stoicism = an operating system for thriving in high stress environments and making better decisions.
Over the centuries, Stoicism has been used by most powerful leaders, ranging from kings (Frederick the Great), presidents (George Washington), politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs as a way to:
- increase resilience to stress
- increase productivity
- becoming better at resolving conflicts
- increase clarity of thought in the face of important decisions
We have compiled a list of heroes from business, academia, pop culture and professional sports, who embrace stoic principles in their successful lives.
continue reading to find out:
- What stoic exercise allows billionaire founder of Twitch.com Justin Kan to fully cherish the beauty of life?
- What essential life skill did Arianna Huffington, one of the most powerful businesswoman in the world, learn from the Stoics?
- Why does former US-army Green Beret Thomas Jerrett consider stoicism “mental armor”?
- How did British mentalist Derren Brown, often dubbed real life-jedi master, discover stoicism?
If you notice any omissions or believe we should add someone, we would love to hear from you.
team of stoic.
a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, and former option trader and risk analyst, whose work concerns problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty. He currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering. His 2007 book The Black Swan has been described by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.
Nassim has repeatedly expressed his appreciation of Stoic philosophy.
Stoicism is about the domestication, not necessarily the elimination, of emotions.
It is not about turning humans into vegetables.
My idea of the modern Stoic sage is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.
bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying; The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; Conspiracy and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world, including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss.
Ryan’s books and web presence are often cited as one of the key drivers of the recent resurgence of interest in stoicism among the general public.
For those of us who live our lives in the real world, there is one branch of philosophy created just for us: Stoicism.
It doesn’t concern itself with complicated theories about the world, but with helping us overcome destructive emotions and act on what can be acted upon.
Just like an entrepreneur, it’s built for action, not endless debate.
Currently Kevin is as partner at True Ventures, while simultaneously being a co-founder of 2 health-related apps - Zero (intermittent fasting) and Oak (meditation). From 2012 to 2015, he was a general partner at GV - Alphabet’s venture capital arm. Kevin is also a prolific angel investor (Facebook, Square, Twitter).
Kevin is also a host of Kevin Rose Show - a podcast on reaching peak personal and professional performance while living a minimal and balanced life, where he interviews authors, technologists, scientists, meditators, self-experimenters, and productivity hackers to discover insights that can improve life.
Kevin is a practicing Stoic, who utilises the philosophy as the cornerstone of his personal development.
Many technologists first entered tech out of curiosity, e.g. how does this machine work?
As I get older, I find myself extending this love for learning to exploring my psyche and improving as a human.
Stoicism is a great prompt to kick off deep work and personal development.
He is the co-founder of live video platform Twitch (acquired for $970mm by Amazon), as well as the mobile social video application Socialcam (acquired for $60mm by Autodesk), and on-demand maid service Exec (acquired by Handybook).
He was formerly a partner at Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator, and has made over 100 angel investments, including Ginkgo Bioworks, Cruise, and Alto Pharmacy.
Justin is one the Silicon Valley’s leading advocates of mental well-being, and often talks about the techniques, habits and routines he utilizes to keep his mind organized, healthy, and tranquil.
As described in his Medium article “Feeling Good: Justin’s Program”, he is a proponent of Stoic practice of negative visualisation
One Stoic practice I’ve adopted is negative visualization, the practice of imagining (with as much detail as possible), what your life would be like if something bad happened to you.
- What if you got cancer?
- What if you became paralyzed?
- What if your company fell apart and you had to get a job?
By imagining the worst case scenarios very vividly, two things happen.
First, you realize that you would adapt to them: the human mind and body are very adaptable and people have adapted to far worse things that you have or will likely ever experience. Second, when you are done you will wake up in your real life and realize how awesome it is.
British classicist and Professor of Classics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of five books and in 2017 became one of the first women to publish a translation of Homer's Odyssey into English. She is a well-known figure in the Stoic community due to her translations of Seneca as well as her biography of the man.
Stoicism, the intellectual movement with which Seneca most closely associated, was designed to create a possibility of individual happiness in times of vast social unrest.
writer and trainer, with over twenty years’ experience. He’s a specialist in teaching evidence-based psychological skills, and known as an expert on the relationship between modern cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and classical Greek and Roman philosophy. He is the author of Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy, How to Think like a Roman Emperor and several other books and many articles on philosophy, psychotherapy, and psychological skills training.
Stoicism is a philosophy, which literally means “love of wisdom” — it’s a methodology, that is, for seeking practical wisdom in life.
That requires working through some basic philosophical insights but also training ourselves in corresponding psychological practices.
