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The Daily Stoic

Daily Stoic | Wondery

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.

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When The World Got Still | Ask DS
3d ago
When The World Got Still | Ask DS
It was anxiety inducing and scary, but there was also a stillness in it. Because you were forced, against your will, to truly practice Stoicism. Not just in the sense that you had to persist and act despite that fear—because people and things were counting on you—but also because it was so clear what was in your control and what wasn’t. You came face to face with undeniable reality, overwhelming events and all you could do is focus on your response. You had to practice what Epictetus called ‘the art of acquiescence’—ditching all those plans, accepting all the costs, the hits to your portfolio, the lost time, the inescapable human frailty and mortality we all wish to deny.And within this, you also had to do and be good, for yourself, for your family, for your community, because your individual decisions had clear and unavoidable consequences for other people.It was a moment made for Stoicism, a moment when stillness was the key, as it is for all crises. And right now, the ebook for Stillness is the Key is on sale for $1.99! Grab it today, for you or someone else, if you haven’t already.The good news is you survived the moment, obviously, or you wouldn’t be reading this, but now the world has ‘gone back to normal,’ whatever that means. Things are busy and noisy again. Life is moving fast again. How much of that stillness, how much of that Stoicism, has drifted away as well? That’s the real question.Because Stoicism is not just for the crises, but also for the every day life. It’s for right now, too. It’s today that you need to be focused on what’s in your control, it’s today that you need to practice acceptance, practice memento mori. It’s today that you need to think about your community. It’s today that you need to find the stillness even as the world is spinning faster than ever.Good luck!Grab a Stillness Key for 50% off by using code STILLNESSISTHEKEY at check out. *A note on the audio for this episode: an issue with Chad's live mic resulted in the discrepancy in audio quality that you hear. We apologize for the inconvenience.✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Remind Yourself Of This
4d ago
Remind Yourself Of This
It doesn’t always feel like it. Not when you’re regularly screwing up. Not when you keep losing your temper, not when you’re not as patient as you should be with people. Not when you keep doing selfish things. Not when you’re still dealing with scripts from your childhood. Not when you hear the things your ex says about you. Not when you compare yourself against the greatness of the people you admire—be it a mentor or some historical figure, a Cato or a Marcus Aurelius.But it’s true.You are good inside.Even if you have done bad things. Even if you have drifted off the path. Marcus Aurelius tried to remind himself that there was a spring of goodness inside of him and that no matter what he or anyone shoveled on some of it, it was still there, still fresh and new and ever-flowing.The Stoics did not believe in original sin. They did not think we were hopelessly broken. They believed that being who we were—living well, living as our nature intended us to live—was always possible. You might be low and awful right now, Marcus Aurelius writes in Meditations, but in just a few days you can be worthy of being seen as a god. He was telling himself he just had to go back to the teachings, go back to his principles, go back to the spring.✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
You Ain’t Got Time | 10 Habits That Made Marcus Aurelius Great
5d ago
You Ain’t Got Time | 10 Habits That Made Marcus Aurelius Great
People are out of their minds and always have been. You get the sense in Seneca’s writings that Rome drove him crazy. You see the same in Epictetus’ writings, perhaps more so. Both men looked at what was happening in Nero’s court and were baffled. People were currying favor with Nero’s cobbler to try to get ahead in the world. People were bankrupting themselves to impress people they didn’t even like. And things were no different by Marcus Aurelius’ time, that’s for sure.But for as long as there have been these wack jobs out there, the Stoic response has been the same: Tuning it out. It’s saying to yourself: I ain’t got time for that, ain’t got time to argue, ain’t got time to change you, ain’t got time to even try to understand. That’s what Marcus is effectively opening Meditations with! He’s saying, look people today are going to be remarkably dumb but I can’t let them implicate me in their ugliness. I can’t get bogged down in it. I can’t try to reform them. I just need to do my job. Things are not asking to be judged by you, Marcus says later in Meditations, leave them alone.Life is very short. Too short for silly arguments, too short for beating your head against the wall, too short to try to understand things that don’t matter, that are not asking to be understood by you. Leave them alone. Focus on what you have to do. Don’t get implicated in ugliness.✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
We Can Find The Gift In It | Reduce Wants, Increase Happiness
6d ago
We Can Find The Gift In It | Reduce Wants, Increase Happiness
We wrote an email over at Daily Dad (please subscribe if you haven’t!) recently which notes Robert F. Kennedy’s troubled childhood in the troubled Kennedy household. His family mourned the loss of his older brother. They put their hopes in his brother John. They fretted about his sister. His father thought that Bobby had little potential, that he wasn’t everything a young Kennedy should be, so the boy, as one Kennedy aide observed, was “overlooked.”That was unfair. It must have been painful. Yet Kennedy’s biographer, Evan Thomas, would write that this turned out to be a gift, arguing that he “had been saved by neglect.” Because it meant Bobby didn’t have to deal with all the pressure. It let him develop at his own pace. It also allowed him to develop a conscience and an ability to empathize that most of the rest of the family lacked.When we look at the life of Marcus Aurelius (if you want a biography try Lives of the Stoics or How To Think Like a Roman Emperor), we can see a similar pattern. His early days as a boy were defined by loss. His father, Verus, died when he was just three.If you want to do more reading on these topics, we highly recommend Dying Everyday by James Romm (and we have a podcast with him on this topic). Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe is a great modern read on one of the biggest crimes of the 20th/21st centuries. And for more on the life of Seneca and Thrasea and some Stoics who did resist Nero, check out Lives of the Stoics (signed copies here).✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
