12/13/2016

How Stoicism, a 2000-Year-Old Philosophy, Is Making a Comeback


Author Ryan Holiday is bringing back an ancient philosophy of "stoicism"and it’s proving a hit with the Silicon Valley crowd, Olympic athletes and hip-hop stars.

Stoicism was founded by the Greek philosopher Zeno of Cilium (334-262 BC) but it spread widely and was practiced for hundreds of years across the Hellenistic world and the Roman Empire, all the way until Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE).

Stoics emphasized goodness and peace of mind from leading a virtuous, ethical life. In practice, they sought to limit negative emotions and encouraged self-control. The idea was to become clear-headed and thus able to tap into the knowledge of universal reason.

Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph” lays out how to adapt stoicism to modern life, with particular focus on work anxieties and success. He sees stoicism as a kind of practical philosophy, a life hack, with growing through overcoming adversity as its key lesson.

He argues that: "’negative’ experiences are often the most useful and valuable experiences of our lives. So, to try to constantly avoid negativity ultimately hinders us.”....more