How to Change Your Life

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Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

Daily Stoic

It was today in 1965 that Malcolm X was gunned down while delivering a speech in a New York City ballroom. Perhaps the most controversial of the Civil Rights leaders, Malcolm was a complicated man. His early life was defined by crime, liqueur and violence and it was a story that ended, as it ends for so many, in a prison cell.

But in that cell, Malcolm Little, as he was then called, picked up a book…and then another book…and then another. “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book,” he would say later. In fact, he would come to refer to “books” rather than college as his “alma mater.”

We don’t know if Malcolm read the Stoics as some Civil Rights leaders did, but we know that he drank deeply from history and philosophy and religion and as a result, he came to at least one conclusion that sounds like it could have come from Marcus or Seneca or Epictetus.

“There is no better than adversity,” he said. “Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”

It’s true. The impediment to action advances action. The obstacle is the way.

We need to understand this simple but completely counterintuitive idea, and then we need to impute it onto our DNA and mind. Because, to paraphrase Malcolm, when we change our philosophy we change our attitude and when we change our attitude, we change our actions.

And then, as he did, we can change ourselves and change the world.

P.S. Our “The Obstacle Is the Way” print is made in collaboration with renowned artist Joey Roth and is inspired by the cult Stoic classic The Obstacle Is the Way. Discover more and order yours now.

Always Room to Improve

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Daily Stoic

Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing…

Epictetus reminds us: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

He tells us that this is the “first task” of philosophy: to get rid of our preconceptions, to do away with the dogmas we have in our heads. Be humble. Be open to things you don’t know, or things that challenge what you do know.

Emerson talked about the advantage of a life of humility in his memorable line: “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”…

Humility is an easy virtue to talk about—and a much harder one to put into practice. We don’t want to seem stupid. We don’t like saying, “I don’t know” or “You might have a point.” Harder still: “Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I have more to learn?”  But it’s this attitude that leads to change and improvement. So give it a try. You can’t get better if you think you’re superior.

The Philosophy Of Stoicism: Five Lessons from Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Zeno of Citium.

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Daily Stoic

Source: The Philosophy Of Stoicism: Five Lessons from Seneca, Musonius Rufus, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Zeno of Citium.

Below is a guest post from Philip Ghezelbash, as he offered to share five of the most important lessons he took away from Stoicism. Enjoy!

1. Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last

Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher. He once said:

“You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

Death doesn’t make life pointless, death makes life worth living. The world keeps spinning when you’re gone and so many of us live life with an attitude which represents the arrogant thought that we are destined to live forever…

When you wake up, pretend today is your last day and live life as you would in this circumstance.

2. Food Is the Best Test Of Self-Control

Food is the best test of self-control and temperance because it’s presented to us every single day and in the modern world at any hour of the day.

Musonius Rufus was a Roman Stoic philosopher who in his two part discourse on food said:

“That God who made man provided him food and drink for the sake of preserving his life and not for giving him pleasure, one can see very well from this: when food is performing its real function, it does not produce pleasure for man, that is in the process of digestion and assimilation.”

Although the pleasure of food is experienced on the tongue, it’s clear that the purpose of food is revealed when it assimilates with the body through digestion.

The lesson here is similar to what Socrates once said which is that we should eat to live rather than live to eat.

3. Failure Is Natural, Regret Is Foolish

Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome. His untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations is an important source of Stoic philosophy.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

He means that everything, no matter whether it is good or bad is an opportunity to practice virtue.  Don’t be surprised by failure, expect it, in fact, embrace it and seek after obstacles in your life which seem uncomfortable…

Epictetus is famous for what he called the dichotomy of control which describes what is in our control.  We can apply this to failure.

The moment you start to regret something in the past you’re fundamentally acting against something which is out of your control and so there’s no practical reward from doing so only frustration and anger.

We should learn from the past and our failures, but to regret, to ponder and to revisit our previous attempts and then look at present with disdain is a crime to your character.

4. Focus on The Small Things

Zeno of Citium was the founder of Stoicism, described as living an ascetic life. He once said that:

“Well-being is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.”

The idea is basically that one must never underestimate the small things in life, because who’s to say that the small things don’t define the larger and seemingness more important parts of life? They do…

It’s easy to look at other people’s successes and pin them down to luck or good fortunate when in reality it was the small “insignificant” things done consistently which defined their successes.

Don’t place your satisfaction on big goals and dreams, place your satisfaction on small wins.

5.  Throw Away Vanity

Epictetus was born a slave in what we call Turkey today; he lived in Rome, was then banished and spent the rest of his life in Greece. He said:

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

When you wish to pursue philosophy and therefore any subject of interest to you, you must throw away conceit and excessive pride before you begin.

Be willing to learn, be willing to listen, be willing to leave your ego aside to learn, evolve and develop through the wisdom of others and through embracing the joy of ignorance.

As the Socratic paradox goes: “I know that I know nothing”


Philip is a health nut, writer and a certified personal trainer. His mission is to close the gap between health and philosophy. He is the upcoming author of the book The Stoic Body. What he is striving to do is combine the seemingly unrelated fields of nutrition and health in with the philosophical world and in particular, Stoicism.Subscribe to Philip’s YouTube channel here. You can also join the Stoic Body Facebook group here.


Daily Stoic – What are you worried about

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Daily Stoic

Thanks to Daily Stoic for sharing this great post

What are you worried about right now?

Your job?

Your family?

Your future?

Your health?

You’re not crazy to worry. Bad things could happen related to any of them. A car accident. An economic downturn. A surprise diagnosis.

