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Stoicism for a Better Life

Stoicism for a Better Life

By Anderson Silver
In the pursuit of a purposeful and anxiety-free life, this is a podcast series dedicated to practical applications of Stoic philosophy in our daily lives.
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Episode 59 - Change is the only constant, so embrace it.
Things change. Always have, always will. We perceive things change and usually don't care for the most part.........that is until the change inconveniences us. This episode explores what we can do with those feelings.
July 27, 2021
Episode 58 - Substitute your rational mind over your animal mind and find tranquillity.
We have our duality within. You know which one is usually right. You know which one brings you more lasting peace. So just listen to it!
July 23, 2021
Episode 57 - You should forgive your antagonist, because you have the option to.
Want to show a force of strength so that the whole world knows beyond a shadow of a doubt just how strong you are?  Then try and forgive someone who wronged you. True forgiveness takes a lot of strength and only those who have TRULY forgiven will know how hard it is. Go ahead...try it....I double-dog dare you.
July 19, 2021
Episode 56 - Have goals, but remember you are human and have limitations.
We are not superheroes. But we expect ourselves to be superhuman. Learn to accept your limitations and you will find peace and equanimity. What could be more conducive to a virtuous constitution than a mind at peace and in equanimity? If you know it, tell me cause I want to know as well. 
July 15, 2021
Episode 55 - Sleep like a baby the Stoic way
Missing sleep? Can't fall or stay asleep? Here are some Stoic pointers to help you remedy the situation. Sleep better, get your rest so that you can be the best version of yourself that you can be the next day.
July 11, 2021
Episode 54 - don't have a lot of it. So spend it wisely.
The only things for certain in life are death and taxes. Wait...if American billionaires are any indication, taxes are NOT a certainty in life. But I am yet to meet someone who has escaped death. We all have a shelf life and an expiry date, which means we have limited time as it will quite literally run out. So why do we live as if we will not run out of time?
July 7, 2021
Episode 53 - Don't be afraid of silence.
Ever sit in complete silence without any distractions and just listen to your thoughts?  Yeah....this is why I wrote this episode.
July 3, 2021
Episode 52 - Do you really need a cup to drink water?
In the western world (especially) we are PLAGUED with wanting to have more stuff and better things...better than before...better than others. But one question we forget to ask ourselves is: Do I really actually need that? Or did I just give up my hard-earned time and money in exchange for a collection of atoms that will end up in a landfill?
June 29, 2021
Episode 51 - Be good and become better, little by little
Just like you build muscles one fibre at a time...or a Lego Millenium Falcon one Lego piece at a time, so do you build your virtue one moment at a time.
June 25, 2021
Episode 50 - Have a goal, but go the way things are
It is important to have goals. Whether it is a daily goal, weekly, annual, lifetime, bucket list, squad goals, etc. goals offer a general roadmap of how best to plan our time and resources. However, we must never forget that our puny efforts are of no consequence when compared to the overwhelming quantity of variables in the domain of the universe's sphere of control. So have goals. We should all have them. Just remember that the end result of your goal will almost certainly not match the idea or design you have in your mind at the onset of the goal. Aim for the content to miss it as long as you tried your best. And who knows...the missed target might actually be the better one! Just keep trying and doing your best.
June 21, 2021
Episode 49 - Simplify your life to find tranquillity
Some life lessons from our ancient older cousins (The Cynics). Simplify your life, make more time and find the happiness and tranquillity you seek. The episode also discusses whether Cynicism can actually be considered a philosophy.
June 17, 2021
Episode 48 - Remember when I said don't judge others? Now I'll argue the opposite. Judge away!
Judge good. Not judge good. Judge bad! Not judge bad! The fact of the matter is that reality is, it doesn't matter (at least as far as the pursuit of a virtuous life is concerned). In this episode, I make a counterargument to an earlier episode.
June 13, 2021
Episode 47 - If the Reading Rainbow taught us anything...
We live once and therefore live one lifetime. You can try and extend your life through healthy lifestyle choices. But when we say "healthy lifestyle choices" we tend to only think in the physical realm (exercise, eat well, drink plenty of water, etc). We forget about the spiritual (mental) part of it. Not only can we get live multiple lifetimes by reading others' stories and perspectives, but reading itself has some significant positive impact on our lives (i.e. it is a healthy lifestyle choice).
June 9, 2021
Episode 46 - Your journal is your most powerful tool
 Your journal is your most powerful tool, so make sure you use one! Your journal is your most powerful tool, so make sure you use one! Your journal is your most powerful tool, so make sure you use one! Your journal is your most powerful tool, so make sure you use one! Your journal is your most powerful tool, so make sure you use one! You get the point.
