancient pestilence—one that spanned the entire reign of Marcus Aurelius—feels so, well, modern. As Marcus would write in his diary at some point during this horrible plague, history has a way of repeating itself. “To bear in mind constantly that all of this has happened before,” he said in Meditations. “And will happen again—the same plot from beginning to end, the identical staging. Produce them in your mind, as you know them from experience or from history: the court of Hadrian, of Antoninus. The courts of Philip, Alexander, Croesus. All just the same. Only the people different.”

This pattern of disease is nauseatingly familiar. It’s a pattern that has repeated itself like a fractal across history. Indeed, we could be talking about the Bubonic Plague (aka the Black Death), the Spanish Flu of 1918, or the cholera pandemics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, just as easily as we are talking about the Antonine Plague and thinking about the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the globe. As Marcus would say, all we’d have to do is change a few dates and names.

It can be a very jarring mental exercise for some—thinking about the way the history of disease repeats itself—because we like to view the evolution of human civilization as moving inevitably in some new, unique direction. We like to see history as steady progress. Then when bad things happen, when catastrophe strikes, we feel like the world is coming apart. We suffocate ourselves with breathless shouting about the sky falling and give ourselves heart attacks over not being prepared for what is to come. 

It’s the same story, unfolded as if from an ancient script, written on the double helix of human DNA. We make the same mistakes. Succumb to the same fears. Endure the same grief and pain… then eventually exult in the same heroism, the same relief, and hopefully, the same kind of emergent leadership

And that, really, is the key to survival, to persevering for the better: Just because history repeats itself is not an excuse to throw up your hands and give yourself up to the whims of Fortune. The Stoics say over and over that it is inexcusable not to learn from the past. “For this is what makes us evil,” once wrote Seneca, who lived two generations before Marcus and watched Rome burn. “We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from our past.” 

Read the rest at https://dailystoic.com/marcus-aurelius-leadership-during-a-pandemic/

Mar 18, 2020
Your Obstacles Are Trying To Teach You Something
228

One way to go through life is to turn away from the things that are hard. You can close your eyes and ears to what is unpleasant. You can take the easy way, forgoing difficulty whenever possible. The other way is the Stoic way—it entails not only not avoiding hardship, but actively seeking it out.

In the novel Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar has Hadrian write to young Marcus Aurelius about his philosophy for learning and benefiting from all of life’s adversity and unpleasantness. “Whenever an object repelled me,” he says, “I made it a subject of study, ingeniously compelling myself to extract from it a motive for enjoyment. If faced with something unforeseen or near cause for despair, like an ambush or a storm at sea, after all measures for the safety of others had been taken, I strove to welcome this hazard, to rejoice in whatever it brought me of the new and unexpected, and thus without shock the ambush or the tempest was incorporated into my plans, or my thoughts. Even in the throes of my worst disaster, I have seen a moment when sheer exhaustion reduced some part of the horror of the experience, and when I made the defeat a thing of my own in being willing to accept it.” 

Of course, this is fiction so Hadrian never said such a thing. But clearly somebody taught Marcus a lesson along those lines, because Meditations is filled with similar passages. Marcus writes about how a fire turns everything that is thrown into it into flame. He says that obstacles are actually fuel. “The impediment to action advances action,” he writes, “what stands in the way becomes the way.”

It’s a beautiful way to approach the world—and ultimately, the only one suited for our unpredictable and stressful times. To avoid difficulty would mean complete retreat from life. It would mean hiding in ignorance. Worse, this would make you dreadfully vulnerable to crisis if it did ever find you. Instead, we must strive—as Hadrian said—to welcome hazard. We can rejoice in the unexpected and even turn failure into something by deciding to own it. We can learn from unpleasantness and even soften our aversions. 

This will not be easy. But that’s fitting, isn’t it? We are not naturally attracted to obstacles...which is precisely why we must work on finding out how to like them. This is the way.

Great news: The Obstacle is the Way, just went on sale for $1.99 as an ebook in the US and Canada (and £3.32 in the UK). Get your copy of this #1 bestseller, read and absorbed by everyone from politicians and generals to head coaches and athletes, today.

And that's not all: to help you keep the book's message close at hand, we're offering a 20% discount on our Obstacle is the Way coin and pendant at the Daily Stoic store (use code OBSTACLEDISCOUNT). Mar 17, 2020

We Need You To Be Bold
267

On the Roman calendar, March 15th was known as the Ides of March—once most notable as the year’s deadline for settling debts. That changed in 44 BC when Julius Caesar walked into the Theatre of Pompey for a routine meeting with the Roman Senate. Caesar was then at his apotheosis. He had made himself Dictator Perpetuo. He was about to embark on a three year expedition, which, if successful, would, as Plutarch wrote, “complete this circuit of his empire, which would then be bounded on all sides by the ocean." 

All of Rome hung on what would happen next. Would he name himself king? Would he destroy his remaining enemies? Would Rome destroy itself? Would it be content to be yoked under a tyrant?

We don’t know, because it was yesterday 2,064 years ago that Brutus, Cato’s son-in-law, and his wife, Porcia, took matters into their own hands. Soon, Caesar was dead. What remained was a bloody Civil War in which the Roman Republic was nearly restored. It didn’t quite go the way that Brutus hoped. Cato himself was not quite successful in his attempt to rally the Roman people to stand up to their traditions. But the example remains in history as a partly inspiring, partly cautionary tale: Can an individual change the course of history? Can things blow up in our faces? 

Yes. The answer is yes to both. 

That’s basically the complicated arc of Conspiracy, which tells the story of Peter Thiel's quixotic, bold, desperate, deranged, inspiring (your pick) plot to take down Gawker Media, the gossip blog that had outed him, that he felt had become too powerful. 

The knock against the Stoics—one repeated by Thiel himself once or twice—is that they are too resigned, that they accept the status quo. This would have been surprising to Rome’s emperors, from Julius Caesar to Nero to Galba and Domitian, who were all convinced that the Stoics were plotting against them. It is almost ironic that Marcus Aurelius became the Stoic philosopher king, because nearly every single one of his predecessors believed that the Stoics were seeking to destroy the monarchy entirely. No one thought that Cato or Thrasea or Musonius Rufus were passive. They feared them. They believed they were radicals who sought to change things. 

With yesterday being the anniversary of the Ides of March, we challenge you to think about where that spirit has gone. We could use more boldness, and less passivity. We could use more vision, courage, creativity, a sense of justice, a willingness to try and fail, to risk and hope. We could use more people courageous enough to reject the status quo and fight for change they believe in. 

We could use more people trying. 

Mar 16, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: Four Strategies for Reading Better
593

Ryan talks about how you can improve your reading skill and get more from the books you love.

Mar 15, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Austin Kleon
1783

Ryan chats with Austin Kleon, author of great books like Steal Like An Artist.

Mar 14, 2020
You Must Be a Good Example
155

Think of the pressure Marcus Aurelius must have been under. Not just of the temptations and the corruptions of power, but all the eyes that were on him. Forget the judgments of history, there was literally an “emperor cult” in Rome that worshipped the man on the throne as a god to be sacrificed to and prayed for. 

