I discovered Stoicism in early 2015, right around the time my grandmother passed away, and I was dealing with a breakup and a career switch — everything happened at the same time. Stoicism helped me remain resilient during that difficult time. I’ve been studying the philosophy ever since.
Inspired by Seneca’s renowned letters, I’m starting a weekly column here on Medium, that I call the Stoic Letter.
Roughly speaking (and highly generalizing), there are two philosophies to base your life on.
I took a few days off last week because I wanted to rest. It’s something I learned from Dale Carnegie. He writes in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, “Rest before you are tired.” It’s a great piece of advice for avoiding burnout. But for most of my career, I used to wait to take a break until I was already tired and running on fumes. It’s like drinking water when you’re thirsty. The way to avoid thirst is to stay hydrated. It’s the same thing when it comes to resting your body. …
One of the good things about the pandemic was that we quickly got used to being on our own. It was a forced exercise in self-reliance. When you spend most of your time at home, often the result is that you look at what you want to get out of your days. It’s a good way to live because you’re focusing on what you control.
But as more and more things are getting back to normal this year, we’re starting to look outwardly again. And when we do that, we automatically start comparing ourselves to others. Have you noticed this…
I recently caught up with Mike, a former co-worker I used to be very close with. We hadn’t talked for three years, but it felt like only yesterday since the last time we met up in London. After our call, I got in a bit of a reflective mood.
Mike and I started our jobs seven years ago on the same day. That’s how we became friends; two hungry guys who were trying to climb the corporate ladder. A year and some change later, I left the job to pursue a writing career. But he kept at it. Sometimes you…
Last year, 1,320 people bought one of my courses. And 54% of those sales came from existing customers. To me, that’s the most important metric in business.
While it’s important to attract new customers, retaining your existing customers ensures that your business has a sustainable source of revenue. It’s also better from a financial point of view.
Every writer wants everyone to read their work. It’s a secret desire that we all have. And we also want everyone to love what we write.
So when we publish something that no one reads, we’re left with all these negative emotions. We feel like no one cares, or that people don’t understand us.
Where does this desire to be liked come from? Because if we look at the facts, it’s more likely that no one reads our stuff. It’s actually very rare that a lot of people would read your work.
But our ego doesn’t care about that. We…
I started publishing on Medium in 2015. Over the years, I’ve seen many writers who came here with excitement and energy, to only leave with a broken spirit.
I don’t like seeing that. As a writer, I wish success to every writer who pursues this career for the right reasons. And it’s tough to see that so many of my peers are not treating their writing career as a business.
I see people starting paid newsletters to only quit them after a few months. I see writers creating online courses that make no sense. …
One of my friends recently said he’s committed to seeing his parents more. I asked him why, and he said that he made some calculations. He said, “My parents are in their seventies. We usually see each other twice a year. My grandparents on both sides died around the age of 84. So at that rate, I would probably see my parents only 20 more times in my life.”
As a result of a simple calculation, he became more grateful for the moments he spent with his parents, and he tried to see them more often. In our lives, there…
Every expert or thought leader knows that authority is crucial. Without it, no one would ever listen to us.
Robert Cialdini, a professor of marketing, business, and psychology, famously wrote about the principle of authority, in his book Influence. He found that, because of the fast pace of the modern world, people have resorted to “fixed-action patterns.”
When it comes to the science of influence and persuasion, authority means that you’re respected by other people. When you have authority, others will listen to what you have to say.
Since people are too busy to study everything in detail or weigh…
Over the past year, most of us have been working from home and spending more time than usual on our own. Throughout the day, there’s no one who’s watching what we’re doing. It’s been the perfect self-awareness exercise to figure out what our true motives are.
So often, we’re motivated by getting the approval of other people. The jobs we take, the books we read, the clothes we buy, the pictures we take for social media, the people we associate with. We do those things because we want to be liked by others.