June 5, 2021
Episode 45 - Show me a Stoic and I'll show you peace of mind
Our school delineates steps and tools to attain peace of mind. OK. Can we just follow the steps then to attain peace of mind within the day? Is Stoicism a script to be followed and applied once with results for perpetuity? We all know by now, the answer is (unfortunately) no. Look we know what to do, but we are human beings. We cannot be perfect or sages. So just keep pushing in the right direction (towards virtue) no matter how much push back you get.
June 1, 2021
Episode 44 - Key to happiness is simple: Decide what virtue is and just do it.
It's all in the title. The formula our school teaches us for happiness is very straightforward: Figure out what it is that will bring you virtue, and go out there and do it again and again. Simple concept, sure. But so so very hard in its application. So let's break things down a little in this episode.
May 28, 2021
Episode 43 - Don't be the annoying vegan at the party
You have ideas, thoughts and opinions. And when you decide on an opinion, you don't come to it lightly. You evaluate, consider and mull over your options (hopefully) before you come to a conclusion on what your opinions are. But even with all that reflection can you be certain that your opinions are the ultimately correct ones?  
May 24, 2021
Episode 42 - Have some wine and let loose. It will make you more virtuous
We tend to think of virtue and sagehood as stick in the mud, boring type monotone people. However, nothing in the rulebook says you must not have fun in order to cultivate a more virtuous self. In fact, it is quite the opposite. A little entertainment is not only okay, but necessary. So R&R in reasonable and consistent doses can be actually beneficial to you in your pursuit of a better self. Yes, you heard it right.....this episode makes a case for letting loose (like drinking wine) being a necessary tool for virtue.
May 20, 2021
Episode 41 - Virtue is not found in the act itself, but the reasons behind it
Seneca say, Prokopton do. Just another reminder that our efforts and intentions are all that matter. Virtue is not found in the result of said actions, as the results depend on much more than our mere efforts. But our intentions are entirely within our control. 
April 20, 2021
Episode 40 - Reject Proto-Emotions & Remain Rational
We exist in these bio-suits we call bodies, and these vessels come with prebuilt survival mechanisms. Some are physical  (e.g. you flinch when something is thrown at you without thinking about it) and others are psychological (e.g. emotions). Emotions are precoded in our genes and have helped our ancestors survive. But in our modern-day and age they are outdated. We can't get rid of the emotions as they are tied to the body and we can't exist without the body(...yet). So when you have an emotional reaction to something, try and get back to your self quickly and be rational. Reject the knee jer reaction (Proto emotion) and respond with your rational mind (the real you).
October 24, 2020
Episode 39 - Have the Courage to Admit You May be Wrong
Being wrong is the BEST! I know, I know, as a society we hate to admit we are wrong. This is no surprise given that we are pitted against one another and goated to outdo the competition (i.e. our fellow human beings). But in reality, we are always wrong. And being wrong is the best because it gives us an opportunity to improve ourselves. How can we be better without identifying something that is wrong or that requires improvement! So I love being wrong because it is the first step to becoming better and offers an immediate source for improvement.
October 20, 2020
Episode 38 - Build New Relationships
We are social animals with a capacity for reason. If virtue is working towards the betterment of humanity, then building relationships with our fellow cosmopolitans becomes a necessity. If we want to lead by example, if we want to share our knowledge with the most number of people and if we are looking to enjoy this journey we’re on called life, we should work actively to try and make new friends along the way, make new acquaintances, or open up new avenues for communication.
October 16, 2020
Episode 37 - Spend you Time on Important Matters Only
No matter what you're pursuing in life, the ultimate cost is time. Given that time is the ultimate resource we have and that it is the only resource we cannot replenish, we should take the time to think rationally about how we spend our time. Make a conscious effort to spend your time wisely in the most value-added way possible.
October 12, 2020
Episode 36 - Prioritize Your Efforts
Being busy is a siren call we all fall prey to. But being busy does not mean we are being productive. And being productive without a goal, purpose or plan is does not necessarily mean we are being virtuous or that we are living a good life worthy of living. Take a moment to objectively and consciously identify what's truly important to you in your life right Here and Now.
October 8, 2020
Episode 35 - BBQ Season Meditations from Epictetus
Whether introverted or extraverted, we are all guilty of dodging social gatherings sometimes. Whether we look for excuses to leave early, cancel at the last minute, or avoid them altogether, we all too often pass up on an opportunity to cultivate our relationships. Epictetus reminds us this is a reaction of our primitive minds...not us. Especially today, it is still possible to interact with people while wearing a mask and social distancing. 
October 4, 2020
Episode 34 - Social Media Decisions
We are all aware of the perils of social media, but we can also acknowledge it can be a great and powerful tool. So avoiding social media would not be a good choice, we have much to benefit from it. Instead we should try and make conscious decisions on how and when we use social media.
