April 13, 2024

Theodore Roosevelt was highly influenced by Stoic philosophy. Difficult people and situations become an opportunity for development and character formation. Conversely, without adversity, we’re without that perspective that may have been on offer. In Roosevelt’s words: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led... Read more

March 13, 2024

Lao Tzu is a famous Chinese philosopher and widely recognized as the founder of Taoism. In many of his writings, we see guidance on “The Way” and living in harmony and balance. The famous yin yang symbolizes the balance of interconnected opposites like light and dark, hot and cold, and order and chaos. His writings are often poetic. To say he has a way with words would be an understatement. Whether metaphysics, morality, or an overall life philosophy, Taoism deals with finding... Read more

February 21, 2024

Another one of my favorites from Nelson Mandela: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” I love this sentiment which is a strong underlying theme in one of my all-time favorite movie scenes from Rocky Balboa who gives a timeless life lesson to his son: It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and... Read more

February 11, 2024

Lao Tzu has a great one on pride: “One who flaunts himself is not illuminated. One who insists that he is right is self-righteous. One who boasts of his accomplishments undoes his merit. One who takes pride in himself impedes his own growth.” The person who can’t stop bragging about their accomplishments is usually insecure; the person who is confident how smart they are is very likely quite uninformed. This smacks of the importance of Socrates’ epistemological humility found in... Read more

January 25, 2024

Socrates rocked us with “the unexamined life is not worth living”. But an examined life is far from an easy commitment; no one can really be a truth seeker without a sincere spirit of wonder. In Socrates’ words: “Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.” A sincere spirit of wonder, however, requires humility and intersects with his famous “I know that I know nothing” (which is actually not directly stated by Socrates; it’s Plato’s interpretation... Read more

January 18, 2024

I’ve always been inspired by Henry Ford’s famous quote. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” Thinking back to times where we’ve accomplished something exceptional – our mindset was the Achilles heel. Believing that we can actually achieve that goal, our mindset fuels our daily efforts towards that goal. Even in the face of adversity along the way, we chose to manifest something exceptional because we wish to be exceptional. That’s not to say we never... Read more

December 15, 2023

It’s a thought-provoking quote by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” In one sense, it feels like an oversimplification. At the same time, it’s dead on. Though we are accountable for our own behavior, we can’t help but be influenced by those around us. To the old adage “misery loves company”, the famous Stoic philosopher Epictetus warns us on who we fraternize with: “If a companion is dirty, his friends... Read more

December 6, 2023

The Stoics were big on the idea of adversity revealing character. It’s self-evident really, when you think about for a moment. Peoples’ characters, like ideas, are often weak when untested. I wrote earlier on Seneca on (Unhappiness) and the Bar of Fulfillment and his view that “no man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself” If we are not reaching our potential, how can we be truly fulfilled? And if... Read more

September 24, 2023

Though many think of him only as a martial artist and/or movie star, it never ceases to amaze me how profound of a philosopher Bruce Lee was. His views on the importance of blending styles to be a “style without style” goes way beyond martial arts and aims at the pursuit of knowledge itself (epistemology), as well as reaching one’s ultimate potential. As I wrote in “Bruce Lee, Evolution, and Being Water”, to not recognize the importance of “being water” and... Read more

August 27, 2023

I love Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy. In it, I came across a powerful Frederick Douglass story and quote. Douglass, having been born into slavery, would go on to become one of the most prolific abolitionists of all time. Extraordinary people like Douglass truly inspire us with the idea of soul agency: “Booker T. Washington tells an anecdote told to him by Frederick Douglass, about a time he was traveling and was asked to move and ride in the... Read more

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