My first stint with Stoicism.
It is quite fascinating to note that in this largely ephemeral digital era, ancient philosophy is making a strong come back.
I believe it started with a few self-help authors shedding light into Roman philosophers in their recent books but somehow it seems to have stuck and the trend is growing stronger.
I was introduced to the “Stoic” mindset via Ryan Holiday’s writings and the “Daily Stoic” website which has quite an impressive Twitter presence. The Stoic teachings have definitely helped me gain perspective in some of my own hardships recently. Combined with the Buddhist view, Stoicism can be a very interesting aid for people living in unstable career paths (like startups) to look at life at large and live in the present moment.
Seneca is one of my favorite stoics. One thing that stands out from Seneca is that he is one of the most enjoyable and readable of all ancient philosophers.
Two notable examples amidst many who seem to have popularized Seneca’s writing include bestselling author and former trader Nassim Taleb who has dedicated an entire chapter to Seneca in his last book as well as writer and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss who published an audiobook of Seneca and has often referred to Seneca on his popular blog.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, otherwise known as Seneca the Younger, or just Seneca was born in southern Spain over 2,000 years ago and educated in Rome. He was the son of Seneca the Elder, a well-known Roman writer as well as later in his life uncle to the poet Lucan.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from Seneca:
“Two elements must therefore be rooted out once for all, – the fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering; since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.”
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”
“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”
For more background on this Roman Stoic philosopher, check out our profile article “Who Is Seneca? Inside The Mind of The World’s Most Interesting Stoic“