They Felt This Weight | Don't Make Things Harder Than They Need To Be
16-02-2024
They Felt This Weight | Don't Make Things Harder Than They Need To Be
It’s easy for academics and critics to dismiss the Stoics as depressing or dark. They’re not wrong, exactly, because it’s true: There are some dark and depressing passages in Meditations. Seneca is not always cheerful. Both writers seem to dwell on death, they paint life as something that can be painful and tragic, they speak of Fortune as something not to be trusted—that the ground beneath your feet can shift in a moment, shattering everything around you.But what’s unfair about this criticism, insensitive even, is that it totally ignores the context and the experience of these men—of all the Stoics. Marcus Aurelius buried six of his children. Six! Seneca lost a child and was exiled to a distant island on trumped up charges all at once. Can you imagine what that must have been like for them?“Grief from the loss of a child is not a process,” a mother is quoted as saying in the fascinating book Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe which examines the opioid crisis. “It’s a lifelong weight upon one’s soul.” Marcus Aurelius and Seneca bore that weight—of course it shaped what they wrote and thought. There was an exchange between Marcus and his teacher Fronto about how he felt “suffering anguish” in his bones from the loss of Fronto’s grandchild. When we interviewed the philosopher and translator Martha Nussbaum on the Daily Stoic podcast, she spoke quite movingly about the loss of her own daughter. She pointed out that Cicero, a philosopher who wrote extensively on the Stoics and buried his daughter Tullia, was transformed by grief. It changed him. How could it not have?One book on this topic we’ve recommended over the years has been Death Be Not Proud by John Gunter, who was similarly trying to make sense of the short but inspiring life of his son Johnny. Paul Kalanithi’s book When Breath Becomes Air is also worth reading. And Seneca’s writings on death have been collected in an interesting edition called How To Die.-✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Do This. It’s Enough. | Ask Ds
15-02-2024
Do This. It’s Enough. | Ask Ds
As John Adams (detailed in David McCullough’s amazing biography) wrote in his own old age, “You are not singular in your suspicions that you know but little. The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously inquire, the less I seem to know…” Yet, Adams, like Marcus, still found himself returning to a set of ageless, universal principles. They found themselves boiling things down to their essence, into real and practical ‘epithets for the self’ as Marcus called them. Adams came up with these three commands, which he passed down to his granddaughter Caroline: “Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough…”P.S. “Summum Bonum” is a phrase from Cicero that means “The Highest Good,”which for the Stoics meant pursuing a life of virtue. “Just that you do the right thing,” Marcus reminds us, “the rest doesn’t matter.” In a world full of selfishness, corruption, and pain, we need that reminder now more than ever. It’s why we created the “Summum Bonum” medallion for you to carry around in your pocket and remember that no matter the circumstance, no matter how dire or desperate the situation, virtue is always the answer. Grab yours today!✉️ Sign up for the Daily Dad email: DailyDad.com📱 Follow Daily Dad: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube   See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Get Narrow Before Life Does
14-02-2024
Get Narrow Before Life Does
It’s interesting that these three great Stoics spent their final moments not as lone wolves but as friends, as fathers, as people who loved their fellow human beings. On a recent episode of The Daily Stoic Podcast (a great 2-hour episode you can watch on YouTube, by the way), the comedian Christina Pazsitzky told a story of an experience that led to a related insight:“I broke my ankle two years ago. The truth is, they gave me a shit ton of ketamine. I was tripping, and I thought I was dying. I really did. I was like, ‘I think this is it.’ And I wasn’t thinking about my career. I wasn’t stoked that I had so many specials on Netflix or that I was successful at anything. I was literally only thinking about my children and my husband. My children and my husband. It got real narrow real quick. And I came out of that and anytime I catch myself getting on this kick of, ‘I should be bigger,’ ‘I should be more successful,’ ‘I should be selling out arenas’—I go, ‘I’m going to die. My kids and my husband are all that matter.’”This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to be successful. It is not to say that you can’t be ambitious.✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Don’t Let It Change You | How To Actually Be Happier In 2024 (According to the Stoics)
13-02-2024
Don’t Let It Change You | How To Actually Be Happier In 2024 (According to the Stoics)