September 30, 2020
Episode 33 - Actively Seek Opportunities for Kindness
We all want to be kind. And we all like to think we are a kind person. Yet most of us do not prioritize looking for acts of kindness throughout our days. Time is short so if you want to be a kind person, look for an active way in which to be kind for other people. It's easy to be kind when it's called upon, but you can definitely find additional proactive ways to be kind. And you should do this simply because you can.
September 26, 2020
Episode 32 - Don't Focus on Result, Focus on Choices
We tend to judge our accomplishments on results. Even when it comes to our moral decision making, we tend to look at the final result in evaluating how good/bad we were. However, let us never forget that results are not entirely dependent on us. Intentions for actions are entirely within our control, but as results get away from us in time and space, the less control we have over the final result. 
September 22, 2020
Episode 31 - Better Yourself Today, While You Still Can
If your goal is to improve yourself and make yourself better, do it with a sense of urgency, for you do not have much time left in this temporal existence. Every day we day closer to the final death. So don't waste time. Make your virtue and bettering yourself a priority and actively work on it as often as you can.
September 18, 2020
Episode 30 - Take a Break Sometimes
Our bodies and our minds are like tools or muscles. We use them to perceive the world external to our thoughts, and we use them to interact with the same external world. As with any tool or muscle, overuse without rest and repair, we can damage them...some times even beyond repair. So take care of your mind, which we tend to neglect. And take care of your body. It is not selfish to rest sometimes. It is virtuous because it helps you be a better person.
September 14, 2020
Episode 29 - Inventory the People Around You
It is undeniable that who we hang out with impacts our personality. One way or another, tow people who spend time with each other will rub off certain traits on now another. Some people will absorb more than other, but everyone gets affected by the company they keep. So make a conscious effort in who you spend time with and how you spend it. Give yourself the best chance to be virtuous.
September 10, 2020
Episode 28 - Reject Knee-Jerk Reactions
We exist in these imperfect vessels we call a body. These bodies come with their own emotions and defence mechanisms. As such, it is impossible to be emotionless. We will always have knee-jerk emotional responses, this we cannot change. We can, however, control how quickly we get back to ourselves. So try and curb your body's response as quickly as you can and get back to being a reasonable rational person.
September 6, 2020
Episode 27 - You Have Free Will, So Use It to be Happy.
It is up for debate whether our free-will is an illusion or a real thing. But one thing is for sure: From our perspective, we feel like we definitely have free-will. Life essentially can be boiled down to making choices and decisions in the present moment. So use your free-will actively.
September 2, 2020
Episode 26 - Give Up a Vice for a Few Days
Addictions...we all have them. Some are more obvious, others more clandestine. Here is an opportunity to identify one, accept it distracts us from being mindful in the present moment, and actively work to remove it with a reasonable short term goal.
August 29, 2020
Episode 25 - Help Others by Cheering for Them
We often forget that there are 7.6 billion other people on this planet. We get so lost in our own self-involvement. This episode is all about recognizing other people and their own journeys and supporting them.
August 25, 2020
Episode 24 - You Can't Learn What you Think You Already Know
The more my island of knowledge grows, so does my shore of ignorance. Knowledge is power and philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. However, we make the grave mistake of overestimating our knowledge. The same way Socrates was the wisest man in all of Athens because he knew what he did not know, we must admit not only what we do not know, but also that what we know can be improved upon.
August 21, 2020
Episode 23 - Question from a listener - "Nothing is Good or Bad" vs "Our Moral Good"
I received a great question (voicemail) from a listener that I had to take some time to answer. We keep saying "Nothing can be good or bad" yet we also preach moral goodness. How can we reconcile the two?
May 21, 2020
Episode 22 - Special COVID-19 Release #2 - Five Helpful Practices
A special COVID-19 release: I've released two episodes to help with the current Pandemic situation and give some very pertinent Stoic practices to help you through these uncertain, anxious and though times. Here are five additional useful Stoic practices for you. 
April 21, 2020
Episode 21 - Wish for Things to be Exactly the Way They Are
A special COVID-19 release:  I'm releasing two episodes to help with the current Pandemic situation and give some very pertinent Stoic practices to help you through these uncertain, anxious and though times.
April 14, 2020
Episode 20 - The logical key to a good life
Here's the final exercise for Season 1 of Stoicism for a Better Life, and boy is it a doozie! Let's walk through a logical mental exercise to narrow down what it is we can actually and tangibly do to live the best possible life we can.
February 18, 2020
Episode 19 - Self deprivation is not a virtue
Being tough, having self-control (say enough to be able to take cold showers) and depriving yourself of luxuries is NOT virtuous. Virtue is found in our effort, not in our self-punishment. However, often a virtuous mindset will lead to a simpler life. The motivation, however, remains the gauge for whether your act is virtuous or not.
February 14, 2020
Episode 18 - Spend time with the ones you love while you can
We know for a fact that our time here is limited. Moreover, our loved ones' time here is limited. So spend time with them while you can.
