Sunday, September 30, 2018

Stoic Week starts tomorrow

Stoic Week starts tomorrow!

You can enroll at

Yesterday we had a good day at Stoicon.

My Stoic Week 2018 Presentations
           What have we learnt so far from 6 years of Stoic Weeks?
           Stoic Anger Management

Look out on the Modern Stoicism site for other workshops and presentations including Antonia Macaro's excellent talk on Buddhism and Stoicism based on her new book More than Happiness.

Also look out for posts on this site in the next week.


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Courses Sept -Dec 2018 (Stoicon on Anger, City Uni 10 week Pos Psych, 1 Day City Lit Pos Psych)

Here is a  Google Calendar with my courses until the end of 2018.
You can scroll the month to see later months

This link will also take you there ...
Positive Psychology: building happiness and flourishing



Course Information

This Positive Psychology: building happiness and flourishing course in London focuses on the positive, including strengths, positive state and happiness in both your personal and working life.

Course Code


Course Dates

4th October 2018  6th December 2018o

Places Available


Course Fee

Course Description

  1. Positive Psychology and Happiness

        View Full Course Information
      Course Dates: Saturday  24/11/18 (One day course)
    Time: 09:30 - 17:30 Course Code: PG658
    Location: KS - Keeley Street  
    Call our Enrolments line: 020 8023 7740

Stoic Anger Management Quiz - how Stoic are you?

Interested in Anger Management? If so, I’d love to see you at the workshop on Seneca and Stoic Anger Management at LondonStoicon Saturday Sept 29th 

As a warm-up, here’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek diagnostic check on your degree of Stoicism.

 1. In the middle of a dinner party at your house, a hired waiter drops a valuable glass. Do you
     a) Remain calm, reminding yourself that  we all make mistakes.  A glass is just a glass.
b) Give them a  real bollocking and sack them on the spot without pay
c) Have them  thrown into a pool of kiler fish where they will be eaten alive.

2. A friend criticises you for drinking too much. Do you
a) Take it on the chin and make plans to reduce your drinking
b)  Remind your friend that they aren’t perfect either and tell them that you’d rather they keep their opinions to themselves
c) Make a point of drinking more than ever that evening. Then prove to your friend that you can take your drink by firing your crossbow with precision at the heart of his child.

3.  When you are out in town someone carelessly barges into you. They apologise. Do you
a) Accept the apology with  good grace, adding “I didn’t really notice”
b) Glare at them,  mumbling under your breath about how they should watch where they are going.
c) Get someone to follow them home and  beat them up.

4. You are really annoyed that someone you know takes too much care over their appearance. Why do they always have to look SO smart? Why is their hair ALWAYS perfect? Do you
a) Recognise that your reaction as irrational and remind yourself that it is not looks but character that is important
b) Gossip about how vain this person is.

c) Order their execution.

5. Whilst away on an extended trip your partner leaves you for someone younger, leaving you to fend for you (and your (ex-) partner's) young children by yourself. Do you
     a) Accept that there is nothing you can do about their behaviour, and channel your energies into bringing up your children as well as you can
     b) Sue for divorce and hire a top lawyer to to bleed the bastard dry

     c) Extract your  revenge by murdering your young rival and  your (and your ex-partner's) children.

6. You happen to be well known for your outspoken views.  Whilst you are out an opponent boxes your ear. 
Do you
a) Make a joke of it,  perhaps by saying “It's a pity I dont know when to wear a helmet when I  leave the house”
b) Call the police
c) Take the law into your own hands, planning a grisly end for your assailant

How did you do? 
Did you get mainly As, Bs or Cs?
Mainly As – You are indeed a Stoic sage, no need for any Stoic anger management
Mainly Bs – You aren’t a  tyrant, but you definitely could benefit from some Stoic anger management
Mainly Cs  - Is your name Caligula or Medea by any chance?

Anyone with 3 or more As, that’s great, let us know in the comments!

Part II) 
All these questions are based on examples of sagehood or extreme anger described by Seneca.
Who was the Stoic sage (answer a) or example of extreme anger (answer c) as described by Seneca in each case
1. a or c? Who was it?

