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u/TheLagbringer · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

How do you measure the success ? Wealth ? Fame ? Both are not worth pursuing and you already know that, since they don't bring happiness to life. Two things come to my mind:

  1. Instead of comparing yourself to your "more successful" peers, try to compare yourself to those "less successful". Practice negative thinking, image how would your life be without the things you have, the things you take for granted. Take this even further and sometimes practice living without those things (practice minimalism), if possible. This way, you will start to value more and want things you already have, instead of things you could have. This is what I try often and what works for me. I've got this from my favorite Stoic book: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy . Read the corresponding chapter to understand more :) the author is so good at explaining these ideas. I definitely recommend to read it whole, it is an amazing book.
  2. Practice more compassion and empathy. Approach any human interaction with compassion in mind. Try to understand and listen to others, what makes them happy, what are their worries. No matter in what position the others are, try to connect with them on a very deep level. You will soon realize, we are all the same and we face the same problems in life. No matter what our wealth or fame is. Those two things do not relate to happiness at all. I believe that as a byproduct of this empathy practice you will naturally stop comparing. When it comes to compassion, I recommend: The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living . I have only started reading the book, but I like it very much so far ! It focuses more on importance of compassion and understanding others (instead of focusing on yourself as in Stoicism). I feel that I started being more compassionate and empathetic naturally with age, but I definitely agree, that it makes me incredibly happy. And not only during the communication, but overall in life ! However, before, I had no idea what empathy means, or better said - I had completely wrong idea. This book helped me to understand what exactly it is, and how it is done correctly: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life . Basically it means just to listen and from time to time to ask about feelings. Not giving advice, or making things sound easier, or giving your similar experience. We do this so often, it sounds like empathy, but instead it disconnects us from others. Very much recommended read !

    Hope this helps man, good luck ! You are already doing a massive good job by being super honest with yourself and sharing this problem and all its details. This is not an easy thing to do and requires a lot of ego-gymnastics.
u/cleomedes · 8 pointsr/Stoicism

The FAQ has a question (and answer) on recommended starting points from newcomers.

Summarizing the FAQ (cut-and-pasting from previous posts of mine summarizing the FAQ), there are a few approaches, depending on whether you prefer modern or ancient sources. For modern sources in the style of self-help books, some good options are:

  • Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson. A practical, readable introduction to Stoicism intended for modern practice, readable independent of historical sources, in the style of modern "self-help" books.
  • A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine. Irvine's book is controversial among readers of /r/Stoicism. It is one of the most clear, easy to read, and practical accounts of Stoicism available, but critics feel it waters down and distorts many central elements of the philosophy. Additional discussion of Irvine's book can be found here, here and here.
  • The Stoics: A Guide for the Perplexed by Andrew Holowchak. Holowchak's book is a short, stand-alone account of Stoic philosophy. It quotes classical authors extensively, and provides many references for follow-up reading, but does not use the classical sources as its primary vehicle, and works as a stand-alone source. A longer review can be found here.

    Stoic Week's 2014 Handbook, 2013 Handbook and 2012 Living the Stoic Life booklet may also be of interest. They are free online, and much shorter.

    The FAQ also lists more theoretical, academic modern accounts, which you might prefer depending on taste.

    For ancient sources, commonly recommended starting points are:

  • The Enchiridion of Epictetus is short and easy to read. It was written as a "cheat sheet" of sorts for Epictetus's Discourses, reading the Discourses as well can be very helpful for clarifying what is being said.
  • Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, a personal journal. There are several out-of-copyright translations online, none of which are very good. Hard and Hays both have much better translations popular with readers here.
  • Selected essays and letters by Seneca the Younger, particularly De Tranquillitate (On Tranquility of Mind) and De Brevitate Vitae (On the Shortness of Life).
    Moses Hadas's The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca is a good printed source for these and other writing by Seneca.

    I think any of these can be a good starting point, and any of them can be valuable on its own, but each only offers a partial glimpse of Stoicism as a whole.

    Most of the ancient sources above are good for browsing, picking random pages and reading a little bit here and there. Each has its own distinct character. A good approach may be to find copies of the Enchiridion, Meditations, and a selections of Seneca, and spend a little time browsing through each, and then focusing on the one that appeals most. Then, pursue supporting material to help give context, unpack references, and otherwise improve interpretation. For the Enchiridion, the best source for this would be the Discourses, and Long's Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life is also helpful, in different ways. For the Meditations, Stephens' Marcus Aurelius does a good job of explaining context, references, and interpretation.
u/awesomefresh · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

This book by Marcus Aurelius has transformed my life from one crippled by generalized anxiety into one that is still troubled, but with a definite method to press on. It is easily the most important book I've ever read. (Make sure you check out the Hays translation, the others are quite stiff. This is normally $10 so it's on sale on Amazon.)

