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48. Demystifying Stoic Philosophy: Tools for a Peaceful & Fulfilling Life ft. Benny Voncken

 




In this episode, we explore Stoicism's true essence with Benny Voncken, dedicated to making ancient wisdom relevant in modern life. Benny dispels misconceptions and delves into Stoic principles, sharing how to apply them for a more fulfilling existence. He discusses virtue's foundations, self-improvement challenges, and his personal Stoic journey amidst life's trials, offering practical insights. Whether you're new to Stoicism or seeking deeper understanding, this episode illuminates its timeless philosophy and relevance today.

To learn more about Benny Voncken and his insights, visit his podcast: Street Stoics.

For further contact or inquiries, visit StreetStoics.com or email: streetstoics@gmail.com. You can also find them on X.com: @streetstoics, or reach out to Brice: @Stoicbrice and Benny: @thestoicpadawan.


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Podcast Episode Transcript:


[00:00:00] Today's podcast is all about stoicism and I'm excited to have one of the co hosts from the podcast Straight Stoics on Benny Vonkin. Benny's goal is to bring the ancient wisdom of stoicism to a modern day lives and he wants to show you the benefits of stoicism and provide you with examples and tools how to help you live a better and more peaceful life.

So in this episode, we are going to dive into. myth busting around stoicism. There's definitely a certain way that stoicism is portrayed on the internet, which is not really the true essence. So we're going to talk about that. We're going to talk about the core principles of stoicism and the nitty gritty on how you can [00:01:00] implement these practices, these virtues, that can really uplevel your life.

So if you're like me, if you're someone who. is always looking to self development is wanting to have each year better than the last wanting to learn more, grow more, stretch more, challenge yourself. Then this is definitely the episode for you because that's what we're here to do. And what we're here to talk about stoicism, this ancient philosophy, it's popular for a reason.

Stoics are quoted constantly in every single industry and field. You can just open your Instagram app and you'll probably see a quote by Marcus Aurelius and one of the Stoics at some point in your day. And so we're going to dive deeper than just those surface level quotes today.

 And I think this episode is going to be. So, so interesting. So let's dive [00:02:00] in.

I'm super excited for this episode. And before we dive into some of the main principles of stoicism and why this ancient philosophy is useful in modern life, I'd love for you to share your personal story on how you got introduced to Stoicism and how you've come to understand what Stoicism is.

Yeah, thanks, and thanks for having me on. This is a great opportunity. I always love to talk about this, this topic because it's my, life. No, this is how I live. , whenever I ask other people this question, it kind of starts with the same thing. Like people go through a rough patch in their life and they need some kind of support or some kind of guide.

And I was kind of doing the same, you know, a relationship where my marriage broke up and, , so going through some rough things, some physical things, like I, I wrecked my knee. So, you know, hobbies were kind of off the table for a while trying to, I quit drinking alcohol. So going through all of those kinds of steps.

And, I was really getting into reading one of my [00:03:00] best friends. He was a literature is very into the literature and he's given me all these titles. And at one point I was reading, , just fiction, science fiction with a love. I was going through my mind. It's like something is wrong. So I diagnosed myself with an existential crisis and he recommended my meet his book, like the introduction into existentialism.

And that's where I saw the Stoics come back because that book kind of, , that talks about , the, , different philosophies like existentialism, absurdism, you know, all these things. And the Stoics came coming back, they kept coming back. And I just felt like, this is me. Like I was reading them and they were pragmatic, practical, to the point.

And it was just that it just spoke to me. And that's where I just really hit overdrive. And I started reading Marcus Epictetus, all the other books, , how to think like a Roman emperor from Donald Robertson, the more contemporary works based on those old things. And that's where I felt like this is me.

Right. And moreover, it felt, I saw like in one specific quote , from the meditations that [00:04:00] really hit home and that I've applied at work was the quote they said, that person is bound to act that way. It's like getting angry at a fig tree for secreting juice. And this was me dealing with a frustrating co worker, right.

And I was just struggling with it. And then after reading that quote, I felt like I can use this in my life. But I can use it. So I went the next day, I went to work and I looked at him. I was like, this is you, but I'm not going to change you, right? I got to deal with you better. I can't tell you what I've got to make sure that I find a better way to deal with you.

And that's what I did afterwards. So then I saw like the practical application of it to real use. And I just started using it from there on. I just really delve in deeper. And You know, trying to find out more, going to different lectures or, , listen to podcasts, listen to read more books, but also speak about it.

Like since two years I've been hosting, co hosting and participating in Spaces on X, formerly Twitter. I don't know if Spaces, they are like live conversations you can have with people who can [00:05:00] come in as speakers or listeners. Okay, kind of like Clubhouse. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, and that really helped me kind of galvanize my thoughts, really kind of push me to the next level and I created a blog called the Stoic Padawan.

I don't know if you're familiar with Star Wars, but I was very enthusiastic that name was still, , the Jedi learner and the, , the Stoic learner. So for me, I wrote that blog and That kind of evolved and now kind of a, , stoic coaching that we do with, , , with some other people that hosted those space on like via stoic us or the blog just moved over.

And that was just a great journey and I, that's how I would be used it in my life. I love how, well, you know, existential crisis, not fun, but we're human. It's like, who doesn't have one at some point? I agree. And. A lot of times, , that's where you can turn to isolation, to nihilism, to just being super fatalistic.

And how do you dig yourself out of that hole? So that's why I'm really fascinated too, by [00:06:00] the Stoic philosophy and how that one quote, , you really put it into practice. And that's what I love. I noticed that too. , I'll randomly see like a quote by Marcus Aurelius and just be like, wow, that's so good.

, it's popular for a reason. You see it on Instagram for a reason, but I'm really excited to dive a little deeper today. Based on your podcast too, which I listened to a few episodes and it's awesome. I love the. The different topics you guys go into and, taking just some of the principles and making a whole episode on it.