What we know is that Marcus took this pressure seriously. He strove to live up to the expectations and the dignity of his position, even if many of his predecessors had not. “Let people see someone living naturally,” he reminded himself in Meditations 10:15, “and understand what that means.” And in Meditations 10:16, that’s where he writes his famous line to stop talking about what a good person is like and just be one. 

But what’s interesting is that while Marcus more or less lived up to this pressure, he claimed to be doing it for himself, not for other people. Actually the second half of the line in 10:15 talks about how he’s fine being killed for what he believes in, if people don’t understand it. He’s doing right because it’s right, not because people are watching. It’s sort of like that Chris Rock line about being a role model: Don’t not beat your wife because you’re a role model for young people, don’t do it because it’s wrong!

Remember what Marcus said about not expecting the “third thing”—that is, gratitude or acknowledgment. Be a good role model because you’re a good person, because you’ve trained yourself to like and enjoy being good. Be a good role model because that’s what this philosophy demands of you, because that’s what life is demanding of you. That it might help other people, that you are teaching your children or your audience at the same time? That’s extra. 

Don’t talk about being a good role model. Be one. 

Mar 13, 2020
How Prepared Are You To Start Over?
215

The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig experienced both incredible good fortune and misfortune in his life. He was born into wealth; he met some of the great minds of his time, from Freud to Arthur Schnitzler; he traveled extensively and became Europe’s bestselling novelist. And in that span, he also experienced two terrible world wars and was driven from his home by Hitler’s antisemitism; first fleeing to England, then later going to the U.S, before finally starting his life over again in Brazil, where he spent the last two years of his life. 

One would think that someone who had experienced so many good times in his first fifty years, would be unprepared for difficulty in his final ten. Not so with Zweig. During his many years of delightful and luxurious travel, he liked to play an interesting game—one very similar to a practice that Seneca had

As soon as Zweig arrived in a new city—no matter how distant—he would pretend that he’d just moved there and desperately needed a job. He would go from store to store, checking to see if they were hiring. He’d read the help wanted ads in the newspaper. He would often go all the way through the hiring process until he got an offer. Offer in hand, he would then walk out and enjoy his trip, feeling the pride and comfort of knowing he could handle starting from scratch if he had to. 

Seneca’s version of this was to practice poverty once per month. He’d wear his worst clothes and eat the cheapest food. He’d sleep on the ground. The point was to get up close and personal with the thing most of us secretly and subconsciously fear: losing everything. Being poor. Having nothing. 

There is immense value in these practices. For fears that we have faced are less scary than those we can only speculate about. Uncertainties we have practiced are more confidently endured when they come to pass. The less unfamiliar misfortune is, the less power it will have over us. That’s what premeditatio malorum is about. That’s why we must, as Seneca said, keep all the terms of the human lot before our mind—exile, war, torture, grief, pain. 

Because they happen. They did happen to Zweig, who had his possessions and his livelihood stolen by the Nazis (and yet managed to do some of his best writing in exile). We must be ready. We must know the fear, so that we may not be afraid when the worst finally comes. 

Mar 12, 2020
You Should Always Find Something To Do
153

There was time to kill in Rome, just as there is today. A dinner started late. A meeting got cancelled. Travel delays meant being stuck in this place or that place for a couple days. Something would break and someone would need to go into town for supplies. The impulse then, as now, when faced with these kinds of situations, was to just wait. Or complain. Or mess around. 

We all do it, writing stuff off as dead time, as we’ve talked about before. It’s a rather presumptuous thing to do, though, if you think about it. We kill time as time is literally killing us. Who says you’ll get more moments? Can you really afford to let any be wasted?

Cato the Elder was built of that sturdy, original Roman stock. He didn’t put up with laziness or poor productivity. He didn’t tolerate it from his workers or his family or himself. As he wrote in On Agriculture, there is no excuse for just sitting around.  =“In rainy weather,” Cato advised, “try to find something to do indoors. Clean up, rather than be idle. Remember that even though work stops, expenses run on nonetheless.” 

We can always find something to do, even when our original intention or plan is thwarted (that’s what the obstacle is the way means). We can read. We can think. We can clean up and prepare. We can squeeze in a few minutes of work while we sit in the waiting room. We can turn a rainy day into a family day. 

There is always something to do. You can’t afford for there not to be.

Mar 11, 2020
You Might Never Be Famous — And That’s O.K.
193

Marcus Aurelius talked a lot about fame. He called it a worthless clacking of tongues and liked to point out things like how few people remember the emperors who preceded him, or how the generations to come will be the same annoying people he knows now. It’s easy to picture him writing these things in times where he caught himself falling for the allure of fame, of power, of how history might remember him. 

Don’t we all fall for it? It is alluring. But if we’re honest with ourselves, it isn’t the fame we really want. it’s the validation that our lives are meaningful. Praise, recognition, millions of followers on Instagram, we think, are proof that we matter. And until we get those things, we’re not always so sure we do.

Emily Esfahani Smith wrote an amazing piece in the New York Times, titled “You’ll Never Be Famous — And That’s O.K.”. Reminding us of Marcus in the way Emily too said that fame is a foolish pursuit and not where meaning lies, we reached out to her for an interview. We asked Emily for advice on finding meaning—and how Stoicism can help us get there. She shared the opinion of the 20th-century psychologist Erik Erikson, who said that a flourishing, meaningful life is one of “generativity”: 

“When we’re young, we’re supposed to figure out who we are and what our purpose is. As we get older, we’re supposed to shift the focus from ourselves to others and be ‘generative.’ That is, we’re supposed to give back, especially to younger generations, by doing things like raising children, mentoring colleagues, creating things of value for our community or society at large, volunteering, etc. We each have the power to be generative. Fame and glamour are about the self—aggrandizing yourself. But generativity is about connecting and contributing to something bigger, which is the very definition of leading a meaningful life.”

It’s the Rick Warren line, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” There’s that silly thing that floats around the internet from time to time about how few people can name a gold medalist from the last Winter Olympics, but everyone can name that third grade teacher, that childhood neighbor, who changed your life. It’s the people we touch singularly. That’s the real test. That’s where you make your mark. 

Let that be today’s great and simple pursuit: positively impact one person’s day. That’s it. 

Mar 10, 2020
Why Anger Might Be The Worst Vice
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There are many different vices out there. It’s long been a debate amongst priests and philosophers if some are worse than others, or if they are all created equal. Even amongst the Stoics there was some debate—were all sins the same? Was being or doing wrong a matter of degree, or was it black and white?

It’s one of those things that vexes philosophers but is obvious to normal people. Of course some vices are worse than others. Of course there is a grey area! Welcome to life, genius. 

Seneca eventually concurred. As he writes in Of Anger, anger must rank fairly high on the list of vices because it has so few redeeming qualities. “It’s a worse sin than luxury,” he says, “since that is enjoyed by personal pleasure, whereas anger takes joy in another’s pain.” Malice and envy are similar, he said, because they are about wanting other people to be unhappy, not just yourself. Anger and envy are about inflicting harm on others, not just on oneself.  

