Stoicism and Happiness at Work


Stoic philosophy was once the guiding light for people from all walks of life. Two especially famous Stoics included a freed slave from Turkey (Epictetus) and the Emperor of Rome at the height of its power (Marcus Aurelius). Stoicism's core ideas are simple: 

  • the universe's powerful organizing principle is logos -- the rational cycle of creation, change, destruction;
  • suffering, anxiety, and anger come when we give control of our thoughts and feelings to outcomes beyond our control;
  • if we accept the impermanence of everything, our lack of control over most outcomes, and accept control over our own thoughts and actions, we can be happy.

You may notice similarities between these Stoic ideas, Buddhism, the cognitive behavior theory of Aaron and Judith Beck, or the Mindfulness movement made popular by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Pema Chodron. When similar ideas come from wise people separated by time and distance, we should pay attention.

Dr. Chuck Chakrapani is our guide for this discussion. His translation of Epictetus' Enchiridion ("The Good Life Handbook") is a clear, relevant, inspiring translation of one of Stoicism's original founding documents. We will read the book (it takes about an hour of your time to prep) and then have a discussion with Dr. Chakrapani about happiness at work and the Stoic principles.

This class is only open to General Management alums.