One thing that stood out to me was that idea of everybody wants a fulfilling life. Everybody wants a sense of accomplishing a higher purpose. What's the Stoic approach to living a fulfilling life and discovering purpose?

 Yeah, I think that is a great question, a vital one, as you said, because we all struggle with this. , and I think that that's where the foundations of stoicism really come to life.

And also kind of [00:07:00] breaking down , the, the bad image that it has right now in certain areas where it's like, you have to have the stiff upper lip and, you know, block out all of your emotions. And that's the, , that's the opposite, and I can, , I have the luxury of having the image and I see that code behind you, , know thyself, and that is pretty much foundation of , every philosophy, right?

It's like knowing yourself deeply, having that deep introspection that is , really important. And for me, then , we talk about virtue, right? The Stoics say virtue is the only good and living in accordance with your nature. So if you talk about purpose, and this is like my co host , from the podcast that you mentioned, you know, that he mentioned it in one of our spaces very bluntly and it always stuck to me.

He said, you want a purpose in life? Just go be a good person. Start with that, right? , that is the basics and don't think about, I want to influence millions of people, or I want to. You know, create this that's so big and that will come on your path or just be a good person. And I think if we all just were maybe 10 percent better people to each [00:08:00] other, the world would look completely different.

And that's what the Stokes asked of us, right? That's like, just be virtuous and virtuous and broken down into courage, justice, wisdom, and temperance. So we can apply those things to our life. And then we become better people. And by doing so, we become better people for the world around us. So for me, it is, , that is kind of fun when people ask me that question, okay, start with yourself, , just be a better person.

And then yours, , and then your purpose grows from that. And that second part is to live in accordance with nature. It's like stoicism is kind of the Western version of Buddhism and Taoism, , with Taoism, it's like go with the flow, , that Wu Wei principle, the least friction.

And stoicism takes a little bit more of a practical action based. , approach and it says, , live in accordance with your nature. And to do that again, you need to know yourself, you need to listen to yourself and you need to kind of feel, , use that intuition. And that's where the virtues come into mind as well.

, , that rational mindset where we know our emotions, but that's not where [00:09:00] we always act out of, right? We know what triggers us. We know what kind of why these things happen. But we act out of that reason and logic by asking ourselves, what is the right action to take here for myself and for the world around me?

Can you share again, those four, you kind of shared like the umbrella, right? Like if we're thinking of purpose or the main framework for a stoic and when you said like, be a good person, right? And you break that down to the virtues. What were those? Those four categories again that you said. So the virtue, like virtue that's broken down into the four cardinal virtues, which you can see in many religions and, , come back as well.

So we have wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, and those are the four kind of key elements that you want to use to analyze all situations, all externals that happen to you. Right. So one big, and I think you mentioned it in one of , your episode, , episodes as well, like [00:10:00] how to deal with you, how to turn your shitty day around where you talked about, , the control.

And that's a key element of stoicism, , what you can control and what you can't. So you can, the only thing you can control according to the Stoics is your opinions, your judgments, and your actions. And we use the externals, , they come in, they come, those are the impressions that we get. And then we apply those virtues based with using our reason and logic.

So , we just see, okay, what is this? Is this true or is this something that my thoughts, that I am creating, am I adding things to it or what is really happening? And that's kind of, that's how we try to live a more virtuous life. And, , wisdom, , applied knowledge, justice, is it fair, is it just, , courage, doing the thing you, , might be afraid of or difficult.

And temperance. Temperance is my personal one that I'm struggling with. So everybody, I think everybody has a virtue that they struggle with. And so, yeah, that's kind of the basics of the virtues from Stoicism. I'm sure there's no specific. Starting [00:11:00] point, everyone's so different and everyone's going to approach it differently and some people might try to work on all four at once or focus on one area at a time.

How does that kind of look like for you when you're looking at these different areas? You said right now you're working on temperance. Yeah, temperance has been like moderation, like food and drinks. That's why I quit alcohol. Like I, just, I,, whenever I, for me, the limit is either zero or one, right?

Because otherwise I just go overboard. And the same with food. Like I can't have chocolate in my house because I know what's going to happen, right? I'm just going to eat it. And that's just how my brain works. And I'm really trying to, I'm getting better at it. Right. And I think That is also something to remember with this thing like stoicism, and I think with any self improvement, , philosophy or way of doing it, it's like we're not going to be perfect right away.

But it's about the journey, about just being a little bit better every day. And if sometimes we slip up, okay, , just pick yourself up again and And keep going. And [00:12:00] that's what I do , with, with temperance as well. So it's kind of like, okay, where am I struggling? When are the difficult moments, , how can I recognize them and how can I pause myself in that moment?

So, for example, one thing that I applied with, , , with temperance and with drinking alcohol is like, whenever I'm in that temptation and I use a technique called negative visualization, which isn't like over, , Ruminating, but it's just, , again, a temperate way of looking at it. And I just picture in my mind, what is going to happen when I take that drink and I just see myself spiraling out of control, waking up the next day, , close to depressive , and just hung over for a few days.

And I was like, this is not worth it. So for me, that, that really, that snapshot, that pause before saying, Oh, yes, I will like it. And just picturing what's going to happen. That really changed a lot for me. And I do the same with food, right? As like, if I want to eat something that. I know is not going to maybe make me feel better in a moment.

But I know that I'm going to feel guilty afterwards. I'm not going to be good and feel good about myself. That's how I think about it. It's like, okay, I can eat [00:13:00] it right now. No, it's going to give me this five seconds because then I just want more and more or, and, but afterwards I'm going to feel upset about myself.

What is worse? So then you ask that, like, am I being just to myself? So then we're going to justice, you know, or no, I'm not, if I take this. So, and that's the, like, that's why it really happened to me. But as you said, Everybody is, , working on their own thing, right? On their own stuff. And a lot of people, they come to like stoicism because of dealing with anger, , dealing with some excessive emotions and all these things.