Point being: It’s better to be a little bit Epicurean (that is, to enjoy some pleasure) than it is to be an asshole. If you’re going to sin or give in to vice, make sure it only ruins your life. Make sure it’s something internal, not something like anger—which inevitably makes itself felt by the people around you. 

To sin, to fall short, is one thing. To punish innocent people? Well, that’s even worse.

Mar 09, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: How a Stoic Deals with Bad News
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Ryan describes how a Stoic can deal with bad news—and not just move past it, but use it to fuel their success.

Mar 08, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: How Does a Stoic Deal with Aggressive People?
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Ryan talks about the new Daily Stoic offices, reads a selection from The Obstacle is the Way, and answers your questions.

Mar 07, 2020
Wisdom is the Most Important Virtue
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Courage. Temperance. Justice. These are the critical virtues of life. But what situations call for courage? What is the right amount? What is the right thing? This is where the final and essential virtue comes in: Wisdom. The knowing. The learning. The experience required to navigate the world. 

Wisdom has always been prized by the Stoics. Zeno said that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason: to listen more than we talk. And since we have two eyes, we are obligated to read and observe more than we talk as well. 

It is key today, as it was in the ancient world, to  be able to distinguish between the vast aggregations of information that lay out there at your disposal—and the actual wisdom that you need to live a good life. It’s key that we study, that we keep our minds open always. You cannot learn that which you think you already know, Epictetus said. It’s true. 

Which is why we need to not only be humble students but also seek out great teachers. It’s why we should always be reading. It’s why we cannot stop training. It’s why we have to be diligent in filtering out the signal from the noise. 

Our goal is not just to acquire information, but the right kind of information. It’s the lessons found in Meditations, in everything from the actual Epictetus to James Stockdale entering the world of Epictetus. It’s the key facts, standing out from the background noise, that you need to absorb.

Thousands of years of blazing insight are available to the world. It is likely that you have the power to learn anything you want at your fingertips. So today, honor the Stoic virtue of wisdom by slowing down, being deliberate, and finding the wisdom you need.

Two eyes, two ears, one mouth. Remain a student. Act accordingly—and wisely. 

Keep the four Stoic virtues in mind—courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom. The fact is, they are all important, and you can’t neglect any one of them in trying to live virtuously. Study how best to embody each one as is called for, and you’ll be making good progress. 

When you find yourself wondering what the right course of action is, pick the options that are most in accordance with the virtuous path they mark. It’s how you live successfully and happily.

P.S. The Daily Stoic has released our Four Virtues Medallion—on the front, a seal depicting each of the Four Virtues; on the back, a reminder to always rely on them. Check it out here.

Mar 06, 2020
Justice: The Most Important Virtue
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Being brave. Finding the right balance. These are core Stoic virtues, but in their seriousness, they pale in comparison to what the Stoics worshipped most highly: Doing the right thing. 

There is no Stoic virtue more important than justice, because it influences all the others. Marcus Aurelius himself said that justice is “the source of all the other virtues.” Stoics throughout history have pushed and advocated for justice, oftentimes at great personal risk and with great courage, in order to do great things and defend the people and ideas that they loved. 

  • Cato gave his life trying to restore the Roman Republic.
  • And Thrasea and Agrippinus gave theirs resisting the tyranny of Nero.
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson formed a new nation—one which would seek, however imperfectly, to fight for democracy and justice—largely inspired by the philosophy of Cato and those other Stoics.
  • Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a translator of Epictetus, led a black regiment of troops in the US Civil War.
  • Beatrice Webb, who helped to found the London School of Economics and who first conceptualized the idea of collective bargaining, regularly re-read Marcus Aurelius.

Countless other activists and politicians have turned to Stoicism to gird them against the difficulty of fighting for ideals that mattered, to guide them towards what was right in a world of so much wrong. A Stoic must deeply believe that an individual can make a difference. Successful activism and political maneuvering require understanding and strategy, as well as realism… and hope. It requires wisdom, acceptance and also a refusal to accept the statue quo. 

It was James Baldwin who most brilliantly captured this tension in Notes of a Native Son:

It began to seem that one would have to hold in mind forever two ideas which seemed to be in opposition. The first idea was acceptance, the acceptance, totally without rancor, of life as it is, and men as they are: in light of this idea it goes without saying that injustice is commonplace. But this did not mean that one could be complacent, for the second idea was of equal power: that one must never, in one’s own life, accept these injustices as commonplace but one must fight them with all one’s strength.

A Stoic sees the world clearly...but also sees clearly what the world can be. And then they are brave, and strategic enough to help bring it into reality. 

Check out the Daily Stoic’s new Four Virtues Medallion here.

Mar 05, 2020
Temperance is the Most Important Virtue
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Yesterday we discussed the Four Virtues, and talked about the primacy of courage. Of course, life is not so simple as to say that courage is all the counts. While everyone would admit that courage is essential, we are also all well aware of people whose bravery turns to recklessness and becomes a fault when they begin to endanger themselves and others. 

This is where Aristotle comes in. Aristotle actually used courage as the main example in his famous metaphor of a “Golden Mean.” On one end of the spectrum, he said, there was cowardice—that’s a deficiency of courage. On the other, there was recklessness—too much courage. What was called for, what we required then, was a golden mean. The right amount.

That’s what Temperance or moderation is about: Doing nothing in excess. Doing the right thing in the right amount in the right way. 

In Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian, the emperor Hadrian writes to Marcus Aurelius that “overeating is a Roman vice.” He explains that far too many of his fellow citizens “poison themselves with spice” and drown their plates in rich sauces. The result? They overwhelm their palates—and themselves. By succumbing to excess, they lose the ability to appreciate things and throw themselves off keel.

To Hadrian, simple pleasures were better. He tells Marcus that “moderation has always been my delight.” And not just when it comes to dinner. Fitness, being in good fighting form to face the challenges of each day, was critical, yet working out to the point of fanaticism was a step too far. That means refraining from both indolence and overexertion, cutting the middle course between the two poles to find that Golden Mean where one is neither over nor underprepared, but simply ready

So today and every day, remember the Stoic admonition to find the middle ground. Do not adhere to one extreme or the other; make temperance your goal in every part of your life, and your future self will thank you for it.

The Daily Stoic has just released our Four Virtues Medallion, featuring temperance, courage, justice, and wisdom. Everything we face in life is an opportunity to respond with these four traits. Learn more here.

Mar 04, 2020
Courage is the Most Important Virtue
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The Stoics believed that a life well lived was one which always countered adversity with virtue. And they believed in four aspects of virtue: courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom. Each and every situation calls for one or more of these four Stoic virtues, and nothing in life exempts us from their power. 

Today, we begin with one of the most important: Courage. 

If you’ve read Cormac McCarthy’s dark and beautiful novel All the Pretty Horses, you’ll remember the key question that Emilio Perez asks John Grady, one that cuts to the core of life and what we all must do to live a life worth living.

“The world wants to know if you have cojones. If you are brave?”

The Stoics might have phrased this a bit differently. Seneca would say that he actually pitied people who have never experienced misfortune. “You have passed through life without an opponent,” he said, “No one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.”