What you are talking about is more properly called mindfulness, which was the first tool I tried. I had some success, in particular with Full Catastrophe Living, and if you find mindfulness effective then I would recommend simple mindfulness meditation (just sitting and letting thoughts pass through you--noticing that you have them and not responding to them or labeling them as good or bad, just resting in the moment and accepting that you have certain thoughts or feelings but also watching them pass by).

However, stoicism takes these ideas further and embues an element of self-trust that was much more effective for me. While mindfulness emphasizes the importance of the present and minimizing your immedate negative emotional responses, stoicism includes these elements but also says: there is nothing that can harm you. All I can do is act best I can, and not worry about the rest. Control what you can, but accept what you can't control. External events are uncontrollable and with practice you can remain completly resilent to them--metnally and emotionally accepting that you are in a certain situation but retaining the ability to deal with it in the best way you can.

It is difficult at first, but your everyday difficulties with anxiety are a perfect opportunity to practice. When you face situations and get through them, you hold the realization in your mind that that situation did not harm you--while it may have been unpleasant, you survived and moved straight through it. The unpleasantness was bearable, and you are no worse a person for dealing with it, in fact you are much the better. You can trust in this realization as you look forward toward future events. These little successes can accumulate in a big way if you take the first big step to accept your current limitations and trust in your current ability.

A fantastic example of the will's ability to persevere in impossible situations is Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl faces this daily horrors without anxiety because of his complete trust in his ability to face it squarely and overcome it.

So a stoic isn't someone who is passive or emotionless, but someone who is resilent and extremely proactive in response to difficulty. In terms of specific negative emotions like anxiety, anger, or fear, it's important to remember that you are not trying to ignore or not feel these things. That is a misconception about stoicism. These feeling are natural and in fact necessary for life. However, you want to domesticate these negative emotions and remain in control in spite of them, as much as you can. Everyone is overcome by anxiety at times, but the Stoic bounces back that much quicker.

tl;dr I have recommended a lot of books but everything I wrote is firmly based on the many times I have read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. It is truly worth your time.

u/miyatarama · 10 pointsr/Stoicism


>Are there any areas where you feel CBT or Hypnotherapy have significantly added to or expanded the ideas and techniques of Stoicism?

Yes. This is such a vast issue that it would take a very long time to answer this question properly, so I'll try to just make some brief comments. Modern psychological therapies are diverse and continually expanding, there are hundreds of books on CBT alone, so that in itself means there's always more and more scope for new comparisons with Stoicism. The Philosophy of CBT describes many points of comparisons between Stoicism and CBT, REBT, and hypnotherapy. In all of those areas, modern approaches and Stoicism offer different but perhaps complementary perspectives, and practical techniques. CBT practitioners certainly don't just "do Stoicism" with their clients, they use a vast array of different concepts and strategies, most of which would be of interest to Stoics. One difference is that CBT tends to focus on clinically-severe problems, diagnosable mental health disorders, which naturally leads to a different emphasis from ancient Stoicism. However, there's now more interest in applying CBT to "resilience-building", improving the overall wellbeing and resistance to stress of the normal population, and that's an area where the aims coincide more closely with the focus on traditional Stoicism. Stoicism has a fairly limited repertoire of practical techniques, which modern therapy has vastly expanded. We also have a fairly incomplete picture of Stoicism, unfortunately - only a tiny fraction of the ancient Stoic literature has survived. There was obviously a lot more to Stoicism than we know about. Chrysippus was one of the most prolific authors in the ancient world and yet virtually nothing of his remains. We could draw a huge list of CBT techniques that would be relevant to Stoicism but it would take time to explain them all. You probably want one or two examples, though, so here goes:

  • Imaginal exposure. The discussion of premeditatio malorum ("negative visualization") by William Irvine and others seems very simplistic to a modern therapist and very lacking in terms of links to current research on similar techniques. The most robust finding in the field of psychotherapy, in this regard, is that anxiety (and sometimes other feelings) tend to "habituate" or naturally wear off during repeated, prolonged, systematic exposure to the stimulus (when certain factors are controlled). Clearly, if the Stoics repeatedly visualized misfortune one of the things modern psychology tells us is that their level of anxiety will tend to naturally abate, whether or not they directly attempt to challenge their thinking - and in some cases too much verbal rumination might actually prevent the natural process of habituation from happening. So most anxiety specialists would probably advise Stoics to learn a bit more about that process in order to engage in premeditatio malorum, and that the procedure should probably be prolonged beyond the point at which most people would normally stop, i.e., for about 15-30 minutes per sitting, or until anxiety has reduced by at least 50%, in order for lasting habituation to occur.

