These 14 Small Mindset Shifts Will Change Your Life

Ryan Holiday
9 min readSep 20, 2023

For the most part, we can’t change the world. We can’t change the fundamental facts of existence–like the fact that we’re going to die. We can’t change other people.

Does that mean that everything is hopeless and permanently broken?

No, because although we have that extreme powerlessness in one sense, we have an incredible superpower in another: We can change how we think about things. We can change how we view them, how we orient ourselves to them.

That’s the essence of Stoicism, by the way. The idea that we don’t control what happens, but we do control ourselves. When we respond to what happens, the main thing we control is our mind and the story we tell ourselves.

So one way to think about Stoicism itself then is as a collection of mindset shifts for the many situations that life seems to thrust us in. Indeed, Seneca’s Letters, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and Epictetus’ Discourses are filled with passages, anecdotes, and quotes which force a shift in perspective.

Here are 14 that I have taken from the Stoics over the years that have changed my life. I think they’ll do the same for you.

Everything is an opportunity for excellence. The now famous passage from Marcus Aurelius is that the impediment to action advances action…



Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’