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Here’s my take on where to start with Stoicism. I’ve attempted to put the books into some kind of order for you. This is how I would approach it if I started over. Of course, I haven’t read all the books that exist on the subject (probably impossible…!), and so I can only recommend what I’ve already read.

Starting with Ryan Holiday is a good idea – The Obstacle is the WayEgo is the Enemy and Stillness is the Key.

These are all great introductions to key concepts from the Stoics.

Ryan does a great job of curating Stoic lessons around these major themes – Dealing with challenges, dealing with our ego, and why finding stillness is critical in the modern day. The Obstacle is the Way is where it all started for me.

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter XIII was originally published by email on 24th July 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 13th December 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

Self-awareness is the key to being a better person. At home: a better parent, a better sibling, and a better friend. At work: a better teacher, a better coach, a better consultant and a better leader. 

However, it’s not easy to obtain. You can’t just snap your fingers and suddenly become ‘self-aware’. At least that’s not my experience. 

When you don’t have it, you don’t know you need it. When you know you need it, you find out you’ve got a lot of work to do on it. When you begin to dial in your self-awareness, you start to realise that almost everyone is living their life without it. And to top it off, you can’t give it to people that don’t know they need it. 

Self-awareness is a daily practice of observing others and your own behaviour. You make small corrections each day – sometimes you do well, and other times you have to learn from your mistakes. 

There’s a question in The Five Minute Journal that I believe to be the most important question to ask yourself at the end of the day – “How could I have made today even better?”

Some people find this question uncomfortable – why end the day on a low point? But that’s not why we ask this question of ourselves. We ask it so we can understand how we can learn from the past, and be better in the future. What could I have done differently today, that I can learn from and apply to tomorrow? 

For me, that’s what self-awareness is all about. The ability to correct your thinking, behaviour and actions a little each day so you can be a better person.

To those around you, it might not seem like there’s a lot happening day-to-day, but after a year, 5 years, 20 years, people will see the change in you. 

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