The world wants to know what category to put you in, which is why it will occasionally send difficult situations your way. Think of these not as inconveniences or even tragedies but as opportunities, as questions to answers. Do I have cojones? Am I brave? Am I going to face this problem or run away from it? Will I stand up or be rolled over?

Let your actions etch a response into the record—and let them remind you of why courage is the most important thing.


Mar 03, 2020
You Can Make This A Game...and Win
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The Stoics said it over and over: the most important thing to remember about pain and suffering is that it is inevitable. It can’t be avoided, so don’t make it worse by fearing it, worrying about whether it will come, wondering how bad it will be. Seneca’s line was that we suffer more in imagination than in reality. The essential insight from Epictetus was: It’s not things that upset us, it’s our opinion about them. And Marcus Aurelius too: If you choose to feel like you’ve been harmed, you have been. 

At just eight years old, Verity Smith was told that, due to a rare genetic disorder, she would soon lose her eyesight. She didn’t have a choice. She would be blind. All that was left to her was how she would respond to this demand of fate. In our interview with Verity, we asked her to take us back to that diagnosis and how she came to terms, mentally and emotionally, with the painful realities of losing her vision. Her answer is extraordinary:

I saw going blind as a challenge, a game...I understood that the darkness was coming and that it would steal the faces of those I loved and the views of the landscapes I lived in, but in my innocence, I set to work filling my memory with images that would never fade. It was a game against the clock. My challenge was to drink in every sight, to exercise every sense and to become good at being blind before the lights went out. With my bedroom curtains drawn and a blindfold on, I would rearrange my furniture in order to practice navigating through self-imposed blackouts. Being a practical child, I figured the best way to overcome my coming blindness was to learn how to get good at being blind…I began to understand the power of my thoughts—how if the sky was grey I could color it in blue in my mind’s eye, how I could paint the beautiful horizon upon the canvas of the dullest of views. The world became multi-dimensional. As my eyes went to sleep my other senses awoke.

When adversity struck, Marcus liked to remind himself, “It’s unfortunate that this has happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it...It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it.” 

Not everyone would choose to see something so unfair as a game, like Verity did. Not everyone could do that, as she did. So in that sense, it is fortunate that it happened to her. Certainly, what she managed to make of it is incredibly impressive and fortunate. Since being unable to compete in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games, Verity has been training hard for the 2020 games in Tokyo. In 2017, she was ranked 12th in France at the Elite Able-Bodied level and has recently been selected for the French Para Dressage Team. Aside from her plans to bring home a gold medal in 2020, Verity also hopes to become the first equestrian disabled athlete to represent her country as a member of both the Paralympic and Olympic teams. 

She made her situation a game...and became world class at playing it. That’s what a Stoic does. That’s what you can do, whatever you’re going through today or in the future. You choose how you respond. You choose what you will make of this. You don’t have to suffer. 

Mar 02, 2020
Daily Stoic Sundays: How to Have Your Best Week Yet
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Ryan uses eight Stoic lessons to teach us how to have the best week ever.

Mar 01, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Guest Starring Steven Pressfield
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This week's extra-long Saturday episode of Ask Daily Stoic features Ryan talking about, and speaking with, author Steven Pressfield, writer of classic books such as The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, and The War of Art.

Feb 29, 2020
You Must Wash Away This Dust
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Life is a dirty, dusty affair. It was that way in Rome and it’s that way today. The puddle in the street splashes us. Someone else’s nasty mood sullies our demeanor. The heat makes us sweat. The news of the world makes us worried. We spill some food, we spill out some frustration. 

We wake up in the morning fresh and ready to go and by the end of the day, we are covered in dust. The dust of emotions, of work, of stress, of everything. 

The Stoics knew this and they knew also that it was critical to find ways to, as Marcus Aurelius put it, wash away the dust of earthly life. There were many ways to do this, literally and figuratively. Seneca noted that Socrates liked to play music and to play games with children to relax and have fun. Cato liked to have long meals over wine where philosophy was discussed. We also know from stories that he would frequent Roman baths, as did Seneca, where the grime of the city could be scrubbed away, but where also they might have some time to think. Even that observation from Marcus Aurelius, in its fuller context, gives us an insight. Marcus was talking about washing away the dust of earthly life by taking a moment to look up at the stars at night. And where was he “talking” about this? In the journal where he often retreated to clear his mind and his soul; where he could find solace and hold himself accountable at the same time. Stoicism and journaling—as we show in The Daily Stoic Journal—are hard to separate for that reason. 

The question for you, today and always, is how are you washing yourself clean and clear? Do you have a fun hobby? Do you meditate? Is it a weekly therapy session? Is it swimming laps? Maybe it’s the time after the kids go to bed when you and your spouse read and talk? Maybe it’s a morning walk or an evening prayer?

It certainly can’t be just two weeks of vacation every year. It can’t just be a shower every couple days. It has to be a practice. It has to be a process. This is a dirty, dusty world we live in. And without ritual cleaning, even the purest and strongest souls will become filthy and corrupted. 

Feb 28, 2020
You Are A God
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The Stoic writings alternate between reminding us of our humility and our power. For humility, we have the concept of amor fati, for example—we should learn to love our fate, “good or bad” because we’re powerless to do anything about it. And with equal sincerity, Marcus Aurelius reminds himself that if something is humanly possible, he should believe he is capable of doing it. 


Humility and power. Power and humility. It’s not a contradiction. It’s a balance. On some days we need a reminder of the former, and on other days, the latter. Today, let’s do the latter. How’s this: The Stoics believed each of us was a god. As Cicero writes in his dialog, Scipio’s Dream

“The true self of each person is the mind. Know therefore that you are a god. For a god is someone who moves, who feels, who remembers, who looks to the future, who rules over and guides and directs the body he is master of, just as that Supreme God directs the universe. And just as this eternal God controls the universe, which is partly mortal, so too your eternal spirit directs your fragile body.” 

It’s a pump-me-up that should have you ready to run through walls this morning. Sure, we are powerless over so much. We can be tossed around by the oceans, we can be struck down by disease, we’re not even as strong as a small chimpanzee. But over our own mind? There we have god-like powers. There, we are supreme masters. There we can direct and control the world like those mythical beings from Mt. Olympus. 

You’re a god. Know that. Now use that power wisely. Go do something that matters with it. 

Feb 27, 2020
Repeat These Three Words To Yourself Constantly
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“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams once said, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” How true it is. It’s an idea that goes to the very essence of what Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and Epictetus spend so much time talking about.

Reality is a stubborn thing. As much as we might want events to go or be one way, this has little bearing on the way they are. We wish we had been born tall, to a rich or royal family, we wish that special someone we fell head over heels in love with would return the feeling (or be the person we idealized them to be in our hearts) and yet, that is not how things are. We put in the work and yet, somehow, the person who was less talented won. We held our nose and voted for one candidate and, still, somehow the greater of two evils ended up winning. 

What do we do? It’s so unfair. It’s so frustrating. It’s just not right. Yet, yet, yet...

