Stoicism is the western tradition of mindfulness.
In the last couple of years, this ancient philosophy became popular among tech entrepreneurs.
But for me, stoicism wasn’t loved at first sight.
When I first stumbled over Marcus Aurelius’ famous book Meditations I first thought that I had been reading a fortune cookie booklet.
Only over time and after rereading the book did I realize how much stoicism reflected my daily struggles as an online entrepreneur who is and was struggling to build something sustainable on the internet.
It is said that stoic minds have a higher resistance to stress. In a way, it serves as an immune system that is defending your mind from anxieties and psychosis that are triggered so easily in nowadays world.
Today I am convinced that stoicism is a perfect fit for everybody who attempts to become an online creator because stoic principles provide great mental models for dealing with uncertainty, imposter syndrome or online bullying.
Don’t believe me yet? In this case, I hope that the following 10 stoic quotes will convince you:
1. Stoicism on dealing with imposter syndrome
“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” by Marcus Aurelius
If you present yourself online you will sooner or later attract haters. But should you really care about them?
Not according to good old Marcus Aurelius. Haters gonna hate. In most cases, they are simply people who are going to hate everything and everybody. It doesn’t matter how much you try to appease them, there is no way to be not hated by them. So why should you care?
2. Stoicism on working with anxiety
Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self surrender – Marcus Aurelius
It might sound like a contradiction, but the calm of self-surrender means the less you care about results, the easier it will become to accomplish certain results.
This is because the more we care about results, the less we are in the moment and enjoy doing the work. Anxiety leads to overthinking, it is stunning you and prevents you to reach the famous flow state, which is the state where the best results are accomplished.
3. Stoicism on the difficulty of accomplishing certain tasks
If something is difficult for you to accomplish, do not then think it impossible for any human being; rather, if it is humanly possible and corresponds to human nature, know that it is attainable by you as well. – Marcus Aurelius
Most of our limits are created inside our minds.
For a long time, most people thought that it is impossible to run a mile in under four minutes. But then Roger Bannister managed to break the barrier in 1954 when he was running a mile in 3:59.4 . This opened a floodgate and to date, more than 1600 athletes have accomplished what was once thought impossible.
What are the things that you believe are impossible for you to achieve as a creator? Let’s challenge those beliefs!
4-5. Stoicism on adversity and obstacles
The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition – Ryan Holiday
Fire is the test of gold, adversity of strong men. – Seneca
When you are starting to create an online business not everything will go according to plan. Often we wish that we could just avoid such adversities, but according to stoic philosophy, you should be thankful for them because it is the act of overcoming them that is making you stronger.
6. Stoicism on lack of confidence
Our lack of confidence is not the result of difficulty. The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence. – Seneca
I am dyslexic, bad at typing, and don’t even speak English as my mother tongue. Still, I am creating online content in a language I don’t speak well and reach close to 100.000 people every month.
When I started creating English-speaking content more than one year ago my confidence was pretty low. I was even afraid to tweet in English because I believed that I would sound off as a non-native.
After all, I did eventually start, but it took me almost a year to motivate myself to do it. My lack of confidence cost me a lot of time.
All the difficulties from one year ago still exist: I am making typos, I don’t know how to express certain things in English, and so on. But the act of facing those difficulties made me confident that I am able to overcome them all.
In a way, the only real difficulty you have to worry about is your lack of confidence.
7. Stoicism on building your personal monopoly
You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself. – Epictetus
This quote actually reminded me of this video about personal monopolies. Too many businesses attempt to compete in niches where they face fierce competition.
A better strategy is to build your personal monopoly, which is according to David Perell “a unique intersection of skills, knowledge, and personality that nobody else can compete with”.
In these niches, whether you will be victorious is entirely up to you.
8. Stoicism on being a writer
If you wish to be a writer, write. – Epictetus
So many people would love to write, but how many are actually writing? So, write, if you want to become a writer, you will not become better by reading books about writing.
Of course, you can replace “writing” with any other skill, in the end, you will only get better at it by doing it.
9. Stoicism on focus and fear of missing out
To be everywhere is to be nowhere. – Seneca
So many new content creators have problems prioritizing the platforms where they are promoting their content and products. They believe that it will increase their chances to publish everywhere, on Twitter, Quora, Linkedin, Medium, and so on.
In reality, this strategy is diminishing their success because they will never be able to have deep relations with their audience when not focusing on one platform at least for some time.
10. Stoicism on luck
Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. Seneca
When people speak about somebody who is successfully, often you hear the sentence:
“She or he was just lucky”
That is certainly true. Luck is part of every success, but what most people miss is that you can force luck.
I friend of mine once told me ” I would love to be self-employed if I had any good idea”.
But ideas come and go all the time. It is just important to be able to execute an idea when you get it. And for doing so you must be prepared and have the right system in place.
You don’t need a great idea to start. But it’s important to start so you build a system that can support your future ideas when they come.
If you liked those 10 quotes, you will love my 366 Daily Stoic Quotes Widget for Notion. This widget template displays a daily inspirational stoic quote in your Notion workspaces.
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