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    Sid Stockdale On The Stoic Legacy Of His Father, Admiral James Stockdale

    enSeptember 20, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Exploring Convenient Solutions: Progressive Insurance and TalkspaceCompanies like Progressive Insurance and Talkspace offer convenient solutions for common tasks, enhancing productivity and accessibility. Perseverance and a strong support system, as demonstrated by Admiral James Stockdale and his wife Sybil, are essential for success.

      Multitasking can be productive, and Progressive Insurance and Talkspace are two examples of companies that make common tasks more convenient. Progressive Insurance offers easy auto insurance quotes and savings, while Talkspace provides accessible and affordable therapy services online. Another important takeaway is the power of perseverance and the support system around us, as illustrated by the story of Admiral James Stockdale and his wife Sybil, who played a crucial role in bringing home prisoners of war during his imprisonment. These examples encourage us to explore new opportunities, prioritize self-care, and appreciate the significant impact of those around us.

    • Growing Up with a POW Father during VietnamSid Stockdale's memoir shares his experiences of growing up with a father, Navy admiral James Stockdale, who was often absent due to military duties and imprisonment during the Vietnam War. The memoir offers insights into the family's struggles, the influence of Stoicism on James during imprisonment, and the profound impact on Sid and his siblings.

      The Stockdale family's experiences during Vietnam, as depicted in Sid Stockdale's new memoir "A World Apart, Growing Up Stockdale During Vietnam," provide a unique perspective on the impact of war on families. Sid, the 11-year-old son of the famous Navy admiral and prisoner of war James Stockdale, shares his story of growing up with a father who was often absent due to military duties and imprisonment. Sid's memoir offers insights into the family's struggles, the influence of Stoicism on James Stockdale during his imprisonment, and the profound effect it had on Sid and his siblings. The memoir also highlights the resilience and strength of the family, as they dealt with the challenges of war and its aftermath. Overall, "A World Apart" provides a poignant and personal account of the Vietnam War and its impact on a family, offering valuable insights and lessons for readers.

    • Appreciating unexpected time with loved onesCherish opportunities to be present with loved ones, as the future may hold uncertainties.

      Cherishing the time spent with loved ones, especially during unexpected opportunities, is invaluable. The speaker's father, who was often absent due to military duties, made the most of a brief period at home by pursuing a degree at Stanford. This not only brought the family closer together but also provided them with cherished memories. The speaker's father's presence during this time was especially significant as it came before the escalation of the war and the subsequent long absences. This experience highlights the importance of seizing opportunities to be present with loved ones, as the future may hold uncertainties.

    • A fighter pilot with a family man's heartFighter pilots prioritize attention to detail and professionalism, but also value their family life and hold loved ones accountable for their safety.

      My father, despite being a fighter pilot with a fighter's mentality and love for mastery, was also a dedicated family man who prioritized attention to detail and professionalism. His experiences of exile, war, and hardships, coupled with his intellectual pursuits, shaped him into a unique individual. A key aspect of his personality was his ability to focus on details and systems, which was crucial for his success as a fighter pilot. He was a professional soldier, but also a loving father who made fast transitions between his military duties and family life. When it came to ensuring the safety of his family, he held those around him accountable for their work and didn't hesitate to address any issues that could potentially put them at risk.

    • Balancing Work and Family Life: A Personal StoryIntentional effort and resilience are crucial for managing work and family life during challenging times. Prioritize time for loved ones and find healthy coping mechanisms.

      Balancing work and family life, especially during challenging times, requires intentional effort and resilience. The speaker shares his experience of his father's stoicism, who managed to handle his business commitments and be present as a parent despite the demands of his career and military service. He also discusses the impact of his father's deployments on him as a child, describing the emotional challenges of saying goodbye and the eventual normalization of his father's absence. The speaker's discovery of his mother's diary years later proved crucial in helping him recall and write about those early years. Overall, the conversation highlights the importance of prioritizing time for loved ones and finding ways to cope with the stresses and uncertainties of life.

    • Discovering family history through a mother's diaryExploring past experiences with a new perspective can lead to healing and enlightenment. Prioritize self-care and reflecting on the past to improve overall well-being.

