Stoicism- Ancient Philosophy for Entrepreneurs
Stoicism- Ancient Philosophy for Entrepreneurs
One of the things about becoming an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, you want to move up, right? You’re trying to really move up and succeed in your game. You’re going to get into so many different situations that are out of your element, if you don’t have any kind of way to settle down your mental and emotional state, you won’t know how to handle them. If you can’t handle something, you’ll lose it. You’ll have to shut down your business, right? So one philosophy that a lot of entrepreneurs have been picking up his stoicism, and today I’m going to give you a lot of the ways that can help you in the process of you building your business.
So what most people don’t know about stoicism is the fact that it got started by a guy who was an entrepreneur that lost everything. He had to figure out a better way to think so he can re-engage and rebuild this business. This is Zino. Back in the days around 303 BC, he was shipwrecked and lost everything. At that time, the guy that everybody was studying was Socrates. He started studying Socrates and the different philosophies that branched out like skepticism, cynicism, stoicism. The whole idea of stoicism is really four different things. So, what I’m gonna do is explain to you what those four things are and 10 things that you as an entrepreneur, you as an intrapreneur, can pick up to think like them that will in turn help you continuously advanced in business.
When you look at Stoicism, you’re looking at four ways of thinking. One is make the best use of your time. Seneca once said, “Some periods of time or snatched from us, some are stolen, and some simply seep away. Yet the most shameful loss is the loss due to carelessness.”
What was he really talking about? You know so many times you lose time, not because of you, but because something else happened. The one part you must be upset about is when you lose time because you are being careless about your own time. And a lot of times that happens due to lack of preparation. So that’s number one. The second one has been a master of your emotions. A big part of businesses is your emotion are going to be going nuts. That was my intro and I give it to you, right?
There are three Greek words that stoics follow, apathy or freedom from emotions. Number two is ataraxies, which is state of tranquility where your emotions become impenetrable. And last but not least, is autarkies, which is your ability to maintain inner freedom. The whole idea is as you’re building whatever you’re building, you must figure out a way to control your emotions because 90% of the things that you’re trying to do when you build a business, happens out of nowhere. You don’t know what’s going to be taking place, you want to how to handle your emotions.
Number three, walk the path of virtue. Why is this critical? I was doing this conference call and this guy was part as other agency and he said, one of their performers used to do a lot of different things that got a lot of money back in the eighties and the nineties but now he isn’t pulling in anything. What happened with this guy?
He walked from virtues and lost everything. He is facing 72 years in prison because he started ripping people off instead of staying true to his virtues. So if you’re walking into path of virtue, you eliminate starts, stops. If I create momentum. Boom, I lose everything because I tried to take a shortcut. I have to come back again. I think about taking another shortcut. I have to come back again. But if you build your business based on the right virtues, right values, and right principles, you are continuously compounding your momentum. And last but not least we have self-mastery. So here they all are:
When you look at Stoicism, you’re looking at four ways of thinking.
1. Make the best use of your time
2. Be the master of your emotions – Stoics focus on three Greek terms
– Apatheia – Freedom from emotions
– Ataraxis – State of tranquility when your emotions become impenetrable
– Autarkeis – your ability to maintain inner freedom
3. Walk the path of Virtue
– Eliminate starting and then losing momentum
– Compound your momentum over time
10 things you can learn from the Stoic thought process:
1. Negative Visualization
A stoic looks at things from the standpoint of worst-case scenario. If I make this decision, what is the worst thing that could take place? Well, if we do this, we could be out of business. Well then, we must adapt. If we don’t do this, what’s going to happen? We’ll never be competitive. Let’s just do it anyway because there’s a risk we’ll be out of business anyways. They go immediately to a worst-case scenario. Anticipation is the key to this point. By far the biggest thing that anticipation does is it lessens the impact.
You know how sometimes when you go to the doctor and the doctor gives you a shot and they’ll say, it’s gonna feel like a pinch. It feels like what they said because you anticipated it. They create all these different audibles because anything can happen.
2. Wealth vs. Mastery
Earlier today I sent a tweet out that said, “If your main goal in life is to chase millions, you will eventually slow down. But if your main goal in life is to chase mastery and experience mastery, you will never slow down because there’s no such thing as slowing down.”
There’s a lot of people online that they get the house, the car, the girl, the guy, and then all of a sudden they slow down. There’s a lot of guys that get the money and they think life’s going to be so much crazier and then all of a sudden they’re surprised. They’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought it was going to be a million times better.’ You know what is a million times is better than that, the idea of mastery. You will look at the world in a whole different way than everybody else.
Seneca said, “Wealth is the slave of the wise, but master of the fool.” Meaning money controls the fool who doesn’t realize money can be your slave. You tell money what to do, not the other way around. Seneca was a rich man when he died. He wasn’t a poor man. He told money what to do, not the other way around.
3. Avoid judging
We all judge, we judge all the time. ‘Oh my gosh, look what he’s doing, look what she’s wearing. Look at the way he said this.’
You want to reach a state where you hear those things and say, “I honestly have no idea what they went through.” If you hear about a close friend’s divorce everybody wants to say it’s his fault or her fault. No one knows what happened. You’re not there 24/7 to see what happened. The same thing can be applied to businesses that fail. No one knows what the whole truth is and all the stories that took place.
Stoics don’t occupy their brain thinking about somebody else’s reason for failing because they are concerned about trying to figure themselves out. When your judge, you have to start thinking about what other people did and why they felt a certain way. I don’t have time for it. I’m trying to figure myself out.
4. Rational – Logic – Perspective
In the world of business, you must have emotions, but you must also understand the rational logic perspective. If you don’t constantly talk about the emotional story behind why you started your company, that lowers your social capital and you need a lot of social capital. When bad things happen, you need to rally your group and remind them why we started this company. We built this company because we said we can do X, Y, Z better. I know we’re going through this right now, but let’s not forget why we did this and look how far we’ve come. We’re making a difference in people’s lives that needed it.
