#1058 Have a Firm Grip on Reality?

You and Zeno’s Clenched Fist

In our last +1, we spent some time with Emerson in his epic, striped PJs and practiced our new exploding fist bumps of love.

Recall: 🤜💥🤛 → 🤟 💥 🤟

(You practice that one yet? If not, come on!! (Hah.) We’ve gotta move from Theory to Practice to Mastery, folks! ESPECIALLY with something this important! 😉)


Today I want to talk about the fist part of that fist bump.


It’s funny because we can actually cruise downstairs to hang out with Emerson’s leopard gecko for this one.

Did I tell you what his name is yet? (Scratches beard. YES! We discussed him in this +1!)

Our beloved gecko is named Zeno.

He’s named after the founder of Stoicism. 🤓


In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor, Donald Robertson walks us through the core tenets of Stoicism. One of the most essential aspects of the philosophy is the idea that we don’t want to allow our emotions to run out of control in response to something that’s happening.

Donald tells us that if we just stick to the objective facts we can avoid a lot of the anxieties in life.

For example, he tells us: “Epictetus explained that a Stoic might say someone has ‘been sent to prison,’ but they should not allow themselves to go on about how awful it is and complain that Zeus has punished him unjustly. As an aspiring Stoic, you should begin by practicing deliberately describing events more objectively and in less emotional terms.

Then he tells us: “Zeno coined the Stoic technical term phantasia kataleptike to refer to this Stoic way of viewing events objectively, separating value judgments from facts. Pierre Hadot translates it as ‘objective representation,’ which is the term we’ll use. However, it literally means an impression that gets a grip on reality and thereby prevents us from being swept along by our passions. It anchors our thoughts in reality. Zeno even symbolized this concept by the physical gesture of clenching his fist—we still talk today of someone who looks at events in a matter-of-fact way as ‘having a firm grip on reality.’

That’s Today’s +1.

Let’s have a firm grasp on reality.

Simply describe whatever is happening in objective terms. No need to catastrophize.

Then, if we feel so inspired, let’s love what is.

Then choose our optimal response.

One fist at a time.



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