So that's my journey a little bit. And, , virtue of wisdom, that's just applied in everything, right? That's kind of that umbrella. Virtue where just that knowledge and applying it and just getting wiser a little bit. Hopefully, , if we play well, yeah, the anger thing is interesting because I think that was I worked a little bit in an eating disorder clinic as a dietitian.

And even though I'm not the therapist, and , I'm surrounded by therapists, I'm the only dietitian, a lot of times the [00:14:00] sessions can feel like therapy, and people are still coming to you with the problems, and you're trying to figure out the food piece and everything, but, , I remember a lot of it.

Stoic material and principles and things coming up to for, uh, a patient who's trying to work on rage and anger, just constant boiling rage under the surface. A lot of trauma, obviously, , and I just think it's so interesting. It's like people might have such a surface level idea or not even have any understanding at all of stoicism.

And, the more you learn about it, you really can apply it to so many different areas in your life. , and I love the example you gave too, because that's definitely something that has been working for me lately as well. The negative visualization. I think about, oh, I need a, I'm trying to run and train for a half marathon.

I've never liked running. I get bored of it. I run one mile and [00:15:00] I would be tired and over it. I'm like, I want to do something different. I like circuits. I like doing different things constantly, but I'm like, you know, stick with it. And that's something that I would do for myself to have, like, oh, I could just sit here and watch TV or keep working or draw or whatever.

 It would work for me automatic to see the running as the negative and, oh, I'm going to be uncomfortable. I'm going to look weird. Oh, I'm not good at it yet. I'm going to be all tired. It's not worth it, whatever. But to flip that, I had to flip it on myself and see.

The sitting here and not running as the negative, ? , I'm going to stay with no energy. I want to get my energy back. I'm going to feel like I'm wasting my time on a TV show or something, ? Or scrolling on my phone.

 That's really powerful . If you take that moment versus just going with your impulse, . And just being led by your emotion or your impulse. that you have these practices and these tools, , that you can turn to. We all struggle with something, right? So when we know we're struggling, like you said, whatever it [00:16:00] is, it could be anything, you might be struggling at work or with your personal relationships or with food or alcohol or whatever.

How can we help ourselves that when we're struggling in that area, what are some of the tools and practices we can do? So, in addition to that, is there anything else that comes to mind for you? Maybe resources or practices, other things like that, that have been helpful for you.

Yeah, that's good. You know, good call. And then, um, good question. And one of the things I think for me has really helped this community. And then like the stoic, the real stoic community, again, there's like this brosism, there's like these, , these, these kind of masculine, especially from a male perspective, there's this toxic masculinity is like, Oh, you just gotta, , be strong.

And, and I don't want to let, you know, just let everything bounce away from you. But that's one thing again, the stories they say, as you mentioned, those impulses, that's something we can get rid of, right? Those are just, we have that and we have that pause. So one of the tools as well as like just trying to practice that [00:17:00] pause, you know, for me, like taking a deep breath that really helps.

And those are kind of the techniques that you learn from having these kind of conversations, right? On those spaces that we host still, we do them like a weekly. And the great thing that we've seen there is we've seen more and more women joining us and having, you know, adding their view to these conversations and adding a really big new view of, like, stoicism.

And that really amplified my take on it and look at it from a different angle. So I really appreciate that. I like reading books, , well, not, I've not always loved reading books, but I really jo like delved into it. And there's some really good books about, , like from Donna Robertson, who was a, he was a CBT practitioner, a psychotherapist, and he actually pointed out like , the, the direct link between CBT and stoicism.

I see. Because it is pretty much based . It's, but it's based on like one specific quote from Epic. Epic, tus was a, a slave. Turned stoic philosopher and he was actually the inspiration or kind of the [00:18:00] literature mentor of Marcus Aurelius. And so that's kind of that link. But, but he wrote about that link and, and no one even saw that in CBT.

It's like, Oh yeah, like this quote, but it's, you know, where is it from? And he's like, it's stoicism. Right. And then he, he really unraveled. Hold it and you can see that everything is coming back, right? So they knew a lot more about our mind, you know back then that we might know now Which is really interesting and he wrote some really good books And we were lucky to have him on street stoics as well to talk and he came to our spaces a few times And he wrote a really good book on how to think like a roman emperor And you have Massimo Pigliucci's How to be Stoic, which is, like, how to be, how to think like a Roman emperor is like a, is based on Marcus Aurelius, so if you read The Meditations, that would be a really good book to follow up with.

And then you have The Inner Citadel from Pierre Hadot, which is just a little bit next level. , more to the academic side a little bit more. And if you've read Epictetus, the handbook, the discourses, then you can read Massimo Pigliucci, which is, , How to be a Stoic, which [00:19:00] is really more into that. And you have a good book by William Irvine, is How to Live the Guide to the Good Life.

, and you have like the most famous one now, he's Ryan Holiday, most people kind of, you know, the daily stoic, they find it through that way, and that's also a good way to start, but then you want to take it to the next level, but one thing, like I'm not an academic, but I struggle with remembering quotes, like my mind is just not really wired to do that academic work.

But I just, I, but for me it sticks because I put it into practice. , like for example, and I like when you mentioned in that same episode that you mentioned the three parts from Tony Robinson, right, where that he had one part was physio, physiological element. They're reminding me of that quote by Marcus Reyes to stand up straight and not straighten.

And for me, that always like makes me sit up straight, , but also like to approach life that way. So they also had those elements in them. But, , yeah, like I said, I always struggle with quotes, but I do remember them in a certain way and they come up like, oh yeah, now. So yeah. [00:20:00] But yeah, there's so much, there's so much good practice out there and you can Google stuff and.

Like that's why one of that's why one of the reasons why I started offering stoic life coaching, because I felt like, , I've been dealing with stuff and I wanted to help other people, right? Not as I'm not a therapist, I'm not, but I just to guide people through that. , and I think that that's something really beneficial to, , to just help them around.

