#14: Motivation from Epictetus, Favourite Mindfulness App, and How to Journal

PLUS: Seneca consoles a child over the loss of a pet

Welcome, Stoics.

Explore a comprehensive Stoic Anxiety Video Trilogy, meet a novel tech ally in intentional living, and anticipate the unveiling of the 'Toxic Productivity' discourse. 

Dive into Epictetus' teachings, discover Rory Mcllroy's secret to success, and embark on a transformative journey with the revamped Askesis program…

In today’s The Nous:

  • 🍦 Epictetus on temptation

  • 🐹 Seneca writes consolation letter for loss of hamster

  • 🛠️ My favorite app of all time

  • 📝 The power of the philosophical journal

Read time: 7 minutes

🏹 Stoic Wisdom Arrows

💥 Every Challenge Presents a Choice: I’ve created a video contemplation for Chapter 10 of Epictetus’ handbook where he explains that every path to vice also opens up a doorway to virtue. Watch here.

😥 Stoic Anxiety Video Trilogy: I have just uploaded the free anxiety video masterclass to my YouTube channel and arranged in a playlist for easy viewing. If you struggle with anxiety, this will help you get started on the right path: See video anxiety masterclasses here.

⭐️ Rory Mcllroy Uses Stoicism to Help Win Ryder Cup: “I just thought as a former emperor of Rome and seeing that we are in Rome, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some of his thoughts, and I revisited them on the way to the course.” Read here.

🧰 Stoic Toolbox: The Philosophical Journal

I explore Massimo Piglucci’s explanation of how to do a nightly Stoic philosophical journal. This is one of the most powerful practices you can have if you take your self-improvement seriously.

🤖 Philosophy Remix: Seneca Consoles Boy Over Loss of Hamster

I asked ChatGPT to write a consolation letter from Seneca to a young boy who is grieving the loss of his hamster. While somewhat amusing, it can also provide some useful and relatable ideas when consoling people around us.

To my dear young friend,

I have learned of the demise of your beloved hamster, and though the fates have decreed this small creature a brief stay amongst us, the weight of its departure can still bear heavily upon a heart as tender as yours.

First, allow me to remind you that all things in this universe, be they great or small, follow Nature's design. Every creature, from the mighty oak to the humble hamster, is granted a time to flourish, and a time to return to the earth. It is the natural cycle, the ebb and flow of life, and to rail against it is to dispute the very laws of the cosmos.

It is not the length of life but the depth of it that truly matters. While your hamster's existence may have been short in measure, the joy, companionship, and lessons it brought to you are immeasurable. Cherish those moments, for they are the true essence of life.

In your grief, remember the Stoic principle: it is not events themselves that disturb us, but our judgments about them. The passing of your hamster is a fact of nature, neutral in itself. Your sorrow arises from the love and attachment you felt, and while it is natural to grieve, be cautious that your grief does not spiral into excessive sorrow.

Rather, take this moment to reflect upon the impermanence of life. It is a lesson many do not grasp until much later in their years. By understanding and accepting the fleeting nature of all things now, you are better prepared to face future losses and challenges with equanimity and strength.

Lastly, my dear young friend, remember that while physical beings have their end, the memories, lessons, and love they leave behind are eternal. Your hamster, in its brief existence, has given you a precious gift: the realization of the beauty and fragility of life. Hold onto that lesson, and it will serve you well in the years to come.

May you find peace in your heart and wisdom in your reflections.



📜 Stoic Quote: For The Week Ahead

[The Stoics] do not bend under the blows of fate, because they have previously estimated the power of its attacks in their anticipations (for anticipation makes even those things light which would be most terrible if unexpected), their minds in this manner calculating that nothing that happens is wholly strange, but having a kind of faint perception of everything as old and in some degree blunted. These men, being very naturally rendered cheerful by their virtues, pass the whole of their lives as a festival.

—Philo of Alexandria, The Special Laws II

Weekly newsletter I recommend. 👇

🧰 Tool of the Week

This app is so good!

In our fast-paced digital era, it’s all too easy to get lost in the endless scroll of our devices. This week, I’d like to introduce you to an app that champions mindfulness: One Sec.

One Sec acts as a thoughtful gatekeeper between you and your apps. Before accessing your chosen apps, it prompts you to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect on your intentions.

Mindfulness: Many of us reach for our phones unconsciously, driven by boredom or the urge to procrastinate. OneSec gives us a moment to consider: Do I really need to use this app now?

Time Saved: Rather than emphasizing wasted time, OneSec shows you the time you’ve reclaimed by being more intentional.

Website Blocking: Struggle with specific website temptations? OneSec lets you block them or suggest healthier alternatives.

Habit Formation: One of its standout features is the integration of journaling. You can set it up so you must answer reflective prompts before accessing apps like Google Chrome or YouTube. This ties beneficial habits to the apps you frequently use.

Every morning, before diving into Google Chrome, One Sec prompts me to journal, nudging me to reflect on my gratitude and goals for the day. This routine has seamlessly integrated mindfulness into my day, and the difference is palpable.

The genius of One Sec lies in its simplicity. It encourages us to be more present, and intentional, and to cultivate positive habits, all with the devices we use daily. I wholeheartedly believe it has the potential to be life-changing, not just in the time you save, but in fostering an enhanced sense of mindfulness. I highly recommend giving One Sec a try. They have a free plan which works great.

✍️ What I’m Building

1. 🎥 Expanding My YouTube Channel: I'm passionate about bringing teachings to life. Thus, I'm diligently working on transforming many of my podcast episodes into videos. These videos will have both visual and musical elements to enrich the learning experience. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. If you haven't already, do consider subscribing to my YouTube channel to stay updated.

2. 🌀 Askesis - Stoic Emotional Mastery Program: I'm thrilled to announce the evolution of Askesis, a 10-week intensive program designed to help you attain emotional mastery. Drawing from the wisdom of Stoicism, this program utilizes my unique Stoic 4885 system to truly immerse participants in Stoic practices. I'm currently refining the sign-up page to include the dates and logistical elements as well as producing a trailer to help explain what’s included. The past renditions of Askesis have been transformative, and I believe this will be the most powerful version yet. Stay tuned; I'll share the updated page soon.

3. ⚡️ Meaningful Productivity Masterclass: Together with my friend and collaborator, Eric Brown, we're launching a five-part meaningful productivity masterclass. The first of these insightful sessions, titled "Toxic Productivity," will premiere next week on my YouTube channel. While the content mirrors a premium course, we've chosen to offer it entirely free. Mark your calendars and ensure you don’t miss out on this opportunity.

🤝 Friend of Wisdom

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Thank you for reading. As Stoics, we understand that the future is uncertain, so let's say, "I will be in touch soon, fate permitting!"

Jon Brooks