  • Worry/rumination. In recent years there's been growing interest in the notion that traditional CBT may have placed too much emphasis on disputing the content of negative thoughts and not enough on managing the whole process of thinking, particularly learning to stop and interrupt prolonged episodes of worry (chains of thoughts about future catastrophes) or rumination (chains of thoughts analyzing past events). I'm sure the ancient Stoics make many passing comments that suggest they were "against" disputation or self-analysis being allowed to turn into prolonged worry/rumination. However, they don't give very clear and explicit advice on spotting and interrupting chains of thinking, which is perhaps a particular problem, an "occupational hazard", for philosophers! Again, tricky to be concise here, but learning to spot typical early-warning signs of worry/rumination spirals and then practicing postponing further thinking until a pre-specified time of your choosing is a common behavioural strategy (called the "stimulus control" method) for managing worry/rumination - although there are now many other methods being used for these issues.

  • Learning to gain "psychological distance" (or "defusion") from thoughts rather than engaging in disputation of them seems particularly important in this area, something hinted at in the Handbook of Epictetus but not often brought up in discussions of Stoicism because it's a concept most philosophical commentators don't seem to be familiar with, although it's very important in modern CBT and behaviour therapy. Epictetus appears to say that the Stoic should spot disturbing thoughts and remind himself that they are mere appearances before attempting to dispute them. There's now some evidence to suggest that "cognitive distancing" (or "defusion") may be more powerful than previously assumed and perhaps more important in many instances than trying to question the evidence for thoughts or beliefs. There are lots of studies in this area now and we're learning more all the time about the factors that are relevant and the value of different techniques of distancing thoughts from reality.

    > What, if any, practices of Stoic life do you feel should be added to the general practice of CBT, to enhance its effectiveness?

    Good question. I'd have to start by explicitly saying that this is speculative and that I wouldn't recommend introducing treatment components to CBT in clinical practice until they've been tested. (Although, incorporating some Stoicism might often just mean making the sort of slight "tweaks" to established techniques, which nobody would think it's necessary to run a clinical trial before doing.) Some suggestions?

  • Values clarification is absolutely integral to Stoicism, i.e., contemplating the nature of the good and acting with virtue. This wasn't really part of CBT, although something similar is now very central to Positive Psychology and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which both evolve out of CBT. Being clear about what you value most in life and trying to act more often in the service of your values (or the virtues) is something that seems to mitigate against and depression and possibly generalized anxiety. It seems to me that expanding this aspect of CBT raises some of the best opportunities for explicit dialogue with philosophers, particularly Stoics. (See my book Build your Resilience for a detailed discussion of values work in behaviour therapy, with links to Stoicism.)

  • Distinguishing between things under your control and things not, which I would call "control appraisal". Obviously that's fundamental to Stoicism; Shaftesbury even calls it the "sovereign" precept of Stoicism. There are traces of it in CBT, especially in a recent protocol (Dugas' method) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) but we could probably develop that concept and techniques derived from it much further in certain forms of CBT.

  • The "view from above", as Hadot calls it, isn't a common strategy in Stoicism. It's not clear how it would function in terms of CBT theory but it's a very popular meditation and I think it deserves to be studied more systematically. It can be done simply by listening to recording, which is "gold dust" in therapy because it makes it extremely easy for clients to do it for ten minutes or so each day, with minimal training or preparation. (It also makes it much easier to do research on a technique if it can be administered with a standard recording: there's a complete script for this at the back of The Philosophy of CBT.) I've used this technique with hundreds of people over the years and almost everyone reports a sense of serenity that comes from it, and a shift in perspective. Technically, it may contribute to "cognitive distancing" but we need to be careful it's not misused as a form of "experiential avoidance", or a way to avoid confronting unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

    Moreover, there are lots of aspects of Stoicism beyond "technique" that add something of value, as I tried to emphasize in the introduction to Philosophy of CBT. The beautiful literature, the broad philosophical perspective, the sense of community with fellow Stoics - are all important things we don't really get from CBT.

u/runeaway · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

> There's been quite a few posts lately about why virtue is actually good. What is the concrete argument in favor of virtue being good?

I have not yet read it, but Lawrence Becker's A New Stoicism attempts to formally answer this question.

> and although Stoic principles still function well as a way of living, the moral impetus seems to be lost

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here by the moral impetus being lost.

> Why are we supposed to be virtuous and to follow reason and the like? It is because logos is the first principle of the cosmos

This was my response to /u/anaxarchos:

"I don't see how the claim that virtue is the sole good is dependent on the claim that the universe is providentially ordered. If living virtuously results in the best possible life, and if we want the best possible life, then it makes sense to live virtuously. Or if having the most money resulted in the best possible life, then it would make sense to do whatever it takes to acquire the most money."

(Of course, the claims that either "living virtuously results in the best possible life" or "having the most money results in the best possible life" would still need to be defended. But neither necessarily depends on Providence existing.)

u/bitjazzy · 3 pointsr/Stoicism

Great question. I think finding stoic thoughts/words to share at funerals would be easier than for weddings - although the audience at a funeral might not be very receptive, at least at first!