Yeah, definitely. We all need accountability and guidance. You're doing your own self learning and ongoing studying of it and providing so much value already in this episode. So that's awesome. I think that would be great. A great offer. So you have the coaching, you have the Twitter spaces, the podcast.

So a lot of resources where people can learn more, which is really cool. , another podcast episode, you guys had that set out to me that I wanted to touch on a little bit is. The idea of embracing solitude as a journey for inner peace I want you , to talk a little bit more about [00:21:00] what solitude means for you because that word, , can have positive or negative connotations to it.

Yeah, and I think that especially, , going through some global issues where we kind of had to deal with solitude a little bit more forced, maybe, people, and they would have liked to. But what I, , I think that, I think, again, , at the foundations, we need to be, we need to be comfortable with ourselves.

And again, this is some negative idea about stoicism that it's not. Selfish, right? You have to work on yourself at the end of the day. That's who we live with, right? We live with ourselves. And so if we are not in balance with ourselves, if we don't feel good about ourself Then how can we be good for the world around us?

And that's really what the stoics teaches like we want we are living for community. They're very strong on that, right? We are social beings, but in order to be that strong pillar, that positive pillar, that contributes something, we need to be good with ourselves. And I think that that's where when we talk about solitude and being lonely, that's different, right?

Solitude is where you kind of, it's more of like a peaceful [00:22:00] connotation for me, but it's like I can be alone and not be lonely, but I can be surrounded by hundreds of people and still feel utterly alone, lonely, right? And solitude for me is just having that moment of peace, right? Just thinking about it, reflecting about your struggles, reflecting about what you, what you're dealing with.

And sometimes you do need help with it, right? It's like, you don't always have to go through these things alone, but you do have to work through them alone. It's like, you can explain your feelings as best you can to someone else, but they're never going to grasp it fully, right? There's always going to be this, because they're still, they're looking at it through their filter.

So we have to try to find, to deal with it by ourselves. And for me, that's why solitude can be very powerful to just be comfortable with yourself. And there's a quote by Seneca. He says, , , the wise person is content by themselves, but that doesn't mean that they're not seeking out connections or social life, right?

That's what they do, but it's not necessary for them to be, to live the good life. And , that's pretty much what stoicism, the goal of stoicism is to live a [00:23:00] peaceful, good life. , not, you know, and not even talking about happy. I always say like, just try to be content. , that's sometimes difficult enough just to be content.

And I think that is something that if you are good with yourself, if you have that balance, and if you know yourself truly, , your triggers, your emotions, your struggles, your strengths, then you have that package and then you can go and help the rest of the world. I think that that's where it really.

comes from. Yeah, I think it's been a big lesson for me as well ever since 2020 basically when the solitude is forced upon you because I know for me I am one of those fun types that would be I guess dependent on being social and dependent on stimulation and noise and escapism 

 Just feeling like anything I can do to not be alone with my thoughts or be lonely or fall into like a nihilistic pit Cause that would kind of be the [00:24:00] default. It's like, , you're either ignoring everything or you sit down and you start thinking about things and you're like, Oh no. But, , really that practice, it's like, you have to face that.

You kind of have to go through that hell. You have to learn how to be able to sit with that and work through it and get to the other side of it. . Like process through, Oh yeah, things are really bad. Maybe, or in this perspective. But I'm missing the other side of it too, right? It's kind of like both are happening and we can shift our perspective, but we have to process, we have to work through that.

 To have that practice the know thyself practice, doing that by slowing down, by embracing solitude. And I think it is scary at first. It totally makes sense that people, I would have patients all the time too, like, I can't meditate. I can't just sit there with my thoughts. 

, the book, , the Marcus Aurelius, it's called the meditations, what are some practical steps [00:25:00] that person who's never done the hats, me in the past, right?

How could they start? I think the meditation is a perfect example because this is his personal journey, right? Journal. Like this is what he wrote to himself. It was never meant to be published. , so if you read, that's why I love the book because it has so many different elements. It's history. It's going really into the mind of this person, , the Roman emperor, the most powerful person of the world.

How lonely must he have been? Right. It's like, , he has to keep his eyes open. People might want to, , kill him because they want to have the power or so he has to be really suspicion. He writes about this as well in his journal. So one of the things could be journaling and the Stoics were big on it.

They used the, , the golden rules, like, okay, what are you grateful for? Write something that you could have done better and write something that went well, like at every day. So that's kind of a reflection of getting it out there. , for me, it has also been writing, like I started writing my blog like two years ago because I had all these things in my head and they were just like, , I had a fear of like forgetting them and they were just [00:26:00] kind of all mixed, mixed up.

And I felt like if I write them somewhere public, , if I publish them, then I have to think better about them. So I gave them some more structure. And I think that also helps. So if you have a journal and you have a method of writing it in a more structured way, Because , that kind of happens when you're ruminating, right?

That if you are in that, that's that, that lone state and you are overthinking, your thoughts just kind of mix and rumble around. Like, I'm not very good at meditating as well. Like I've tried it many times, but then I set the timer for 10 minutes and I was like, Oh, this is 10 minutes and then two minutes passed, you know?

So, and I think that's also, What I always look at it. It's a personal journey, right? We see all it's it's for me. It's like kind of with dieting like people talk. Oh, you should do intermittent fasting. You should do keto. You should do that, right? Great. , that might work for someone. I'll try it, but it might not work for me.

And then you can experiment. Right. And you can find, okay, this works, that works. So you can try meditation. You can try, , journaling, but going for a walk, , just being out in nature. And that's what the [00:27:00] stoics. And when we talk about someone like Emerson or Thoreau, they also say like, look at nature.

That's where we really learn most. And maybe from find our peace and just escape from the triggers, , get away from that. And if you are yourself to trigger, then maybe You need to gradually work into it, ask people for help, , look for support and find those little moments, you know, just maybe five minutes or one minute, the same way you kind of practice with, with meditation.

