Stoicism and LOA?

Could one work with these simultaneously? Stoticism is good for preparing one for the shit we deal with through life while LOA is good for like getting stuff. If I practice both, what’s a good precaution I could take so I won’t manifest my stotic medidation?


I would say, use the chosen feelings of the result you would want to see. Seeing things from all angles and differing results is useful but letting the preferred feeling with the result you want take the main stage of your view.


They work together splendidly, though you may prefer the older source writings by geniuses like Wattles & Hill over the more recent new age and fluffier stuff. :thinking:

I’m going to use this Wikipedia definition of Stoicism:

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness, or blessedness) is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.

In LoA, you have to operate with your circumstances as they are now, not giving into unwanted emotions like fear, hopelessness, or resentment, while still working steadily and faithfully towards what you want.

That is definitely a match for “not allowing oneself to be controlled by the … fear of pain,” - but what about desire for pleasure?

Pleasure can often mislead - drugs and alcohol are pleasurable, so is eating to excess, so are a great many substances and behaviours which wreck lives, so the pursuit of pleasure in isolation can be clearly seen to make a lot of people’s lives worse, and drags part of their family and their society, even their culture, down with it.

The desire to constantly feel good also erodes the ability to handle criticism, or even factual information which causes you to realise your previous thoughts and beliefs were in error.

That deep neediness cripples personal growth, intellectual ability, emotional maturity, and prevents the addict from becoming a powerful person who can live in the world as it is, instead of trying to create echo chambers and safe spaces in every possible environment, and reacting to any unwelcome or unexpected information as though it were a threat to their life.

Pursuit of that kind of pleasure is a prison in itself, it rules and dominates the mind, and hands over personal sovereignty to any random outside force which may cause a comforting or upsetting emotional response.

I’ll go back to Wikipedia:

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”.

This, again, is completely compatible with LoA, specifically Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success (the original text may be out of copyright now, but specific editions are not always free, so do your own research to find a suitable PDF of these) - he teaches:

  1. Definiteness of Purpose - that you choose what to go for in life and shun things which might derail you or block your progress.

Excessive pursuit of pleasurable things, stemming from a kind of existential resentment of life or one’s current situation, is definitely a thing which can mess with one’s purpose in life.

Giving into swings of elated enthusiasm and despondency can also derail a person and make focused long-term planning impossible. Even things you love will have less-liked aspects or go through bad times, and people who abandon any project when the going gets tough seldom succeed.

  1. Mastermind Alliance - the powerful principle that when more than one mind works on a project, that group becomes more powerful than the sum of its parts.

The character Hudson in the movie Aliens is an example of a NON-stoic personality - empty bragging and highs that collapse into total panic when reality hits, so while stoicism doesn’t directly call for a mastermind in itself, the lesson is clear that someone who lacks any inner stability is not going to be a great team member, and will chip away at that alliance, unintentionally, with their displays of overly-reactive bragging or negative behaviour.

  1. Applied Faith - the simple belief that you can have what you want, despite current conditions - that is right up there with not getting despondent nor seeking pleasurable distractions instead of quietly working towards your goals.

You make a conscious choice to believe you will succeed, and don’t let anything detract from that, because it is held in that same sacred human space as any religious or moral faith a person may have, which exists outside evidence that not all others think or behave in alignment with the same ideas.

  1. Going The Extra Mile - this is about doing more than a situation calls for to render service to others, it’s a powerful way of breaking down negative resentments, laziness, and other weaker personal qualities, and I find it in line with stoic principles.

You don’t take the lazy, or the easy, or the weak route, you do your fair share and then as much more as you can, for the betterment of whatever you’re involved with, and not for the sake of a pat on the head or merit badge either, just from the basic principle itself.

  1. Pleasing Personality - you don’t become an embuggerance to others, you don’t burden them with your pity parties, you work to become aware of character defects (we all have them) and then you do something about fixing them, including by seeking appropriate support when it’s necessary.

Nor do you flout your successes unduly and in inappropriate ways, or stir resentment in others through displays of pride and arrogance, nor engage in selfish behaviour like boring others with your own personal passions in every conversation, etc.

  1. Personal Initiative - you are the one responsible for improving not only your outer circumstances, but also your internal state, and that includes examining carefully emotion-led grudges and biases that may be subconsciously holding you back.

In the bigger picture, stoicism teaches that life & society don’t owe you constant pleasurable feedback, without which you have every right to be miserable and angry, and to project that onto others, and with this Principle, Mr Hill puts that ball in play by teaching that while your background may not have given you every advantange, taking personal responsibility for improving your life is the way ahead, instead of wandering dazedly through life as a victim, and occasionally using that perception as a pass to be a shitty human being.