Cynthia King's translation of Musonius Rufus's lectures and sayings includes good stuff about marriage in Lectures 13 and 14. A few quotes:

> In marriage there must be, above all, companionship and care of husband and wife for each other, both in sickness and in health and on every occasion. Each party entering into a marriage desires this, after all, just as they desire children. When this mutual care is complete and those who live together provide it to each other completely, each competes to surpass the other in giving such care. Such a marriage is admirable and deserves emulation; such a partnership is beautiful.... Neither wealth nor beauty nor noble birth have been able to increase a sense of partnership, let alone increase harmony; nor do they aid in the creation of children.... Souls that are naturally disposed towards self-control and justice - in a word, towards virtue - are obviously most suitable for marriage. Could a marriage be good without harmony? Could such a union be noble? Could wicked people be in harmony with each other? Could a good person be in harmony with a bad one? This could not happen, [as] a crooked piece of wood could not fit together with another crooked piece, and would fit even worse with its opposite, a straight piece.

To conorohiggins's excellent points, I would only tweak the third item on the list: that as a good spouse, I would aim to "give" to my partner my own virtue / arete / excellence of character, as a gift without expected reciprocation, in addition to trying to help my partner develop his/her own virtue.

edit: link format

u/GreenWizard2 · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

So it depends on what exactly you are looking for. I remember when I was first looking into Seneca, I was very confused about what works were which, and what was contained in various books.

Seneca's works are generally split into the following categories:

  • Letters/Epistles to Lucilius (Roughly 124 philosophical letter he wrote to a friend, meant to be published)
  • Consolation Letters (Philosophical consolation letters he wrote to friends and family members)
  • Moral Essays (Various philosophical essays, On the Shortness of Life, On Anger, On the Happy Life, etc...)
  • Natural Questions (Seneca commenting on the natural sciences of his day―rivers and earthquakes, wind and snow, meteors and comets, etc..)
  • Tragedies (Seneca re-wrote a bunch of classic tragedies from antiquity with his own twist)

    Most people will be more interested in the top three items from that list.

    The Penguin classics "Letters from a Stoic" gives you a small, hand picked selection of the Letters to Lucilius (maybe about 25% of the 124 Letters?). If you just want to get your feet wet to see if you like Seneca at all, then this is a decent place to start. I own it, the translation is ok, this was my first book on Seneca. My biggest issue with it is that, the table of contents for which specific letters are included is non-existent, so if you want to look up a letter, you have to scour through the book, hoping you find it, and all of the letters in that book are labeled with Roman Numerals, which I am pretty bad at remembering as soon as you go past the number 10, your mileage may vary with this one.

    The "Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters." looks like a good mix of Letters to Lucilius, Consolation Letters, and Moral Essays, but I don't own it, so can't say much about it beyond that.

    Oxford's University Press version of "Dialogues and Essays" looks like it has a nice mix of Consolation Letters and Moral Essays, and even an excerpt from Natural Questions, but no Letters to Lucilius, I don't own this one either.

    If you were only ever going to get two books, I would highly recommend Letters on Ethics by Chicago Press, which includes and excellent translation of all 124 Letters to Lucilius along with Hardship and Happiness which includes his best (in my opinion) mix of Moral Essays and Consolation Letters. They are relatively expensive, but worth it in the long run if you are serious about diving into Seneca.

    At one point I had the Loeb Editions of pretty much all his works, but since I can't read Latin at all, I didn't see them as too helpful, the translations were decent.

    So yeah, really it depends, hopefully some of that info was helpful to you.
u/IronWoobie · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

These excerpts are from probably the best Musonius Rufus translation, there are a bunch more, including how he ties marriage and relationships into Stoic philanthropy, but I can only type so much ;-):

> Would not a woman who studies philosophy be just? Would she not be a blameless partner in life, a good co-worker and likeminded one, a careful guardian of husband and children, entirely free from the love of gain or grasping for too much?

> Husband and wife should come together for the following reasons: to live with each other, to have children, and to consider all things as common possessions and nothing as private--not even the body itself.

> In marriage there must be, above all, companionship and care of the husband and wife for each other, both in sickness and in health and on every occasion. Each party entering a marriage desires this, after all, just as they desire children. When this mutual care is complete and those who live together provide it to each other completely, each compete to surpass the other in giving such care. Such a marriage is admirable and deserves emulation; such a partnership is beautiful.

u/MysterySmell0130 · 3 pointsr/Stoicism

I would personally start with the William Irvine book:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything in the book, but it gives a good view of stoicism. It’s easier to read since its in modern English.

I would also recommend “The Daily Stoic.”

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

It is a good book that you can get into if you only have brief periods of time to read. Ryan Holiday books are all pretty good. He mostly uses stoicism in his books, but also a little from other philosophies.

The reason I would start with these books is because the language is a little easier to understand, unless you are used to reading older English. Though “Meditations” does have pretty good translations.

u/Niklas-Schmucker · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

I work in the marketing industry and every attempt I've seen to make something "viral" or "big" has always failed miserably. If you think about it, this is not how news is made. In reality, the idea of ​​publicizing something suddenly changes too often, too quickly into an imposition that never arouses interest but rejection and makes one look like a religious preacher.


