Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat

Donald Robertson (Part 1) - On Stoicism and How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

November 29, 2020 Mo Gawdat and Donald Robertson Episode 67
Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat
Donald Robertson (Part 1) - On Stoicism and How to Think Like a Roman Emperor
Show Notes

Today's guest is Donald Robertson, renowned expert on stoicism.

I was looking forward to this chat for a long time, and it does not disappoint. Stoics are mainly concerned with their wisdom and their character, and therefore process events that happen to them according to the effect of the event on their wisdom and character, first and foremost. This is an extremely powerful tool for dealing with life's hardships, including the pandemic.

Donald is a writer, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist and trainer.  He’s a specialist in teaching evidence-based psychological skills, and known as an expert on the relationship between modern psychotherapy (CBT) and classical Greek and Roman philosophy. His therapy practice specialized for many years in helping clients with social anxiety and self-confidence issues. He is also the author of six books and many articles on philosophy, psychotherapy, and psychological skills training. His latest book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius was #1 best seller in philosophy, and he's also edited and written the introduction to Capstone Classics' new edition of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

In Part 1, we discuss:

  • What is stoicism?
  • How stoicism deals with anger and our blind spots
  • Do people do wrong because they're fundamentally bad?
  • Moral blindness is a more severe disability than physical blindness
  • Rehab and reform those who wrong vs. punishing them
  • Lies of omission
  • The ideal stoic: someone mainly concerned about their wisdom or character
  • How stoicism is growing in popularity, especially during the pandemic
  • How Greek tragedies would have been very different with wiser characters
  • How blessings can be a curse and curses can be a blessing
  • Is venting emotions healthy, or should we not let them bother us?
  • The difference between grief and pathological depression
  • There's nothing anger can do that can't be done better with love and compassion
  • Cognitive distancing and the ability to consider multiple perspectives
  • The four thoughts of wisdom

Instagram: @mo_gawdat
Facebook: @mo.gawdat.official
Twitter: @mgawdat
LinkedIn: /in/mogawdat

Connect with Donald Robertson on Instagram @howtothinklikearomanemperor, Facebook @robertsontraining, on Twitter @DonJRobertson, and on his website,

Don't forget to subscribe to Slo Mo for new episodes every Sunday and Thursday. Only with your help can we reach One Billion Happy #onebillionhappy.