In ex-Marine Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn, a novel based on his experience fighting in the Vietnam War, the line, “There it is,” appears nearly thirty times, spoken by different characters. Your post Ivy League graduation plans were thwarted by a war? There it is. You have no experience leading a platoon of marines? There it is. You don’t get to sleep for two days because of an enemy invasion? There it is. 

Life is “There it is.” Stoicism is an acknowledgement of that fact, it’s a coping mechanism and a response to this fact. That’s what Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius and Seneca were all talking about in their own way: How to make the most of a world to which most of what happens is not up to us and, in fact, seems to go contrary to how we would choose if it were. 

We can get angry and announce our disapproval. We can throw our hands up, curse the sky, and tell whoever will listen about how unfair this or that is. But as much as we argue, we can’t alter reality. So, we must embrace it. We must love it. All of it. Amor fati. “There it is.” 

And then do our best. And then make the most of it.

Feb 26, 2020
You Must Read… and Re-Read
180

It’s no secret that John Adams is one of history’s brilliant minds. He was widely respected as a lawyer, a politician, a president, and as a husband, a father, and a friend. But for all this, he was often overwhelmed by anguish, despair, discontent, loneliness, doubt, fear, uncertainty, and the rest. “I can as easily still the fierce tempests or stop the rapid thunderbolt,” he once lamented in his journal, “as command the motions and operations of my own mind.” 

Like many of us, Adams longed for stillness, for “tranquility of mind,” vowing to one day “wear out of my mind every mean and base affection.” But it was a long time coming—indeed, it nearly came too late. 

In 1819, the year after the death of his treasured wife of fifty-four years, the devastated Adams turned to Cicero’s essay on growing old gracefully, De Senectute. It was an essay he had read “for seventy years, to the point of nearly knowing it by heart,” but somehow, now, in the quiet stillness, he found something new in it. As he wrote:

I never delighted much in contemplating commas and colons, or in spelling or measuring syllables; but now...if I attempt to look at these little objects, I find my imagination, in spite of all my exertions, roaming in the Milky Way, among the nebulae, those mighty orbs, and stupendous orbits of suns, planets, satellites, and comets, which compose the incomprehensible universe.


It was as if, now, having slowed down, having experienced so much, that he was seeing things differently. In short, he noticed what he had missed before—by reading and re-reading, he found something he had missed all those previous times. When Marcus Aurelius quoted Heraclitus—about how we can never step in the same river twice—this is what he was encouraging. We cannot content ourselves with first impressions or encounters, we must constantly revisit everything. Revisit the pages of books, revisit the sights we have overlooked, revisit the ordinary beauty of the world. 

It might take a lifetime for us to finally “get” it—but the stillness and the understanding will be worth it.

Feb 25, 2020
Don’t Be Zero-Sum
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Steven Pressfield, whose historically-driven novels about ancient Greece have sold millions of copies, wrote a recent post that posits that there are two kinds of people in the world—Zero-Sum and Non-Zero-Sum. 

Hitler was zero-sum. He believed that the Aryan race could only survive if it took from and eliminated other races. Abraham Lincoln was non-zero-sum. Yes, he believed that slavery was a horrible evil and needed to end, but he did not believe that the North needed to crush and destroy the South. In fact, his famous Second Inaugural Address is all about how both sides shared the blame and both could be redeemed by the suffering they had endured in this horrible Civil War. Martin Luther King was non-zero-sum. So were the Spartans at Thermopylae, who sacrificed their lives just to buy a little more time for their Greek allies to prepare. Almost all villains in history and in fiction, on the other hand, are zero-sum. They believed that someone else’s loss was their gain—and that their own pain justified the infliction of pain on other people. 

Over and over again in the Stoic writings we see reminders intended to nudge us towards seeing the world as non-zero-sum. If you want to find some good, Marcus Aurelius writes, all you have to do is look inside yourself—it’s just there ready to bubble up. Wherever there is another person, Seneca writes, we have an opportunity for kindness. The best revenge, Marcus writes, is to not be like the people who have wronged you. What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee. What is the concept of sympatheia but a realization that harming other people does not benefit you? That you can’t steal your way to prosperity or harm your way to happiness? 

And yet, so much of what we do is selfish and zero-sum. That’s why we lie. Or cheat. Or vote for politicians who promise to aggressively fight for our own interests, even if it means that other people will suffer terribly. 

Pressfield’s beautiful article is a call to a higher standard to all of us. It’s worth quoting the final sentences of it here in full:

In the non-zero-sum world, on the other hand, resources are infinite. The love a mother gives to her child (and that the child returns) grows greater, the more each loves. There is and can never be a shortage of love.

Compassion is infinite.

Integrity is infinite.

Faith is infinite.

Zero-sum versus non-zero-sum. Which point of view do you believe?
Feb 24, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: How Do You Recognize What's in Your Control?
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Ryan talks about speaking to service members at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Ryan reads a passage from Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit. You can also find these videos on the Daily Stoic YouTube channel.

Feb 22, 2020
Do What’s Right, Not What’s Easy
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It was a somber scene as the pallbearers marched down Pine Street carrying the coffin of General William Tecumseh Sherman on this day 129 years ago. It grew more somber still as the rain started to drizzle and then rain steadily. The temperatures dropped as the procession winded through the streets. Repeatedly along the seven mile walk, the former Confederate General Joe Johnston, then old and frail, but who had faced off in battle against Sherman many times, was asked if someone could take his place so that he might go inside and warm up. 

No, Johnson said, I’m fine. An aide suggested that he at least put on a hat to keep dry. Once again, Johnson refused. It would be impolite. It would be disrespectful to the dead. “If the positions were reversed,” he said, “Sherman would not do so.” So he continued to carry the coffin, bare-headed in the rain, in honor of his former enemy, the man who had beaten and dominated him.  

Marcus Aurelius wrote of how we should do the right thing, whether it’s cold or warm, whether we’re tired or well-rested, whether we’re despised or honored. Johnson faced each of these dilemmas that day. He was tired, he was cold, he could not have been been particularly popular with the thousands of Yankees who watched his labored steps. But he did what he thought was right— like his former opponent, he lived by a code and that was all that mattered. He wanted to pay his respects, even if it was inconvenient, even if it wasn’t fully understood. 

And he was willing to sacrifice more than just a few minutes of comfort to make that statement. Because at that funeral Joe Johnson caught pneumonia. Within a month, he was dead.


Feb 21, 2020
Who Can You Adopt?
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One of the most remarkable traditions of ancient Rome—and one for which we have no real modern analog—was the tradition of wealthy, successful families adopting and raising young men (sometimes women) to be their heir. Scipio Aemilianus, one of the early patrons of Stoicism, for instance, was adopted into the famous Scipio family, while his elder brother Quintus was adopted by the Fabii family, an equally grand legacy. 

Seneca was not adopted (nor did he adopt anyone), but his brother Novatus was adopted by Lucius Junius Gallio, an admired rhetorician, and eventually changed his name accordingly. You might be familiar with it, in fact, because Gallio—Seneca’s brother—appears in the Bible, having fairly adjudicated a legal case against the apostle Paul. Marcus Aurelius himself underwent a similar process when Hadrian (adopted by Trajan) adopted Antoninus who in turn adopted Marcus Aurelius. 