February 10, 2020
Episode 17 - One present moment after another
The past is in the past, the future is uncertain. The only time when we can interact with the world is in our present moment, right here, right now. 
February 6, 2020
Episode 16 - Do you need your stuff?
We live in a culture of consumerism. Buy, buy, buy...own, collect and have. But do we really need all that we own? Do you really need your stuff?
February 2, 2020
Episode 15 - You have one job
No matter where we are in life or what's happening around us, we only have one job: Be a good human being.
January 29, 2020
Episode 14 - Don't be a Negative Nelly
Although we can't really control our proto-emotions (your knee jerk reactions to stimuli), we really do have a choice to gain back control of our emotions and means. Even when something "bad" happens, we can always find something "good" to find in that situation to focus on. We can and should make a conscious and concerted effort to think more positively when possible. This is how we can shift our emotional spectrum to a healthier one.
January 25, 2020
Episode 13 - Don't be busy for the wrong reasons
We tend to busy ourselves thinking we will get more out of life. But one who enjoys life gets more from it then one who employs it (Lao Tzu). However, our time is very limited, so we don't want to be lethargic. We want to accomplish good things that are truly meaningful to us. So let us identify what these reasons are and make sure we are busy working towards them, as opposed to working towards the wrong reasons.
January 21, 2020
Episode 12 - Spend your time purposefully
You've heard me say it time and time again: Virtue is not about perfection, but about trying your best. In order to try your best, however, you must make good decisions and judgments as often as possible. To that end, we must make an effort to use our time purposefully, in order to be the best we can be, as often as we can be.
January 17, 2020
Episode 11 - Philosophy is a way of life, not a distraction from it
Why are you listening to this podcast? I've heard them myself, and it can't possibly be for my voice. No, you're here listening to this in order to better yourself through the use and application of philosophy. Philosophy, then, is not a trifle, game or form of entertainment. Embrace it as a guide for life that should be used and applied more regularly, for more regular results.
January 13, 2020
Episode 10 - Stop wanting and shed your anxiety
All anxieties stem from the fundamental error of wanting something we cannot want. Wishing and hoping for a different reality, where things or events are more favorable to us is nonsensical. Another reality doesn't exist. Things can't be any different. So it we can learn to accept the way things are and not wish for things out of our control, then we can easily ditch our anxieties.
January 9, 2020
Episode 9 - Reclaim your time from habits
We are not guilty of not having enough time. We are guilty of spending time in the wrong places. Although habits can be a good thing, can we reclaim some time form our habits to divert towards more virtuous ventures?
January 5, 2020
Episode 8 - Tend to your own affairs
Virtue is to be found in all our actions and every little effort counts. Does judging others make you more virtuous?
January 1, 2020
Episode 7 - Don't judge a book by it's overalls
You would be surprised how often we let looks affect our judgment about people, things, events, etc. To be a good, fair and just human being, we must learn to shed our biases based on looks and try and see the world more objectively.
December 28, 2019
Episode 6 - Cast away your judgments.
As Shakespeare famously said, " there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking it makes it so." Things and events external to our judgments and thoughts are just that: Externals. They don't actually go in your brain and make you think one way nor the other. So events by themselves are not good or bad, only our judgments about them are. In that case, why not cast away your judgments and be at peace?
December 24, 2019
Episode 5 - There is no alternate reality of events
Have you ever stopped to consider that anger is merely a refusal to accept what is actually happening? As far as us human beings can perceive, there is only one timeline with one reality happening going in one direction. If there is one reality, that we can't change no matter what, then complaining about it is our own fault, for complaining about it is merely not accepting reality the way it is. 
December 20, 2019
Episode 4 - Find virtue in entertainment
Virtue is being rational, honest and honourable. Spending our very precious time in a virtuous way means working for the betterment of humanity. But acts of virtue do not need to be grandiose or impactful in a major way. Virtue can be found and practiced everywhere. We can even find it in the entertainment we choose.
December 16, 2019
Episode 3 - Find virtue in your groceries
Virtue is being rational, honest and honourable. Spending our very precious time in a virtuous way means working for the betterment of humanity. But acts of virtue do not need to be grandiose or impactful in a major way. Virtue can be found and practiced everywhere, including in what you eat.
December 12, 2019
Episode 2 - Put away your cell phone
Virtue is being rational, honest and honourable. Spending our very precious time in a virtuous way means working for the betterment of humanity. But acts of virtue do not need to be grandiose or impactful in a major way. Virtue can be found and practiced everywhere. We can find virtue in the meaningful conversations we have during meals.
December 8, 2019
Episode 1 - Introduction to Stoicism for a Better Life
Welcome to Stoicism for a Better Life. In this episode, I will discuss the purpose of the podcast series, what to expect from future episodes, how to use future episodes and how to interact with the community if you so choose.
December 4, 2019