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147 - Look Within

Episode description

How often do we look outside of ourselves to know what to do? How often do we doubt ourselves and look to others to find a solution to a problem? How often do we seek the opinions of others to feel like we’re on the right path? This weeks episode is about learning how to find the wisdom in yourself.

>“Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.

>― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The culture that we grow up in can have a huge impact on us as to how we view the world. If we’re lucky, we have parents, teachers, and friends that teach us how to listen to our own voice and know what we feel, and what is right for us. Many of us don’t get taught these lessons of self-reliance and self-confidence. We’re taught to please our parents, please our teacher, please our church leaders. Paying attention to what we feel and what we know is right for us is highly discouraged, or at the least given little attention. We grow up relying on the opinions of others to know what we should be doing. We look to see what kinds of relationships we should have. If and when we should get married. What kinds of jobs we should take. What kinds of shows to watch on Netflix.

The thing is, society doesn’t want you to stop and think for yourself. People who take the time to truly know themselves, are no longer easy to control. They are not easily manipulated. They are often poor consumers because they know what they want and don’t waste time or money on things they don’t.

In my case, the church taught me what I was supposed to want. So much of my life was wrapped up in pleasing the leaders and the members of my church. So much so, that I often didn’t know what I really wanted, or how I really felt about things. Even as a grown man, I often find it difficult to know what I really think or feel in a given situation.

When I’m working through what I want in my life, I will find myself looking for the right answer outside of myself because I don’t think that my own opinion is worth anything. I don’t trust that I’m smart enough to figure it out on my own, or that I have the right to decide what I want. To think for myself and do what is right for me, rather than what I think others think is the right thing.

To listen to yourself, to recognize your own wisdom is a scary thing because it means that you are responsible for the results you get. You are responsible for all your failures. You are blazing your own path, rather than parroting what someone else does. You are claiming your life as your own.

It’s also hard because when you decide what you really want to go after, it’s really scary to think that you might not get it. Often you choose someone else’s dream because if you fail, then it’s not that big of a deal.

>“When you confine yourself to only those things that are under your control, you cannot be defeated. Don’t be fooled by outward appearances. People with more prestige, power, or some other distinction are not necessarily happier because of what they have. There is no reason to be envious or jealous of anyone. If you lead a rational life, the good lies within you. Our concern should be our freedom, not titles and prestigious positions. The way to freedom is not to be too concerned about things we don’t control.”

>— Epictetus

What does Epictetus mean by we can’t be defeated? If we only measure success by the things that we can control, we can never lose. We should never measure success based off of something that we can’t control, in this case gaining a powerful position. He also warns us not to be fooled by what others have because they may not be happier. This means that we should not define our happiness based on what others think is successful.

For example, if I measure the success of my podcast based on how many people are listening, then I will always lose. But if my measure of success is that I put out an episode each week that is important to me, then I am successful. If I feel like I’m improving, that I’m growing personally, then I’m successful.

Epictetus reminds us that if we do our best to be rational, to act on the things that we have control over and let go of the rest then we will find the good inside of us because we will see no need for jealousy or envy because we pursue what we deem as good and important. When we care less about the opinions of others, then we are free from all stress and striving and competition. We don’t care what others think so we do things that are good for us, not what others think we should do, and this is where true freedom lies.

Learning to listen to and trust yourself, and to think critically is a very important part of living a good life. It means that we learn to let go of what everyone else thinks is good for us, and we act on the things that we have control over, and trust that if we do our best, to be honest with ourselves we’ll make good choices. We may make mistakes from time to time, and we’ll fail, but we’ll learn and we’ll grow, and we’ll be free because we are living the life of our choosing, not someone else’s.

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March 7th, 2018

3:31

"If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance. " - …

57 - Eliminating Desire

March 6th, 2018

3:46

“People to whom such things are still denied come to imagine that everything good will be theirs if only they could acquire them. Then they get them: …

56 - Falling Short

March 5th, 2018

4:28

“Do not be disgusted, discouraged, or dissatisfied if you do not succeed in doing everything according to right principles; but when you have failed, return again, and be content if the greater part of what you do is …

55 - How to Talk About Yourself

March 4th, 2018

3:34

“In your conversation, don’t dwell at excessive length on your own deeds or adventures. Just because you enjoy recounting your exploits doesn’t mean that others derive the same pleasure from hearing about them.” - …

54 - Nature of Humans

March 4th, 2018

3:28

"To care for all men is according to man’s nature; and man should value the opinion only of those who openly live according to nature. " - Marcus …

53 - Compassion for Your Critics

March 2nd, 2018

2:16

“When someone criticizes you, they do so because they believe they are right. They can only go by their views, not yours. If their views are wrong, it is they who will suffer the consequences. Keeping this in mind, …

52 - Contemplate

March 1st, 2018

2:43

"Acquire the contemplative way of seeing how all things change into one another, and constantly attend to it, and exercise yourself in this part of philosophy. For nothing is so well suited to produce magnanimity." - …

51- Judge Precisely

February 28th, 2018

3:12

“If someone bathes quickly, don’t say he doesn’t bathe properly, say he bathes quickly. If someone drinks a lot, don’t say he is a drunk, say he drinks a lot. Unless you know their reasons for their actions how can you …

50 - No Need to Envy Others

February 27th, 2018

2:55

“When you confine yourself to only those things that are under your control, you cannot be defeated. Don’t be fooled by outward appearances. People …

49 - Inner Resources

February 26th, 2018

4:02

“Remember that for every challenge you face, you have the resources within you to cope with that challenge. If you are inappropriately attracted to someone, you will find you have the resource of self-restraint. When …

48 - Judgments

February 26th, 2018

3:25

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” - Marcus Aurelius

47 - What is Death?

