The Philosophy of stoics remind us how unpredictable the world can be. It’s wisdom gives us the tools we need for a better result in life. This ancient teaching is where some of today’s most successful people reap their benefits. Some of the teachings were almost lost, but then recovered. Extraordinary people have used these powerful and secret insights throughout human history.

Stoics is a remarkable operating system for thriving in high stress environments. It can be used as a framework for making better decisions.

If you have a lot of hard battles ahead of you, embrace Stoics. For example, learn to focus on what you can control. Train yourself to to be less sensitive to criticism. It will help you improve a present awareness. Also make you aware of your thoughts and emotions before they take control over you. Giving you a more consistent wellbeing throughout your life.

Stoics have many things in common with Taoism and Zen Buddhism. They booth understand that the world can be very chaotic, and that it´s constant changing. Their secret? They knew that what really controls us, is thoughts, not the the people around us. They also understood the importance of mindfulness.

Training your mind-set goes very well with meditation apps. Headspace10% happierBuddhify and Calm. These tools help get a little direction and clarity by identifying distractions.

Stranded thousands of miles from home without no possessions or money. It would be to most people the reason to blame life and give up. But for Zeno of Cyprus it would become his foundation of his life´s work. The once wealthy merchant lost everything, shipwrecked in Athens around 300 BCE. After reading a book in the library, he decided to seek out and study with the city´s noted philosophers. Later Zeno created the philosophy stoicism. It has since, for thousands of years, inspired great thinkers and leaders.

Today, stoic is a term that describes someone who is completely calm under pressure. It´s a technic used for avoiding distracting thoughts. The person promoting a relaxed state of awareness.

But the ancient philosophy is more than an attitude. Stoics believed that everything around us operates according to a web of cause and effect. While we may not always have control over the events affecting us, we can control how we approach things. Rather than imagining an ideal society, the stoics try to deal with the world as it is. They embrace life practicing the four values; wisdom, temperance, justice and courage.

Marcus Aurelius was a dedicated stoic, he was also the emperor of Rome, the most powerful man in the world at the time. Leading the empire through two major wars, while dealing with the loss of many of his children. His personal journals in his book Meditations later became influential to many people. The writings guided Nelson Mandela through his twenty-seven years in imprisonment. His book describes daily challenges he faced as a powerful Emperor. Remarkable his writings are just as relevant for everyone else in the 21st century.

Part of what makes Stoicism fascinating to study is the wide range of practitioners and where they stood in society. Such as, Seneca who was an adviser to an emperor and one of the richest people in the Roman empire. Moreover there was Epictetus on the complete opposite side, who was born into slavery. That is what makes stoicism so powerful. It can provide timeless principles to help us, no matter our station in life.

Being an entrepreneur we can use these teachings. This to make our feelings about life and situations a lot more productive and positive.

Let us look at 5 practical stoic lessons valuable for entrepreneurs

1. The mind-set is the most important we have for success

“The universe is change, our life is what our thoughts make it” –Marcus Aurelius

The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. What we focus on and think about daily is important.

2. Awareness of our emotions and thoughts

“if you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment”. – Marcus Aurelius

Only an attentive mind can filter unhealthy thoughts. Present awareness will make you aware of your thoughts and emotions before they take control over you.

3. Know where you are going

“If a person doesn’t know to which port they sail, no wind is favourable”. –Seneca

A stoic knows what they want out of each day. Have clear goals, long term and short term. Without a direction it is very easy to get lost in life.

4. Patience

“No great things is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen”. –Epictetus

To be successful, we need patience when it comes to employee relations, business communications, and also achievement of strategic goals we’ve set. Taking shortcuts can quickly backfire. When we are patient we give ourself time to choose how to respond to a given event, rather let our emotions take over.

5. There is no reason not to follow your heart

”For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death”. -Epictetus

Death is one certainty in life. If we don´t accept it we will live our lives in fear. Confronting that we will one day die will make you look at life in a different way. It will be more easy to step outside your comfort zone and avoid thinking you have something to loose.

Drawing by Ryan Carr
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