Embracing Stoicism in the Age of Podcasting and Consumerism

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Jan 24, 2024

4 min read


Embracing Stoicism in the Age of Podcasting and Consumerism

In recent years, the podcasting industry has experienced a tremendous surge in popularity. With Spotify investing millions of dollars to expand its podcast operations, it is clear that we are in the midst of a "big podcasting era". However, the future of podcasting remains uncertain, leaving us to ponder what this medium will look like in 2024. While the podcasting industry grapples with its own challenges, it is intriguing to explore how the principles of Stoicism can guide us in navigating both the world of podcasting and the pressures of consumerism in the modern age.

Stoicism, an ancient philosophy, offers valuable insights into how we can cultivate inner strength and resilience in the face of external circumstances. One of the key tenets of Stoicism is the understanding that knowledge is a powerful tool. By deepening our understanding of the world around us, we become less susceptible to fear and anxiety. For instance, imagine receiving the news at work that the espresso machine you rely on for your daily dose of caffeine is being removed. While this might initially seem devastating, a Stoic would recognize that they have no control over the presence of the machine. They can choose to accept the change and adapt, or wallow in the misery of losing their free coffee. Stoicism encourages us to focus on improving ourselves internally, as relying on external factors for happiness leaves us at the mercy of an unpredictable universe.

Incorporating Stoicism into our modern lives may seem challenging, particularly in a society that places great emphasis on material possessions and consumerism. We often convince ourselves that the next purchase will bring us lasting joy—a new car, the latest smartphone, or an expensive watch. However, these material things only provide temporary happiness. Our cars break down, phones freeze up, and even when our possessions are in perfect working order, we succumb to hedonic adaptation and desire something newer and shinier. To break free from the trap of consumerism, the Stoics suggest adopting a different attitude towards our purchases and the dopamine hit we get from them.

One practice recommended by the Stoics is voluntary discomfort. This involves subjecting ourselves to discomfort in something we typically enjoy. For example, instead of taking a warm shower, try taking a cold one. By voluntarily choosing discomfort, we train ourselves to detach from the fleeting pleasure that material possessions bring. Applying this principle to our consumer habits, we can hold onto our current phone until it is no longer usable, enduring the cracks and lags, while resisting the temptation to upgrade with each new phone launch. Alternatively, we can start small by leaving our phones behind when going to the bathroom or opting to drive with the AC off on a hot day. These small acts of discomfort help us break free from the constant desire for more and shift our focus towards internal growth and contentment.

As we navigate the future of podcasting and grapple with the pressures of consumerism, it is important to remember the wisdom of Stoicism. By embracing knowledge, accepting what we cannot control, and practicing voluntary discomfort, we can cultivate inner strength and resilience. In an era where the podcasting landscape remains uncertain and consumerism continues to entice us with its promises of happiness, Stoicism provides a roadmap for finding fulfillment within ourselves.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace knowledge: Take the time to understand the world around you. By deepening your knowledge, you become less susceptible to fear and anxiety.
  • 2. Accept what you cannot control: Recognize that there are certain aspects of life that are beyond your control. Focus on adapting and improving yourself rather than being dragged down by external circumstances.
  • 3. Practice voluntary discomfort: Challenge the allure of material possessions by subjecting yourself to discomfort in something you typically enjoy. Start small and gradually build up your resistance to consumerism.

Incorporating these practices into your life can help you navigate the uncertainties of the podcasting industry and resist the constant pressures of consumerism. By adopting a Stoic mindset, you can find lasting fulfillment within yourself and cultivate inner strength in the face of external challenges.

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