2. a or c? Who was it?
3. a or c? Who was it?
4. a or c? Who was it?
5. a or c? Who was it?
6. a or c? Who was it?
(half a mark for each part of each answer)

1)     This was one Publius Vedius Pollio (answer c) , notorious for his extravagant luxury and cruelty. (Seneca, On Anger  (3:40)
According to Wiki he “owned a massive villa at Posillipo on the Gulf of Naples, later described by the poet Ovid as "like a city". Most notoriously, he kept a pool of lampreys into which slaves who incurred his displeasure would be thrown as food[8] – a particularly unpleasant means of death, since the lamprey "clamps its mouth on the victim and bores a dentated tongue into the flesh to ingest blood".
…  On one occasion,[the Emperor]  Augustus was dining at Vedius' home when a cup-bearer broke a crystal glass. Vedius ordered him thrown to the lampreys, but the slave fell to his knees before Augustus and pleaded to be executed in some more humane way. Horrified, the emperor had all of Vedius's expensive glasses smashed and the pool filled in”.

    2)  King Cambyses was the tyrant upon whom answer c) is based (Seneca on Anger (3.14))
 King Cambyses was excessively addicted to wine. Præxaspes was the only one of his closest friends who advised him to drink more sparingly, pointing out how shameful a thing drunkenness was in a king, upon whom all eyes and ears were fixed. Cambyses answered, "That you may know that I never lose command of myself, I will presently prove to you that both my eyes and my hands are fit for service after I have been drinking." Hereupon he drank more freely than usual, using larger cups, and when heavy and besotted with wine ordered his reprover's son to go beyond the threshold and stand there with his left hand raised above his head; then he bent his bow and pierced the youth's heart, at which he had said that he aimed. He then had his. breast cut open, showed the arrow sticking exactly into the heart, and, looking at the boy's father, risked whether his hand was not steady enough. He replied, that Apollo himself could not have taken better aim

3) Cato was the Stoic sage exemplifying answer a) (Seneca On Anger (2:32)

"But anger possesses a certain pleasure of its own, and it is sweet to pay back the pain you have suffered." Not at all; it is not honourable to requite injuries by injuries, in the same way as it is to repay benefits by benefits. In the latter case it is a shame to be conquered; in the former it is a shame to conquer. Revenge and retaliation are words which men use and even think to be righteous, yet they do not greatly differ from wrong-doing, except in the order in which they are done: he who renders pain for pain has more excuse for his sin; that is all. Someone who did not know Marcus Cato struck him in the public bath in his ignorance, for who would knowingly have done him an injury? Afterwards when he was apologizing, Cato replied, "I do not remember being struck." He thought it better to ignore the insult than to revenge it. You ask, "Did no harm befall that man for his insolence?" No, but rather much good; he made the acquaintance of Cato. It is the part of a great mind to despise wrongs done to it; the most contemptuous form of revenge is not to deem one's adversary worth taking vengeance upon. Many have taken small injuries much more seriously to heart than they need, by revenging them: that man is great and noble who like a large wild animal hears unmoved the tiny curs that bark at him."

4) Caligula  was the tyrant  of answer c) as described by Seneca in On Anger  (2:33)
“Gaius Caesar (Caligula), offended at the smart clothes and well-dressed hair of the son of Pastor, a distinguished Roman knight, sent him to prison. When the father begged that his son might suffer no harm, Gaius, as if reminded by this to put him to death, ordered him to be executed,”

5) Medea, about whom Seneca wrote a play to illustrate the extreme perils of anger, according to some versions of the story carried out c)

Wiki says
“According to Euripidesversion, Medea took her revenge by sending Glauce (her rival) a dress and golden coronet, covered in poison. This resulted in the deaths of both the princess and the king, Creon, when he went to save his daughter. Medea then continued her revenge, murdering two of her children herself. “

6) Socrates demonstrated Stoic sagehood, answer a) (On Anger, 3.11)
 “There are many ways in which anger may be checked; most things may be turned into jest. It is said that Socrates when he was given a box on the ear, merely said that it was a pity a man could not tell when he ought to wear his helmet out walking.”

If  you got 3 or more, that’s very good, let me know in the comments!

Book your Stoicon London tickets now (or get on waiting list as I've heard they've just run out!)

If you are interested in Stoicism, September provides some great opportunities to find out more.

For those in London, tickets are fast running out for Stoicon London on the last Saturday of September at Senate House in Central London (near Tottenham Court Rd/Bloomsbury).


It's under £30 for a day's event including refreshments and a buffet lunch, remarkably good value if you are at all interested.

The full programme for Stoicon 2018 can be found at
Registration will open at 10.00, with talks beginning at 10.30. The event finishes at 5.00.
The registration fee includes tea/coffee and a buffet lunch.
We are pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be:
  • Professor A. A. Long, without doubt the leading scholar of Stoicism in the English-speaking world during the last fifty years
Other speakers include:
  • Professor Catharine Edwards, Roman historian and noted expert of Seneca
  • Antonia Macaro, author of More than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Age
  • Kai Whiting, who works on Stoicism and sustainability, and has written for the Stoicism Today blog
  • Dr Liz Gloyn, Classicist and author of a recent book on Seneca, The Ethics of the Family in Seneca
  • Professor William Stephens, author of books on Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, and contributor to the Stoicism Today blog
  • Dr Piotr Stankiewicz, from the University of Warsaw and a member of the Modern Stoicism team
  • Dan Lampert, organizer of The Orlando Stoics, Florida
There will also be a series of practical workshops (of which people will be able to attend two):
  • Donald Robertson – ‘Marcus Aurelius: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor’
  • Tim LeBon – ‘How Seneca Can Help you Manage Anger and Frustration’
  • Greg Sadler and Andi Sciacca – ‘The Stoic Heart: Stoicism and Partnered Relationships’
  • Greg Lopez – ‘The Proper Application of Preconceptions: Curing ‘the Cause of All Human Ills’.’
  • Walter Matweychuk – ‘Stoic Rationality in an Irrational World’
  • Chris Gill and Gabriele Galluzo – ‘Happiness, Stoic and Aristotelian’
Senate House
University of London
Malet Street
Date: Saturday Sept 29th
Time: 1000am - 500pm
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New! Practical Wisdom for Busy People podcast - episode 1.

Listen to at:

(3 mins 29 seconds)

The great Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca once said “If you don’t know to which port you are sailing, no  wind is favourable”.
Imagine a boat in the middle of the sea representing  your journey through life.
Where is your boat heading? Do you know?
Are you clear  where you want  your life to go?
If you don’t know,  other people are quite likely steer you somewhere they want you  to go.  Or the winds of fate may blow  off course so you end up wondering how you got to this job, this relationship and this lifestyle.
So you might conclude, as some  people do, that the answer it to take full control over your boat and not let other’s influence you.
But what if you end up steering it in the wrong direction, working on the wrong life goals, living an independent but unhappy life?
What we all  need  is a  clear – and wise -  conception of what we want from life. What matters most in life to you? Happiness? Good relationships? Meaning and purpose? Achievement? Being the best version of you?
Take a moment to reflect on what port you would like to sail towards, the values that matter most to you.
Now think about how you can take a step closer towards that port.
When you are deciding what to do, how to respond to what someone says, take a moment to reflect on how consistent it is with your values so it move you in the right direction.
What one specific thing can you do today  that you weren’t already planning to do to move one step closer. Perhaps gardening, reading a book, meeting a friend, exercising, making a healthy and tasty meal for you and others?
For the rest of the day you might like to imagine Seneca as a wise sage on your shoulder, advising you to be mindful of  where your boat is heading and to what you can to move in the right direction
See you soon, have a great day.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Food for the brain ...

Last time I ran the Positive Psychology Best Version of You course at it City Uni some students understandably asked me to narrow the reading down to a top 12 books for the course.
I've just updated this list.
It's for my course starting on Thursday
As I looked through it, it struck me that it wasn't a bad reading list for anyone wanting to understand the nature of the good life, well-being, strengths and virtues and how to build them.
Let me know if you like any of these especially, or if there is a favourite of yours you think should be added.

