introduction to stoicism.

Stoicism can be best described as practical wisdom that helps us embrace life’s challenges and manage the stress that comes with them.

Everyone experiences thoughts, feelings, and impulses that can make living difficult and frustrating. Stoics attempt to reframe these experiences through disciplined thinking so that their minds work for them instead of against them. If they can do it, so can you! Stoicism helps you meet reality as it is while reclaiming the power to answer in a wise and measured manner.

It teaches how to differentiate between what you have influence (control) over and what you do not. This dichotomy of control propels you to proactively focus on the former while learning to accept the latter.

Unlike most philosophers, Stoics are not concerned with changing the world, imagining an ideal society, or teaching how to debate. Instead, Stoics teach how to live. They seek to thrive within the world as it is (amor fati), remembering the fleeting nature of life (memento mori), practicing misfortune, and journaling – to make sense of it all.

P.S. Don’t look it up just yet. We will walk you through all of this, no worries.

How Stoicism Started.

Stoicism is a 2000-year-old philosophy. It was founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens around 300 BC.

A wealthy merchant, Zeno lost everything he owned in a Mediterranean shipwreck. Once back on land, he was introduced to the philosophy of Socrates in an Athenian bookshop. His newfound interest in philosophy inspired him to develop his own set of principles that we now refer to as Stoicism.

Though Zeno founded Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca are the most well-known Stoics and are credited for its evolution and reach.

Stoic principles.

Stoicism is a philosophy centered around self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom. It is mainly empirical: to truly learn something, you need to live it first.

Stoics pursue personal development through 4 key virtues:


Self-control, moderation, and sobriety. Doing nothing in excess. Doing the right thing in the right amount in the right way.

Think of the famous metaphor by Aristotle – the "Golden Mean". It lies between two extremes. To practice temperance, weigh two opposite sides of a possible response or action at any given moment, and implement the balanced middle.


Being brave. Facing daily challenges with clarity and integrity.

It takes courage to live up to your values and act in alignment with your morality. Not infrequently, choices made this way will create friction with your friends, family, or coworkers.

Be prepared for this, and have the courage to act virtuously.


Doing what’s right. Treating others with fairness, even when they’ve done wrong.

Stoics throughout history have courageously advocated for justice, oftentimes at great personal risk, in order to do right things and defend the people and ideas that they loved.

That’s how justice works. There are no compromises.


Truth and understanding. The ability to navigate complex situations in a calm, logical, and informed manner.

It is the sum of lessons you gain when enacting all other virtues. Wisdom is the lived experience of navigating the world.

When facing a new challenge, you consult all possible reactions within yourself and choose one most aligned with your morality and best suited for what’s at hand.

All these traits should be exercised daily.

“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle said, “therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.” In other words: stoicism is a way of living. It’s foundational. It’s like an operating system, and the code this system operates on is habit.

This is great news. Because it means that impressive results and enormous changes are possible without impossible effort or magic formulas. Small adjustments, good systems, the right processes—that’s what it takes. Practice these virtues one by one, and go slow. Give them time to start working in your life. Once you see the benefits, it will be easier to introduce more changes.

Stoic library.

Recommended readings if you feel like diving deeper.


  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus
  • Letters from a Stoic by Seneca

Modern texts:

  • The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
  • The Art of Living by Epictetus — Interpretation by Sharon Lebell
  • A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine
  • A Field Guide to a Happy Life by Massimo Pigliucci
  • How to be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci

Continue reading in stoic.

This is only the first part of lessons on stoicism, 3 more are waiting for you in the app!
Continue in stoic