Stoicism

Thousands of years ago, in Athens, a bunch of people followed this haggard, dark-skinned philosopher called Zeno of Citium. He delivered lectures from the porch of a famous Athenian site, Stoa Poikile (Painted Porch).

Zeno, although a rich guy, chose to live the life of an ascetic. His journey into the world of philosophy is an interesting story in itself. After surviving a shipwreck, he went to a bookshop in Athens. He loved the portrayal of Socrates in Xenophon’s book called Memorabilia.

Zeno’s search for a teacher like Socrates led him to a famous Cynic of his time, Crates of Thebes. Zeno became of pupil of Crates and then went on to learn under other famous philosophers of his time. Eventually, based on his years of study, he started a school of philosophy of his own.

Initially called Zenonians, his followers were later known as Stoics (derived from Stoa). This philosophy is today known as Stoicism.

Most of his lectures and teachings have been lost to the sands of time but some of his students managed to make notes and few of them survived.

Zeno divided his philosophy into three parts:

  • Logic
  • Physics
  • Ethics

Stoicism evolved and refined over the next few centuries. What we study as Stoicism today, though still based on Zeno’s teachings, has changed quite a bit. I hope to explore more on this topic in my eventual posts.

A lot has changed in the world since Zeno started teaching Stoicism, but surprisingly the teachings still hold.

Stoicism boasts of some famous students and followers over its long history (more on this later).

Much has been written and discussed about Stoicism. A simple online search will lead you to thousands of articles, books, social media posts etc. on this topic.

I stumbled upon Stoicism when I was looking for a framework for my life. Stoicism immediately resonated with me. I still am a novice and have a lot of learning to do, but I believe that Stoic thinking is an indispensable tool for me.

I suggest you take a look at Stoicism and decide if it can be a practical approach to living for you.

Why automate?

Remember the last time you were frustrated to do something repetitive at work? I do. Nothing drains energy like a boring, repetitive task.

Too much productive time is lost in doing things that can either be delegated, automated or deleted.

I am a big proponent of automation.

What is automation?

Automation is the process of letting a system do a task or set of recurring tasks with little to no involvement. Usually, you define and set up automation one time and it runs at pre-defined times.

How does it help?

Once you set up a process to run on automation, the tasks happen on their own. This frees up time for you to focus on activities that produce maximum impact for your business.

One should spend more time doing things that produce more income, instead of being busy with tasks that could have been given to a robot.

You cannot expect to compete with the same old methods.

How do I get started?

You do not need to be a technical person to get started. There are many tools available in the market that can provide you ready-made automations. The market leader is Zapier, of course. It is one of the oldest and has built integrations with thousands of software available in the market.

There are some new entrants such as Pabbly Connect that are more pocket friendly.

But not everything can be found in these ready-made tools. Sometimes, you need to get custom tools built to automate your business.

Less is more

Studies after studies have found that people who focus on too many things at a time usually fail at most of those.

Our brain is a very busy centre of activities. Obviously, the top priority is usually to keep the body alive. Followed by a hundred other decisions we have to make each day just to get by.

And then, there is this barrage of information that is thrown at us every day. This only makes the situation worse.

Unfortunately, we have limited amount of time and energy. The human brain just cannot afford to focus on too many things at once.

The only solution to being effective is to do reduce the number of things and to do them well. Focus on what is important.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, you achieve more if you focus on fewer things.

Less is more.

First to mind

Which of the following products has a better chance at success?

  • Product A with no recognition.
  • Product B with some recognition.
  • Product C with great recognition.

Logically, you would choose Product C.

What if I change this equation slightly and tell you that Product A has superior quality compared to Products B and C?

Does this change your answer? Do you now think Product A has better chances at making more sales than Product C?

Human beings make a lot of decisions every day. Not all of them hold equal importance. In fact, most decisions are made unconsciously. We don’t have time and energy to give each decision equal amount of brain power. The human brain likes to take shortcuts when it can. Our brains have evolved that way.

This means, no matter how cool your product is, unless my brain has registered your product and your product is among the first my brain recalls, chances are I will never purchase your product.

Unless Product A runs great campaigns to educate their market why they are better, they have lesser chances at success.

First to mind usually wins the market.