Tim Ferriss on how to apply stoic philosophy to your life | Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss on how to apply stoic philosophy to your life | Tim Ferriss

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converse here author of the 4-hour
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workweek for our body for our chef tools
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Titans and so on and so forth I talk a
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lot about stoic philosophy they’ve had a
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lot of questions about stoic philosophy
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I produced audio books about stoic
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philosophy which have made their way
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into Super Bowl teams all the way from
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management to players and everything in
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between
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why do I talk about stoic philosophies
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so much well to a lot of people who are
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watching this and as was true for me for
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a very long time you hear stoic and you
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think maybe of a cow standing in the
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rain just accepting whatever tragedy and
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terrible circumstances befall it that is
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not what I’m advocating at all or maybe
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you imagine somebody with no emotion
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whatsoever also not what I’m advocating
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so the way we use stoic and modern
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English is is somewhat different from
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the way that it was used when it came
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from stoah which is actually porch and
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specifically I think that stoicism is a
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fantastic operating system for thriving
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in high stress environments what does
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that mean it means that it is a
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framework for making better decisions
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and training yourself to be less
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reactive it goes very well with
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different types of meditation whether
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that’s TM or using an app like headspace
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for calm so on but you don’t necessarily
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need both they’re complimentary stoic
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philosophy and I should say that
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probably around 2004 I picked up a book
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that was the collected letters of Seneca
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Seneca the younger who’s one of the real
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figure heads I would say in the last few
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years at least who has become very
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popular as a stoic thinker and writer
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has been popular for some thousand plus
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years but there’s been a huge resurgence
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others would include Marcus Aurelius
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used to be the Emperor of Rome the most
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powerful man in the world of time and
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then there are others Cato and so on
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Epictetus
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who was formerly slave so you have a
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very wide spectrum of well-known stoic
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fingers and you should find the one that
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speaks to you best but I picked up this
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book of Senecas writing didn’t really
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expect much of it
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and when people ask me now what is your
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favorite book of all time the book
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you’ve read the most the book you gifted
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the most I’ve gifted hundreds of copies
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of Senecas letters so the morale letters
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to Luke Ilyas Luc ili us the morale
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letters to Achilles by Seneca the
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younger he was very famous playwright
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one of the wealthiest people in Rome
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advisor to the Emperor that ultimately
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didn’t work out so well for him but he
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was on the front line so what I
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appreciate about stoic philosophy is how
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well it is used in highly challenging
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circumstances and the some of the basics
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of stoic philosophy which have been
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applied in Super Bowl which had been
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applied in training of all different
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types have been applied by prisoners of
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war POWs in wartime like Stockdale for
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instance James Stockdale or I would say
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a few things number one it trains you
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much like the serenity prayer in a way
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but it’s more systematic to focus on
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differentiating between things that you
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can control and things you cannot
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control and really only focusing your
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energy on the former so for instance if
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you watch your friends spinning out of
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control on social media freaking out
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about politics and all they do is bitch
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and whine and whinge about politics well
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if we sat down and thought about it the
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vast majority of those people are not
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going to be in a position normally and
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take steps to change any of that reality
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therefore is a lot of wasted energy and
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calories and brain cycles right so
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really really learning to repent it and
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repetitively consistently focus on
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things that are within your sphere of
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control that doesn’t mean that you are
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passive and certainly the reason that
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people like Thomas Jefferson George
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Washington the founders of this great
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country of the United States of America
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were certainly rebels and
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revolutionaries and extremely aggressive
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and contrarian in many many ways
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went to stoicism is because they knew
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they had a lot of hard battles ahead and
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they wanted to
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make wise decisions right so number one
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you’re learning to focus on and expand
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the sphere of action that you have the
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things you can control
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next you’re going to systematically
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train yourself to be less prone to
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overreacting to say criticism so kato
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who is considered by some to be the
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perfect stoic fascinating character see
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ato would sometimes wear a tunic of an
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unpopular color so that he would be
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ridiculed in the senate and by other
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people he did this specifically and
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other things like it so that he would
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train himself to only be ashamed of
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those things worth being ashamed of so
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the superficial things he would
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experiment with and he would catalyze
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other people making fun of him or
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insulting him so that he would develop a
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tolerance for it this is very very
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practical and there are many corollaries
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to this as well as the next piece which
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is in effect practicing poverty and the
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worst case scenario so that they hold
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less power over you and that can take
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the form of say Kevin Kelly who’s been
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on the Tim Ferriss know podcast
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fascinating technology futurist as well
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as founding editor of Wired magazine so
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he knows worst case scenario because he
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has done so much backpacking and lived
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off of instant oatmeal the worst case
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scenario he can always have his backpack
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instant oatmeal and a cup of coffee and
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he can be happy and he knows that
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because he’s practiced it and Seneca in
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letter 13 of his letters to kill Lewis
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the moral literacy Lucilius which was I
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believe on festivals and fasting talks
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about setting aside a certain number of
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days and then paraphrasing here but a
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certain number of days during which you
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will eat the cheapest affair where the
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coarsest of dress etc asking yourself
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all the while is this the condition that
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I so feared so practically speaking I’ve
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built this into my own life by fasting
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by exposing myself to cold I have a
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practice of cold exposure which is done