You cannot truly be free until you seize control of your own thinking, and your own life.

  1. Positive Mental Attitude - this is the most misunderstood thing, people would have you believe it’s about this:

this is fine original

Nothing could be further from the truth!

In fact it’s a very specific way of positioning yourself as in control of your own emotions, logic, and demeanour, which will give you a competitive advantage in any situation, now matter how bad things currently look. Pretty stoic, maybe? :wink:

There are 10 more Principles, which I’ll cover more briefly:

  1. Enthusiasm, which is about controlling emotion;

  2. Self-Discipline, which is about controlling one’s thoughts (and being aware of the necessity for doing this);

  3. Accurate Thinking, which includes educating yourself on cognitive biases and working to improve your cognitive clarity;

  4. Controlled Attention - being aware distractions exist, and keeping focus;

  5. Teamwork - you cannot achieve great things, even as a solo entrepreneur, in the world, without being able to work co-operatively with others when required, so make this a conscious skill - this again goes to being a self-controlled person who doesn’t expect the outside world to do all their thinking, nor allow excesses of reactive emotion to spill over all the time;

  6. Adversity & Defeat, and knowing that these are merely stages, unless you CHOOSE to allow them to have the final say (there’s also some metaphysics in that one, that each contains the seed of something greater IF it is taken the right way);

  7. Creative Vision - the necessity of working to constantly expand and exercise one’s creative faculities, and not giving way to resnetful belief that some folks are just more gifted with creativity (so you have an excuse to sit and complain about life);

  8. Health - both the lesson of valuing health in order to be able to pursue your goals and remain independent of the need for others, and to consciously hold mental thoughts which increase health. While this may seem to contradict the idea “that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”” (Wikipedia)" it does describe health as a resource in being able to fulfil one’s ambitions and responsibilities, so contextualises the ways in which sound health can assist a person in leading the life they have chosen;

  9. Budgeting Time & Money, and the recognition that your action here will determine the overall outcome, so better educate yourself, and watch for any repeated patterns, and finally;

  10. Habits - the conscious choice to choose, develop, and sustain productive habits which support all of the above, and support you in being, in the present moment, possessed of self-respect, and working towards your Definite Major Purpose in life.

So, yes, LoA is about “getting stuff” :smiley: on the immediate levels, but beyond that, the authors who lived that current (and brought us some ancient Hermetic wisdom in practical and usable forms) developed a guideline for living as a powerful, creative, constructive human being, who doesn’t hand away personal sovereignty nor fall into the many petty manifestations of vindictive behaviour, resentments, and hatreds.

Only if you choose to steer your own stoic approach towards nihilism will you find these incompatible - if you sought it out in order to give meaning to your own experience of life, then you’ll find LoA, as Messrs. Hill & Wattles teach it, to be perfectly compatible.

Back to Wikipedia, and I’ll repeat a section of that text for one more thing:

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that “virtue is the only good” for human beings, and that external things—such as health, wealth, and pleasure—are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora), but have value as “material for virtue to act upon”.

The situation of being in adverse circumstances, and refusing to allow that to become the dominant factor in your life, is perfectly addressed in the LoA masterpieces “The Science Of Getting Rich” and, especially, “The Science Of Being Great” by Wallace Wattles, both of which are also out of copyright and freely available online. :+1:


Going off of the break down @Lady_Eva made, I can see the two working out very well. You have to keep in mind that there is a very long list of Stotic philosophers, all who had unique challenges that came with the time periods they lived in. The struggles of a merchant who lost everything he owned in a ship wreck and learning how to live with it (Zeno of Citium) is different than being an emperor who had to deal with affairs of his empire while also trying to not to let his ego get in the way (Marcus Aurelius). So, studying a variety of Stotic philosophers may help work with LOA as each had their own strategies on how what they procieved to be a good life that can go with what Lady_Eva explained.

An example that pops into my head is the advice the Roman Stotic Seneca in matters of dealing with fear when facing a bad situation. Instead of thinking of the best possible outcome, spend time thinking of all the worst. Really dive deep into the details, but once you at that point, ask yourself if it is survivable. Most of the time, the worst possible outcomes are. They might be very hard to get out of, but you will live, which allows time for change. If it isn’t, Seneca thought it wouldn’t matter anyways as you will cease to experience anyways, so there would be no point worrying about it. This exercise could go along with developing self discipline of your own thoughts, as well as help get yourself out of those dark places of the mind when things get tough.

So yeah, i would encourage giving both a try and seeing where it takes you.


I’ll pop a tl;dr at the top: what both have in common is that they require you to take any appropriate creative & constructive actions in order to prevent worry (which I define as fear that serves no constructive purpose) from dominating your life.