The best example of how stoicism can regain attention are Ryan Holiday's works "The Obstacle Is the Way," "Ego Is the Enemy," and soon "Stillness Is the Key." As he describes in his book on marketing called "Perennial Seller" (I can highly recommend this book to anyone who can't get the question of this discussion out of his head) and his first podcast interview at the Tim Ferriss Show, no one ever wakes up in the middle of the night sweating and thinks: "I desperately need a 2000-year-old philosophy from the antiquity," but people can't fall to sleep in the evening, because of the thought: "I need a solution to my problems very quickly." That's why Ryan wrote a practical book with concrete lessons & advice and not a systemic essay on the philosophical "school" of the Stoics.


It is said that stoicism is not the philosophy of the retired monk, but that of the worker in the marketplace; a person who wants to create things and pushes forward what concerns. At such places, Stoicism is really "taught". It's a practical philosophy which should be lived and shown by example in the work you do. And maybe after the work is done, you drink a beer with your colleagues and if the situation presents itself you tell them about the philosophy you're currently studying. This is how it reached popularity from the beginning, and it is how its representatives said how it was meant to be taught.

In the everyday business of the agency in which I work, topics related to stoicism often come up, as it does in any real workplace. If it seems helpful in solving the problem of the client, I give advice that I have learned while studying the Stoics, sometimes I even quote them. For me, these are the moments when philosophy comes alive and really leaves a lasting impression on people.


What of course can happen then is that someone can be a stoic, but he does not know it, because he is more busy acting righteously than wondering what his lifestyle could be called. This leads to the fact that Stoicism is less proclaimed. But this is what distinguishes this school of thought from so many others and makes me appreciate it so much: the primary focus of it, is that ist LIVED more than talked.

If I were to be given the choice of whether everyone in the world should know what Stoicism is or whether everyone should act like a Stoic, I would always choose the latter.


I trust that the things beyond my control, such as my fellow men understanding that philosophical action is the groundwork of a good life, will fall into places. And in my opinion, there already have been "successes", if you want to call them like that:

Ryan's practical books on stoicism have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

Here in Germany, the author Ferdinand von Schirach, who is currently being hold up as the most important writer in the country, quotes in his current work "Kaffee & Zigaretten" (English: "Coffee & Cigarets", not translated yet), which until last week was #1 on the Spiegel Bestsellerliste, Epictetus, provides background information to the life of the philosopher and tells of his first encounter with the "Enchiridion." In another work, he writes: "Marcus Aurelius says that the purpose of life is right action, and the secret of life is life itself. I doubt that a man can know more than that, for me this is all."


So in response to the question of this discussion, I would say that we should diligently fulfill our duties, do what needs to be done, and tackle the issues that are affecting us. In solving them, the teaching of the Stoics will show through by righteous action, inspire people and thus spread by itself.

u/Stoic_MOTD · 1 pointr/Stoicism

MOTD #1: “If it doesn’t harm your character, how can it harm your life?”

Being the first one, I find it suiting to have some sort of an introduction. MOTD, “Meditation of the Day,” as you can tell by the title, is a stoic quote from really any book, as long as it has some sort of "stoic wisdom", but mostly from the big three—which comes out, if all goes well, daily.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to message me. And, if you have a favorite part of Meditations or want to see any other stoic passage in a future posts, again please feel free to message me or comment anytime :D

If you don’t have it I would highly recommend you get one; the Gregory Hays translation of Meditations. Amazon Link

Want to read more books on Stoicism? checkout these lists: r/Stoicism’s the Stoic Reading List | Ryan Holliday’s Lists 1 & 2 | Goodreads

Anyways, have a nice day/night, where every you happen to be… All the best, Chris.

u/ExtraGravy · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

I haven't read it myself, but I have seen support from other subreddit members. I liked "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy" for an introduction. Its been criticized for being a tiny bit Epicurean, but so am I so it worked good for me. :-) I've suggested it to a nephew and a few friends.

Either one will do a good job launching you into the few source texts we have remaining. That is where you want to be, so you can form your own personal stoic practice.

Pro Tip: Check out subreddit FAQ, it is really useful.

edit: word

u/langejansen · 1 pointr/Stoicism

No problem.

I hope you find a way in life that fits you.(assuming the question was for you personally)

Your question got me thinking where the end is of bettering disabilities.
Getting fit? Getting strong?

Stoicism is about becoming mentally invincible and applying that to become the best version of yourself that you can realise.
This is not limited to your own body, but extends to family, friends and society (if you are able)

Thanks for getting me thinking ;)

I'd recommend reading "a guide to the good life" by william irvine ( )
That is a relatively easy introduction that helped me a lot.(I must've read it half a dozen times)

u/Spock_Here_Captain · 1 pointr/Stoicism

Stoicism is an inward thing, not so much an outward thing. So by definition, having a good job and a good education wouldn't be requirements for happiness or even routes to that goal necessarily. Instead the road to Happy Valley would be paved with right judgments, actions benefitting the greater good and a sense of one's place in an infinite space/time continuum.