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very safely I have different types of
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plan suffering
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and planned poverty’s so that any type
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of unplanned suffering or unplanned
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financial hit will have less of an
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impact on me and this applies in many
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different fields this is I suppose a
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compatible ethos with the more you sweat
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and peacetime the less you bleed in
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wartime alright you want to prepare for
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the unexpected turns of fate by
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simulating what the worst-case scenarios
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would be this is very very practical and
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if we look back to Cato for instance
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while he would wear these ridiculous
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outfits you know I will spend time
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walking through say California in San
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Francisco okay hippie liberal central
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with a cowboy hat on just to see what
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happens because you will get all sorts
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of sideways glances and so on and I
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might then go to Utah I went to a very
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conservative part of Utah and I wore
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what I call my party pants for a day or
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two and party pants are these very
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flamboyant bright blue floral patterned
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pants from bonobos I don’t really sell
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them anymore which effectually looked
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like the upholstery on your grandma’s
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couch they are hideous and did that very
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deliberately to force me to interact
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with people in a way that would
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condition me to be able to take bolder
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steps or have more uncomfortable
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conversations in the future because all
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serious problems all important matters
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require uncomfortable conversations I
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think you can measure your success in
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many ways by the number of uncomfortable
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conversations you’re willing to have and
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stoicism helps with that so I go down
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the list but there are very very
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practical steps to take and then you can
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translate that into your own life so for
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instance a lot of the advice that you
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might get from a former Navy SEAL
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commander like Jocko willing he wouldn’t
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call stoicism but the mental toughness
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that he has developed and also trained
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in other people is very much not going
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to say identical but a close cousin to
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stoicism and if if you look at for
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instance advice that you would get once
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your
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rust into the public eye and a lot of
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these letters the Morel understood gills
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are long lines of dear Lukey Lewis I
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hear you’re being slandered by your
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so-called friends so-and-so in the
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Senate and he did this but then he said
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this behind your back here’s how I would
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recommend that you deal with the
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situation and I would translate that
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into for instance advice that I give
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people who are about to get a lot of
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public exposure and I say you never as
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bad as they say you are and you’re never
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as good as they say or all right and I
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want to touch on a common misconception
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or maybe aspect of stoicism people find
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unattractive so you never as bad as they
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say are you’re also never as good as
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they say you are and this helps you to
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keep a level head some people fear that
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if they if they adopt stoicism or study
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so sysm that they will become this very
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Vulcan like creature that has neither
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this certainly has has less of a dip in
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terms of the lows of life but that’s
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simultaneously you’re going to sacrifice
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the highs you won’t have the peaks of
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joy that you experience as a normal
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person if you focus on stoicism to that
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I would say number one you are a
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thinking person and much like any book
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you would read you can pick and choose
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so you can pick and choose the elements
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that you find most useful you think are
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going to be most applicable to you and
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then you can test them all right so I
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happen to think of my own philosophies
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not as stoicism and not as a as an
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evangelist necessarily for stoicism to
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proselytize other people I pull from
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elements of say Buddhism resent Buddhism
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I also pull elements from
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epicureanism which was really seen as
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almost the opposite of stoicism but to
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be maximally content and to find joy in
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the small things I find that to be a
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very helpful counterbalance to some of
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the stove’s looking which can get a
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little dry in somber at times but what
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stoicism will do if you embrace it in
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many respects and Zen Buddhism also very
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helpful for this is helping to develop a
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present state awareness so that you are
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aware of your thoughts and emotions
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before they take control of you
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need you to make very bad decisions
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whether that’s lashing out at someone
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verbally whether that is making an
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impulse buy or sell decision or
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otherwise it is a fantastic insurance
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policy that allows you to have more
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consistent well-being throughout your
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life in all areas and that to me rather
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than a cow standing in the rain a
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stoicism and certainly I view it as one
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of the keys to any success that I have
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had in the last decade or more whether
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that is in the world publishing
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podcasting angel investing or otherwise
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I really think that this is a core
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underlying foundation upon which my best
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decisions have been built so I hope the
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same for you and PS I feel so strongly
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about the value of this and I want to
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thank everyone it is listen to my
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podcast or read anything I’ve written
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that I’ve put together three volumes of
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stoic writing primarily Seneca and I’m
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giving them away for free so I’m giving
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away as ebooks it’s called the Tao of
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Seneca ta o the Tao of Seneca and there
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are gorgeous original illustrations that
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I had commissioned there is incredible
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calligraphy from both Japanese and
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Chinese masters so I want to show some
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of the parallels between philosophical
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schools that are dropped into this and
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it features I want to say at least 120
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letters from Seneca to Luke Elias so you
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can find those for free and I really
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hope that you find value in them and
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share them with other people but that’s
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the town of Seneca and you can go out
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and find it at your leisure
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so that for now is everything that I
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want to share on stoicism but it’s taken
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me very very far and I hope and expect
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the same for all of you hope you enjoyed
13:04
the video if you would like to see my
13:05
favorite piece of content that I put out
13:07
every week it is a short newsletter five
13:09
bullet Friday it’s free five bullet
13:12
points with the coolest things that I’ve
13:14
been finding using testing in a given
13:16
week I put it out every Friday you can
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digest it
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five minutes take a look Bible of Friday

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