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Book Summary Notes
The Daily Stoic
“The private diaries of one of Rome’s great emperors, the personal letters of one of Rome’s best playwrights and wisest power brokers, the lectures of a former slave and exile, turned influential teacher. Against all the odds and the passing of some two millennia, these incredible documents survive."
"What do they say? Could these ancient and obscure pages really contain anything relevant to modern life? The answer, as it turns out, is yes. They contain some of the greatest wisdom in the history of the world."
"Together these documents constitute the bedrock of what is known as Stoicism, an ancient philosophy that was once one of the most popular civic disciplines in the West, practiced by the rich and the impoverished, the powerful and the struggling alike in the pursuit of the Good Life. But over the centuries, knowledge of this way of thinking, once essential to so many, slowly faded from view."
"Our goal with this book is to restore Stoicism to its rightful place as a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life, rather than some esoteric field of academic inquiry.”
Why is Stoicism having this amazing resurgence?
Well.. Because the philosophy that these ancient thinkers developed is relevant to modern life!
They dealt with all of the same stuff we deal with today.. But at a time with less distraction! (And maybe more hardship).
People are searching for a 'code to live by' and something to help them find a 'purpose' and that is exactly where Stoicism can fit in!
Stoicism as a Philosophy has been around for millennia and influenced some of the greatest thinkers of even modern times..
- Thomas Jefferson
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- George Washington
What are we going to learn today?
How the Stoics dealt with worry and anxiety..
The Stoic understanding of how to find your purpose..
Plus a lot more! What a great read.. I recommend you pick this one up.
“The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t."
"What we have influence over and what we do not. A flight is delayed because of weather—no amount of yelling at an airline representative will end a storm. No amount of wishing will make you taller or shorter or born in a different country. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone like you. And on top of that, time spent hurling yourself at these immovable objects is time not spent on the things we can change.
"The recovery community practices something called the Serenity Prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Addicts cannot change the abuse suffered in childhood. They cannot undo the choices they have made or the hurt they have caused. But they can change the future—through the power they have in the present moment. As Epictetus said, they can control the choices they make right now."
"The same is true for us today. If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.”
How much time are you spending worrying about things that aren't inside of your control?
This is a great thing to just bring your awareness too..
- Most of us will find we're focusing on all sorts of things that we can't control..
- Perhaps we're spending time worry about the stock market, what other people think or if you business will get purchased!
- These are all 'outcomes' that we can't control.. What can you control in those situations? Learning how to manage money, developing self confidence and making your business more attractive to buyers.
Find yourself struggling with worry or anxiety?
- Try out the serenity prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’
- Not working? Well.. This as almost all things in life is a practice! Keep bringing your awareness back to the things in the moment that you can control.
Developing control over my focus was the most important thing I have ever done..
- Years ago I would focus on how many sales my business was (or wasn't) getting, how my body looked in the mirror or how people thought about me!
- All things that are obviously outside of my control..
- Now that I have been practicing for a few years I focus on how many meetings I'm able to set, the food I am eating and what I think of myself! (All in the present moment and not projected into the future).
- Are you struggling with anxiety and worry right now? Let me buy you a coaching session.. Together we'll work on your ability to focus on what's in your control. Click the link below and apply.
“In Seneca’s essay on tranquility, he uses the Greek word, euthymia, which he defines as ‘believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.’ It is this state of mind, he says, that produces tranquility."
"Clarity of vision allows us to have this belief. That’s not to say we’re always going to be 100 percent certain of everything, or that we even should be. Rather, it’s that we can rest assured we’re heading generally in the right direction—that we don’t need to constantly compare ourselves with other people or change our mind every three seconds based on new information.
"Instead, tranquility and peace are found in identifying our path and in sticking to it: staying the course—making adjustments here and there, naturally—but ignoring the distracting sirens who beckon us to turn toward the rocks.”
How often are you worried you're 'on the right path'?
If you're anything like me it's all the time!
- When I first got into entrepreneurship I would skip from marketing plan to marketing plan, from pricing to pricing and everything in between..
- This caused all sorts of havoc in the business for sure.. but it was caused by an even deeper havoc inside of myself!
Because I was always trying to follow what I saw those around me doing.. I never felt like I was following my own path!
- This meant that even when something worked it wasn't fulfilling..
- But it also meant that when something failed it 'wasn't my fault' it was someone else's!
- See by taking someone else's path in life we abdicate responsibility of outcome to them.. This saves us the potential of 'failing' but it also means we never follow our own true path in life or in business!
This is something almost all of my coaching clients deal with..
- One particular time a young man joined me on a call and he began to tell me about all the different businesses he had tried to start..
- One after another I noticed that they were plans that other people had told him to follow.. This guy had spent thousands of dollars on 'how to' guides for business!
- Never once did he ask himself 'what do I want to see in the world' and this was causing him to take a bunch of non-continuous paths! Meaning he never made any progress.
- Together we worked on a vision for his life and what he wanted to create in the world.. The good news was that he had a lot of experience to draw on! But we needed to focus his attention and ignore the path of others.
“One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: ‘I don’t know.’ Or, more provocatively: ‘I don’t care.’"
"Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of every critically acclaimed television series, follow the news religiously, and present themselves to others as an informed and worldly individual."
"But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? Is the obligation enforced by the police? Or is it that you’re afraid of seeming silly at a dinner party? Yes, you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about events that may directly affect them, but that’s about all."
"How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?”
When was the last time you went a full day without consuming some kind of media?
For most of us the answer is.. Not since childhood!
- Gone are the days where we would spend all day outside with our friends.. Playing from dawn until dusk only to go home tired and ready for a rest!
- But aren't these the days we're longing for? Wasn't this when we were truly the happiest?