Longer answer:

And it’s of note that Mr Hill mentions adversity and defeat right in that list, making how you react to these one of his key Principles - he knows they’re going to happen and that you need to choose in advance what to do, and he in no way glossed over that, or promoted the “think happy thoughts to the exclusion of all else” approach.

The essence of both is to do strategic thinking and feeling, to give yourself more control in the event of a problem occurring.

The more metaphysical concept explained through the book is to look for the seed of an equal of greater good in in every defeat you experience, not to pretend that defeats aren’t a thing and that life will be one long glorious holiday. This is why I recommend his work over more recent books, and that fits with fronting up to the possibility of defeat to see how bad it really is, and what you could possibly do, if it occurs.

He says: “Again and again I’ve stressed that your attitude towards defeat is crucial to mastering it. You can see it only as a loss, or as a chance for gain.”

If you do the exercise of thinking through worst-case scenarios, but then allow your thoughts to be dominated by emotional reactions to these, long after the exercise is over, I wonder whether that’s truly what the original great minds intended?

Surely the point is to minimise the amount of nebulous worry now, and the degree of trauma and destabilising emotions you’d experience, if the worst was to happen, not increase them endlessly and to no real purpose. That’s the equivalent of the “This is fine” image above, in terms of denying the actual reality of things, and just as limiting and bizarre.

There’s a similar exercise in the book “The Now Habit” to “Do the work of worrying” - set aside time to think through the worst outcomes, feel that fear, consider any possible lifelines and routes if the worst was to happen - then terminate that and go on with trying to fix your situation before you get there. But part of the planning is to temporarily feel the emotion, as that can boost creativity and also, gets it out of your system in a constructive way.

That seems more like what they intended, and not directing your mind to constantly dwell upon or experience things that haven’t happened, with no fruitful goal except to wallow in it.

He also states:

“Realise that the turning point at which you begin to attain success is usually defined by some form of defeat or failure.”

The person working diligently through worse-case scenarios isn’t doing it because he wants them to happen, he’s doing it so he can apply his clarity of mind and positive mental attitude to them if they occur - he’s preparing and working to ensure they can’t dominate his mental state, by immunising himself.

It’s like this concept from my favourite poem “If” - “If you can meet with triumph and disaaster, And treat those two imposters just the same” - any tool which allows you to control your reactions in extreme circumstances would be checked as correct and in compliance with those 17 Principles, so it’s just whether or not you choose to repeatedly return to the negative state for some reason that’s in play here.

To that, I will paraphrase another guru of mine, David Allen (whose book “Getting Things Done” is a modern masterpiece) - there is no need to have the same thought more than once, unless you enjoy having that thought. You either write it down and begin an action plan, or you release it.

So, if you interpret the stoic guidance as giving you tools to not be swamped by your own emotions, like a puppet having its strings pulled by external events, that fits with the 17 Principles, as part of your own approach to:

  • definiteness of purpose - you’re eliminating pointless worries, and preparing for how to carry on even if a disaster strikes, you’re not allowing yourself to be blindsided. Contingency planning is used by any business which wants to survive

  • applied faith - you are choosing to believe in your problem solving abilities, or (in the case of battle planning) that your worldly worries will, at least, be over

  • personal initiative - confronting worries, and planning for your own future even if it requires some difficult thinking

  • positive mental attutude - the belief that you will be able to cope in some form with almost anything life throws at you

  • self-discipline - you’re facing some unpleasantness now to try and make things better in the future, just like working out when you’d rather be a couch potato, or ending any other bad habit which gives pleasure in the moment, and lasting damage further down the line

  • accurate thinking - by immersing yourself now, you’re giving yourself time to spot any escape routes, this is best explained in a fun way by the Dr Who episode “Day Of The Doctor” and the line that “You were the Doctor on the day it wasn’t possible to get it right.” I highly recommend watching that episode

  • controlled attention - you take attention away from pointlessly worrying, and focus on the worse-case scenarios, plan for as many things as you can and have “actions on” thought out, then switch back to dealing with the present day and doing what’s necessary - without nebulous fear taking attention away from them. Seneca wasn’t telling you to plan in order to be defeated, taken captive, or killed!

And you don’t put up smoke detectors because you want your house to burn down, you put them up because you don’t want to be inside if it does. To plan for the worst demonstrates mental agility, not a desire to see it happen, and that applies with regards to your emotions, as well as practical actions

  • adversity and defeat - they’re going to happen, make a decision beforehand how to cope, and that you won’t allow your emotions to rule you now (worries) nor defeat you in the event of a problem (this is the primary way the two concepts fit together)

  • creative vision - this isn’t just about imagining how you want things to go, it’s ANY use of your imaginative faculties which will help you in some way

  • budgeting time and money - and in this case, attention and energy, by ending worries and planning in advance how to react, so that you’ve lifted some of the weight off Future You when he’s going through a rough time.

