Science, Stoicism and Success

Science, Stoicism and Success

August 17, 20233 min read


"How long are you going to wait to demand the best of yourself?" This question, posed by the stoic philosopher Epictetus over two millennia ago, continues to resonate with those seeking success. The pursuit of excellence and the quest for unlocking one's full potential have remained timeless challenges. In the modern era, where neuroscience intersects with philosophy, a powerful concept emerges, offering a new perspective on achieving success. Welcome to the world of Neuro Stoicism, where the fusion of science and action guides individuals, teams, and organizations toward mental strength, resilience, and success.

Turning On and Turning Off: The Neuroplasticity Equation

In today's world, where social media showcases idealized versions of success, it's common to wonder why progress feels elusive. The power to attain success lies within our grasp, yet we often focus on only one dimension, leaving us struggling to initiate, maintain momentum, or secure results. Neuroplasticity, a concept widely discussed, holds the key to a nuanced approach. Beyond the familiar notion of forming new neural connections, two core concepts form the foundation for developing neural success.

Long-Term Potentiation (LTP): Turning On Success

Imagine the actions, hours, and consistency you invest to achieve success. These efforts mirror what scientists term "long-term potentiation." Just as gym workouts sculpt a six-pack, reading papers garners a degree, and dedicated work leads to promotions, LTP involves turning on activities that forge new neural pathways. It's about aligning actions, fostering connections, and letting neurons that fire together wire together. The journey toward success demands opening doors to new neural routes that propel you toward your goals.

Long-Term Depression (LTD): Turning Off Limitations

Contrary to the mental health condition, long-term depression (LTD) in the realm of neuroplasticity is a hidden gem. Often overshadowed by the focus on turning on success, LTD is the counterpart that can make all the difference. Imagine it as the yang to LTP's yin. Much like you flip a switch to illuminate a room, you must also flip switches to darken pathways that impede progress. LTD is the art of turning off behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs that hinder your journey. It's about releasing mental baggage and shedding limitations that have held you back.

The Missing Link: Balancing the Equation for Success

Success isn't a one-dimensional journey. It's about the simultaneous dance of turning on and turning off. The equation for success involves two vital components: activating the actions that forge your desired path (LTP) and consciously disengaging from factors that obstruct that path (LTD). Picture this as an intricate ballet where every step forward is accompanied by a deliberate step back.


In your pursuit of success, embracing both aspects of neuroplasticity is the missing puzzle piece. Consider your journey so far—how much of it has been focused on turning on success, and how much on turning off limitations? While your "turn ons" fuel the fire of ambition, the "turn offs" release the brakes that hold you back. It's time to examine your life, identify what serves your purpose, and determine what needs to be left behind. Success is not just about chasing dreams; it's about crafting beautiful choices, taking purposeful action, and ultimately elevating yourself. So, as Epictetus advised, demand the best of yourself by integrating the power of turning on and turning off into your journey toward success. Your life deserves nothing less.

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