So it's possible that you and Stoicism aren't on the same wavelength. If you wanted to find out for sure, you might try Donald Robinson's free online Stoic mindfulness class, which starts Sunday:

Or you might read his book: Stoicism and the Art of Happiness --

u/LeoVitali · 6 pointsr/Stoicism

Remember what it's up to you and what it's not. Consider that you are not your body, your possessions or your fame. You are what nature has gifted you: Your Reason. This is the only thing that makes you different from a lion with a broken leg that cannot hunt more and may die of starvation.

My cousin was a pro football player, and he had 3 broken meniscus surgeries in 2 years, that forced him to ultimately leave the sport. Now he has become a really outstanding indoor cycling reference in my country. By the way, in the past, he was really trying so hard to be a great football player, but from my point of view, he has been always pretty mediocre at that sport and with a really poor fit body. Now he is extremely fit, and I see him flourishing, motivating a lot of people to do their fitness routines.

That injury changed his life to better and not because of the injury: Just because of his decisions after the injury.

But it could have also changed his life to worse, and whatever that could have happened was not under his control.

The best part is that you own your own prohairesis (your will, your power of decision). Anyone cares if you decide to be depressive with what the Universe has offered you, or if you decide to channel your effort to new paradigms.

This is not a self-help guide. Until you can't recognize what it's up to you and what's not, you won't be able to start making a change in your life in genera. This is not a single advice to make you feel better (or worse). It's a radical alert to start re-thinking how is your friendship and relationship with the Cosmos. It's hard, and this is why Stoicism designed a set of exercise to muscle up your mind:

And please, make yourself a favor, and read Epictetus Discourses

u/proteinbased · 1 pointr/Stoicism

Here are some thoughts on the topic, since I know the problem.

  1. You might start by realizing that external motivation does not make you a better person, therefore you do not really need it. Fame is not a stoic goal.

  2. What other people think about you falls in the category of things that are beyond your control, so worrying about them makes no sense.

  3. Striving for virtue (excellence), that is giving your best in all the actions you undertake will lead to joy and tranquility.

    You might like to practice "internalizing your goals" (coined in Irvines book. Instead of having real world goals like "I will win, people will compliment me", go for internal goals that are under your control , like "I will give my best" ( to not care about what others think about it ; to not care if it fails , but to continue giving your best and continue to improve)
u/class12394 · 1 pointr/Stoicism

Hey guys,

I want to ask how you use techniques daily.

Can you give me examples?

The hardest for me is memento mori.

Also have you use negative vitalization daily.

I started reading A Guide to Good Life what books you recommend me after this?

How much hard is to stoics books, this have explanation and super easy for beginners.

What books do you recommend me after this?

I am having trouble understanding Fatalism on past and how is that related to present.What values stoics want it except for tranquility? I know they are not focus on fame and wealth?

Thank you for answers, this sub is amazing, i learn a lot from here!

u/logger1234 · 35 pointsr/Stoicism

I would also like to volunteer to being an external resource/pal. Please DM me.

As for reading, you can start with holiday right now. It is "pop"-y but a super easy read. After that Irvine, which is more legit stoicism.

After that, I've got some ideas for you.

Right before prison, consider "Thoughts of a philosophical fighter pilot", or perhaps right after. It is the story of an American POW in Vietnam for seven years. You will probably think "wow, I have it easy" - at least I hope so.

"Rome's Last Citizen" is the story of Cato and a great read.

When it comes time to study the ancients, I'm going to suggest the lectures of Musonius Rufus:

and seneca's selected dialogs:

I found those FAR more approachable than Marcus or Epectitus. But that's just me. Read those first, then read the popular ones. :-)

Next, I'd think about denying yourself BEFORE you get into prison, along with creating a diet and exercise program. Find out what they have in prison and feed yourself food for the next few months that is wholesome yet MORE bland and restrictive in variety.

Sleep on a sleeping bag on a board, with a pillow that is just a laundry bad with some clothes in it. Wear remarkably similar bland outfits each day. Find out what kind of strength training is available in prison, and begin a weight and cardio training program. I suggest stronglift 5x5. It is super easy.

Turn down your internet access - in fact, everything you will lose. Yes, fine, give yourself a cheat day once a week to appreciate what you have while you have it, and learn to appreciate a sunrise. The point is, get used to hardship while it is optional, so you won't have to get used to it when it is required. Your system will have ENOUGH jolts when you surrender. No need to give it more.

Let us know how it goes, at least before you report.

u/thevoiceofzeke · 1 pointr/Stoicism

I think there are two parts to this aspect of personal improvement. One part is having the knowledge (which you have), and another part is putting it into practice (which you're struggling with).