      Revisiting the past through a new perspective can lead to enlightenment and healing. The speaker shares his experience of discovering his mother's diary, which allowed him to recall events more precisely and understand his family history better. He notes that this process was more enlightening than painful, as he was able to see beyond the defenses that had been preventing him from recalling certain memories. He emphasizes the importance of being able to put the pieces of the past together and tells a story about how he learned about his father's experiences in prison and his mother's clandestine communication with him. The speaker also mentions his morning routine, which includes taking vitamins from Thorne, a company that offers high-quality supplements backed by scientific research. He encourages listeners to take care of their health and wellness and mentions NetSuite, a cloud financial system that can help businesses reduce costs and streamline operations. Overall, the speaker emphasizes the importance of reflection, understanding the past, and taking care of oneself.

    • Stoicism: A philosophy for navigating life's challengesStoicism teaches us to focus on what's within our control, take action when possible, and find resilience in the face of adversity, as demonstrated by the Stockdale family's experiences.

      Stoicism, a philosophy focused on controlling emotions and responding to situations, can be learned and practiced, even in the face of immense tragedy. This was evident in the Stockdale family, where the father's teaching and personal experience influenced his children, particularly through deep conversations and shared experiences. Stoicism is not just about controlling emotions, but also about taking action and influencing change when possible. The mother's heroism in advocating for POW families demonstrates this, as she used her unique position to effect change and challenge the status quo. The Stoic philosophy, which encourages focusing on what is within one's control, offers a powerful framework for navigating life's challenges and finding resilience.

    • Wives of POWs show resilience, POWs create resistance during Vietnam WarDuring the Vietnam War, families of POWs and the POWs themselves demonstrated remarkable resilience and leadership through community building and resistance, ultimately leading to a nationwide organization.

      During the Vietnam War, both American POWs and their families back home showed remarkable resilience and leadership in the face of adversity. The wives of POWs, led by one woman's initiative, began organizing support groups in various military towns before the Internet existed. Meanwhile, POWs like the speaker's father created their own forms of resistance and communication, even while enduring harsh conditions. These parallel actions of the POWs and their families served as a powerful force for advocacy and ultimately led to a nationwide organization. Despite their challenging circumstances, neither the POWs nor their families saw themselves as victims, but rather as agents of change. Their stories demonstrate the human capacity for leadership, resilience, and community in the most trying of circumstances.

    • Stoic philosophy of POWs during the Vietnam WarThe POWs' unity and compassion, exemplified by the Back US acronym, helped them endure torture and cruelty through acceptance, forgiveness, and brotherhood.

      That the stoic philosophy of the POWs during the Vietnam War, as exemplified by the acronym Back US (Be quiet, Do not bow, Airwaves, Admit to no crimes, Kiss, and Us), emphasized unity and compassion over self. They understood the importance of standing strong together and supporting each other, especially during times of extreme duress. This sense of brotherhood and connection helped them endure the torture and cruelty they faced, and they even welcomed back those who had previously broken and repented. This stoic philosophy, fused with a sense of Christianity, emphasized acceptance and forgiveness, creating a powerful bond among the prisoners.

    • Father's connection to Stoicism during imprisonmentStoicism provided a father with ethical framework and sense of control during imprisonment, emphasizing the power of the mind over circumstances.

      The speaker's father found great strength and meaning in the philosophical teachings of stoicism, particularly those of Epictetus, during his time as a prisoner of war. Stoicism offered him an ethical framework for living and a sense of control over his circumstances without requiring faith or a supernatural component. The father's connection to Epictetus was fitting as both had experienced suffering and powerlessness. The father's survival and resilience were symbolized by his severely injured leg, which miraculously healed and became a reminder that the mind can remain in one's command even when the body is weakened.

    • The Power of Will: Overcoming Challenges with Mental Resilience and ResourcesThe power of human will can help individuals endure hardships by controlling thoughts and emotions, and valuable resources like philosophy or financial tools can provide additional strength.

      The human will is a powerful force that can help individuals overcome even the most challenging circumstances, as illustrated by the stories of both a man in a prison camp and the ancient philosopher Epictetus, who both faced significant physical impediments. Despite their different backgrounds and reasons for enduring hardships, their experiences highlight the importance of mental resilience and the ability to control one's thoughts and emotions. Additionally, the discussion emphasizes the significance of having access to valuable resources, such as philosophy or financial management tools, during difficult times. In the case of the man in the prison camp, Epictetus' teachings provided him with the strength to persevere, while Rocket Money has helped countless people save money and regain control over their finances. Ultimately, these stories remind us that with determination, the right resources, and a strong will, we can overcome obstacles and improve our lives.