I think, and for me, that is really the beauty of life, , experimenting, , seeing what works and what doesn't work, and then just trying to figure out where you can grow and how you can improve yourself. Yeah, those are great examples. , Meditation. I, definitely have that love hate with it too, because I know it's so good.

And every time I do it, it's so good, but it's the one that I struggled to actually get started on for some reason. But I think for anyone listening, just think about. What feels the easiest? Yeah, to get started on [00:28:00] and , and there's no rules. I know when I was working that super stressful job, I didn't have time to walk.

I didn't have time. I guess maybe I could meditate, but the easiest thing for me would just be journaling and getting the negative thoughts out. Like I'm so stressed. Oh, this, that, whatever. Um, and that practice started and it became my favorite practice for sure. I still really like journaling and doing morning pages.

Um, but now also being able to walk in nature is the best thing ever. Highly recommend that for sure. But I think that's great for people to think about. Those are three really good examples of where you could start meditating or walking or journaling and really giving yourself that gift. of being able to do it, even if you start for a minute and you can increase it as you go.

 I'm interested in learning more about how the Stoics [00:29:00] view a fulfilling lifestyle, like a high vibe lifestyle, right?

So, integrating the mental, the physical, the emotional levels, because there, a lot of the times, , it's that bro or hustle culture that we see with stoicism on Instagram, the popular motivational quotes, . Kind of like cherry picking those teachings to get people to just think about grinding or making more money .

 I'm sure the Stoics, , appreciate a hard work ethic and everything, but what's the relationship that they have with emotions? Cause I, I think we see one thing, like you said, in some cultures where it's like, ignore your emotions, but what's the true approach when it comes to that on the , mental, physical, spiritual side, emotions are part of us.

Right. That's what they also acknowledge. And it's, it's mainly like we get them out of impulses, right? Like fear, anger, but also grief and joy. They [00:30:00] are, there are impulses. And then it's. But we have also, , given the rational and logical mind, , to revolution, and they would say, like, this has been given to us part of the divine, , the logos, the national, the rational universe.

So we have this capability and we should use it. So when we take in an emotion like anger, and for example, Seneca calls it a momentary insanity, Which is, , he says like, nothing good comes out of anger when you act out of it, right? But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't really, that we shouldn't look at where it's coming from.

What are the, , where, what's the foundation? Why am I getting angry? And once we start to look at those questions, I think one thing we are already kind of diminishing the anger because we are looking what it's, why it's happening. You know, we're looking, why is it affecting me this much? And then we apply that pause and then we apply reason and logic, right?

So instead of I'm going to punch a hole in the wall, it's like, is that really the best thing I can do here? Right? So when we talk about that grind and hustle mentality, and the funny thing is you see all these images, , like Marcus Aurelius, like, you know, ripped with his 12th [00:31:00] back, , and muscles, I don't know how big.

And he was a frail man physically. , they thought he would have died a long time ago, but the strength and that, that meant, , the strength and the power that he had doesn't come from his physique and it's all from his mental capability of how to deal with these stressful situations and how to perform his duty.

Again, , he probably would have preferred to be a philosopher instead of the Roman emperor, but when he said, this is my duty, this is what I'm going to do. So I'm going to be the best, emperor that I can be. And that's for us as well. If you were working in a, as a janitor or working as a doctor or whatever, the entire spectrum , of occupation you can think of, do it the best you can, all the roles that you have.

If you're a mother or a father, brother, sister, and that's kind of what the Stoics really look at. You have this duty to yourself, but to the people around you. And they're strong at that. So if you want to cultivate that mindset, that really like, and that's also, , that brings you to , that kind of that higher mindset, that, that vibe is like, okay, I am in touch , with who I am.

And that's that second part, [00:32:00] apart from the virtue, that's where that comes from living in accordance with your nature, right? And not just your personal nature, but also the nature around us that loads. And that's where you find peace because that's where you will find who you truly are. So then you can comprehend, you can, comprehend to mentalize it and the different roles that you have say, okay, now I'm going to be this.

Let me just do this the best I can. Let me focus on this. Let me put my attention, that my, you know, because that's sometimes what we have as well. We just try to focus on everything and say, no, do this well. And then do the next thing well. And that's kind of how we can use that to a better extent.

, and they have, because, real quick, like Stoicism came from the cynics and the cynics, they really said like, virtue is the only good, nothing else. And then Zeno, Scipion, the founder of Stoicism, he came, okay, you know, I like that. But the cynics, they were living on the streets, you know, they just had a cloak and a cup and they were like screaming obscenities and, , really, you know, Forcing people to become, , philosophers or to become cynics is like, this doesn't really work in real life.

So he's like, I [00:33:00] have preferred indifferences, right? I prefer to be healthy and sick. I prefer to have, you know, money than have no money. I prefer to have, so, you know, we have some externals that we prefer, but they shouldn't control us. . So when we talk about that hustle and bustle culture, we are focusing all about the external right.

It's like, I want more money. I want more of this. I want more and more and more. And that's where we give our piece away because that's not up to us. . That's what the Stoics say. That's our own fortune. So that's what we kind of say. What is, what do I really want? What is enough? And if you really look at it and like, that's what I quit my job two years ago.

I sold everything like now I'm in Columbia at the moment. I'm traveling. , and I, I was able to visit my parents for seven months, they're getting older and I was able to be there for the 50th wedding anniversary. And that wouldn't have been possible with my job. And I felt like, what is more important in my life?

Or to spend it with my loved ones and to do what I feel I should be doing or to cultivate more stuff. So now everything I own fits in [00:34:00] like a backpack and like a rucksack. That's everything. And I've never felt freer in my life. Now I can just go and do the things and pursue my passion. And this is one of them, right?