Putting it into practice doesn't mean changing your whole attitude overnight. It literally means practice. In your day to day life, consciously remind yourself which things are most important and most valuable in a practical sense, and which things are of questionable/material value. Actually practice gratefulness for the things you have right now, and frequently remind yourself that your life in the present moment is adequate, and could be much worse, and that it's extremely unlikely any material thing will enhance it in a meaningful way.

It might get easier as you age, too. Personally, I've cared less and less about what other people think every year since I was ~22 (I'm 27 now), and that has made it easier to stop chasing status symbols.

I'd suggest doing some reading to help you learn some strategies you can employ daily that will change your perspective over time. A Guide to the Good Life helped me stay on track through a tough winter last year.

u/silverdeath00 · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

Marcus Aurelius, is not something you read and go "FUCK YEAH, I CONQUERED THAT BOOK. I'M A BADASS!!!!"

It's an investment that will pay dividends years to come. It's not the simplest stoic text to read. However if you want the feeling of reading the words of a Roman Emperor from 1,000 years ago, and also actually use his words to change and live your life by, here are a few ideas:

  • Read and skim through it. Get a general sense of the book. Read the Gregory Hays translation. READ THE GREGORY HAYS TRANSLATION. READ THE GREGORY HAYS TRANSLATION (shout out to a hero of mine /u/ryan_holiday for this)

    (I'm trying to emphasise this and I might not get this point across, but honestly you can read a translation written by someone who knows the english language and the worldview context in 2002, or by someone from the 19th century. Your choice.)

  • You won't really understand the book. But you'll get a sense of the general philosophy he was trying to remind himself. They're called The Meditations. Aphorisms and pieces of advice written in a specific format to remind himself how to live. We actually don't have any modern equivalent to this.

  • Now, you're ready for the golden treat. The princess at the end of the castle. The goose that will keep laying golden eggs. Pick up a copy of The Inner Citadel by Pierre Hadot. Think of it as the guide to read the Meditations. The cheat guide to the crossword puzzle. The How-To Manual on how to understand Marcus Aurelius' mindset as he wrote that beast throughout his life. It's with this book that you'll understand Meditations. You'll understand the 3 central tenets he wrote by, and just why he wrote them in a codified mysterious way. You'll get a glimpse into the man. You'll understand just what role Philosophy actually played in ancient times. (Hint: it wasn't the circle jerking that modern philosophy is) And you'll come away with a deep understanding of Stoicism. Heck, it might just change your life.

    Honestly it's not the greatest introduction to Stoicism. Personally I prefer Seneca (I've gifted a short version of his On The Shortness of Life to 4 different friends), because he was writing for a wider audience as opposed to just himself. But if you want to go down the rabbit hole. If you want to take the red pill, read it like I've just suggested.
u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/Stoicism

I highly recomment the 2002 Modern Library version of Meditations, with intro and translation by Gregory Hays. Out of about 6 translations I have read, this is my favorite.

The introduction is almost half of the book, and very helpful to give context to both Marcus and the time he lived in. The actual translation of the text is very straightforward and easy to digest. I picked my copy up at B&N.

(In case you didn't know, the meditations themselves are like little tweets from the Roman age... LOL... They're concise and easy to jump in and out of and easy to return to thanks to the numbering system used.)

u/illegalUturn · 3 pointsr/Stoicism

Hi /u/mcnelton - I hope you read this comment because none of the so far suggested books come from an academic approach.

I would recommend the (perhaps poorly titled) Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson.

It's extremely well sourced and references a significant number of modern of academic and psychology texts as well as ancient ones. Each section contains practical exercises, and the book covers the whole historical context as well as the modern development of psychology treatments such as REBT and CBT which are based on the Stoic tradition.

If you want to take a step further in the academic direction but away from the practical, I would recommend the truly excellent Stoicism by John Sellars.

u/unvorsum · 1 pointr/Stoicism

I'm quite new to Stoicism myself and, like you, am trying to figure these things out. My advice would be to invest in some good books. Something you can take your time with, study, highlight, write in, keep under your pillow at night. Here's a short list of the ones I've found to be most helpful:

[All things Epictetus](

And to help you understand Epictetus: Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life by A.A. Long

A very helpful translation and commentary on Epictetus' Handbook by Keith Seddon

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations

Along with this indispensable study of the Meditations by Pierre Hadot

u/pleasedtomichu · 3 pointsr/Stoicism

They're both great for their clarity, conciseness, and more modern use of language. I personally think Robin Hard's version flows a bit better, but they're pretty much interchangeable, and for some passages I prefer the Hays translation.

Edit: Robin Hard also has a great translation of Epictetus' Discourses, Fragments, and Handbook (Enchiridion).

u/Dataika · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

I have been reading this book recently and it has really helped change my overall outlook on life. In the appendix section it talks about various activities that one can do, in the morning, throughout the day, and at night in order to cultivate a stoic mindset.

