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.
“It is shameful not to walk but to be carried, and suddenly dazed in the midst of worldly confusion to ask: ‘How did I come to this point?’” That’s what Seneca wrote in a letter to Lucilius.
Think about it. Where are you in life? And what led you to this point? Most of us don’t have a good answer. I’ve learned to ask myself that question all the time:“How did I come to this point?” The first time I asked myself this, it was like a whole new world opened up to me.
Until about six years ago, I didn’t take enough time to reflect on my decisions. In fact, I didn’t even have an answer when I started asking myself that question Seneca posed. …
Writing is difficult because it requires thinking. When people say, “I don’t know what to write,” it often means they haven’t spent enough time to formulate their ideas. Or sometimes, we try to write something we don’t really believe in.
Many years ago, I started writing fiction. But like most people who try to write, I had no idea where to start or what to say. The truth was I just liked the idea of writing fiction. I didn’t truly believe in the story I tried to write. So it never amounted to something.
For years, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t write fiction. But when I read an essay on writing by Arthur Schopenhauer, the German pessimist, it finally clicked. …
For the past six years, I’ve been working with a life plan. I’ve been planning my days, months, and years. In this article, I will share how I do it, and what kind of impact this had on my life and career.
I was inspired to work on long-term planning by Jim Rohn. He talks about this in his classic seminar, How To Take Charge Of Your Life. It’s 30 years old, but his advice is more relevant than ever.
We have so many opportunities and shiny things that grab our attention that we’re likely to get paralyzed by indecision. So many of us just wander around without a clear purpose. …
Personal development is an abstract topic, which means different things to different people. And there’s no singular strategy for measuring it.
What does “personal development” mean? The word implies that there’s a progression to it. So if that’s the case, in what stage are you now? I’ll briefly answer those questions in this article. Equipped with that information, you can improve yourself more effectively.
When I talk about personal development, I’m talking about the activities that will make you a reliable human being. Someone you can count on.
To me, it’s the modern version of philosophy. In Ancient Rome, philosophy was mostly a practical pursuit. There were actual schools where you could study the art of becoming a better person. …
Writers come and go. But some actually stay around. Those are the ones who turn writing into a sustainable career.
Now, there are many ways you can build a career as a writer. The opportunities on the internet are endless. Success has no blueprint. But failure has.
Here are 7 habits of those failing writers that I’ve observed over the years. These are the things that the writers who disappeared did. Avoid these habits, and you’ll probably avoid their fate.
Whether you grow as a writer or not, your audience will. People change, and this is something failing writers don’t understand. …
What is it that you’re after this year? A higher paycheck? A new house? More friends? Getting a book deal? As you’re getting after it, remind yourself to stay focused on the journey — not the outcome.
Everything you want in life has a price. That’s something we tend to forget. We get stuck in what I call, “but if I” thinking. We say stuff like, “I know it takes a lot of effort to get what I want. But if I get it, I will be happy.” …
Journaling is one of the best things I’ve done in life. And in this article, I share my best tips.
Since I started journaling, I’ve improved my self-knowledge, happiness, and achieved more career success. I highly recommend it to everyone who’s serious about personal growth.
But in my experience, journaling only works if you do it consistently. Otherwise, it’s not a good use of your time.
The tips you’ll find in this article are for you if you’re stuck with journaling, or are a beginner and want to get started. But first, let’s talk about the benefits of journaling. …
I used to think that positive affirmations were nonsense. I’m not alone. Most of my friends truly can’t stand them. It just reminds you of the corny self-help audiotapes from the 80s and 90s.
And many of those corny affirmations are still around. The other day, I stumbled upon a picture of a sunset with this on it: “I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.” That stuff doesn’t resonate with me.
But the idea behind affirmations actually does work. There’s even science behind it. The problem is that they have a bad rep. …
“New year, new you.” It’s a silly idea. As if we need to wait with changing ourselves until it’s January 1st. Either way, we’ve been looking ahead to this year a lot. Somehow we all assume that 2021 will be different than last year.
I’m a big fan of Warren Buffett’s way of thinking. His firm, Berkshire Hathaway, is most active in the insurance business, and one of their strategies is to plan for the worst. When disasters happen, an insurance company should have enough cash or liquidity to give initial payouts. If they can’t do that, they will go under. So what does Buffett plan for? Well, not for one or two disasters to happen, but maybe four at once. …