The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Daily Stoic Book Cover

Heraclitus – “No man steps in the same river twice.”  Change is constant.  Life flows like a river, sometimes smoothly, sometimes over a fall.  Learn to accept it and love it.

“… You should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 47.15b

“The buck stops here.”  You are 100% responsible for the things you can directly control.  For things you can’t control, your are 100% responsible for your reactions to them, which is something you can directly control; maybe not immediately, but with practice it will come.

Don’t complain (not even to yourself).  It’s a waste of time and energy that could be better spent either doing something about the thing you are complaining about, or learning to live with it if there’s nothing you can do about it.

  • Accept nothing false or uncertain
  • direct your impulses only to acts for the common good
  • limit your desires and aversions only to what’s in your own power
  • embrace everything nature assigns to you (Amor Fati!)

(Nov. 18th)

Check out the book on Amazon


Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. Hayes

Learn to observe your thoughts without judgement.  Practice this daily.

Life is suffering.  We can’t escape that, but we can act anyway.

Conceptualized Self – that part of us that sees ourselves as a story: “I am depressed.”  “I am stupid.” “I am a success.” “I am a failure.”  This is most dangerous self when it comes to creating and “trapping” suffering.

Suffering from anxiety, depression, etc can lead to (usually does) identifying with those illnesses as who you are.  They are there, but they are not the whole you.

You are not your pain.  You are not your joy.  You are the conscious container of it.

More about the book here.


Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink

[More on the book here]

If there’s something you want to do: start here, start now.

If there’s something you want to have: get after it, right now.

Get up early for your first win of the day.  This requires that you go to bed early enough to get the sleep you need.  The best way to go to sleep early enough is to be tired at the end of the day.  The best way to be tired at the end of the day is to get up early and get after it.

Assert control over your mind.  When it comes to taking action and getting stuff done, weakness doesn’t get a vote, negativity doesn’t get a vote, frustration doesn’t get a vote.  None of that shit gets a say in what you do.

One thing that I’d recommend with this book – get the audio version.  Because of Jocko’s… powerful presentation (that’s the only way I can describe it), the material’s impact is ratcheted up about 100x more than just reading the words.  It’s available a bunch of places – I picked up a copy on Google Play.  And it’s way better as an album with tracks rather than as a traditional audiobook – easier to jump right to what you are struggling with.


Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

[More on the book here]

“Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort.”

Productivity is relative.  You get to decide what productive is – generating income, spending quality time with your family, training for a marathon… whatever you want it to be.

Motivation is a skill that can be learned.

“When people believe they are in control, they tend to work harder and push themselves more.”

Give people (yourself!) the opportunity to make choices – provide a sense of autonomy.  Maybe remind yourself that you *choose* to do that thing that you feel like you have to do.  Ultimately, there’s nothing that you have to do – there’s only “have to if I want this other thing.”  Have to go to work because I want to pay the bills.  Have to pay the bills because I don’t want to be homeless and destitute.

“Motivation is triggered by making choices that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control.”

Work on your internal locus of control.  Don’t blame your sickness – work with it, around it, through it.  Use it as an advantage.

“An internal locus of control emerges when we develop a mental habit of transforming chores into meaningful choices, when we assert that we have authority over our lives.”
[More ideas from Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg can be found here]

The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot

[More on the book here]

“Seneca had defined the discipline of action as follows: in the first place, judge the value of the matter in question; then adjust our active impulses to this value; finally, bring active impulse and action into harmony, so that we may always remain in accord with ourselves.”

I’m woven together with this moment.  Woven together.  I think that’s a pretty cool (and wise) idea.

[More ideas from The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius by Pierre Hadot can be found here]

Meditations: With Selected Correspondence by Marcus Aurelius, Robin Hard (Translator), Christopher Gill (Introduction, Notes)

[More on the book here.]

“Now these may hinder one or other of my actions, but they are not hindrances to my impulses or my disposition, because I have the power to act with reservation and turn circumstances to my own advantage.  For the mind adapts and converts everything that impedes its activities into something that advances its purpose, and a hindrance to its action becomes an aid, and an obstacle on its path helps it on its way.”

In other words, The Obstacle is the Way.

Misfortune born well is good fortune.

[More ideas from Meditations can be found here]

The Slight Edge – Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson

[More on the book here.]

You already know what to do. Stop just reading and start doing those things that have brought you success in the past.

Start small, and build.

“Life is not a clickable link.”  Nothing is instant – it takes daily action on the small things to get results.

[More ideas from The Slight Edge – Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson can be found here]

Become What You Are by Alan Watts

[More on the book here]

“There is no wisdom in scorning riches simply because one is unable to obtain them, nor in despising the pleasures of the senses because one has not the means of fulfilling them.  If the desire for these things exists, and if that desire is thwarted by circumstance, to add self-deception to frustration is to exchange a lesser hell for a greater.  No hell is worse than that in which one lives without knowing it.”