The point of today’s email is not to tell you to rush out and sign up to be a foster parent—although it would be wonderful if more people did this—but to suggest a more modern analogy. The process of choosing a promising young person, mentoring them, guiding their ascent into public life, looking out for them, helping pass along some of the advantages and wisdom you have accumulated—this is a timeless idea. It makes rational sense why fathers and mothers do this for their own children (and grandchildren) but it is truly beautiful when strangers do it for each other. When we help others get ahead not because they are our blood, but because we see something in them, or simply because we are in the privileged position of having such benefits to share. 

Remember, the Stoics believed that we were all in this thing together. That we were all part of the same hive, that we were all serving the same great cause—be it the empire, the nation, the human race—and therefore we are obligated to help others. To lend a hand. To adopt. To advocate for. To cultivate.

Feb 20, 2020
Why Be Angry About Something That’s Already Gone?
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It’s another mess. It’s not your fault, but you’re dealing with it. It’s another rude person— representing a company you are paying money to—who doesn’t seem to get how this is supposed to work. It’s another example of disrespect, or bias, or plain discrimination. It’s precisely the kind of thing that pisses you off. 

So you’re angry. It shouldn’t be like this. It doesn’t need to be like this. When will it stop?

The Stoics have an answer. It might not be the one you want to hear, but it’s an answer. The answer is that this will stop soon. It always does. Everything does. 

As Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations:

Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone — those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the ‘what’ is in constant flux, the ‘why’ has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us — a chasm whose depths we cannot see. So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation, either. As if the things that irritate us lasted.

This is one of the reasons the Stoics were big advocates of “the pause” (which we talk about in our Taming Your Temper course). Yes, this thing is angering you right now. But the truth is that it will be gone soon enough. And so will you for that matter

Life is short. Do you want to spend it being upset? Most problems resolve themselves. Most bad news is followed, eventually, by good news. Most frustrations lessen with time. Use that to your advantage. Don’t give them more substance and permanence than they deserve. Go with the flow. 

Don’t be angry. It’s pointless. 

Feb 19, 2020
How To Be Proven Wrong
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Imagine writing a book that sells millions of copies over the course of nearly a decade, and then, out of nowhere, another author comes along and challenges it. What would you do? 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s massive bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success, he posits that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is required to master any skill. Implicit in Gladwell’s argument is that success is the manifestation of specialization. If you want to be among the best at something, you have to focus solely on that singular skill. 

David Epstein first disputed the 10,000-hour rule in his book The Sports Gene. He was then invited to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to debate Gladwell on this topic of specialization. Neither they or their critics would have predicted the friendship that came out of the debate. But their discussions spawned the ideas that became Epstein’s second book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World—which doesn’t just challenge the 10,000-hour rule, it may well debunk it. How did Gladwell take it? As Epstein explained in our interview with him for DailyStoic.com:

He could have viewed our ideas as in zero-sum competition. But he didn’t. He viewed it as an opportunity to engage in more discussion—often politely antagonistic but very productive discussion—and consequently we learned from one another. [This] set in motion what became not only a really productive intellectual relationship for me, but also a model of how two people publicly associated with certain ideas can engage without forcing zero-sum competition.

Seneca deliberately read and immersed himself in the work of people he disagreed with. He frequently and unapologetically quotes Epicurus, the head of a rival philosophical school! Knowing this may be perceived as abandoning the writings of his avowed philosophical school, he often clarifies his intentions. “I am wont to cross over even into the enemy’s camp,” he explains, “not as a deserter, but as a scout.” Like Gladwell and Epstein, he didn’t view Epicurus’ ideas as in zero-sum competition with his own. They were a chance to learn. They were not an obstacle but an opportunity to broaden and bolster his intellectual arsenal. 

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change,” Marcus said. “For I seek the truth, by which no one ever was truly harmed. Harmed is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance.”

It’s so easy today to close ourselves off at the first sight of an opposing view. On all points along the political spectrum, people are close-minded and sensitive to their perspectives being challenged. Let David Epstein and Malcolm Gladwell be your models today. Break out of your filter bubble. Prioritize speaking with someone you are likely to disagree with. Practice quieting your ego and opening yourself up to learning something new. Practice seeing things from someone else’s point of view. Seeking the truth, keeping an open mind, having the humility to accept you might be wrong—this is how we grow.

Feb 18, 2020
Don’t Take the Money. Don’t Take the Money.
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Cicero and Cato both refused to take bribes, despite how widespread the practice was for politicians at the time. Cato refused to be enriched by his office in any form, even though that was even more common. Marcus Aurelius refused inheritances that were offered to him, much the same way. 

Although they never gave us their exact reasons, it’s pretty easy to deduce. Because corruption is a betrayal of the public trust. Even if it weren’t, Marcus and Cato would likely have declined all the same. Why? Because to accept the money would have been to sacrifice their autonomy. They lived along the same principle so brilliantly expressed, thousands of years later, by the photographer Bill Cunningham: “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid.”

Just look at Seneca. While there is no evidence he took outright bribes, he did accept a paycheck from Nero. He accepted piles and piles of gifts. He couldn’t see that Nero was slowly buying him, trapping him in a gilded cage. Seneca’s fortune grew—soon, he was the second richest man in Rome—but his control over his own life diminished. He was tied up in Nero’s misdeeds; he was at the mercy of his whims. When Seneca tried to walk away, Nero said, “Nope.” When Seneca tried to give all the money back, he learned that’s not how it works. Nero called the tune now. Nero owned him. 

To a Stoic, that was a form of death (indeed, Seneca died not long after this, at Nero’s hand). Blood money comes at the cost of your soul. Bribes and corruption are not just wrong; they’re dangerous. It’s corrosive. There are always strings attached, whether the money comes in the form of a salary or an envelope of cash slid under a table. Let Seneca be an example of that. Let Cato be an inspiration. 

But most of all, remember what Bill Cunningham said: If they pay you, they get to tell you what to do. Remember: “Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty, freedom is the most expensive.”

Feb 17, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Who Are Some Famous Figure Influenced By Stoicism?
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Ryan talks about putting the finishing touches on his upcoming book, Lives of the Stoics
Featuring today's entry from The Daily Stoic. You can also find these videos on the Daily Stoic YouTube channel.

Feb 15, 2020
This Is a Command, Not a Mere Reminder
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Like most solo pursuits, the artist’s life is one that ceaselessly tests one's mental fortitude. Steven Pressfield likens it to dragon slaying. The dragon being what he’s coined the “Resistance”—that voice that questions your abilities, your worth, your sanity. “Resistance never sleeps,” Pressfield says. “It never slackens and it never goes away. The dragon must be slain anew every morning.” Anyone who sets out to make a career in the arts is confronted with this reality quickly, if not immediately. 

