Asked whether women too should study philosophy, Musonius Rufus—“the foremost stoic of his day,” as Roman historian Tacitus put it—responded bluntly, “A desire for virtue and an affinity for it belong by nature not only to men but also to women: no less than men are they disposed by nature to be pleased by noble and just deeds and to censure things opposite these. Since this is so, why would it be appropriate for men but not women to seek to live honorably and consider how to do so, which is what studying philosophy is?” Based on the universal principles of life, this philosophy, the ancient Stoics believed, isn’t male or female—it’s human.
Lauryn Evarts Bosstick, creator of The Skinny Confidential brand, reaches millions of people—mostly adoring young women—through her blog, social media, and podcast. She is a Stoic practitioner and vocal advocate of why women must study the philosophy. In our interview below, Lauryn explains why, as well as detailing how she practices and applies Stoicism to her life, the importance of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, and much more. Please enjoy our interview with Lauryn Evarts Bosstick!
Take us back to when you first encountered Stoicism. How did you discover it and why did it resonate with you?
My husband Michael was reading work from Seneca and told me he liked the philosophy. Then our friend Ryan wrote the book The Obstacle Is the Way and I was hooked. Well, that’s not true—it took awhile for me to come around. After I read Obstacle I started reading The Daily Stoic, reading a page once a week, then I went into 3 pages a week, and now it’s something I like to wake up with. It’s actually in my calendar and part of my routine. I like to read a page, write some notes, then meditate on it afterwards. There’s something about it that’s very calming.
Stoicism really resonates with me because it’s practical. All of the practices are based in logic and reason, so the ideas are very relatable and applicable to the person studying stoic philosophy. It feels like you can immediately take action (or not) when practicing stoicism and for me this has been extremely impactful.
We heard that you read The Daily Stoic every day. Can you talk about that routine and how it has changed your life?
Yes, Michael and I, each have a copy of The Daily Stoic. Since I started reading it daily we make it a thing we do together. We wake up, read a passage, separately write our notes and sometimes we talk about it. It’s nice to reflect in the morning. It’s nice to be able to think and reflect each morning. What’s interesting is, as the years have gone by the same pages have different responses based on what’s happening in our lives. That’s what I love about stoicism. there’s so much self-reflection involved and I think it makes you grow as a person.
Stoicism unfortunately tends to be seen as a male-dominated philosophy, even though the principles and lessons are really universal. You’ve been an advocate of Stoicism to your audience. Why do you think more women could benefit from Stoicism? How would you explain it to them?
I WANT TO CHANGE THIS. It’s so interesting to me how it’s seen as a male dominated philosophy. It has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with just being a better person and being the best version of yourself. My brand The Skinny Confidential is all about being the best version of you. It’s not about being someone else, it’s about taking what you have and creating your own strategic future. Anyone can benefit from stoicism because it teaches invaluable lessons like perseverance, serenity, and resilience.
What are your favorite Stoic quotes? Or any that you think of often?
I have a few:“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus Click To Tweet “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” — Seneca Click To Tweet “Don’t be overheard complaining… Not even to yourself.” — Marcus Aurelius Click To Tweet
I really believe that to get any kind of success or happiness in life you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Perspective is incredibly important as is being grateful in the moment, and not living out your desires:“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.” — Naval Ravikant Click To Tweet
Talk to us about luxury. Clearly you live a pretty glamorous life, which might seem out of step to some Stoics. This is something people struggle with. How do you balance what the Stoics talk about—restraint, pleasure in the simple things, not being dependent on things Fortune can take away—and your love of the finer things?
While we appreciate the finer things in life, we practice not being attached to them. My life has been a series of ups and downs. My childhood had a lot of different moments of chaos & I’ve definitely been through adversity. My mom committed suicide, my sister was addicted to heroin for 5 years & there’s been a lot of instances in my life that have been really uncomfortable. But with each of those things, and with stoicism, I try to be logical with the adversity. Stoicism helps me with that logic and helps me to not react immediately.
It’s about appreciating what’s in the present and not restraining myself from enjoying the fruits of our labor, while also not being attached. I’ve lived without luxury in the past and know that I could do it again. That being said, we work hard and because of this are able to enjoy some finer things. It’s all about appreciating while also not being attached.“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ” — Seneca Click To Tweet
We are lucky to live in a time where we can travel far and fast. Spending money on experiences is something that provides us a lot more value than spending it on items. Many of the stoics that we study wrote these works at a time when it was almost impossible to travel the distances we do now. You can be in California in the morning and New York in the afternoon. This is something to appreciate in and of itself. I think traveling to new places only makes me appreciate the home that I have more and it adds depth and culture to my life. Michael and I love to travel together. It’s always an adventure, but there is nothing better than coming home after a long trip to our dogs and home (and my daily stoicism). I think contrast furthers the appreciation for what you have.
A lot of young people—particularly young women—look up to you. What do you recommend to young people who are trying to figure out their path in life?
Apply stoicism to try to figure out your path. Appreciate where you are and understand that any kind of achievement or accomplishment requires getting uncomfortable and most the time, some kind of adversity. In knowing that, expect that anything can happen and be prepared with the tools to deal with it, whether it’s working out, stoicism, traveling, meditation, getting outside in nature—make it a point to do so.
I think it’s also important to know that you’re in charge of your future and you can create what that looks like. Another tip, like I said earlier, is to look at things as logically as possible and understanding the importance of lessons like perseverance, serenity, and resilience.
We always love to ask for book recommendations. Beside The Daily Stoic, what books have had the biggest impact on your life?
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins — Michael & I went to Tony Robbins’ 3 day seminar in New Jersey and it was life changing. Tony’s messages have been on my mind ever since then. Where focus goes, energy flows! Awaken the Giant Within is a must read for everyone. He provides clear techniques for taking control of your life. You can even listen to some exclusive footage from Tony’s seminar on how to live an extraordinary life through TSC Him & Her Show: Episode 77. His book is VERY helpful for someone who’s looking to take control of their life.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – I like it because worrying is such a waste of an emotion and it drains your energy. Worrying is an un-serving waste of time.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — A lot of entrepreneurs, athletes and creatives love this book. The lesson you can expect to learn in The War of Art is that everyone struggles. I get asked all the time how I stay inspired and motivated all the time and the truth is, I don’t. I’m not always inspired and motivated, and I’m not alone. This is so important if you are feeling alone or like you’re the only one. YOU AREN’T. It also talks about how to commit to a territory or category and I think that’s so important when you’re trying to niche down. Basically, an expert or professional gains recognition through his or her work and you have to put in that work. That means showing up every single day, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. This book reads in a really interesting way because it’s not in chapter format. Sometimes you don’t want to read a long chapter, you just want a quick hit of wisdom – that’s what this book provides.
Thank you so much for having me Ryan and The Daily Stoic community. I’m such a fan of everything you do. With that, I’m off to read my latest page of The Daily Stoic. You can find me on Instagram @theskinnyconfidential.