Just now before I sat down to write this newsletter, I was worrying about a few things. Nothing crazy, just the usual: money, what would happen if I lost my job, etc. etc.
The thing is, most of the things I worry about haven’t happened yet. And even if they did, it wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the world. In fact, seemingly bad things could present opportunities for learning and growth—the way I interpret things is in my control. This idea isn’t new, but is a key teaching from an ancient philosophy: Stoicism.
Stoicism has become popular in recent years, especially among the tech/Silicon Valley/personal productivity people that I tend to follow (and is also the basis for modern cognitive behavioral therapy). In my view, it provides tools for dealing with setbacks and breaking free from our emotions. To quote Tim Ferriss, it’s “an operating system for thriving in high stress environments.”
I try to come back often to the idea that most of the time, it’s my own interpretation or emotion that drives what I think about things. As the stoic philosopher Epictetus said,
Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
There’s a lot more to Stoicism than just the few things I’ve mentioned. If you find these ideas interesting or helpful, I’d suggest checking out further reading like Meditations by Marcus Aurelius or Tim Ferriss’ compilation The Tao of Seneca.
I’m making it a goal for the week to try and internalize some of these things a bit more. How about you?
Pete’s Picks ✅
Newsletter: I wrote last week about Nat Eliason’s blog, and I don’t want to wear you out on him. That said, Nat announced this week that he’s joining the Everything newsletter bundle with his own publication, Almanack. The latest post (on automation) was fantastic. If you’re into all of this self-improvement/productivity stuff, I’d check it out.
Website Builder: I’ve been working on a little project that I might talk about in a future newsletter. That said, I’ve been using a great little website builder for the landing page, which is called Unicorn Platform. If you need a quick landing page for a project you’re working on, I’d highly recommend this one.