The Modern Stoic Men: Lessons From Stoicism

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius.

After reading and learning about Stoicism and implementing some of their wisdom in my life, I can assure you it has helped me live a better and more balanced life: from how to treat myself (being connected with nature, making time to train my body and my spirit), how to treat others (help the community), to how to deal with life (to not have an opinion, accepting life as it is and moving on with what I have, always following my values and helping others).

Okay, so, why am I mentioning all this? Well, because the APA (American Psychologist Association) wrote guidelines on “how to treat men and boys,” basically to help psychologists and give moreinsights.”

Here is what it says about stoicism:

“The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.”

“For example, the masculine requirement to remain stoic and provide for loved ones can interact with systemic racism and lead to so-called John Henryism for African-American men, a high-effort method of coping that involves striving hard in the face of prolonged stress and discrimination. John Henryism has been linked with hypertension and depression (Journal of Black Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2016).”

I disagree with what the APA said, this philosophy can help people, especially men in our society. Here is an opinion expressed by Dylan Gallimore, who wrote the following in his article called We Need Stoicism More Than Ever: A Response to the New APA Guidelines“.

“Stoicism teaches that the antidote to anxiety, confusion, frustration and anger is not to relentlessly rage against circumstances, but to accept our relative powerlessness over them and instead focus on improving ourselves and our characters through sobriety and self-discipline. No matter how breathlessly they are reported, the political events of our time—and all events of any time, for that matter—are endurable, so we ought to endure them and conserve our emotional energy for that which truly matters: pursuing better versions of ourselves.”

Take a moment to digest the above. Now, here are the top lessons from the Stoics which have helped me be a better man and a better person.

Have No Opinion

“You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.” -Marcus Aurelius.

Sometimes, not getting involved in drama and nonsense is the best option. People will always complain and ask for more, and it is up to us to learn to say “I have enough.

Start Journaling

“Allow not sleep to close your wearied eyes, until you have reckoned up each daytime deed: ‘Where did I go wrong? What did I do? And what duty’s left undone?’ From first to last review your acts and then reprove yourself for wretched [or cowardly] acts, but rejoice in those done well.” -Epictetus

Journaling helps you schedule your day and reflect on your actions: what went wrong, what went right, and how you can be better today than you were yesterday.

The best revenge is to not be like them. “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” -Marcus Aurelius.

There is plenty of evil and tragedy in our world, do not let it poison your heart. The best thing we can do is to be the light in the dark, to help others and to be honest to our hearts.

Train Your Body, Train Your Mind

“The body should be treated rigorously, that it may not be disobedient to the mind.” –Seneca.

Physical training is key – it will help you clear your mind, and it will help your body pump more oxygen and life force into your brain (something that you will understand more as you evolve).

Talk with Death

“You should have conversations with the dead.” -The Oracle to Zeno

Read books, and learn from others’ past mistakes, so you do not make them. Through reading we can have conversations with the greatest people in history – we must see this as a privilege.

Do Not be Afraid of the Light 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” -Seneca.

Support your friends, support your community and celebrate the good deeds and accomplishments of others. 

Don’t be Afraid of Asking for Help

“Don’t be ashamed of needing help. You have a duty to fulfill just like a soldier on the wall of battle. So what if you are injured and can’t climb up without another soldier’s help?”
-Marcus Aurelius. 


Here are 3 mantras to keep in our heads and follow in our hearts.

  • Memento Mori: “Remember you must die.” The notion of “remembering death.”
  • Amor Fati: “Love of Fate. The welcoming of all life’s experiences as good.
  • Stillness: The ability to be steady, focused and calm.

The main problem in our society, especially with men, is that we do not ask for help, we fear being vulnerable because we think that is being weak when it is the complete opposite. I would say, this is the best lesson I have learned from the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius. 

Now, after reading this article, make your judgment – is Stoicism good or bad for men and for everyone in general? What do you think?

Agustin Cardone

Agustin Cardone, from Argentina, currently lives in Ireland, and studies psychology in Mexico. He fell in love with sports when he started playing rugby at 14, soon becoming team captain. He now lifts weights and practices boxing as a way to release stress. He is highly interested in the relationship between body and mind, and is curious about how the brain works and why people do what they do. He would like to help people with addiction, depression, and personality disorders. He believes we all have a story to tell and that we should express it.

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