February 24th, 2018

2:37

“He who fears death fears either the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation. But if you shall have no sensation, neither will you feel any harm; and if you will acquire another kind of sensation, you will be …

46 - Be Good Now

February 24th, 2018

1:53

“No longer talk at all about the kind of man that a good man ought to be, but be such.” - Marcus Aurelius

45 - Arguing to Stone

February 22nd, 2018

1:46

"If a man objects to truths that are all too evident, it is no easy task finding arguments that will change his mind. This is proof neither of his own strength nor of his teacher’s weakness. When someone caught in an …

44 - A Brief Existence

February 21st, 2018

3:08

“A brief existence is common to all things, and yet you avoid and pursue all things as if they would be eternal.” - Marcus Aurelius

43 - Pleasure as Punishment

February 20th, 2018

4:01

“Pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.” - Seneca

42 - Can’t Escape Yourself

February 19th, 2018

2:42

“The man who spends his time choosing one resort after another in a hunt for peace and quiet, will in every place he visits find something to prevent him from relaxing.” - Seneca

41 - Perfectionism

February 18th, 2018

4:09

“We abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.” - Epictetus

40 - Miserable by Choice

February 17th, 2018

3:30

“It is essential to make oneself used to putting up with a little. Even the wealthy and the well provided are continually met and frustrated by …

39 - Setbacks

February 16th, 2018

2:42

“A setback has often cleared the way for greater prosperity. Many things have fallen only to rise to more exalted heights.” - Seneca

38 - Practical Stoicism

February 15th, 2018

4:14

“My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy …

37 - Tragedy? You Decide!

February 14th, 2018

2:53

“What else are tragedies but the ordeals of people who have come to value externals, tricked out in tragic verse?” - Epictetus

36 - Admiration of Lunatics

February 13th, 2018

2:35

Who do you seek the approval of? There’s only one person’s approval that matters.

35 - Drama Llama

February 12th, 2018

3:17

Is a life with little drama boring or fulfilling?

34 - Blame Game

February 11th, 2018

3:26

When something bad happens in your life who’s to blame?

33 - Beginners Mind

February 11th, 2018

2:18

Let go of what you know so you can grow.

32 - Growth Takes Time

February 9th, 2018

2:59

Learning a principle is easy. Applying it is hard. Growth takes time.

31 - Difficulties

February 8th, 2018

2:46

Are life’s difficulties troubles to be avoided or opportunities for you to grow? It’s your choice.

30 - Approval

February 7th, 2018

3:36

How do you balance living your true self with seek the approval of others?

29 - Haters

February 6th, 2018

2:19

How do you handle haters?

28 - Journaling

February 5th, 2018

2:36

Keeping track our progress is key to creating a better life.

27 - Assumptions

February 4th, 2018

3:09

How do you let go of your assumptions?

26 - The Best You

February 3rd, 2018

3:21

Are you being the best version of yourself?

25 - Trust Your Path

February 2nd, 2018

2:55

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Trust your path.

24 - Difficult People

February 1st, 2018

3:12

Never assume a malice when ignorance is more likely.

23 - Role Models

January 31st, 2018

3:09

The greatest emperor in Rome had role models. Who are yours?

22 - Gratitude

January 30th, 2018

4:10

Can you be grateful for the challenges in your life?

21 - Your Judgements

January 29th, 2018

3:26

How you think about things determines how you feel about them.

20 - You Are Not Your Things

January 29th, 2018

2:42

You cannot lose what you do not own

19 - Being Stoic

January 27th, 2018

3:06

What does it mean to be a stoic?

18 - Being Present

January 26th, 2018

2:56

Own every second that this world can give.

17 - Create Your Life

January 25th, 2018

2:40

Are you creating a life that is better than death?

16 - Amor Fati: Love your fate

January 25th, 2018

2:40

Why we should learn to love our fate.

15 - Emotional Responsibility

January 23rd, 2018

3:45

What if you could be 100% in charge of your own emotions?

14 - Receiving Criticism

January 22nd, 2018

3:56

How should a stoic receive criticism?

13 - Boundaries

January 21st, 2018

3:26

Since we cannot control other people and have to accept them for who they are, does that mean we have to accept their bad behavior?

12 - Accepting Others

January 20th, 2018

2:58

“Let philosophy scrape off your own faults, rather than be a way to rail against the faults of others,” wrote Seneca. Rather wasting time trying to …

11 - Reacting to Circumstances

January 19th, 2018

3:44

You can’t control what happens to you in your life, but you can control your reaction.

10 - Consistency

January 18th, 2018

4:55

A key factor in living a principled life is consistency. What areas of your life could be improved with a little consistency?

9 - Uncomfortable Truths

January 17th, 2018

4:26

What are the uncomfortable truths about yourself that you are afraid to face in your life?

7 - Self Doubt

January 15th, 2018

5:08

Latest episode of Stoic Meditations

6 - The Opinions of Others

January 14th, 2018

4:07

Latest episode of Stoic Meditations

3 - Goal Shaming

January 11th, 2018

3:26

Latest episode of Stoic Meditations

2 - Finding your Purpose

January 10th, 2018

5:07

What are you meant to do in the world?

1 - What do you Control?

January 9th, 2018

5:13

First episode. What is under your control?

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