Ryan Holiday | 12 Short Stories About Stoic Philosophy

Original link: https://www.camelliayang.com/blog/ryan-holiday-12-stoic-moments-cn


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1. Junzo Kido

At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a Japanese equestrian named Junzo Kido put on one of the greatest performances in sports history.

Junzo Kido temporarily replaced his injured teammate in a 22.5-mile equestrian endurance race that jumped 50 obstacles. It’s not his routine, and his horses have never been trained like this. Surprisingly, Junzo Kido achieved an absolute lead in the game, and he was bound to win the gold medal.
But what surprised the audience even more was that when Junsan Kido had the last two jumps from the finish line, he pulled the reins and pulled out of the race. why? Because he felt the horse’s struggle, he knew the horse would die suddenly when he crossed the finish line at full speed.

Junzo Kido’s sportsmanship was so well known that a plaque was erected for him on the Friendship Bridge on the Mount Rubidoux Trail, which read: “Lieutenant Colonel Junzo Kido is here to save his Horse, turn around in the face of the medal. He hears a low voice of pity, not a high voice of applause.”

As the Stoic teachings say, it is not the victory that counts, but the character of man.

2. Epaminondas

Plutarch, a well-known Greek philosopher and historian, once told a story of a general and statesman named Epaminondas, who, despite his excellent performance both on and off the battlefield, was assigned only one The city of Thebes was responsible for the small post of the city’s sewers.

His opponents and enemies laughed at his identity, but Epaminondas, instead of being provoked and despairing of his identity, accepted the new job completely and declared to those around him that Jobs bring glory, not jobs that define people.

Plutarch wrote: “With discipline and sincerity, Epaminondas set out to transform this trivial duty of cleaning up excrement and dredging pipes into a great and respectable honor.”

3. Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was the first black player in Major League Baseball history. In 1945, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Blanche Rickey discovered Robinson and wanted to draft him to the team. In those days, Robinson faced countless racism and slurs on and off the court.

Ricky has always reminded Robinson to focus on his career and not to have any revenge mentality and behavior. Robinson recalls that then-Philadelphia Phillies head coach Ben Chapman was especially vicious, attacking his black identity with vicious words.

Although Robinson wanted to “grab this son of a bitch and punch him all over the place with the black fist he despises,” he followed Ricky’s advice to stay calm and even shot a friendly photo with Chapman. photo to save Chapman’s declining reputation.

Robertson wrote in his memoir, The Experience I Never Had, “The thought of being in contact and taking pictures with such a bastard, even 60 years apart, makes my stomach turn. I have to admit, this is the most A difficult thing, but for the sake of the bigger picture, I had to force myself to do it.”

Robertson knew he needed to hold back in order to win a chance for a black man to play in Major League Baseball. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who also met many shameless people, wrote, “It is impossible to imagine that you will never meet shameless people, and the best revenge for them is Make yourself not like them.”

4. George Marshall

George Marshall had always dreamed of leading an epic military invasion, but he turned down the opportunity at the closest moment to his dream.

As the United States was preparing to land in Normandy, Marshall wrote an overview of military strategy, and everyone believed that Marshall would go to the battlefield to direct this crucial military operation.

But then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to keep Marshall in Washington, because Marshall was his chief of staff, and if he left him, he and the country would be uneasy. Of course Roosevelt also knew Marshall’s dream, so he gave Marshall the choice.

Marshall finally replied, “No, it has nothing to do with what I want. We should act in the best interest of the country, not with regard to my feelings.” Roosevelt ordered Marshall to immediately draft and autograph a mandate for the landing of Normandy. The job was given to Marshall’s favorite protégé, Dwight Eisenhower.

Marshall mailed the original letter of delegation to Eisenhower and wrote, “Dear Eisenhower, I thought you might want to keep this as a souvenir. This is a letter of delegation that I wrote very hastily after the meeting yesterday, and the President signed it immediately. GCM

So Eisenhower became the famous leader of the D-Day landings, a hero in the hearts of Americans, and later elected president. Eisenhower recalled in his later years that the commission was one of his most cherished mementos from World War II.

5. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave the closing speech at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Alabama in 1962, when a white man named Roy James took to the stage and began savagely beating King .

He punched Kim so hard in the face that Kim turned to face the attacker and dropped his hands “like a newborn baby,” one witness recalled. Then James slapped Kim on the head and back one after another, and the sound of fist-fighting echoed in the silent church. King instinctively exposed himself to his attackers and practiced his commitment to non-violence with practical actions.

The audience at the scene began to fight for Jin, and they stepped forward to surround the abuser, but Jin shouted: “Don’t touch him! We have to pray for him! We must pray for him!” So everyone began to pray and sing, and Jin also Reassure the abuser graciously that he will not be harmed in any way.

6. Zeno

Zeno, the founder of the Stoics, was originally a merchant, and his family made a living selling the purple dye that dyed the robes of kings.

Zeno had an unfortunate accident in a shipwreck on a trade voyage across the Mediterranean. He narrowly escaped and lost all his cargo, so he came to a nearby city and walked into a bookstore.

He finds that the bookstore owner is reading Socrates. Immediately fascinated, Zeno asked his boss where he could meet someone like Socrates. The bookstore owner introduced Zeno to the famous cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes.

For the next 20 years, Zeno trained with Kratis and other philosophers. Eventually, he established a school in Athens called Stoa Poikile, which would later become the school of Stoic philosophy.

7. Theodore Roosevelt

More than a century ago, as Theodore Roosevelt was about to step into the Milwaukee Auditorium to deliver his presidential campaign speech, a man burst out of the crowd and shot him at close range.