It’s a world view and set of moral values, which are designed to be consistent with reason and also happen to be beneficial for our emotional wellbeing.
professor of philosophy at Wright State University. He’s an author of seven books, including The Stoic Challenge and A Guide to the Good Life, he has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Salon, Time, and the BBC.
Stoicism, understood properly, is a cure for a disease.
The disease in question is the anxiety, grief, fear, and various other negative emotions that plague humans and prevent them from experiencing a joyful existence.
By practicing Stoic techniques, we can cure the disease and thereby gain tranquility.
He is the author of The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy, Stoicism (2006), and Hellenistic Philosophy, Lessons in Stoicism. He is one of the founder members of 'Modern Stoicism', the group behind Stoic Week and Stoicon.
For the Stoics philosophy is an art or craft analogous to medicine.
Like medicine it involves a body of complex ideas but, also like medicine, the point of learning those complex ideas is in order to achieve a very practical outcome.
That outcome, again like medicine, is therapeutic, but it is therapy for the mind rather than the body.
He is also the author or editor of 12 books, including the best selling How to Be A Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life. Prof. Pigliucci has published 162 technical papers in science and philosophy.
Pigliucci became a popularizer of Stoicism and one of the driving forces in Stoicism's resurgence in the United States in the early twenty-first century. His 2015 essay for the New York Times on the topic of Stoicism was one of the most shared articles to date.
Stoicism taught me that regret is about things we can no longer change and the right attitude is to learn from our experiences, not dwell on decisions that we are not in a position to alter.
Stephen has worked for over three decades in publishing as a bookseller, publisher and literary agent. He received a Master's degree at Harvard Divinity School, while also studying at Harvard's philosophy department. Stephen is also the co-author of The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, along with Ryan Holiday.
As a lifelong student of stoicism, he finds the philosophy especially helpful to sharpen his perspective.
I always use Stoic practices to help increase focus by clarifying my thinking, by considering what’s of real value and proper purpose is in each situation, and by trying to reduce fears (or false hopes - the Stoics saw them as the flip side of the same problem) whenever possible.
Fears and hopes from past experiences or concerning future events are not in our control and paralyze us in the present moment, keeping us from engaging the choices and actions that are ours alone to make.
Prior to his presidency, he served as governor of Arkansas and as attorney general of Arkansas. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was known as a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy. He is the husband of former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton.
As described by this New York Times article, one of his favorite books is "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius, which he rereads every year or two.
an American football executive and media analyst. Until 2016, he was an assistant to the coaching staff of the New England Patriots and is a former analyst for the NFL Network and sportswriter at NFL.com. Lombardi also previously served as an NFL executive with the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and Oakland Raiders. He currently works for the subscription-based sports website The Athletic, hosts his own podcast "The GM Shuffle" with Adnan Virk, and co-hosts a Saturday morning sports betting program on Sirius XM for Vegas Stats & Information Network.
As described by Sports Illustrated piece, Lombardi has been one of the key voices raising stoicism’s positive impact on athletic performance.
The being in the moment belief resonated with me.
Not allowing outside forces, which there are many in sports, to clutter your mind and affect your concentration.
To be the best, you must block out the highs and the lows, and Stoicism preaches this daily.
Sideline reporter for NBC Sunday Night Football and is the only three-time winner of the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter, as well as the only person nominated in all eight years of the award’s existence. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Tafoya is “widely recognized as the best sideline reporter in sports.” In September 2019, she began her ninth season on the NBC SNF sidelines.
Michele is one of key figures credited with spreading stoic philosophy in the realm of professional football.
I wish I had stoicism in my life much earlier. It would have gotten me through some pretty tough times.
software engineer who kickstarted a reckoning on sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. In early 2017, she wrote a widely shared blogpost detailing her experience of sexual harassment at Uber, which eventually led to the ousting of the company's CEO. Previously, Fowler served as editor-in-chief of a quarterly publication by the payment processing company Stripe, and currently serves a technology opinion editor at The New York Times. She was chosen Time’s Person of the Year as one of the “Silence Breakers”
According to this Wired article, Fowler, who calls Epictetus her “guide to living a good, intellectually rich life,” found succour in the stoic teachings when she was considering publishing her explosive memo.
We live in circumstances that are so far beyond our own control, and so often we fight them relentlessly, only to lose and become bitter and miserable because they are beyond our control.
Epictetus offers freedom to every one of us:
determine for yourself, he says, what is yours and what is beyond your control, and then work and care only for the things that are yours, and you will always be free.
What is ours?
Our minds, our thoughts, our actions, our intellectual pursuits. If we cultivate those things, nobody can ever take away our freedom.