Instead.. Most of us adults (me included) tend to consume the news, television and even self development articles or videos every single free minute we have!
- Lately I have been really noticing the power of boredom and the power of play..
- Instead of reading an article or watching a tv show after dinner I would rather sit and be bored.. Watch what my mind comes up with!
- Or I will set aside some time with my girlfriend just to talk, come up with ideas or play a board game..
Now I'm no monk.. It's very difficult to cut out all media! But I want to give you something to try..
- Join me in no-tech Sundays! A little experiment I will be running..
- Every Sunday there is no tech allowed.. No TV, no Phone (not even for maps) and no computer!
- Here is the catch! Every Sunday you MUST do something fun with other people.. Go for a hike, meet for breakfast or go to an event!
- But you have to plan it in advance so you know what time, where and who is going!
“The Stoics loved to use boxing and wrestling metaphors the way we use baseball and football analogies today. This is probably because the sport of pankration — literally, ‘all strength,’ but a purer form of mixed martial arts than one sees today in the UFC—was integral to boyhood and manhood in Greece and Rome. (In fact, recent analysis has found instances of ‘cauliflower ear,’ a common grappling injury, on Greek statues.) The Stoics refer to fighting because it’s what they knew."
"Seneca writes that unbruised prosperity is weak and easy to defeat in the ring, but a ‘man who has been at constant feud with misfortunes acquires a skin calloused by suffering.’ This man, he says, fights all the way to the ground and never gives up."
"That’s what Epictetus means too. What kind of boxer are you if you leave because you get hit? That’s the nature of the sport! Is that going to stop you from continuing?”
Are you afraid to fight?
When I was 16 I was terrified of fighting..
- But some of the best life lessons I ever learned came from my time as a boxer..
- Every weekend for 5 years I would have to fight.. Wether I was hurt, tired or scared!
- Eventually I became a Golden Gloves champion in my country.. All while being terrified of fighting!
What were some of the lessons learned?
- Number one is that you are much tougher than you think! Most people never test their boundaries and it's a real shame..
- Number two is that the most important part of fighting isn't being able to punch hard! It's about being willing to be punched and keep coming back..
- Number three is that when you're in the ring you can't focus on anything else.. Because if you do you'll immediately pay for it!
How could this relate to your life?
- When you're reading to give up on studying, a business idea or a career.. Just remember that you are tougher than you think!
- Suffering from failure? Just remember.. Champions are made from those of us who are willing to get back up!
- Focus.. Intensely on the task at hand! Less you be blindsided and pay for it immediately.
“You have two essential tasks in life: to be a good person and to pursue the occupation that you love. Everything else is a waste of energy and a squandering of your potential."
"How does one do that? OK, that’s a tougher question. But the philosophy we see from the Stoics makes it simple enough: say no to distractions, to destructive emotions, to outside pressure. Ask yourself: What is it that only I can do? What is the best use of my limited time on this planet? Try to do the right thing when the situation calls for it. Treat other people the way you would hope to be treated. And understand that every small choice and tiny matter is an opportunity to practice these larger principles."
"That’s it. That’s what goes into the most important skill of all: how to live.”
Not sure what to focus on? Remember that you only have two essential tasks!
Number One: Be a good person!
- What does this mean?
- Try to do the right thing when the situation calls for it.. Even when it might be the harder route!
- Treat other people how you hope to be treated.. The true golden rule of every philosophy!
Number Two: Find an occupation you love!
- What might this look like?
- Entrepreneurship is getting more and more common in our society.. I think most of us can CREATE an occupation we love!
- After all.. Back in the day of the Stoics MOST people were Entrepreneurs! There weren't any factories or corporations.. You had to put food on the table yourself.
Think that you might want to turn something you love into an occupation?
- I have been an entrepreneur for my whole adult life..
- Two (hopefully three) successful companies in two completely different areas!
- Let's talk about your plan.. I would love to help! Sign up for a free coaching call down below and I promise to help get you some clarity and direction.
“Something happened that we wish had not. Which of these is easiest to change: our opinion or the event that is past?"
"The answer is obvious. Accept what happened and change your wish that it had not happened. Stoicism calls this the ‘art of acquiescence’—to accept rather than fight every little thing."
"And the most practiced Stoics take it a step further. Instead of simply accepting what happens, they urge us to actually enjoy what has happened—whatever it is. Nietzsche, many centuries later, coined the perfect expression to capture this idea: amor fati (a love of fate). It’s not just accepting, it’s loving everything that happens."
"To wish for what has happened to happen is a clever way to avoid disappointment because nothing is contrary to your desires. But to actually feel gratitude for what happens? To love it? That’s a recipe for happiness and joy.”
When something goes wrong what do you say?
Jocko Willink I think has a very Stoic take on this.. He says when something goes wrong you say GOOD!
- Didn't get enough sleep? Good now is a chance for me to test how I perform when tired!
- Hungry? Good this hunger is going to help me train my willpower!
- Didn't get the promotion? Good now is a good time for me to focus on my side business.
This is a reflex that I suggest all of my clients develop!
One woman I spoke to just yesterday was complaining about some hardships she had in her business.. 'People around here don't support businesses' 'I can't find any networking events and haven't been getting referrals'
Together.. We looked at how we could say 'good' to each of those scenarios!
- Number one.. 'People don't support local' that means that no one else has my market share! I can take a large portion of the local market quicker.
- Number two 'I can't find any networking events and haven't been getting referrals' that means I can be the leader of a networking group! (The secret to those things is the leader ALWAYS gets all the referrals).
Are you struggling with something right now? How might you say GOOD to that problem! Or in the words of the Stoics.. How might you say Amor Fati!