    • The power of connection and communication in challenging timesEven in the harshest circumstances, the power of connection, communication, and shared wisdom can provide hope and strength.

      Even in the most challenging and isolating circumstances, the power of connection and communication can provide hope and strength. This was evident in the experiences of Jim Stockdale and his fellow prisoners of war, who used creative methods like tap codes to share wisdom and keep their spirits up. One message that stood out was to remember the teachings of Epictetus, an ancient philosopher, demonstrating the enduring relevance of philosophy in the face of adversity. Despite their vastly different backgrounds and circumstances, these men found solace and unity in their shared experiences and the wisdom they passed on to each other. Humor also played a crucial role in helping them cope with the harsh realities of their situation. Today, we can draw inspiration from their resilience and the importance of connection, communication, and the power of ideas to uplift and inspire us, even in the most difficult times.

    • Maintaining focus on loved ones during hardshipsDuring challenging times, prioritize the well-being of loved ones and maintain communication with them, rather than getting consumed by external events or news.

      During the time when the speaker's father was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, the family's focus was on the welfare of their loved one and the importance of maintaining communication with him, rather than the political and social turmoil surrounding the war. The speaker's mother realized that following the news of the war constantly would not benefit their situation, and instead, they stayed focused on the POW issue and the well-being of the family. The speaker's mother's mental health suffered during this period, especially when the speaker was away at boarding school and she moved to Washington D.c. with the younger brothers. The speaker was unaware of her depression at the time. The generations of the speaker's family, including her father who entered the Naval Academy during World War 2, overlapped, and some are still around while others have passed away, making the speaker reflect on the surreal passage of time.

    • A mother's struggle during her husband's time as a POW in VietnamDespite the challenges of a husband's imprisonment, a mother's resilience and community support helped her family recover. However, uncertainty and fear marked their experience due to the lack of government policy.

      The speaker's mother's experience during her husband's time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam led to significant challenges and hardships for their family. The mother's friends and fellow POW wives came to help when she was in distress, and her health was in jeopardy. The family faced uncertainty about the future and the care of their young boys. However, with the help of great doctors and the eventual return of her husband, they were able to recover. The experience also changed the mother's perception of the government and its handling of the situation. The speaker expressed that his father, a dedicated military man, never questioned why they were in Vietnam but focused on doing his job to the best of his ability. The speaker also noted that the Johnson administration did not have a policy for the POWs, causing fear among the families that they could be abandoned. Overall, the family's experience during this time was marked by uncertainty, hardship, and a shift in perspective.

    • Vietnam War POWs: Families' Worries and Red Cross PackagesDuring the Vietnam War, families of POWs were left in uncertainty, as politicians' priorities impacted their loved ones' safety and return. Red Cross packages provided comfort, but also served as opportunities for intelligence gathering.

      During the Vietnam War, the safety and return of POWs was a major concern for their families. The Nixon administration assured the families that there would be a plan to bring the POWs home, which broke the deal for some when they learned that the prisoners might be politically inconvenient for politicians looking to exit the war. Many families had to assume their husbands had perished, as they had no evidence to the contrary. The odds of surviving a plane crash and making it to prison were roughly 50-50. The Red Cross was used to send packages to the prisoners, but naval intelligence also used this as an opportunity to gain access to them through hidden messages. The book, "In Love and War," written by James Bond Stockdale's daughter, was inspired by her father's experiences and is meant for anyone who lived through that period. It explores the vulnerabilities and emotions of those affected by the war.

    • A memoir resonating with various audiencesThe author's memoir about growing up during the Vietnam War connects with individuals who lived through it, benefits secondary school history students, and serves as a valuable tool for teachers to expose students to different perspectives of history.

      The author's memoir about growing up during the Vietnam War has the potential to resonate with various audiences. Firstly, individuals who lived through that period may find a sense of connection and comfort in sharing their experiences with the author. Secondly, secondary school history students could benefit from reading the book as it offers a unique perspective on history from a child's point of view. Lastly, as older generations begin to open up about their experiences during the war, the book may serve as a valuable tool for teachers to expose students to different renditions of history. The book's appeal extends beyond the author's father's generation, and the author's encounter with veterans at a reunion was a testament to its impact. The upcoming memorial for military spouses, the first of its kind in the country, further highlights the importance of acknowledging the experiences of those who wait but are at work.

