Classic Career Advice

A quick scan of Amazon’s best seller list in the career development section reveals some well known titles.
  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity
  • What Color is Your Parachute?
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
All of these books offer solid advice, and a man can get a lot of tips and tricks to become more successful in his job. In fact I am willing to guess more than a few readers own one or two of them. Here is a title you may not be a familiar with: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life by Epictetus.

I can hear you now, Epic-who?

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher from the first century AD who was a proponent of the stoic branch of philosophy. Stoics believed that what happened to a man was less important than how that man reacted to the event. Therefore the most important teaching of stoicism was one of self-mastery. Epictetus became one of the most well known teachers of this way of life.

Born a slave, he never wrote anything down but simply taught those who wanted to learn to become better men, much like his more famous predecessor, Socrates. What we now know of Epictetus’ teachings is thanks to his pupil, Arrian, who wrote them down in his collection Discourses.

OK, so he was a great Greek philosopher. How does that help me be a better sales manager?  

Glad you asked.

Just about all of Epictetus’ teachings are in the form of short sayings that embody some profound idea. Many of these can be directly applied to your career, no matter what you do for a living. For the purpose of this article I have grouped some of the best (in my humble opinion anyway) into three categories. Prudent attitude, prudent words and prudent action.

Over the next few posts I will be mapping out how focusing on these three areas can help you feel better about, and succeed in, work.