Stoic quotes can be a great comfort to you, especially if you are an entrepreneur. Building a business is hard work so it's important to build resilience. That's where stoicism comes in! Stoicism is not about being an emotion-less robot but more about not letting your emotions wreck your actions.
Let's go through 10 stoic quotes and what they mean for founders:
"Man conquers the world by conquering himself." Zeno of Citium
Entrepreneurship requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline. If you can learn a new skill like coding or marketing and learn to take calculated risks, you can be successful. Being a founder means the buck stops with you. There's no-one to hold your hand when things go tough so you need the self-discipline to persevere when it gets hard. Also, you don't have a boss to map out a strategy - it's all down to you.
"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injustice." Marcus Aurelius
Imagine you have a business rival who is doing shady stuff. Maybe they ripped off your design or your copywriting. The best revenge according to stoics? Be a shining example for others and don't engage in unethical behaviour yourself.
"Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." Marcus Aurelius
Your actions speak louder than words. Instead of debating what is "ethical" or not, just be a good person. Lots of founders argue about petty things on social media. Live by your own values.
It is not that we are given a short life, but we make it short, and we are not urgent in living wisely." Seneca
Maybe you are putting off creating your business and working away at a job you hate. Perhaps you tell yourself you can do that epic trip when you retire. Either way, if you are putting off happiness until the future, then Seneca would tell you to stop and start living on your own terms.
"We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them." Epictetus
It's useful to acknowledge that a lot of what happens in life is outside of our control. Maybe Google has made a change to their algorithm and now your site has lost lots of traffic. Or a competitor has released a product that is much better than yours. You can't control these things - you can only control how you respond. Don't worry about things you can't control.
"Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it's also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away." Boethius
Be aware that with entrepreneurship, there are always ups and downs. Enjoy it when your MRR is growing up every month but remember that you will probably have bad months as well as an entrepreneur. Realising that good times and bad times are temporary can help you become more resilient.
"Conduct yourself in life as at a feast" Cleanthes
Enjoy the journey of being a founder. Work on projects that will be satisfying in the here and now and don't just think of how much you can make if you can sell it for 3x annual revenue. Live in the moment.
"Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems." Epictetus
Lots of people worry about things that never actually materialize. Maybe you're worried someone will copy your idea or that a VC-funded startup will take all your customers. Sometimes it's better to just act instead of worrying about every potential eventuality.
"People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy." Seneca
Lots of people don't value your time. You can't get time back so it's important to value it and spend it well, doing things that you enjoy or that improve your life. Don't binge watch TV when you could be learning to code or working out and making your body stronger.
"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." Marcus Aurelius
Don't compare yourself to other founders. Look within yourself for happiness. A lambo probably won't make you happy if you hate your job. If you run a business that you like and can live life on your own terms, that's way better.