The leader, the CEO, the entrepreneur, the intrapreneur needs to understand the rational logic perspective. When you do that, you make better decisions, better investments, and attain better technology. You reason better because everything is based on data numbers, predictive analytics, and trends. You never do something because only because it feels right, there is something backing you up.
5. Less hate to your competitors
When I was initially coming up and my competitors were bashing me nonstop, I couldn’t understand them. I was like, “How could you say such a thing about what we’re doing?”
But the moment I started studying stoicism, I started understanding what they’re doing. Their number one job when they wake up in the morning just to put me out of business. They need my market share and I’m taking it away from them. Once I understood this concept, I stopped being upset at them. I fully understand, understood them. Our relationship actually became better because I know what they were trying to do.
What stoics mean by willpower is that they will sacrifice something. Let’s just say you’ve already made your millions and can afford what you always wanted. Stoics will sometimes sacrifice what they can afford to remind them of what it was like to have nothing. Because as you start making money, you start believing your own hype. Everybody around you tells you how amazing you are, how special you are. Stoics will step away and put themselves in situations to sacrifice what they can easily afford to remind them what it was like to have nothing and in turn, they gain the feeling of gratitude. They lead better, they appreciate what they have better. Doing this obviously ends up producing better relationships and people stick around with them long term.
7. Driven by the freedom to think independently
As you’re building a business, everyone gives you an opinion. ‘You should do this, you should do that, you should do that.’ Everyone’s telling you what to do. Everybody all of a sudden becomes an expert, right? It’s like when you get married, everybody starts saying, “When are you gonna have a kid?” Whenever somebody gets married, one of the first things I’ll say is, “Just so you know your in-laws are immediately going to start saying, ‘When are you gonna have a kid?’ Stop them right away by just tell him, we’re not planning on having kids for a few years. Even if you’re planning on having kids.”
Henry Thoreau once said, “To a philosopher for all news as it is called, is gossip and they who edit and read it, our old woman over tea.” The point is you cannot consume too much bias content. Avoid watching the news from the likes of FOX and CNN, but rather read it from a writer or somebody that is unbiased. Stoics want to think for themselves. They don’t want somebody else adding their emotions into it.
Many times, you will make a decision that nobody will support, but you have access to all the information to make the right one. If after deciding you’re still consuming all the content from other people that are naysayers, you’re going to backtrack. I don’t want to hear about it. We’re moving on. This is what we’re doing. That’s what it means to be driven by the freedom to think for yourself.
8. Overly protective of the environment
This is like an overly obsessive protective, like get away from me if you are negative. I don’t want to hear any of it. Epictetus once said, “Above all, keep a close watch on this that you are never so tied to your former acquaintances and friends that you are pulled down to their level. If you don’t, you will be ruined. You must choose whether to be loved by these friends and remain the same person or to become a better person at the cost of those friends. If you try to have it both ways, you will neither make progress nor keep what you once had.”
Very simple. If I want to be successful, but I still want to party with my friends. They don’t go together. They just don’t. Which one do you want? Do you want a party? What Epictetus is saying, you want to win big, but your friends are pulling you back. You got to cut them off. If you don’t cut them off, you ain’t going to go the distance. So, you have to anticipate that part and be protective of your environment.
You’ll keep hearing about phrases of you’ve got to model your behavior after this person or this set of principles. But if you model too much, you don’t even know who you are. You all of a sudden start to imitate and you lose your own uniqueness. Now, some people model because they’re uncomfortable with their quirkiness. Take me, you know how many times I say certain words and back from other people, “Hey, that’s not proper English.” I’m okay with it, it’s part of me. That is my quirkiness. I’m not trying to model my speech like somebody else. You have to figure out a way to do you. You must be authentic to who you are. Accept your flaws and accept your issues. Don’t avoid doing certain things because you are afraid of somebody finding out about your quirks. That’s your signature in the world. Don’t let any of that stuff bother you.
10. Adapt & move on
Epictetus once said, “If you are defeated once and you tell yourself that you will overcome it but carry on as before. No, in the end, you’ll also be so ill and weakened that eventually you won’t even notice your mistake and we’ll begin to rationalize your behavior.”
If I made a mistake, but I want to move on I can’t cling on to my old habits. If I do, I can’t expect anything to improve because I haven’t yet adapted and moved on. You need to adjust and have a different approach to advanced.
You’ll see a lot of people that have hit a wall, right? And then they’ll make a decision that didn’t work or that wasn’t the best decision. They’ll keep hitting that same wall, keep falling back down, and wondering why their approach doesn’t work. For example, say you are wired to be an entrepreneur and you’re a very great entrepreneur. You try four or five times to become an entrepreneur, but it doesn’t work. You try again and again but you find the same result.
Maybe it’s your positioning is an entrepreneur, so you reposition yourself and you keep fighting, fighting, fighting. You’re not adapting. You have to understand what your strengths are. You must understand what your abilities are. The more you’re playing to your strengths, the more you can adjust. But if you don’t make any adjustments and adapt, you’ll keep going back and getting the same results and nothing will change.
Okay, so a couple of things. If you’re watching this today and you’re thinking, Pat, I want to go a little bit deeper into this topic. There are two videos I want you to watch, one is 12 mistakes I made as an entrepreneur. The video covers the challenges I faced throughout my career. The other one is on mindset and it is an interview I did with Jordan Peterson that goes a little bit deeper into why he thinks the way he thinks. It’s not all about politics and all this other stuff. If you watch it, he’ll help you think in a completely different way. Thanks, and if you haven’t yet subscribed to the channel, click on the sub button.
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