So eventually a group of corrupt Romans contrived to have Cato assigned to a posting in Cyprus, a veritable hotbed of misdeeds and sin. It was a place where politicians got rich, where they had fun, where they lived the colonial high life. “You will come back from there a far more agreeable man and more tame,” one of them predicted to Cato. They weren’t trying to bribe him, they just wanted to expose him to how things were supposed to be done. They wanted him to get a taste.This was what Marcus Aurelius was warning about in Meditations where he talked about “imperialization,” about being stained purple, about being “Caesarified.” The status quo doesn’t like people who buck it. No, the status quo contrives to apply pressure and persuasion on us, to get us to go along. It tries to change us, tries to lead us away from those pesky virtues of courage and temperance and justice and wisdom.If you want to learn more about Cato, the Stoics all other Stoics admired, the man that George Washington made his hero, check out our video: 5 Stoic Secrets from the Man of Principle (Cato the Younger). We also dedicate a whole chapter to Cato in Lives of the Stoics (signed copies here!).✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
You Are An Artist (Whether You Know It Or Not) | Watch Over Your Perceptions
12-02-2024
You Are An Artist (Whether You Know It Or Not) | Watch Over Your Perceptions
Maybe you don’t see yourself as an artist, just like Socrates didn’t see himself as an athlete, but maybe you are. According to Mikel Jollett, the founder of the band The Airborne Toxic Event and the author of a fascinating and haunting memoir about his troubled childhood, we have to “take our pain and make it useful. That’s what it means to be an artist.” His own art came from growing up in a cult his mother had joined, then living with her series of messed up husbands, struggling with addictions, getting in trouble at school, not knowing what he ought to do with his life. But all this struggle ultimately shaped him and in turn shaped the art he would make.-P.S. Building the skill to take the challenges life throws at you and transform them into something useful takes practice. That’s why we created the Daily Stoic Challenge Deck, full of actionable daily challenges for you to push and develop yourself year round. Bundle your pack with the Challenge Deck Vol. II and save—available over at the Daily Stoic Store!If you want to do more reading on these topics, we highly recommend Dying Everyday by James Romm (and we have a podcast with him on this topic). Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe is a great modern read on one of the biggest crimes of the 20th/21st centuries. And for more on the life of Seneca and Thrasea and some Stoics who did resist Nero, check out Lives of the Stoics (signed copies here).-And today's Daily Stoic Journal reading, Ryan discusses what the Stoics teach us about keeping constant watch over the flood of perceptions that fill our minds. Ryan quotes Mark Manson's Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life reminding us to find the right things to care about.✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
You Don’t Want To Rule The World | You Don't Have To Have An Opinion
09-02-2024
You Don’t Want To Rule The World | You Don't Have To Have An Opinion
We talked about this recently, but ruling the world is not great. The evidence bears this out. In Lives of the Stoics, we tell the story of a haunting meeting between Posidonius and Marius, when Marius, during his seventh consulship of Rome, was on his deathbed. Marius was powerful but pathetic, his success having destroyed his soul, stripping him of happiness and the possibility of peace. Marcus Aurelius would have known this story. In Meditations he takes pains to remind himself that the cost of becoming Alexander the Great is not worth it—that few survive it.Power and wealth, they change a person. Command is lonely and isolating, disorienting and corrosive. These are not environments conducive to virtue. They are not fantasies…they are nightmares.We are lucky that destiny has not made us sovereigns, even in modern times (just ask King Charles what his childhood was like). But we are still ambitious, still have dreams of extreme wealth and power and influence. As if it actually serves the people who get it well—as if it doesn’t rip their families apart, doesn’t consume their every waking moment with dread or busyness.Marcus Aurelius would have given anything to have had a life even half as normal as yours, half as stressful, burdensome, corrupting as his. You are so lucky…and yet here you are, dreaming of things that would ruin it.-In today's Daily Stoic excerpt, Ryan reminds us that not all things are asking to be judged you, to let whatever is not in our favor become irrelevant. This kind of selective discipline is what the stoics practiced. They practiced having the ability of having absolutely no thought about it.You can grab the leatherbound edition of The Daily Stoic here. ✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Either Way, This Is Not The Answer | Ask DS
08-02-2024
Either Way, This Is Not The Answer | Ask DS
Then there is the stuff that does harm the community—a corrupt politician who tries to overthrow the rule of law, discrimination, violence, pollution. This stuff happens, it’s the definition of injustice. But again, anger is not the right response. Not because these things aren’t upsetting, but because they are bad remedies to the problem.When the community is at risk, with justice at stake, we need our wits about us. It’s here that we need to be most controlled, most in command of all our faculties. We can be angered at what is happening, but we cannot afford to respond in anger. We need to be rational, strategic, patient, courageous, creative (as well as forgiving, empathetic, and nurturing in the way that our many emails have highlighted about the brilliance of the Civil Rights activists). We need to bring our best to fight the worst.YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8hmX7RPyYo]If you’re serious about being your most controlled self when the stakes are high, then check out our 11-day Taming Your Temper Course. It’s full of Stoic practices to defuse your anger in the moment and will help you find constructive outlets for your emotion—freeing you to work on fixing those problems that stoked your anger in the first place. Learn more here and conquer your anger today!✉️ Sign up for the Daily Stoic email: https://dailystoic.com/dailyemail🏛 Check out the Daily Stoic Store for Stoic inspired products, signed books, and more.📱 Follow us: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, FacebookSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.