There is an instruction in these books to keep your mind ON the things you want, and OFF the things you don’t want, but I would argue that unless you run contingency plans and try to figure things out, you’re more likely to be prone to constant worrying, and that this kind of fear, which serves no purpose, is what the authors warn against.

Worry is also very often about fear of the fear itself, fear of how you’ll feel, and that’s addressed by the exercise you describe.

And that these exercises are more necessary in some situations that others - it’s good to have a plan all the passengers know for how to quickly escape from an aeroplane, but kind of pointless having a laminated How To Cope plan on the wall for every minor problem, like burning your supper or breaking a nail.

So to sum it up, the two meet in this way, with regards to those meditations:

Choose the appropriate response to the amount of fear and confusion you anticipate a problem causing, with consideration to your own personality as well, and acquire any appropriate mental tools and strategies to try for the best outcome overall, while not letting that fear cripple you now or cause other aspects of your life to be affected by it.

Have an evacuation plan, life insurance, and smoke detectors (etc) so you lessen the possibility of bad situations becoming even worse, and take any appropriate constructive actions to prevent low-level pointless worry dominating your life. :thinking:


:slightly_smiling_face: Thank You! Will help greatly within the next few months.


This is a graphic showing how to process a thought (which is a type of “Incoming stuff”) rather than have it nagging away, using the principles from “Getting Things Done”:

Source: Getting Things Done Book Summary by David Allen

A nagging worry or recurring fear would be classed as “Is it actionable?” = “Yes.”

Running your stoic meditations to confront a nagging worry, as well as doing Law of Attraction exercises to draw the outcomes you want, would each be classed as a “Project” in this system, so you’d choose a time to do those, making it a conscious choice instead of being buffeted around by random events and feelings.

Highly recommended works that apply both to stoicism, as I understand it, and the Principles described by Napoleon Hill:

  • Dr Who episode “Day Of The Doctor”

  • Star Trek TNG episode “Tapestries”

  • “The Now Habit” - book by Neil Fiore

  • “Getting Things Done” - book by David Allen

  • “Psycho-Cybernetics” - old editions of this book with the red and white cover, by Dr Maxwell Maltz, and not the modern commentaries on this - it’s a better and more useful understanding of the subconscious than Sigmund Freud provided

  • “Gates Of Fire” - book by Stephen Pressfield - too many reasons to list, the story of a small number of men facing certain death in battle

  • “The Kybalion” - book by Three Initiates, loads of legal PDFs available for that, it’s the origins of LoA & an important bridge between psychology and personal development, and some pretty hardcore magick, as well

  • the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. The part about “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken, Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools” applies very aptly to the misunderstandings around what a positive mental attitude really is!

If you have all those, Mr Hill’s works, and Mr Wattles’ books, in my opinion you have the foundations for self-mastery in almost any circumstance. And the first two are a lot of fun, as well!


I would agree with you entirely. Seneca intended that particular exercise for a friend of the noble class who got caught up in a scandal and was consumed by worry. But I can see the exercise also backfiring if you hold onto the emotions now instead of taking that step back.

You also made a good point that some exercises are more useful than others in different situations. The world that Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and others is vastly different from our own. The methods can be useful and can draw inspiration, but one needs to look at the situation as it is and take the time to think about it. Which is likely for the best as some of those stories did not have a happy ending, such as Seneca being ordered to suicide by his paranoid student Nero.

I will be needing to expand my own library from the looks of things lol


Also, since the book “Getting things done” was mentioned, here is something i stumbled across awhile ago that might be helpful as a supplemental source to what Lady_Eva already broke done. It is an interview with the author on a podcast i listen to awhile back. There are also topics on Stoticism and a number of other books that cover strategies that can be helpful for LOA on other episodes.


As badly as someone whose only response to a pressing crisis is to make vision boards and daydream about best-case outcomes. I think that’s where Accurate Thinking & Controlled Attention are important reality checks.

Great men often lead tempestuous lives, and are born into troubled times. :thinking:


Thanks for sharing this knowledge @Lady_Eva - these book recommendations couldn’t have come at a better time :hibiscus: :hibiscus: :hibiscus:


I love your reply @Lady_Eva I’m definitely going to study this! The nihilism versions are pretty cool but seem kinda against what I’m aiming for.

Definitely one of my favorites

Thank you all for your views!!


Oh my fucking god… this is advice I would pay for and here it is… free!


Bumping this, I put a lot of info in my replies and they may be useful to some of our newer members. :smiley: