Written by Kate Billing, Founder & Creative Director, Blacksmith

A 4-minute read and 51-minute listen

I was  invited recently to share my thoughts on Stoic Philosophy: 2000 Year-Old Leadership Lessons for a Modern World by Luke Mathers, an expert in the space of stress-free business growth, on his Reset Podcast.

Luke and I share a commitment to a better world through business and to the development of human beings who understand themselves and each other more deeply so they can do meaningful work together, and live long and well.

Along with this, we share a curiosity for the wisdom and philosophy of a bunch of 2000 year-old folks called the Stoics. Stoic philosophy started in Greece about 2500 years ago and is one of the most practical and lived experience’-based philosophies going. It is built on four virtues or essential values:

  1. Courage
  2. Moderation
  3. Justice
  4. Wisdom

By the 16th century the word “stoic” had come to mean someone who represses feelings and endures suffering, who is indifferent to pain or pleasure or grief or joy. The unfortunate by-product of this appropriation has been the surface judgement of Stoicism and therefore a lack of curiosity about a profoundly helpful way of viewing our human experience and the ways in which we may live a good life.

Stoic philosophy is something that informs both my life and work, and this quote from renowned Stoic Epictetus gives you a small insight into why:

Seeking the very best in ourselves means actively caring for the welfare of other human beings.


In this conversation, Luke and I talk about:

  • being a ‘spiritual freelancer’
  • human hard-wiring in a changing context
  • meeting people where they are, not where you are
  • daily reflection and journaling as a path to a better, calmer Self
  • comparing yourself to yourself and not to anyone else
  • doing what you can with what you have, where you are
  • becoming antifragile rather than resilient
  • the value and growth in productive struggle
  • the power and importance of developing a ‘Tight Five’; and
  • curiosity, compassionate challenge, and leading with love when navigating tricky conversations.

So make a one hour meeting with yourself, grab your notebook, and give us a jolly good listening-to!

Listen to the podcast HERE.

If you’re curious to learn more about Stoicism check out this post from The Daily Stoic’ with some handy definitions, a bit of history and ‘who’s who’ of the key philosophers, and 9 simple exercises to get you started in your exploration and practice.


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Kate Billing_Luke Mathers

Kate Billing:

Kate is the Founder & Creative Director of Blacksmith, a specialist leadership development practice committed to the forging of human-centred leaders and fully human organisations.

For the past 25 years Kate has worked in the people, culture and leadership space, building a reputation for sharp insights, compassionate challenge, warmth, and energy. She and her team work with large and influential New Zealand organisations, with leaders from the executive table to the front line, all of whom demonstrate their capacity for personal and collective evolution.

Kate believes it’s time for a new kind of leader: human-centred leaders who together create the world we need for our shared future. Leaders who are examples of what’s possible when we commit to the highest levels of humanity and responsibility in the ways that we live, lead and work.

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

Luke Mathers:

Luke is a husband, father, and visionary who refuses to conform and believes in doing good and making the world a better place. He believes that stress can be good for you if you learn how to utilise it and that it’s a key to performance and success.

With a love of innovation, Luke has owned more than a dozen businesses, is an inventor, author, and philanthropist who is constantly looking for ways to improve the world around him.

Luke has been a game changer in the field of optometry in both Australia and Europe, and he started an optometry aid service in Vanuatu after the 2020 devastation of Cyclone Pam, providing thousands of pairs of glasses to local people who had lost their possessions. Luke is also a founding shareholder and board advisor to Nevhouse, a company that builds low-cost housing in third-world countries out of recycled plastic.

Connect with Luke on LinkedIn.