To really help people, to share my thoughts. And this is also not me trying to turn people into stoics, but just to try to show people like there are other ways of looking at life. Yeah, I love that. That's the dream life and the stoic philosophy and all these things like I have episodes on, , gene keys and human design and astrology and all these different kind of frameworks, ?

And we don't need to get wrapped up in doing it perfectly or becoming an expert in it or labeling ourselves as that. Just, Take what resonates and throw away what doesn't. It's another tool for your tool belt.

I love your idea of success, spending time with your family and traveling just really being able to enjoy your time, your life, your freedom, ? Not giving all that away to try to chase more money. I think it's a trap that a lot of people fall [00:35:00] into because those are kind of the loudest voices online.

Um, the people who present that package of, you know, like the manifestation coaches really Putting the main central focus on, go be a millionaire and figure out how to make the most money you can possibly make. And while you're at it, you know, you have to constantly convince yourself that you're great and everything's great and everything's going to work out.

 You have to basically just be positive all the time and any negative thought or anything that comes up, you should be ashamed because you shouldn't be thinking that way. If you want to be great, then you have to constantly think great things. It's a big trap that, , we see a lot.

For you personally, what has helped you not fall into that trap? When you are dealing with, those hard emotions and those negative thoughts? Yeah, that's a great question.

And I, [00:36:00] I lived when I quit my job, I lived in Dubai, you know, and that's the pinnacle of the life that you kind of just described, you know, that success. And, and there you see, there's always going to be a bigger fish, you know? So if you, you think like, Oh, I have this, then I'm going to be happy. There's always going to be someone who has more, right?

So there's always going to be that, that next level. For me, kind of realizing that and seeing that there's never going to be enough. At one point, you don't even value the money. I remember going there and I was a teacher, right? I wasn't even making the top money there. I was making somewhere, maybe around average or whatever.

And I just, but during my first year, you would go out and just put your credit card down. You didn't even look at the prices on whatever, you know? And then after a while, I started really going into my finances because I realized like, I, I've lived in Spain before. And Dubai and I've, you know, from the Netherlands, I wasn't building up any pension, right?

I wasn't building up anything. So I realized I've got to take care of this myself. So I started looking into my finances and started looking at, okay, what do I really need to live the life that I want? And I read this really interesting book by Vicky [00:37:00] Robin called your money or your life. And she was really hammering on what is enough.

Right. What is, what is your enough? When do you, when are you satisfied? And I think that that is also something that we, uh, teach from, learn from the Stoics is that sense of gratitude with what you have right now, instead of living in the future and thinking like, Oh, if I, if I have this, then I'll be happy.

Yeah. But that's not going to happen. Right. Even the Stoics talk about it, they talk about like, Having the purple band on your toga purple is like the most expensive color back in the day And then you're like the senator or whatever, you know And then and then marcus really says that that's not going to give you happiness But there's going to be even more problems then because they say like even the the wealthiest people They're more more afraid of losing everything, right?

And if you travel around and you see people who have less they will welcome You know with open arms and they give you everything and they're more content Well, what they have, and I think that that was for me, one of the biggest things, you know, to really ask myself, what is enough? And I did the calculations, you know, with my financial side, but also just looking at my stuff, looking at the things [00:38:00] that I've accumulated.

And that's why when I left Dubai, I was there for five years and I was renting a car for five years. Most people's like, why don't you buy one? It's like, you throw money away. But for me, it was this kind of psychological thing is like, Oh, this is my ticket. Like, I know that I'm going to one day, I'm going to take that car, drive it to the airport, hand off the keys and get out with as little as possible.

And that's what I did at the end. And it helped me because I knew like, okay, this is the life that I want to build for myself. I want to give myself this time. You know, time is our most precious commodity. Seneca says that as well, like most people are so stingy when it comes to money and with things and everything, but they give their time just freely to everyone.

Right, but that's the only commodity that we don't know how much we have of and we're never going to get it back. Money you can make, , things you can buy, but money of time isn't. So that's what I thought is like, okay, money equals time to me. So the last few years that I lived in Dubai, I just like, I worked and I read and I started, you know, writing about dystocism.

 Just joining those spaces, you [00:39:00] know, with the podcast and everything else. And, and that's where I really started to see like, this is going to be my life. This is what I want to go towards. I don't want much. I just want to have my time, , freedom of time and place. And that's what I really started creating.

So that idea of having enough, being grateful for what you have right now, That was, that's kind of what I'm focusing on right now. And that helps when, you know, with traveling, I meet people very swiftly and I'm looking after pets, , for example, now I have a cat that's a little bit ill, so I afterwards have to go to the vet with her again.

But it's like, even those short contacts, I'm very grateful for when I have them in a moment. Even when I go with my family, I spend time with them, but it's more intentional. Right. It's that's like, Oh, you know, because we can spend time with people and just like, Oh, whatever. But now it's more intentional and you listen to them more.

So that really changed for me to just live a little bit more intentionally with more gratitude. That's awesome. Yeah. Being intentional, not taking things for granted and really, Slowing [00:40:00] down to put yourself in the driver's seat and think about , what actually do I want out of life? Am I satisfied? Am I happy with the way I'm spending my time, my money?

So I like that big picture, , practice that you have of looking at all of your finances and creating a really big picture plan of the big ticket things that we were spending our money on, like sit down and really think about. Okay, what kind of car do I really need to be satisfied? Am I, is it really going to make me that much happier if I have the more expensive luxury car or can I, , and what is that going to take away if I get that?

That is going to cost, , something in another bucket that might be even more fulfilling. So really like taking inventory of everything and thinking about The big picture of your finances. I think that's helpful too, for like the small day to day for the, spenders, that was [00:41:00] something too.

In my past, I would, I was never a saver. I was definitely a spender and it's like that little dopamine hit, you know, and just thinking like, Oh, I want this. I'll be happy right now. And, but now you can slow down and you can think about . , this thing might make me happy for five minutes or for a week or something, but how does that compare to a peak experience of going and traveling with friends or, , investing in being able to have the freedom to invest in the hobbies and things that really light my soul on fire, ?

