Letters From A Stoic

Stoic Reflections | Letter III | On Friendship & Relaxation

Reflections on Letters From A Stoic. By Seneca.

Letter III

You have sent me the letter by the hand of a ‘friend’ of yours, as you call him. And in the next sentence you warn me to avoid discussing your affairs freely with him, since you are not even in the habit of doing so yourself; in other words you have described him as being a friend and then denied this in one and the same letter. Now if you were using that word in a kind of popular sense and not according to its strict meaning, and calling him a ‘friend’ in much the same way as we refer to candidates as ‘gentleman’ or hail someone with the greeting, ‘my dear fellow’ if when we meet him his name slips our memory, we can let this pass. But if you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.

Certainly you should discuss everything with a friend; but before you do so, discuss in your mind the man himself. After friendship is formed you must trust, but before that you must judge. Those people who, contrary to Theophrastus’ advice, judge a man after they have made him their friend instead of the other way round, certainly put the cart before the horse. Think for a long time whether or not you should admit a given person to your friendship. But when you have decided to do so, welcome him heart and soul, and speak as unreservedly as you would with yourself. You should, I need hardly say, live in such a way that there is nothing that you could not as easily tell your enemy as keep to yourself; but seeing that certain matters do arise on which convention decrees silence, the things you should share with your friend are all your worries and deliberations. Regard him as loyal, and you will make him loyal. Some men’s fear of being deceived has taught people to deceive them; by their suspiciousness they give them the right to do the wrong thing by them. Why should I keep back anything when I’m with a friend? Why shouldn’t I imagine I’m alone when I’m in his company?

There are certain people who tell any person they meet things that should only be confided to friends, unburdening themselves of whatever is on their minds into any ear they please. Others again are shy of confiding in their closest friends, and would not even let themselves, if they could help it, into the secrets they keep hidden deep down inside themselves. We should do neither. Trust everyone is as much a fault as trusting no one (though I should call the first the worthier and the second the safer behavior).

Similarly, people who never relax and people who are invariably in a relaxed state merit your disapproval – the former as much as the latter. For a delight in bustling about is not industry – it is only the restless energy of a hunted mind. And the state of mind that looks on all activity as tiresome is not true repose, but a spineless inertia. This prompts me to memorize something which I cam across in Pomponius. ‘Some men have shrunk so far into dark corners that objects in bright daylight seem quite blurred to them.’ A balanced combination of the two attitudes is what we want; the active man should be able to take things easily, while the man who is inclined towards repose should be capable of action. Ask nature: she will tell you hat she made both day and night.


The way in which Seneca describes friendship is inspiring. We should all be so lucky to have such friends. My sense is that this type of friendship, which in my view is the only legitimate friendship, is a rare and uncommon thing these days. The price of admission to one’s friendship is decreasing rapidly as the social media era expands. 1 or 2 clicks is all it takes now. Continue reading

How To Create Your Life 2.0.

Back in 2012 I first wrote the post, “How To Create A New Life.”

It lays out a technique that I used, with great success to change everything about my  life. Short version, write out what your life would be like on your perfect average day. Do it in extreme detail. Forget about it and then notice that 6 months later, you’re living that way now.

I rewrote that post a few times (almost every time I did the exercise and had a new insight). A few years have gone by now and I think that I’ve refined the process enough to warrant a completely new post. Here is that post. Btw, life does not suck. Continue reading


How To Become A Creative Machine. The Dreamer, The Realist, and The Critic.

Every 6 months I make myself obsolete. I destroy my business and my life. I briefly want to stab an ice pick in my eye. I resist. I proceed.

This has been my path since I was in middle school. If anyone ever wanted to know my secret weapon, it’s contained in this post. Can you see it?

Most people resist having their beliefs questioned. It’s uncomfortable. Really, really, really uncomfortable.  Continue reading


The Realist: 26 Helpful Tips For Being An Intense Realist.

It is better to be a realist than a happyest (noun: meaning an individual that values happiness above all else).

The realist sees things as they are and, armed with this information, has the power to influence things. The happy fall easily into complacency and inaction.

The happy are vastly superior to the unhappy, so with those as the only two options, choose happy every time. Those are never the only two options. Happiness and realism are not mutually exclusive.

The realist is something different. Being a realist is a condition that far too many pessimists claim. Don’t mistake narrow minded certainty with realism. It is fear and complacency, masquerading as realism. Continue reading

The Apps That Run My Life.

#1. Square Cash

Square Cash

Get It Here: https://square.com/cash

Simply the very best way to get money from 1 individual to another within the United States.

100% free. You just link your debit card and you’re good to go.

When you send money it pulls it directly from your bank account and puts it directly in the other person’s bank account (once they accept the transfer). Sometimes it happens instantly (which is mind blowing) other times it takes 1-2 business days.

Super fast, super free, and you don’t have to physically interact with anyone to make the transaction.

Now you can even send money via Snapchat using SquareCash.

My snapchat is jordanlaubaugh. Please send me money. Continue reading

Standard HCG meal

How I Lost 26 Pounds In 30 Days Using Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

January 1, 2015.

I just concluded 30 days of the most rigidly intense dieting I’ve ever done (or maybe just the only dieting I’ve ever successfully done).

It was a lot of fun. It was extremely hard at times. I learned a lot. Now I’m sharing all of the data.

Preface: This is not so much a recap post as a “progress so far” check in. I’m not stopping. I’m just beginning. Also, I’m not trying to prove anything. I have zero interest in discussing the science of dieting/nutrition or the veracity of the course I followed. I’m just posting data and my personal experience. So this is a preemptive ‘chill out’ to all the Paleo people and Vegans.

Enter Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

Here-in referred to as HCG (wikipedia).

The basic premise I was given: Take HCG 2x per day (I have no idea what dose). Spend the first 2 days eating as much as you can of fatty, sugary foods (loading). On day 3, begin an ultra strict 500 calorie per day protocol (continue taking HCG 2x daily). Continue reading

Fear And Self Loathing In Las Vegas | The Girl & The Pho

5:10 PM PST, A Few Weeks Ago On A Monday, Pho Saigon 8, Las Vegas, NV

Enter Jordan. Hungry and eager for some savory pho. My host/waiter silently directs me to a solitary table against the wall, as had become our weekly routine. He knows my order by heart.

“Numba Fifteen Large? Thai Tea? You want boba, no boba? Extra Meatball.” He confirms before I speak.

“Yes, #15 large. Thai tea, no boba. Extra meatball.” I recite to ensure proper pho-munication.

We both nod in mutual pho-nderstanding as I hand him my menu.

With the logistics of our meeting decided he scurries away and I have 5-7 minutes to wait before a steaming bowl of happiness will arrive at my table.


There is another piece of intel that you’ll need to appreciate my little story… Sitting directly across from me, 1 table removed, facing me, is a very cute girl. Continue reading


The Hustler’s Ego

Everything they told you about ego is wrong. Your ego may have trouble accepting that. If it does,  I’m right.

Ego is used to describe all sorts of things that have nothing to do with the ego. When someone describes a person as having a big ego or being egotistical, they are saying that the person has an overly inflated sense of self. Anyone who is self absorbed, narcissistic, or conceited gets labeled as egotistic. This definition of ego is false. It’s just lazy linguistics.

For this psycho analysis, it’s better to stick with Freud. From his studies, discovering the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo, it’s safe to say that my presentation of ego has some scientific backing. Though I haven’t rigorously studied it. I just have one special benefit that comes with my understanding of ego. It actually works in real life. Continue reading