Improve Your Life With Ancient Principles

Stoic philosophies can have a major impact on your productivity and mindset

Are you overwhelmed with the demands of modern life? Unfortunately, many of our mindset and productivity problems can’t be solved with technology.

Sometimes the best way to solve our problems is to follow the philosophies of the Stoics.

The following ideas and quotes from Stoic greats Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius can provide you with timeless principles to improve your life.

Get out of bed and get started with your day

Ever had your alarm clock go off but you stay in bed for 20 or 30 minutes? You feel that reluctance to start your day. You dread going into work, and it’s hard to leave the comfort of your bed. Marcus Aurelius motivates us by this quote “At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’”

Yes, we have a higher calling than just laying in bed. We know it, and it’s time to get up and bring our work to the world.

Embrace difficulties as your path to growth

We spend a lot of time in our comfort zone. The problem is that we don’t grow in our comfort zone. We need to be challenged to grow. Seneca explained it best by saying, “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”

We shouldn’t be scared of challenges in our life. It’s time to realize that overcoming difficulties is what gives us a sense of accomplishment. The funny thing is that we can look back at challenging times in our life as times of growth. Stop fearing difficulties. Take a deep breath, and realize that you can overcome the challenges in your life and you will be better for the experience.

Place less value on physical “things”

We all love our gadgets, technology, and things. Our new iPhone. The latest tablet. Certain designer clothes. Yes, we get that warm fuzzy feeling when we purchase something we want. But is that “thing” as fulfilling as we thought it would be? Maybe it’s time to stop relying on physical things for our enjoyment and pleasure and instead start thinking about getting more out of experiences and working on being happy with what we already have. Like Epictetus said, “A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. “

Make a decision to place more value on your happiness than you do on the physical things in your life.

Stop stressing about nonexistent issues

Let’s admit that we spend a lot of time daydreaming each day. But it’s not always the positive daydreaming. Sometimes it’s worrying about a relationship. Or imagining what could go wrong in our professional life. Sometimes it’s thinking about some future event. Seneca believed, “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”

These are very true words. It’s important that we catch ourselves when we start imagining something negative. Simply notice your negativity and then tell yourself to stop. Keep it simple but recognize when you’re thinking negative thoughts.

Stop wasting time

Are you productive or do you waste time throughout your day? Sometimes we don’t realize how fast time is going by. We can’t believe that it’s the start of the new year. Then we can’t believe that Summer has arrived. The truth is that we need to make the most of each day. As Seneca said, “It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short, but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

Let go of things that are wasting your time and not serving your purpose.

Don’t create unnecessary drama

There may be drama at work or drama in your personal life. It serves no purpose, but you get drawn into the drama in your life. Marcus Aurelius said, “You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you.”

It’s easy to get drawn into the drama in our lives, but we need to realize that it’s a choice. We choose to either ignore the drama and move past negative situations or waste energy and time with these situations. Remember that you can choose not to get pulled into the drama.

Yes, these stoic quotes are from ancient times, but they can have a major impact on our productivity and mindset.

I suggest finding time each day to follow these wise words of wisdom. Read them daily. Find your reason. And see how they can change your life for the better.

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


3 Steps to Change Your Ways

by Craig Ballantyne
Mima Foto/EyeEm/ Getty Images

There’s Only One Thing To Do With Today: Seize It

by Ryan Holiday

Motivational Wisdom and Quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.

by Mayo Oshin
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.