Stoicism is an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The philosophy has been popularized within entrepreneurship in the last ten years, and many prominent figures now use it as their personal operating system. Stoicism emphasizes personal virtue and wisdom, it teaches self-control and fortitude, it promotes rationality and restraint. These are not qualities ordinarily associated with entrepreneurs, who you probably know can be irrational, impulsive and hot-headed at times.
Channeling Stoicism could not only give an entrepreneur superpowers, it can help them navigate business challenges with grace and resilience, finding inner peace within external chaos. Use these prompts to apply Stoicism to your business. Copy, paste and edit the square brackets in ChatGPT, and keep the same chat window open so the context carries through.
Stoicism for entrepreneurs: 7 prompts for ChatGPT
View obstacles as opportunities
Notable stoic Marcus Aurelius once wrote, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Challenges, therefore, are not setbacks, but opportunities for growth and learning. The obstacle is the way. What obstacles are crossing your path and how can you see them as favourable? What growth do they hold, what opportunities could overcoming them unlock? Use this prompt to get ChatGPT’s help in finding their secrets.
“Assume the role of a business coach with a deep understanding of stoic philosophy and its application to modern business. In my current entrepreneurial endeavors, I’m facing specific obstacles such as [describe the immediate challenges or situations you’re dealing with]. Can you help me reframe these current challenges as opportunities for growth and learning? How can I leverage these situations to benefit both my business and personal development?”
Hold less emotional attachment
On any given day you’ll be taken on a rollercoaster of emotions. Huge joy from a big client win or a great bit of press, followed by feeling like all is lost after some adverse news, then apathy, impatience and frustration when results don’t happen as fast as you want. Stoicism teaches emotional resilience, which every entrepreneur could use. Don’t be swayed by fleeting emotions. Maintain a calm demeanour throughout the most intense business volatility with this simple prompt.
“During my business activities, I often face situations such as [describe specific events or scenarios that trigger intense emotions]. Provide two simple exercises, based on the stoic principle of emotional detachment, that will help me cultivate emotional resilience and maintain a calm demeanor during these challenging times.”
Focus on what you can control
You can control what you put in, but not what you get out. It doesn’t matter how long you spent on that pitch, how much knowledge you have of that process, or how much effort you put into the marketing plan, you still cannot control the results of your actions. For entrepreneurs, this is frustrating. Stoicism teaches that we should focus on what we can control and accept what we can’t.
“In my business, I often find myself fixated on outcomes, especially in scenarios like [describe specific endeavors or efforts where the outcome was uncertain]. Can you provide guidance, drawing from Stoic principles, on how I can enjoy the process of doing the work rather than being fixated on the outcome? Additionally, suggest how I can change how I think about inputs to make them more enjoyable, so I become more indifferent to the results they may lead to.”
Pursue personal virtue
If you do the right thing for the right reasons, over a number of years you’ll build a reputation of integrity and fairness. People will trust you. Stoicism emphasizes personal virtue and integrity as the highest good. That means conducting business ethically and being excellent in everything you do. It sounds straightforward, but when the opportunity arises to cut some corners or score a quick buck, will your personal virtue hold out? Find ways to strengthen it with this prompt.
“Recently, I’ve been working towards achieving [specific goal], and I’ve encountered a situation where I could potentially achieve more by [action that might compromise personal virtue], even though I know the right approach would be [ethical alternative]. Drawing from Stoic principles, can you guide me on how to navigate this situation while upholding my personal virtue and integrity? How can I make decisions that align with ethical conduct and long-term excellence, even when faced with tempting shortcuts?”
Practice regular reflection
Learning from the past requires paying it some attention. We can’t carry forward its lessons without understanding what they are. Reflection, therefore, is essential for every entrepreneur. Stoics like Seneca engaged in regular reflective practices, analyzing their actions at the end of each day to become a better person tomorrow. Assess your decisions and improve future actions by following his lead. Create a reflection habit with ChatGPT, by asking it for your personal set of reflection questions.
“In my business, I’m working towards the following goals [list your goals] and it’s important that I [describe how you want to show up, and the values you want to live by]. To ensure continuous growth and learning, I want to adopt a daily reflective practice inspired by Stoic philosophy. Create a personalized set of five reflection questions based on what’s important to me, so I can assess my decisions and actions at the end of each day.”
When something is too complicated it wastes energy. Complicated prospecting loses customers along the way. Complicated apps cause people to leave and never return. Complicated things to do every day cause headaches, cost motivation, and lead to inaction. Stoicism advocates for simplicity and the removal of unnecessary materialism and distraction. When entrepreneurs focus on what truly matters, processes are streamlined and complexity is eliminated, so they are free to secure results and move forward.
“In my business, one process that could be unnecessarily complex is [describe the specific business process in detail]. Given the Stoic emphasis on simplicity and removing unnecessary elements, can you provide suggestions on how to streamline and simplify this process, ensuring it’s more efficient and effective for both my team and our customers?”
Adopt a global mindset
If done right, entrepreneurship can be a great leveler. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you look like or what language you speak. Whatever your background, you can start a business and serve a customer base. You can serve people beyond those in your town. Cosmopolitanism is a big part of Stoicism. The Stoics believed in a shared brotherhood among all humans, which entrepreneurs can follow. Adopt a global mindset and view your business as a way to serve the broader community and not just local interests with this simple prompt for ChatGPT.
“Currently, my business focuses on [describe your business and its primary offerings or target market]. I want to think bigger and explore ways to serve a broader and more diverse community, inspired by the Stoic principle of cosmopolitanism. Can you provide insights and strategies on how I can expand my business’s reach and impact, ensuring it resonates with a global audience?”
Apply Stoic philosophy to your business with ChatGPT
Stoicism isn’t just a philosophy; it’s a roadmap for entrepreneurial excellence. Boost your business with these prompts from ChatGPT, inspired by Stoic thinking. Turn problems into chances to learn, keep your emotions in check, and focus on things you can change. Make tasks simpler, think about your day’s choices, and see your business as something that can help people everywhere.
Use these prompts to perform better in your business and feel closer to your goals. When you’re closer to your goals, you can do more for your customers. Simple ideas make big success.