The two-time finalist for the Pulitzer prize, Russell Banks, was in his mid-twenties—just married, an apprentice plumber, living frugally—when he took the leap into the dragon’s den of creative expression. It was then that he happened upon a plaster angel statue in the window of a used furniture store. It wasn’t the angel that caught his attention. “I was pointedly irreligious and whatever the opposite of puritanical is,” as he puts it. It was the words carefully carved on the angel: Remember Death. 

Something about this particular reminder got through to me, as if I had never linked the two words together before, had never probed the meaning of either one alone or truly considered the imperative mood, and I had to own it, had to bring it home to our little apartment and hang it above my writing table, so that every time I looked up from my struggle to write my first poems and stories, I would see it, and I would remember death...On a profound level, beyond the purely personal, beyond pop-romanticism, beyond politics, beyond history, beyond even genocide and terrorism, it’s saying, Never forget. I took it as a command, not a mere reminder.

In the half-century with his memento mori, Banks has lived all over the world, he’s written some two-dozen novels, and received widespread acclaim, but “Wherever I have set up my desk and sat myself down to write, my angel has looked down and murmured, Remember Death.” 

No one becomes immune to the evil inner-voice that makes us doubt ourselves, that tells us we’re inadequate or incapable, that puts us in a rut and tries to keep us there. What separates those who do great things is the ability to quell those voices before they swell. That’s what we see in Marcus’s routine writing of his impending death. He said, “Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life.” When we do, we’re freed from the Resistance, inspired into action. 

That’s the power of memento mori. It isn’t morbid. It isn’t dark or depressing. No, it pulls us out of the dark and depressing by transcending those petty doubts and fears. Whether it’s an angel statue on your desk, a medallion in your pocket, a pendant around your neck, a statue of Marcus Aurelius himself, or a sticky note on your computer—memento mori.

And use it to propel you. 

Feb 14, 2020
You Must Think For Yourself
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It’s never been easier to get information than it is today. You have access to Wikipedia, to podcasts, to social media, and a near infinite library of books. You can chat with just about anyone about anything. We live in a wonderful time where facts and opinions are abundant like truly never before in history. 

But there is danger in all this abundance as well. Because with this access has come instant connection and viral sharing, which means that for all the diverse sources of information out there, it’s also never been easier to see what other people are thinking. The algorithms of Facebook and Twitter can create a filter bubble. The public-ness of our discourse now makes it easier to enforce political correctness and consensus-thinking. It incentivizes virtue signaling and a mob mentality. 

Think about how impressive it was that Marcus Aurelius didn’t need to publish his Meditations. He didn’t need to get credit for his ideas. All he cared about was truth. He was thinking for himself, literally. What made someone like Cato so powerful and inspiring was that he didn’t care what anyone else thought. He also thought for himself. In fact, he actively practiced inoculating himself against public opinion by walking barefoot and bareheaded through Rome. He wanted to get used to being laughed at, to being different. It shouldn’t surprise us then that when nearly everyone in Rome was willing to rationalize Julius Caesar’s norm-breaking behavior, only Cato could see it for what it was. Only he was willing to stand alone. 

A Stoic has to be willing to do that. A Stoic has to think for themself. A Stoic doesn’t care what the mob thinks—they don’t need to “consort with the crowd,” as Seneca put it. Yes, it’s wonderful that we have access to all kinds of knowledge and tools that the Stoics didn’t have. But how we use these assets is essential. Are we just going to agree with everyone because we don’t want trouble? Are we going to seek out only what we like and what confirms our worldview?

Or are we going to think for ourselves? Are we willing to stand alone?

Feb 13, 2020
Can You Be Still?
246

There is probably no piece of literature that the Stoics were more familiar with than the Odyssey. Seneca quotes it. Marcus Aurelius quotes it. Pretty much everyone in the ancient world was so familiar with Homer’s verses that they could be quoted without attribution and people would know what the speaker was referencing

It makes sense. It’s a beautiful, inspiring poem with all sorts of lessons and images. But here’s one that the Stoics never mentioned, that is easy to miss unless you read all the way to the end. In fact, in some translations it’s cut off or ignored. What does Odysseus do after nearly ten years of war and then ten more years of struggle to make it home? What does he do shortly after arriving home after having been gone so long that his wife’s hair was grey and his old dog was barely alive? After he slaughtered the invaders in his home and secured his kingdom that he was blocked from for so long? 

It’s almost unbelievable: Almost immediately after coming home, he gets ready to leave again! As Emily Wilson beautifully translates Odysseus giving the insane news to his long suffering wife:

But now we have returned to our own bed,

As we both longed to do. You must look after

My property inside the house. Meanwhile, 

I have to go on raids, to steal replacements

For all the sheep those swaggering suitors killed,

And get the other Greeks to give me more,

until I fill my folds.

Isn’t that the human condition in a nutshell? Isn’t that restlessness exactly what got Odysseus in trouble in the first place? The insatiability and greed that nearly took him and his men to the brink a hundred times? As Blaise Pascal put it, “all of humanity’s problems stem from our inability to sit quietly in a room.” Because we cannot be happy, because we can’t just be, we waste years of our life. We go begging for trouble. We invent problems. We flee, as Seneca once put it, from ourselves. Clearly that’s what Odysseus was doing. No one who actually likes themselves or their lives spends twenty years fighting to get back to it...and then leaves the day after they get there!

We must realize that stillness is the key. Stillness is how you connect to yourself and others. Stillness is where true happiness comes from. Where is all this rushing taking you? Where was Odysseus pointing his ship toward? We are rushing toward death. A life of restlessness is not what we’re after. That’s not where meaning comes from. No one is saying that Odysseus should just lay back and lounge for the rest of his life—but if he can’t take even a few minutes with his family after that long of an absence, something is wrong with him. Turns out the war with Troy was the sideshow—the real battle was in this guy’s head and heart...and it was against the fear of not being in motion constantly. Sadly it’s an affliction shared by a good portion of ambitious, talented people. 

There is no greatness that is not at peace, Seneca reminds us. There is no greatness if we cannot be. We must be still.

Feb 12, 2020
Here’s How To Become an Informed Citizen
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When people hear Epictetus quoted to justify not watching the news—“If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters”—they get upset. It’s understandable. For generations, especially in America, people have been conditioned to think that consuming journalism, be it in newspaper or television or online form, is the duty of every informed citizen. 

Unfortunately, only the second half of this supposition is correct. Yes, it is the duty of every citizen—especially those with voting rights—to be informed. No, the news is not the way to do that. In fact, in today’s world of clickbait and sensationalism it may be the worst. Just a few years ago, the head of CBS (who also happened to be a serial sexual harasser) noted glibly how a certain presidential candidate was clearly bad for America but “damn good for CBS.” “This is going to be a very good year for us,” he said, faux apologizing. “It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on... Keep going.”

If that isn’t evidence for you that you should not keep going, and should definitely stop watching so much news, there’s not much else to be said. But perhaps there’s another way to think about it: The best way to be an informed citizen is to follow the path of the Stoics, who had no such thing as real-time journalism. You should study history. You should study the law. You should study human nature. As Machiavelli, who was forced into a retreat from public affairs, once observed, “Anyone who studies present and ancient affairs will easily see how in all cities and all peoples there still exist, and have always existed, the same desires and passions." Marcus Aurelius said very much the same thing: History is the same thing happening over and over again. 