Like for me, the slowing down and the practice of knowing myself has helped me see what are the things that actually really light me up, like walking and cycling and drawing and art. Um, and how can I invest more money and time into that versus. . Versus then you make a palette or [00:42:00] something stupid.

And it's also not that the stoics tell you not to own anything, right? And we've had this question come around like in those spaces and people ask like, well, I want to buy a Ferrari. It's like, okay, you know what? You can do so. First of all, if you've gotten the money in a morally right way, like if you're doing your job well and you get the money, you can spend it great.

Yeah, that's that's why those preferred and differences. I would prefer to have a Ferrari instead of this other car. Great. You know, when I ask yourself, is it practical? Is it useful? But then the next step is like, if I have this Ferrari parked out on the streets, am I going to be sitting at home worried about this thing?

You know, is it going to be stolen? Is someone going to scratch it? Because if that happens, then suddenly the car owns you. All right, suddenly those externals you are because you are losing your peace of mind off it You're just sitting all wait. So if something happens here that i'm not going to be so it's also that kind of you know Detaching yourself from what it is and and again, you know bringing back to marcus radius He reminds himself of what things are, you know, wine is [00:43:00] just fermented grape juice, you know The the purple is just the entrails of a cinnamon Sea snail, you know, slug that, you know, whatever, how they make it, I don't know what, you know, so he reminds himself.

So that car is just a piece of metal that's supposed to transport you, right? But if you like that, if that's something that you're really passionate about, you, there's, the stoics don't tell you not to go for it, but they're just like asking yourself, what are you going to have to give up for it? Right?

What is the price? Because there's always going to be a price. There's always going to be that balance. And that is kind of what they ask. Yeah, it's a big difference if it comes from within versus someone else telling you, Oh, you should have this type of car because this is what this new status symbol is or you see a neighbor who just got whatever new furniture and you're like, Oh, I should get some nice furniture like that too.

So it's a big difference between, am I just looking around and trying to keep up with other people? And that's why I think I need this thing [00:44:00] versus, , I really want, you know, do I want a super nice car? Cause my neighbor has one, or do I want a super nice bike because I'm into biking and I want to be able to.

Um, enjoy it on a, on a better level and, and have a really nice experience. And, you know, so big difference if it's coming from within versus that trap and where things can own us because we're just trying to keep up with other people. And doing it for the right reasons, right? Asking that why this is like, this is what I've been asking myself with traveling.

a lot because, , there's a traveling to escape, traveling to show other people, there's and this is what I've had most kind of combined a little bit in it. So I've asked myself this question as well as like, why? And again, Seneca has a wonderful quote about this. He says, you wonder why your travel's doing you no good, why you're saddled with the very thing you're trying to get away from, and that's, again, our mind, so the Stoics are all about just work on yourself first and then you can really go out and explore.

Again, there's nothing wrong [00:45:00] with it, but doing the things for the right reasons that really have an impact on yourself and you know why, I think that that's a question we should ask ourselves a little bit more. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Yes. Yes. So to wrap up, is there any other, , core principle or teaching that has really impacted you, something that you want listeners to know and walk away with when it comes to The stoic philosophy.

Yeah, there's two concepts. And there's, I can talk about this for hours. Like literally this is how our podcast created me and Bryce. We were just like, did the spaces and kept talking about it for hours. It's like, we've got to record this, and the same thing with Brendan, I'm going to visit him in Panama.

That's how we started a company as well. You know, the, the V is stoic that we just kind of combined forces. But for me, , two things, , Amor Fati, accept your fate, right. Accept what's happening right now. Instead of, , I used to look at myself as a victim. I was like, oh, why is this happening to me?

And the Stoics say, why not, right? If it can happen to anyone, it can happen to you. [00:46:00] But now it's up to you to deal with it. And I think sometimes we forget that we can deal with much more than we think, right? And there's this, , because we, , it's more, it's difficult when you're from the sideline, when you're looking at someone who's kind of struggling with things, you feel a pity and you feel that these things, well, the people who are dealing with it, They might say like, Oh, I'm just going to go for it.

. I'm just so that mindset really shows like I can deal with this. And again, that gratitude, we have all the tools in the present right now to deal with the present situation. Like we have everything here. Like we don't have to look for more, but we can still grow.. Because there's going to be next moments.

So there's always, so living more in that, like mindful, , that mindful mindset. It's like, I'm living in the right now I'm living right now. And then there's the momentum Mori. It's kind of sometimes felt like a morbid, , expressions like remember that you will die. And I think for me, that is, that has really been one of the key things that have helped me deal with philosophy like this.

And I like Michel de Montagne. He's a 16th century French philosopher. And he wrote an [00:47:00] essay titled to philosophize is to learn how to die. . So for me, getting to terms with the fact that, this is a thing we all share. And I think that needs a rebranding. I think we should be able to talk about it a little bit better, you know, more and really understand what's going on.

Why are we afraid of it? What's the deal behind it? And it is a necessary part of life. It is natural, right? It's the cycle that we have. So just don't say, how can we label it as bad? If it is something that is natural, look at everything, right? And it's that cycle. We have the death and decay comes out of, we have growth on the other side.

And then, you know, just, I don't want to throw a lot of quotes out there, but I love this one by Seneca. He says, life is because of death that you are so precious in my eyes. Right, so because of we have this limited time, life suddenly becomes precious. Like we have to make the best use of it. We have to do whatever we do and like, and that doesn't mean that we always have to, , wake up at 5 a.

m. and just make, , 18 hour days and get everything out of it. No, but do what you [00:48:00] do mindfully. Right, if you mentioned like you go for a run, but sometimes you say, no, I just want to binge watch a series. Do it, but don't go and do four or five things at the same time. And don't feel guilty. Just say, no, I'm going to do this.

