It is becoming increasingly difficult to become a real man. I believe masculinity is getting stripped out of society, and it continues to make humanity softer. In a world in which you get dopamine with the push of a button (Instagram, Netflix, Porn) society is getting weaker, dumber, and capable of tolerating mediocrity.
I learned to embrace Stoicism, since its principles of living, according to Nature, are quite productive and, alongside Christianity have helped me become a better person capable of enduring the hardest challenges in life. To live a good life, you have to control your emotions. In my world of Venture Capital and Startups, you encounter a decent amount of ego and power. Having the ability to subdue anger quickly is paramount. I consider it the only way to survive and thrive.
This excerpt from Meditations is perfect for this point. I think about it almost daily.
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part, I have long perceived the Nature of good and its nobility, the Nature of evil and its meanness, and also the Nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow-creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I recently started studying the work of the lesser-known philosopher of the “4 Horsemen of Stoicism”, Musonius Rufus. Alongside Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus he is one of the founding fathers of this way of living life. Stoicism is the best framework for endurance I have ever found. It made me unbreakable and fearless without being reckless. It gave me deep appreciation and love for the ones I care about.
Make pain a temporary norm, not a challenge. You must embrace it to grow and evolve.
“It is useful to consider how much trouble those who pursue illicit love-affairs undergo because of their wicked passions, how much others put up with for the sake of gain, and again how many ills some suffer in pursuit of fame. And yet, all these people undergo all this hardship of their own accord … wouldn’t everyone agree that it is much better to work to gain control over one’s desires than it is to work to gain possession of someone else’s wife— and for a person to train himself to want little instead of struggling to become wealthy? And instead of exerting effort to gain fame, shouldn’t a person strive to overcome his thirst for it?”
― Musonius Rufus, Undated Lecture
I have made money in life, but I am very far from my financial goals or total freedom. That said, I know I am on track to make hundreds of millions of dollars and that none of that matters in the end.
With enough focus and determination, you can always build wealth. I am much more interested in the things you can’t buy; I am interested in what you must earn.
This tweet from Naval summarizes it all:
The main thing is to make history, not to write it. Achieve perfect liberation from materialism by having the discipline to do what you know you have to execute
Returning to serenity requires minimalist action. Take the very next step. Break it down into something so small that you look silly by not doing it.