Four Stoic Truths That Will Guide Your Entrepreneurial Journey
You don’t see a lot of ancient lifestyle philosophies as the topic of discussion in modern entrepreneurship.
There is one, however, that continues to inform our greatest thinkers: Stoicism. Dating back to around 300 BC, Stoicism has been a source of comfort and guidance for the most powerful men and women in the world – Emperors of Rome like Marcus Aurelius and philosophers like Hipparchia. Hallowed leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and new-age tech entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss. Stoicism is often recommended to those inhabiting the most stressful of occupations. Entrepreneurship definietely qualifies.
With that said, here are five stoic principles that will keep you going through the many challenges you will face as an entrepreneur.
1. Prepare for the worst.
The world is a chaotic place that will often throw your best-laid plans into disarray. Things you don’t always see coming will affect your business and your relationships. No matter how good of a strategist you are, we know bad things can and will happen.
However, if your entire operation is upended every time an unexpected event happens, you’re not going to last very long. What you can do though is pre-emptively prepare for bad things to happen.
If you’re launching a new website and are unsure your current server will be able to handle incoming traffic load, upgrade your server in advance. Don’t wait for a brand-sullying launch-day crash to happen.
Put your defenses and alternative plans in place before things go wrong.
2. Find the right environment.
One of the most crucial things you can do to ensure success is to put yourself in an environment that automatically promotes it. Surrounding yourself with a community of like minded, goal oriented people is one of the most beneficial things you can do. If no one around you is as motivated to hustle as you, is that pushing you forward or pulling you back.
As an entrepreneur who’s running and building their own business, you need to be intentional about the people you spend your time with. Find people who inspire and motivate you. Become friends with other successful, dynamic business owners. Just being around the right people teaches you things that you can never learn from a book or a podcast.
3. Examine your own behavior meticulously.
Why do you do the things you do each day? Are most of your actions conscious? Or are you doing things mostly out of habit?
Routines are great for accomplishing tasks, but you can easily fall into the wrong kind of routine. Make sure that every aspect of your day – what you eat, what you drink, how you dress, how you interact with people in your environment – is a conscious, well-thought out choice, and not just a habitual reaction.
At the same time, if you need time at a coffee shop to work your best, take it. If you need to watch a certain type of movie to recharge your soul every week, make the time. These things aren’t supposed to be neglected.
There is a time and place for almost everything. Even investing in yourself.
4. Be intentional about the information you take in
We live in a day and age where access to news and information is more available than ever. So many of us instinctively reach for our phones as soon as we wake up. Within a few minutes, we’ve caught up with the political happenings of the day, our favorite bloggers new post, the state of our social media, global news, sports, weather, new Amazon deals and...you get the idea.
Information is good. Knowledge is good. Too much knowledge however, can lead to clutter.
When you’re running your business or pursuing your creative vision, having a world of inspiration to pull from can be a blessing and a curse. We model ourselves after icons and innovators, finding new and innovative ways to grow. However, the same information we let in to help us grow can also change the way we identify being “accomplished.” The expectations of the people we follow transfer onto us. Multiply this by how many people we follow, from how many different industries and things start to get cluttered fast.
Intentionality with information is vital. Learn, read and grow, but always with a clear understanding of who you are and where you’re going. Use inspiration to move you along, but never to be your barometer for success. Only you can be that.
If you’re on the entrepreneurial path, keep going. These truths have been tested by men and women just like you and lasted centuries. There’s a reason. May they serve you well.
To your success,
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