    • Military Spouses' Contributions and NBA Playoffs PodcastMilitary spouses supported families during war times, shaping POW policies, while NBA playoffs have a new podcast companion for basketball fans

      Military spouses played a crucial role in supporting their families during times of war, with their contributions at home being just as important as the sacrifices made by the military personnel overseas. Furthermore, a women's organization played a significant part in shaping policies related to the return of prisoners of war. This story highlights the importance of acknowledging and preserving the sacrifices and contributions of military families. Additionally, there's a new podcast called "6 Trophies" where hosts Jason Concepcion and Shay Serrano discuss NBA storylines and hand out themed trophies for various basketball-related activities. The NBA playoffs are ongoing, making it an excellent companion podcast for the craziness of the season. You can listen to it ad-free on Wondery Plus.

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    It’s All A Gift | Ask Ds

    It’s All A Gift | Ask Ds

    It doesn’t seem that way of course. The economy is a mess, the government is dysfunctional, the virus is still there, screwing up plans and making us sick. People are annoying. People are frustrating. Your co-worker is a jerk. Your kid just broke his arm. Everything is expensive, so expensive.

    This isn’t how things are supposed to be is it? Well, it’s pretty much how things have always been. Look at Marcus Aurelius, in his reign and life, he knew all those things intimately, plus many other tragedies. A few years ago, a Daily Stoic reader wrote in to make an interesting observation. In Meditations, Marcus is vague about some things and very specific about others. As a general rule, Marcus does not talk much about the plague he lived through or the grief he felt. Nowhere does he bemoan the disasters which happened with such frequency that one ancient historian described Marcus Aurelius’ reign as an unending series of troubles. Marcus skips over all this, but you know what he spends a full 10% of Meditations talking about in very clear detail? The gratitude he felt to the people who had helped him, who had inspired him, who had taught him.


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    A New You For a New Year

    A New You For a New Year

    It’s kind of crazy to think how recent December 2019 feels. Not that long ago, it seems, we were getting ready for what a new decade might bring us. It’s even crazier when the truth settles in: 2019 was FOUR years ago. We are almost half way into that “new” decade.

    So much has changed. So much has happened. But at the same time, so little has changed. We’re still struggling with the same things. The aspirations we had back in 2019—this was the year we were going to turn a new leaf, lose weight, start that big project, learn a new language, work on our temper—are still there, that potential still waiting to be realized.

    Our New Year New You Challenge is all-new content, guided by thousands of responses and reactions to our previous challenges, courses, videos, and emails. It’s a whole new challenge based on painstaking research and timeless science, for an all-new, life changing experience.


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    You Are Not Seeing The Whole Picture | Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

    You Are Not Seeing The Whole Picture | Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

    Ryan explains why legacy is for everyone else not for you, and reads The Daily Stoic’s entry of the day, on today’s Daily Stoic Podcast.

    Blinkist is the app that gets you fifteen-minute summaries of the best nonfiction books out there. Blinkist lets you get the topline information and the most important points from the most important nonfiction books out there, whether it’s Ryan’s own The Daily Stoic, Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, and more. Go to blinkist.com/stoic, try it free for 7 days, and save 25% off your new subscription, too.

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    It’s Only After You’ve Lost Everything That You’re Free to Do Anything

    It’s Only After You’ve Lost Everything That You’re Free to Do Anything

    "One day late in the fourth century BC, the Phoenician merchant Zeno set sail on the Mediterranean Sea with a cargo full of Tyrian purple dye. Prized by the wealthy and by royalty, who dressed themselves in clothes colored with it, the rare dye was painstakingly extracted by slaves from the blood of sea snails and dried in the sun until it was, as one ancient historian said, “worth its weight in silver.” This was Zeno’s family trade. They trafficked in one of the most valuable goods in the ancient world, and as it has always been for entrepreneurs, their business was on the line seemingly every day.

    On that fateful day, a day not unlike one you may have experienced, Zeno lost everything."

    Find out the rest of Zeno's story in today's Daily Stoic Podcast.

    ***

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