I usually begin each morning with a 10 - 15 minute mindfulness meditation and 15 minutes of stoic practice. The stoic practices are reciting phrases from various authors (I like Epictetus' quotes on what we can control vs what we can't), imagining ourselves as a famous thinker (I usually think of Marcus Aurelius) and how we can respond to various challenges we may face during the day. During the day, I try to bring these scenarios to mind.

At night, before bed, I take 10 minutes or so to remember my day. I go through it event by event and think about what happened and if I could have done something differently. I then make peace with the decisions and can rest easy knowing that tomorrow is a new day. I find these processes have made an immense difference in my life. They only take about 30 to 45 minutes of real time, out of my day.

The book is awesome though and goes into more details. He has other books available to that I'm working my way through, I will tell you how it goes.

u/FinnianWhitefir · 8 pointsr/Stoicism

I thought The Obstacle Is the Way was a really good easy-to-read intro to Stoicism and I give it to people I know.

I got started with this version of The Art of Living and thought it was super clear and really easy to read. Everything else I've tried has been very hard, like you said.

u/briar5278 · 32 pointsr/Stoicism

I know, I love the translation too, that's why I always look for this specific picture for this passage!

I saved the picture from this tweet here. The author includes a picture of the book cover, however I'm not sure if that is the cover of the book the picture was taken from. The book is here on Amazon and has the ISBN 9381841934 and is published by Grapevine India Publishers. Again, I'm not sure if this would be the version this page is from, but it is my best guess without DMing the author of the tweet directly.

ETA: This is the Gregory Hays translation, link to Amazon book can be found here.

u/Bujutsu · 1 pointr/Stoicism

LOL! Well said. Here's a good book about Marcus Aurelius' thoughts on this. Funny enough, it's called "The Obstacle is the Way." Highly recommend it. :-)

u/skytomorrownow · 38 pointsr/Stoicism

Penguin Classics recently issued this handsome set of 4.5" x 6.9" hardbound editions that you might be interested in. It includes Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and Letters from a Stoic by Seneca.

They are very handsome and compact. Great to throw in a bag for a subway or train ride. They even come with a sewn in satin bookmark.

u/Sennmeistr · 6 pointsr/Stoicism

Among the universally recommended books to read are The inner Citadel, A guide to the good life, How to be a Stoic or Stoicism and the art of happiness.

For quick guides online see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, or the philosimply entries for Epictetus, Seneca, Zeno and Marcus Aurelius. It is also wise to read the handbooks of the Stoic week, e.g. the 2016 version, or read the articles on modern Stocism and how to be a Stoic.

Despite this, it is crucial for beginners to read the classic literature: Epictetus' Enchiridion, the Discourses, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, the letters from Seneca, among others. You will need to read them intensively, think and reflect about them. Something Stoicism teaches is that the easy way is seldomly the right way. It is almost not possible to read simple summaries and notes and expect yourself to understand anything. Another thing is that the obstacle, your inability to concentrate on a text, does not stand in the way of learning, but it is the only possible way for you to learn. And thus, it is the best way for you to grow and learn.

u/thepulloutmethod · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

I have this version. It is great. Whenever I read a passage from it I have to sit back and think for a while because it blows my mind.

OP, I think you will benefit from reading it. It uses plain English. Here it is on amazon:

The Meditations, fortunately, have been widely published and are almost certainly available in your native language.

u/SadAbbreviations · 1 pointr/Stoicism

I recently read A Guide to the Good Life and found it approached Stoicism systematically and from a more modern perspective. It tries to act as a guidebook. There's chapters that also cover the history and formation of the philosophy. As far as the metaphysics there's a chapter that substitutes evolution in place of God/Zeus explaining we want to accumulate as much stuff, eat as much as possible, and gain social status (fame) because that gave ancient humans better odds of attracting a mate and reproducing. So we're the result of millions of years of these insatiable drives programmed into us. I hadn't actually given that much thought, but it seems obvious now.

It looks like there's many similar books in the suggested section on that page, for what others bought. Including This complete guide to Stoicism that I'm about to buy.

u/stoicmettle · 4 pointsr/Stoicism

The Daily Stoic sounds like what you're looking for but its not just Meditations it has things from Seneca, Marcus and Epictetus primarily.
I like the translations in it, very easy to comprehend.

u/SolutionsCBT · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

Hi, I'm the author. I'm glad you like the book. As someone mentioned, it's an academic text that focuses on the historical context and the relationship between Stoic practice and modern CBT, rather than a self-help guide. I've just written another book, due out soon, called Teach Yourself Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, published by Hodder. It's a completely different type of book, which is much more aimed at describing Stoicism in terms of practical exercises that modern readers can follow.

u/OnThatEpictetusShit · 5 pointsr/Stoicism

Just want to say, good question, hoping for some insightful answers to read.

Relatedly, I found this book really helpful, and it has some suggestions at the back for daily practice.