Modern problems, Psychology, Self development, Stoic advice, Uncategorized

Walk the talk

1 Comment

I hadn’t really understood, in my heart, what Ryan Holiday meant with the title of his egobook: The ego is the enemy. I have to admit that I was hesitant of reading it when it first came out. The obstacle is the way, was fantastic so I did push myself to buy it and give it a go. At first, I couldn’t conceive the notion of having my ego as an enemy, the idea of having a war with my ego seemed like having a war with “me”, and if I had a war with “me”, then insanity would be just around the corner. It almost seemed as if you had to hate yourself, being yourself the enemy. Bit Schizophrenic isn’t it? Later I began to understand what the Ego is and realized that I could not rationally call the Ego “myself”.

Ryan defines the ego as “an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.” The need to be better than, more than, recognized for, far past any reasonable utility—that’s ego.

The ego can be compared to a child inside ourselves. A winning and detestable child, desperate for attention and willing to do anything to obtain it. This child thinks the whole world revolves around him and demands all eyes to direct their attention to him. He acts for attention, approval, and validation and to assure his feeling of greatness. He also believes in his heart that he deserves it. He feels entitled to attention and therefore becomes mad when he does not get it (anxiety levels are soaring). This way of being, obviously, is prejudicial as it separates the person from reality.

If you think you deserve greatness, why would you have to actually work for it? When you are trying to prove you are smart, you are more concerned about appearing to be smart than on actually being smart and doing the things that make up for a smart person and that right there, is the problem.

The ego functions by searching for ways to assure himself that he is great. Our times are great for this indeed! All of our inner spoiled brats have to do is upload a photo of some nicely crafted Tacos on Instagram and get hearts and validation as if it were his! This reminds me of the following stoic phrase.

Don’t be prideful with any excellence that is not your own. If a horse should be 12_cabecera_1prideful and say, ” I am handsome,” it would be supportable. But when you are prideful, and say, ” I have a handsome horse,” know that you are proud of what is, in fact, only the good of the horse. What, then, is your own? Only your reaction to the appearances of things. Thus, when you behave conformably to nature in reaction to how things appear, you will be proud with reason; for you will take pride in some good of your own. Epictetus

Sorry, but no, you should not take praise in the Tacos picture.

This is why the ego is the enemy. The aim of the ego is validation, it does not concern with doing the work that will actually get him where it wants.

Facts are better than dreams said, Winston Churchill.

Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative—one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time. Ryan Holiday

God, exactly. Instead of trying to prove you are smart or brave. Focus on being smart andwittgenstein1 L brave, this can be achieved by action and by learning. Instead of trying to prove something focus better on growing and becoming something. No time in your life must be regarded as “someday”. All you have is right now. Every tiny action is in fact monumental. Walk the talk, my friend.

Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism. 

Subscribe here

Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.

Support Stoic Answers

Stoic answers is committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious stoic contemporary thinking. No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the great ancient Stoics and contemporary knowledge, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.



Let’s use social media for something helpful, shall we? Help the world by spreading Stoicism, pay just $9 and gift a Mexico City person a copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ll send you an email so you can write a personal message and the photo will be uploaded to the Stoic Answers page.








Self development, Stoic advice, Uncategorized

Stoic Ju-jitsu, win the battle of the mind.

No Comments

Everything that happens is an opportunity for mastery.

Upon every accident, remember to turn towards yourself and inquire what faculty you have for its use. If you encounter a handsome person, you will find continence the faculty needed; if pain, then fortitude; if reviling, then patience. And when thus habituated, the phenomena of existence will not overwhelm you.

Enchiridion, Epictetus

Japanse martial art Ju-jitsu’s aim is to use the force of the enemy against him. Stoicism is Ju-jitsu in the mind’s realm.

Everything that happens in our lives can be used as practice to become better at practicing virtue. Just yesterday to give an example, I fell off my bike and pounded in the concrete really hard, I suffocated and didn’t really knew for a moment what was happening. Eventually, I got up and everything seemed ok, except my ragged T-shirt and blood in several parts of my body, oh and a severe muscle pain in my hip. I wasn’t going to write anything today but then I stumbled into this Epictetus quote and decided to use my pain to practice fortitude, so now I’m sitting writing with a severe hip pain, but quite happy about it. So, in a way, thanks to this hip pain, I can write about how I’m using it to get better at something else. Stoic Ju-jitsu.

Virtue is the sole good. That’s our aim.hydra

Hard choices easy life, easy choices hard life.

Our minds are the arena for vice and virtue. It is an endless battle that goes on and on and one that will never end until our lives come to an end.

But the mind and vice, more accurately, is extremely creative! The mind is always ready to offer us rationalizations as to why we can’t do something or why is better not to act and stay quiet.

This is extremely common in day to day practice. Has it ever happened to you that you realize in the morning that there are quite an amount of tasks that you need to get done to push forward on your life, important stuff rather than urgent stuff? But, then at the end of the day, you are just really tired and you really cannot set yourself to do anything other than relaxing and going to sleep?

At that moment, rationalizations come into play:

  • I’m too tired.
  • I’ll do it in the morning.
  • I have too many days left to finish it.
  • Someday.

Usually, that becomes a habit and nothing ever gets done. The next time you stumble into one of these situations practice Stoic Ju-jitsu.

Hard choices easy life, easy choices hard life, remember?

In the realm of the mind, stoic Ju-jitsu is practiced by using those rationalizations. Every “I can’t”, “later”, can be used as a sign that you need to actually do that which you least want to do. Use your rationalizations as signposts for action. Use them to practice your virtue.

Stoic answers aim is to provide answers to the deepest human questions, which sadly, are almost always never asked.

Subscribe here

Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.