If you want to be an informed citizen, if you want to actually understand—rather than know trivia about—what’s going on in the world, then pick up a biography. Pick up Thucydides. Pick up Plutarch. Pick up Robert Caro or Edward Gibbon. Read Doris Kearns Goodwin. Forget tweets about political witch hunts, read Stacey Schiff’s new book about actual witch hunts. Read Machiavelli. Read Seneca. Read about Seneca and Nero and their complicated relationship. Read psychology. Go read the actual constitution of the country you live in—read The Federalist Papers or the Magna Carta

Go deep. Go backward. Go to the real truths. That’s what informed people do. And they are fine being seen as ignorant about every other silly thing.

Feb 11, 2020
It Takes What It Takes
192

Watching a master do their work is always impressive. Whether it’s an orator working a crowd or an athlete contorting their body with ease and finesse, it’s incredible to see what people are capable of. We see things and wonder how they’re possible. We hear of the feats of brilliance, of courage, of endurance, and of wisdom pulled off by Cato or by Thrasea and wonder how they managed to do it.

The answer, in every instance, is simple. They did the work. 

“First, tell yourself what you want to be, then act your part accordingly,” Epictetus said. “This, after all, is what we find to be the rule in just about every other field. Athletes decide first what they want to be, then proceed to do what is necessary."

The renowned mental conditioning expert Trevor Moawad put it even more simply: Greatness takes what it takes.  

As Russell Wilson’s mental skills coach, he has seen what that process looks like from the inside. His new book (with that awesome title), It Takes What It Takes, is about the kind of work we have to do to achieve our biggest goals. We interviewed him for Daily Stoic and he explained it a bit further: 

It goes back to a conversation I had with NBA star Vince Carter when I was consulting with them. He said at 38 the behaviors for him to keep playing were clearly defined. It “took what it took” and he had to decide whether to do them or not...That conversation helped me better explain the simple truths behind success to athletes. It also safely allows for people to choose an average set of behaviors, but the outcome will be pre-determined.

Remember, the Stoics—Marcus Aurelius especially—talked repeatedly about doing what his nature demanded. They also believed that character was fate. The work you put in, the traits you inculcated, that’s what kind of person you would be, the kind of results you would get. 

“Behavior, which you’ve drilled into your muscle memory,” Moawad says, “will dictate what happens next.”

So how can you be like Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius or Russell Wilson or Vince Carter? Set your sights on the goal and do the work. Put in what it takes. Do what your nature and the job demands. Build the muscle memory. And the outcome will be fated.

Feb 10, 2020
Ask Daily Stoic: Can You Be Informed Without Cable News?
976

Ryan talks about his upcoming talk in Italy and about James Stockdale, and answers questions from fans. Featuring today's entry from The Daily Stoic. You can also find these videos on the Daily Stoic YouTube channel.

Feb 08, 2020
You Still Have Time. You Have So Much Time.
167

Seneca’s life is worth looking at for anyone who thinks they missed their shot, who thinks it might be “too late” for them. Because in his early twenties, just as his career as a lawyer was taking off, Seneca was struck with a terrible blow of tuberculosis. He was sent away by his doctors to Egypt, where he spent the next ten years recovering. Eventually, he returned to Rome, and though many would have suspected his window had closed, he quickly made a name for himself as a politician and a philosopher. 

Then, just as his career was taking off, he was banished to Corisca on trumped up charges by jealous enemies. There he had to spend eight years, eight years of the prime of his life, on an island far away from home. Yet, he eventually returned to Rome, rebuilt and remade himself, and soon found himself one of the most powerful men in the world, advising the Emperor. 

You might be sensing where this is going, but once again, at the height of his influence, he was forced to retire from Nero’s service, as the Emperor became increasingly unstable. Still, Seneca managed to re-dedicate himself to philosophy and publish some of his most brilliant works. 

What Seneca’s life proves is something much more bluntly phrased in Gary Vaynerchuk’s viral video, “You’ve Got Fucking Time.” It might feel like you are too old, that things have not turned out like you planned, that you’ve been royally screwed by bad luck. And that may be so—but the fact remains that you still have time. You can still make something of this life. You can still be grateful for whatever—and how much ever—time you have left. 

What if you had just woken up from a coma? What if you had just gotten exonerated and released from death row? What if you’d found out your cancer was in remission? Would you be thinking 'I'm getting a late start' or ‘woe is me?” Or would you be thinking, 'I'm so lucky. This is the beginning of my new life'? 

There is no too late, not as far as ordinary life goes; just get started. Or get back to work. That’s all we can do. 

Feb 07, 2020
You Must Look Beneath The Surface
238

Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus, like all Romans, seemed to have loved the theatre. 

Seneca, in particular, had a great fascination for what “actors in theatre who imitate the emotions” could teach him about dealing with people in real life. Many actors appear “most dangerous when they redden,” Seneca observed, but “they were letting all their sense of shame escape.” From that, he realized that with Sulla “when the blood mantled his cheeks” it was always “due...to the novelty of a situation.” And “Fabianus also, I remember, reddened when he appeared as a witness before the senate; and his embarrassment became him to a remarkable degree.”

Evan Puschak, creator of the wildly popular Nerdwriter YouTube channel, made a great video a couple years ago, titled “Jack Nicholson: The Art of Anger.” The video is not only an eight minute montage of Nicholson’s very entertaining freak outs, it’s a distillation of a very human emotion. Like Seneca, Puschak wanted “to get a sense of the larger shape of anger as a human phenomenon.” Here’s what he learned:

For Nicholson—and everybody else, for that matter—anger can be a form of desperation, a noise so loud that you don't have to hear your own insecurities. The larger and louder it is, the closer he is to recognizing a vulnerability in himself. That's the challenge for an actor playing this emotion. You're not just playing anger; you're playing what's under it. Most anger isn't psychotic. It's only a thin veneer for what's brewing below, and you have to be able to turn up the volume while preserving traces of this deeper motivation. 

This is a really powerful insight. To see that anger is not anger but often a glimpse of what is unresolved underneath. Sulla was revealing his weakness, his inexperience, his uncertainty. Fabianus was revealing his embarrassment. In The Border, Puschak points out, Nicholson was revealing fear. “Fear at what he's gotten himself into. Fear that he won't be able to get himself out.” 

Although the Stoics spend a lot of time dealing with the symptoms of anger, they don’t spend enough time really looking at what’s underneath. Marcus Aurelius couldn’t remind himself to go to therapy because it didn’t exist then. Seneca couldn’t talk about processing trauma because we didn’t really understand that yet. The Stoics lacked even some of the healing strategies that result from the Christian emphasis on forgiveness. But just because they didn’t have these things, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from them now. It’s not enough to just stuff your anger down or cut it off at the pass—you have to figure out what’s going on way before that. You have to look at the root causes. You have to look back at the road you traveled to understand how you got to this place, this moment.

Tear off the mask. Look below. Look behind. And deal with it. 

Feb 06, 2020
If Everyone Is Woke, Then No One is Awake
233