Waxing Philosophical: How Entrepreneurs Are Harnessing The Principles Of Stoicism To Be Better Leaders

Jane Imrie

Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are notoriously passionate about the pursuit of knowledge and growth.

Those with an entrepreneurial mindset are often voracious readers and consumers of knowledge. From motivational TED Talks to self development literature to productivity podcasts, business people across a range of industries are some of the most passionate advocates of self-development.

Books like Lean-In by Cheryl Sandberg and 12 Rules To Life by Jordan Petersen have graced the New York Times Best Sellers List in recent years, echoing a growing demand for literature and content focused on personal and professional growth.

Stoicism is a branch of philosophy which originated in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Far from indicating ‘emotionlessness’ (as the term is often understood), Stoicism is a code of personal ethics which follows the four virtues of courage, temperance, justice and wisdom.

Originally founded by Hellenistic philosopher Zeno of Citium, Stoicism has been followed by a great many leaders throughout history, most famously by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who wrote the book Meditations describing the philosophy.

Managing director of Plan Digital and founder of Newcastle Startup Week Paul Lancaster shared what attracted him to the philosophy: “One of the many things I like about Stoicism is it helps you develop the resilience and fortitude to cope with literally any situation, no matter what comes at you (which has obviously been very useful this year).

“Ultimately, you cannot control what happens in the world or what other people do or say to you but the one thing you can control is how you react or respond, if at all.” - Paul Lancaster, Founder, Newcastle Startup Week

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