The .38mm bullet hit Roosevelt in the chest, but was miraculously stopped by the glasses case and thick speech he kept in his coat pocket.

Roosevelt’s staff tried to take him to the hospital, but Roosevelt insisted that he must give a speech. So he walked up to the stage, quieted the crowd, and said, “I don’t know if you guys fully understand what’s going on, I just got shot, but this little trick isn’t enough to kill a Progressive Party member like us. ”

When problems arise, Stoic practitioners will not be intimidated by them, they will not give up. They not only accept difficulties as they occur, but welcome them as they come. Marcus Aurelius once said something similar, a raging fire can produce flame and light in everything that is put into it. This is what we want to be. We want to be artists who can turn pain, frustration and even humiliation into beauty. We need to be the ones who convert our suffering experiences into life philosophies for others to learn from. Love everything that happens in your destiny because you can enjoy everything it has to offer.

8. Steve Scott

In 1996, Tiger Woods had won 30 straight games at the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship. If he wins at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Woods will become the first golfer to win three straight U.S. Amateur championships.

Woods’ opponent in the final is 19-year-old Steve Scott. No one thought that after 18 holes, Scott was 5 holes ahead of Woods. The remaining 18 holes were full of suspense, with Woods and Scott chasing after each other and playing in the same heat.

After the 16th hole, Woods placed a 25-cent marker before picking up the ball, which happened to be on Scott’s putt line. So Scott asked Woods to move, and put in par. Then Woods seemed to forget the marker he moved and was about to putt from the wrong place.

If he did, he would automatically lose the hole and cede the title. Just as Woods was about to make this historic mistake, Scott said, “Hey Tiger, did you move the marker back?”

Woods was stunned, put his marker and ball back in the correct position, and putt in the hole, in the next tiebreaker Woods scored the ball, won, and left his name in history. .

Scott later recalled that game and said: “Although I didn’t win the championship, I also had a great life later. I consider myself a living proof that you can live a good life without a championship.”

The Stoic philosopher Chrysipos said: “In track and field, athletes should compete and strive to win, but they should never trip their competitors or push them in order to win. In life, too Likewise, it is unjust to deprive others of the interests of others in pursuit of a goal.”

9. Frederick Douglass

In 1840, the famous leader of the American abolition of slavery movement, Frederick Douglass, was only in his early 20s. As a member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Association, he was cruising all over the northeastern United States and participated in the abolition of slavery conference. And tell the story of his escape from slave owners.

When he came to Pennsylvania, he had to be forced to take a luggage cart because of the segregation policy at the time. At this point, one of his white supporters apologized to Douglas for his compatriot’s offensive behavior, but Douglas did not accept the white man’s consolation.

Douglas did not refuse because he was angry, but thought he was not wronged. “No one can belittle Frederick Douglass,” he said. “The people who treated me like this are belittling themselves by their actions.”

Slave-turned-Stoic teacher Epicurus said: “A man is only degraded if he agrees with himself. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your own mind is also the provocateur’s. accomplice.”

10. James Stockdale

On September 9, 1965, Vice Admiral James Stockdale’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down in Vietnam.

He was held in the North Vietnamese’s notorious Hỏa Lò prison, which means “furnace” or “hell hole”, where prisoners of war kept physical and mental torture, especially high-ranking American officials like Stockdale , was subjected to inhuman torture.

But Stockdale survived eight years in prison and has been tough in prison. His bravery and strength are in response to Epicurus’ teaching: “You can tie my legs, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” His captors deprived Stoke Dyer’s rights, they tortured him, beat him, but they couldn’t break his will to choose to be strong.

11. Simone Byers

America’s greatest ever female competitive gymnast, Simone Byers, has been called a “selfish”, “abandoner” and “a national disgrace” after she withdrew from the Olympics. But in reality, her actions represent self-discipline and selflessness.

At the Tokyo Olympics, four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles withdrew from the gymnastics women’s team and individual all-around competition, citing the need to focus on her mental health.

The day before Biles made the decision to retire, she felt that her actions were not right. If she insisted on participating, she would cost her team a medal. “You don’t usually hear me say things like that because I generally persevere and overcome difficulties, but I can’t let the team lose a medal for my own reasons.”

Stoic philosophy emphasizes self-discipline, but this does not mean punishing and abusing oneself. As the philosopher Seneca wrote after a lifetime of studying philosophy: “What progress have I made? I’m finally starting to be friends with myself.”

Being kind to yourself is an act of self-discipline, taking breaks when you’re not feeling well, and putting your team first.

12. Marcus Aurelius

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was often ill and dying in the latter part of his reign when he received surprising news: his old friend and most trusted general, Arvidius Cassio Sri Lanka prepares to conspire to usurp the throne.

Aurelius should have been outraged that his best friend tried to take his life and the throne. But Aurelius did not crusade enemies and rivals like other emperors, but waited for Cassius to give up the idea of ​​usurping the throne. As a result, Cassius did not stop the pace of rebellion, so Ole left to send troops to rehabilitate him, but did not kill him.

Aurelius chose forgiveness. He believed that “to forgive a man’s fault is to continue to be friends with those who have betrayed their friendship, and to remain faithful to those who have betrayed their faith.” As Aurelius said to his men, if they could What has been learned from this horrific situation of chaos is “to show all humanity that there is a better and more correct way to deal with even civil war.”

This is reminiscent of the words of another Stoic philosopher, Seneca: “Choose forgiveness for many things, and seek forgiveness for nothing.”


Stoic philosophy has never been just a discipline, but an art about living, it has always been a philosophy of life. It teaches us to stay strong in the face of adversity, to control what we can control, and not to force things out of our control. Be strict with yourself, be lenient with others, and always love your own destiny.

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