But let’s go backwards in time a month, a year, five years. What were you worried about then? Mostly the same things, right?

And how many of those worries came to pass? And the ones that did…clearly the worrying didn’t help stop it, right?

It was Seneca who put the best one-liner to this feeling: “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

It’s too facile to say don’t worry. But put your worries in perspective. Don’t let your worries grow out of proportion to what might actually happen. Don’t let imagination overtake reality. And for god’s sake, don’t conflate worrying with prevention or preparation…because you have a clear track record to show you how silly that is.


Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.



Daily Stoic

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Daily Stoic

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The Stoics saw gratitude as a kind of medicine, that saying “Thank you” for every experience was the key to mental health. “Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods,” was how Marcus Aurelius put it, “that things are good and always will be.”…

…But we should also be grateful for the less obvious things: For the setbacks, for the squabbling habits of other people, for the stress they put on us and whatever other difficulties we might be experiencing. Why? Because we are only experiencing them because we are alive. Because they are a form of fuel for our philosophy. And as frustrating as they might be, it’s what Fortune chose for us and we might as well make the most of it.

Epictetus has said that every situation has two handles: Which are you going to decide to hold onto? The anger or the appreciation? The one of resentment or of thanks?…

[For a larger exercise in how to practice gratitude every day, you might like this article. And you can also read our message from last Thanksgiving, The Daily Art of Giving Thanks.]


P.S. The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living is now available everywhere books are sold. And for more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out our Daily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fatiand memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more.

Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.

Daily Stoic

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Daily Stoic

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In America [and Europe], it’s Halloween, which is a fun holiday for children. In Mexico, however, it is the beginning of Día de los Muertos, a much more adult and philosophical holiday. All throughout Mexico, people will gather not to eat candy but to celebrate and remember their friends and family who have died. It is, in a sense, a three day commemoration of the idea of memento moria kind of collective bereavement mixed with the fun of a jazz funeral.

The great Montaigne would tell of a story that had trickled back to him from the New World, of an ancient drinking game where the members took turns holding up a painting of a corpse inside a coffin and cheered “Drink and be merry for when you’re dead you will look like this.” This cheeky but also profound observation captures the spirit of Día de los Muertos quite well with imagery of skulls and skeletons, the makeup and the music and the dancing, the praying and the altars set up to honor those who have left.

It might seem strange to celebrate death in this way, and stranger still to involve children in it. But is it really that stranger than banishing any thought of death from our lives and letting it return to us only as a dreaded nightmare? There is real value in taking time to process and grieve and dance with the morbidity of our mortality, of creating a ritual that allows us to come to terms with this essential part of our existence. Better to be on good terms with death and to schedule an annual check up than to be surprised and shocked by this enemy we pretend doesn’t exist.

So drink and be merry today and celebrate the day of the dead. Say goodbye to the people you have lost and enjoy the people you are lucky enough to still have with you. That’s all we can do.


P.S. For more ways to keep Stoic principles in mind as you navigate your day, check out our Daily Stoic Store. It features our popular amor fati and memento mori medallions, Marcus Aurelius print, and more. Also, The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is available everywhere books are sold.

Like this email? Forward it to a friend. And if it was forwarded to you, sign up for our free 7-day course on Stoicism, packed with exclusive resources.


Practice Being Mindful Discovering Your Happiness

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Many thanks to Practice Being Mindful — Discovering Your Happiness  for sharing…

There is a VERY BIG difference to being ‘mindful‘ compared to ‘mind full‘

I practice mindfulness because I know it gives me that ‘I can totally handle this even though everything is burning to the ground’ mindset. The only problem is that mindfulness isn’t always straightforward or easy to do. The hardest part is simply remembering to be mindful.

It’s easy to forget about mindfulness because of the craziness of our daily schedules…but that’s exactly when we need mindfulness. After all, mindfulness helps us make our days more calm and less stressful.

Struggling with mindfulness yourself? Here are five tips to make mindfulness easier so you can to integrate it into your daily life!


Make mindfulness easier by reminding yourself often. This could be through reminders on your phone telling you to be mindful or post-it notes left in places you’ll look frequently. You could even use something like a physical object to remind you to be mindful. For example, if there’s a candle you like, you can tell yourself to be present in the moment whenever you light it.


Another way to make mindfulness easier is through a regular practice. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or another form of mindfulness, getting into a routine will make mindfulness a whole lot easier. I find that using an app for meditation also makes this less daunting.


In order to get more mindful, it’s important to remove the constant noise that distracts you from the present moment. I’m talking about all of the social media accounts you follow that don’t add any value to your life. Go on an unfollowing spree and give your brain a break from anything that causes you to compare yourself to others, doubt your self-worth, or grinds your gears. You can also unsubscribe from all of the newsletters you *magically* got subscribed to using unroll.me. (I honestly just unsubscribed to 114 companies that I no longer want to get emails from, best website evvvvvvvvver!)


Taking some time each day to write what you’re grateful for is a great way to add more mindfulness into your routine. Try writing down three things you’re grateful for before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. Not only does this help shift a negative mindset, it also means you’re taking time to be more mindful about what’s good in your life.


Combine productivity and mindfulness by intentionally planning out your day.  One way to do this is to choose the top three things that must get done today. These are the things that are going to add the most value and purpose to your day. By doing this, you are being more mindful about your priorities, and you’re less likely to get distracted because you know exactly what you need to do.

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day

via Practice Being Mindful — Discovering Your Happiness


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