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©Darius Foroux

I discovered Stoicism in early 2015, right around the time my grandmother passed away, and I was dealing with a breakup and a career switch — everything happened at the same time. Stoicism helped me remain resilient during that difficult time. I’ve been studying the philosophy ever since.

Inspired by Seneca’s renowned letters, I’m starting a weekly column here on Medium, that I call the Stoic Letter.

Roughly speaking (and highly generalizing), there are two philosophies to base your life on.


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 10

“It is shameful not to walk but to be carried, and suddenly dazed in the midst of worldly confusion to ask: ‘How did I come to this point?’” That’s what the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote in a letter to his good friend Lucilius.

Think about it. Where are you in life? And what led you to this point? Most of us don’t have a good answer. I’ve learned to ask myself that question all the time:“How did I come to this point?” The first time I asked myself this, it was like a whole new world opened up to me.

Until about six years ago, I didn’t take enough time to reflect on my decisions. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 9

What is it that you’re after this year? A higher paycheck? A new house? More friends? Getting a book deal? As you’re getting after it, remind yourself to stay focused on the journey — not the outcome.

Everything you want in life has a price. That’s something we tend to forget. We get stuck in what I call, “but if I” thinking. We say stuff like, “I know it takes a lot of effort to get what I want. But if I get it, I will be happy.” …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 8

“New year, new you.” It’s a silly idea. As if we need to wait with changing ourselves until it’s January 1st. Either way, we’ve been looking ahead to this year a lot. Somehow we all assume that 2021 will be different than last year.

I’m a big fan of Warren Buffett’s way of thinking. His firm, Berkshire Hathaway, is most active in the insurance business, and one of their strategies is to plan for the worst. When disasters happen, an insurance company should have enough cash or liquidity to give initial payouts. If they can’t do that, they will go under. So what does Buffett plan for? Well, not for one or two disasters to happen, but maybe four at once. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 7

What triggers you? I can be very impatient, which is not Stoic at all. I especially get triggered when I have to wait somewhere. Doesn’t matter whether it’s in traffic or the line at the supermarket. “C’mon, really? Can this line move any slower!?” Somehow, I have a talent for picking the line that moves the slowest. That shouldn’t be a big deal because waiting an extra minute isn’t the end of the world.

But if you’re impatient, it feels like the biggest issue in the world at that moment. Impatience makes us treat others poorly, and for some weird reason, we often behave the worst towards the people we care about the most. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 6

The other day I was thinking, “What a wasted year.” There’s so much we can’t do because of the Covid pandemic, so many plans we missed out on. Normally, around this time of the year, most of us are out a lot. I’m not a fan of cold weather, but I don’t mind going out during the holiday season. The shops all look festive, Christmas music puts people in a good mood, and coffee tastes so much better after you’ve been out in the cold for a few hours.

We can still shop and buy coffee in most cities, but it’s not the same. By now, three quarters of a year into this pandemic, most of us have enough. First, there was shock. Then, there was acceptance and making the best of it. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 5

We’ve all received weird gifts from people we love. I remember getting a gift card for Six Flags from my college-girlfriend. We hadn’t been dating for that long, so she didn’t really know me well. I honestly don’t like theme parks. I don’t know how she came up with the idea, but looking back, I think it’s pretty cool. Back then, like an idiot, I immediately frowned when she gave me the gift. She knew I didn’t like it. A few days later, I asked her if she could get a refund.

If I had the same Stoic mindset back then, I wouldn’t have judged the gift so quickly. I would’ve tried it. Maybe we would have a great day and made some fun memories. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 4

In the first letter, I talked about useless information. But what does that mean? To me, anything that doesn’t have a positive impact on my life is useless. That’s why I love reading books instead of scrolling through social media. Most stuff on social media is like sugar. It might give you a quick high, but it doesn’t have a positive impact on your life overall. But that’s not the only type of useless information. It’s everywhere.

For example, I love watching the NBA. But I avoid consuming all kinds of information around the league. Who cares what some ESPN analyst wrote about how LeBron James played last night? Consuming that information is not a good use of time. I’d rather watch the actual game, or go on a walk, read a book, have a conversation with a friend, etc. Everyone has an opinion about everything. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 3

Today is Black Friday. I always see this as the perfect day to practice Stoicism. While all these companies are trying to persuade us to buy their products and services, I take the time to strengthen my mind. I learned this from Seneca. He wrote this to Lucilius: “Think that nothing deserves admiration except the mind, which being itself great counts nothing else as great.”

The Stoics should see us now! We frequently confuse our self-worth with our possessions. “If I have a valuable watch, it means I’m valuable, right?” Of course not. And you can replace ‘watch’ with any other external thing. An exclusive car, purse, suit, dress, shoes, TV, sound system, you name it. We use possessions to signal our worth. For a Stoic, that’s about as low as you can get. …


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©Darius Foroux

Stoic Letter 2

What were your plans for this year? I wanted to move to Valencia, Spain. I’ve been there several times and always felt at home. I had gotten pretty far with my plans. I made sure I had no long-term commitments and was looking at properties. But like the rest of the world, I had to adjust my plans. We were all forced to participate in a classic Stoic exercise.

This is something Epictetus talked about in his philosophy school. He said, “When you are traveling by ship, you can go to the shore, enjoy the scenery, collect shells, or pick flowers. …

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The Blog Of Darius Foroux

A new Stoic Letter, with reminders to focus on what matters, comes out every Friday.

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