Food for the brain: Positive Psychology strengths and virtues Reading

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Positive Psychology: becoming the best version of you - next Thursday - updated topic list

Looking forward to new Best Version of you Positive Psychology course starting on Thursday

Here is what we are covering

1.Introduction: Developing the best version of you
2.Moving towards the best you: goals and steps
3.Overcoming obstacles to behaviour change - mindfulness and thinking fast and slow
 4.  Overcoming obstacles to behaviour change - CBT
 5.   Virtues and Strengths
6.  Wisdom, Stoicism and the role of Practical Philosophy
7.  Compassion, Self-Compassion and the virtues of humanity
8.  Courage &  Grit
9.  Self-Control & Willpower
10.  Conclusions

Thursday May 3rd Thursday 1830-2030
10 Weeks
Tutor : Tim LeBon


Would you be interested in learning how psychology and philosophy can help you and others become the best version of themselves?  Positive Psychology, the science of well-being can help you identify and cultivate your key values,  signature character strengths and  relevant goals and behaviour change. Psychology combined with ancient philosophy such as Stoicism can also help you learn how to learn about and begin to cultivate stable character traits – traditionally called "virtues" - like  wisdom, self-control, compassion and courage which can enable profound and lasting change.

Tim LeBon, author of Achieve Your Potential with Positive Psychology & Wise Therapy, will  your guide in this lively 10 week, 2 hour course to be held at City University, near Angel/Islington, London starting Thursday May 3rd.

Learning will be provided by a mixture of lectures, videos, small group discussions and role plays. Recommended reading will be given for each week.
 You also have the option of giving a short presentation in class.

You should set aside at least 2 hours each week for completing reading and exercises between classes.

What You Will Learn

The 10 week course will cover the following and will be discussed in further detail during the first class.
Note: This is indicative of likely content and is subject to change
Pre-course preparation
Complete questionnaires (strengths, well-being, SABS)
LeBon, T. (2014) Achieve your potential with Positive Psychology 
Introduction ,ch 1  pp 11-14, ch. 3, ch 5 p 81-87

1.Introduction: Developing the best version of you – values, goals and strengths
This week we will introduce the course themes , looking at
* Course Overview
* Personal course goals
* Values, Goals and Strengths- what is the difference?
* Values clarification
*  Reflection: The “Best version of me” 
First reflection on “best version of me”
Complete strengths and well-being questionnaires
Reading for next week's class

2.  Setting goals and moving towards values

This week you will learn ideas from behavioural psychology to help people set SMART+ goals and work towards their values

*  Values-based SMART+ goal setting
* Behavioural Activation
* Stimulus and environmental control to help goal attainment

Take action according to steps
Notice what you do well
Notice what goes amiss and in particular what thougths or feelings or urges get in the way. Jot these down.

3. Overcoming obstacles to behaviour change - mindfulness and thinking fast and slow

This week you will learn ideas from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based approaches.
* ACT and the hexaflex of psychological flexibility
Thinking fast and slow
* The value of mindfulness

4. Overcoming obstacles to behaviour change - CBT

This week you will learn ideas from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based approaches.
·        Negative automatic thoughts
·        identifying and overcoming interfering assumptions
·        Real – time change - STOP

5. Virtues and Strengths

This week you will learn about the philosophy of virtue and the psychology of strengths and how they are different yet connected.

* The cardinal virtues updated
* Aristotle's theory of the virtues
* Seligman and Peterson's VIA Strengths classification

You will take an inventory to discover your own top strengths and virtues, which will be discussed and built throughout the course

6.Wisdom, Stoicism and the role of Practical Philosophy

This week you will learn about the ancient Greek and Roman philosophy of Stoicism and how it is relevant to building the best version of you.

* What is Stoicism and how it is not the same as stoicism
* The evidence base for Stoicism
* How to be Stoic
* Theoretical & Practical Wisdom

7.Compassion, Self-Compassion and the virtues of humanity

·        The science of Compassion and self-compassion
·        Compassionate Mind Training

8.Courage &  Grit
Courage was identified as a cardinal virtue long ago; the related quality of grit has been advocated by psychologist Angela Duckworth as key to achievement

* Courage and associated qualities - persistence and grit
* How to develop courage
* How to develop grit

9.Self-Control & Willpower
Self-Control and will-power usually come out as the least developed of the character strengths for many people, yet they have also been identified as being foundational.

* The psychology of self-control and willpower
* Marshmallows, fallible resources and Ulysses
* Evidence-based ways to increase self-control

In this week you will get the opportunity to re-take the inventories you took at the start of the course to learn how much change has occurred. Key course themes will be summarised and next steps discussed.