I'm going to do it mindfully and I'm going to do it. Well, I'm just going to enjoy myself. We're just going to give my time that time to relax. And that's good. No minds can't stay on all the time. So for me, those things like, except your faith, , and also to, , remember that you're going to die and this is a one shot at life.

No, make it the best possible. I think that that's something that we owe ourselves. Yeah, I love that. There's always a season for everything too, so it's important to keep listening to those internal cues because for a season, , binge watching shows can be the best thing ever for your well being, but then it can get to a point where you're like, , this is actually feeling awful.

Now we're messing things up. But then it's like, That knowing thing inside, like you, you should be running. So just, you know, let, let things change, let [00:49:00] everything have its season, but pay attention to that. I think some people just totally ignore that. They just don't know how to get out of whatever current cycle they're in or something to kind of like try to control and kind of keep things the same way.

And before I forget, I think it'd be awesome if you did a podcast and shared your ideas around death, because I want to hear that. Oh yeah, definitely. And I wrote about it on the blog that I have. I wrote about certain like death is a rebranding and I wrote about that. Cause it's a. It is a tricky topic, right?

It is a tricky thing. Taboo. I love taboo. Yeah. Yeah. And I, me too, you know, and I have other ideas and all that stuff about it, but I think that's why I really think it should be more able to talk about it. Yeah. But it's difficult online. And I think that that's something that is, that is kind of made our life a little bit more tricky.

The online world because you never know how people are going to react. You never know who's going to listen to it and who might be triggered to it. [00:50:00] So I think that that is, that's a little bit more difficult, but I think you still should be able to talk about it. I think like the toxic positivity mindset and where people don't want to go or in people who are just afraid of taboo topics.

But I think the conversation. Need, yeah, we need more of that conversation, so that'd be cool, that'd be awesome. So my last question is, what are some of the ways that you stay high vibe? I ask every guest, like, practices, routines, resources, things that you personally love that help you stay high vibe. Yeah, I'm a positive person.

Just in general, people say that, , I smile a lot. Even when I was working in Dubai with, you know, the classes that were just horrible, just like craziness going around. And I see the absurdism in it. I like humor, like kind of to see, , the fun of life and that's how I look at it, look at it.

And obviously I have my Like I just said, that toxic positivity that I'm not there. Right. I'm just kind of trying to be balanced and people call me level [00:51:00] headed. And that's where I like, , I just kind of just see things for what they are and try to find that real reason of what it is. And for me, , it's also that balance between being that introvert and extrovert.

I love talking to people. I love being with people, but I also really need my time alone. So I think that, , and having that, that higher vibe, Also, you need to find a balance, right? You need to find where you fit in. And some people, like, I have a friend, one of my best friends, and he is like, wow, he's out there, right?

And I went to visit him last year in the U. S. And, , he was working during the morning, so that was my time. , I was like, I do some writing, doing my reading. And then when he came in, I was like, okay, now it's, , flip the switch, and now it's his mode and I'm going to go with it, right? Just surrender yourself to it.

For me, it's kind of go with the flow, ? It's like, see what life brings me and then I'll just deal with it then. And, and I just, I just like it, , it's just, but that doesn't mean that I have my days where I really struggle and just sit by myself. It's like, what am I doing? Or, or this hurts or this is painful.

And I think that that's also something that we should be able to accept more, right? We don't always have to show [00:52:00] people that look at me. I'm always positive. And again, that's the toxic element from social media. Like we talked about success before, but also like, Oh, look at me. I'm always happy. Look at me.

I'm traveling. It's all looking great. And it's all just wonderful. And I guess people such a distorted image of life is like, Oh, look at what they're doing. They're always happy. If I just do exactly what they're doing, then I'm going to be there as well. And that's not because they might be miserable. We don't know.

They might be happy, , we don't know either, but so for me, it's just really listening to yourself. , the same thing you just talked about when I'm binge watching. At one point you listen to yourself. You see, now I've had enough, , it's like, okay, I finished an entire episode or season or whatever.

Now I've had enough and let's do something else, right? And sometimes we need it. So it just, you know, also that kindness and compassion to yourself, just be kind. And I think that that will get you far. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing that and share with our listeners, , where they can find you, follow you, everything that you have going on.

So we can send [00:53:00] them off over there. Yeah, thanks. So like I mentioned we have those spaces like every week. So those are on usually on X on twitter. I'm there at the the stoic padawan So the the padawan from star wars and that's pretty much my handle on most of my social media on instagram. I write every month Morning, like, that's my journaling.

I write morning and evening poets. Poetry kind of evolved into poetry and I use like an AI image. People like it. I got some really nice responses, but it's mainly for myself to get my thoughts out. So, if you want to read something about that, you can follow me on those, , on Instagram. And Twitter as well, that's where I show those mainly.

And then we have the podcast, Street Stoics, which I do with Bryce. And Brendan joins sometimes for the interviews and other episodes. So we have that as well. And we have Via Stoica, that's the company where we do our coaching, but where you also can find my blog. , the writings, like the things that we've mentioned, you know, the articles about death and, , even the collective existential crisis that I was kind of, you know, that I kind of [00:54:00] came up with.

, so that's the main things that we do that you can find me. And if you reach out to, , you can always reach out to me on the DMs or just, , messages everywhere. I like to help people. And that's one of the, like one of the, , to end it with kind of my model in life is like. I don't want to have to work, but I want to have the time and freedom to pursue my passions to help as many people as I can.

And that's kind of what me, Bryce, and Brendan set out for Via Stoica as well. It's like, you know, sometimes people focus too much on making money, and we said, no, we want to focus on helping people. That's why we give things away, , like the podcast, the spaces, just to, just to give that back to people.

Because it helped us, and we just want to make sure that more people live a better life. Awesome. Amazing resources. So everybody make sure that you follow on all the platforms and thank you so much again for being on the episode today. Thank you for having me, miss. That was great. I love talking about [00:55:00] this.

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