With the rise of social media and information being shared faster than ever before, there has been a rise in interest in stoic philosophy. From viral Instagram posts from modern stoics like Daily Stoic author Ryan Holiday, to the popular Stoicism Today blog, you have may have heard bits and pieces of this philosophy and way of life.
RENU Therapy founder, Bill Bachand, is no stranger to stoic philosophy. Stoic ethics and ideas played a pivotal role in creating his company and continue to play a large role in Bill's life. He says, "For me, Stoicism is a road map for life. It is a skill I can only get better at, but not master." Every human being yearns for a balanced and good life, and for many, Stoicism is the answer.
What is Stoicism?
Stoicism was borne out of Ancient Greece in the early 3rd century BCE and founded by Zeno of Citium. Ancient Stoics believed in the importance of living with virtue and that external things such as material possessions, fame, or money are indifferent.
Modern-day stoics follow the teachings of ancient Stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus and believe in living a life in alignment with virtue ethics. While there is no major difference between ancient Stoicism and modern-day Stoicism, people that follow Stoicism in the 21st century apply the ancient ideas and teachings to modern times and daily life.
Bill’s Journey to Stoicism
Bill came into Stoicism during a dark period in his life when he was winding down his old business and dealing with a back injury. Looking for the best ways to deal with life's challenges and wanting to better himself, he came across Tim Ferris' podcasts and Ryan Holiday’s book “The Obstacle is the Way".
The 8 Virtues of Stoicism
While he initially thought that Stoicism was all about having or showing no emotion, he realized that it was so much more after being introduced to the 8 virtues of Stoicism. These virtues are:
- Focus on What You Can Control
- Take Action
- Be Virtuous
- Lead by Example
- Diminish Your Ego
- Develop Resilience
- Perception and Choosing Your Response
- Be Grateful
The history and philosophy fascinated him and he realized that he was naturally in alignment with the Stoic way of thinking and being. Bill shares, "I use 'Gratitude' to constantly check myself when faced with a challenge. When I am in a funk, I will stop myself and focus on what I am grateful for. I also try to look at problems and ask ‘What is the Benefit’ of this situation? That always grounds me and centers me."
The Benefits of Stoicism
For Bill, Stoicism is a road map for life and a skill to practice, but not to master. He says that there is no goal of Stoicism, rather, “Being a Stoic is a perpetual process, not an event. It is incorporated into all aspects of my life –Self, business, parenting, and relationships.”
Bill shares the 5 benefits that Stoicism has brought into his life:
- Focusing on what he can control: Bill shares that he is able to eliminate distractions of the modern world and focus on his family, his business, and himself. He says, “I cannot control world events, pandemics, and or the negative “24-hour news feed.”
- Taking action: Staring RENU Therapy at the same time as winding down his 26-year-old construction business was a challenge. While there were many unknowns about the business and the product, he chose to focus on the present and take action to make his vision a reality.
- Developing resilience: Challenges are always present in life. Stoic philosophy has given Bill the opportunity to look for the positive despite uncertainty and weather the storm. “Resilience enabled me to ignore the pandemic and go to work every day with focus.”
- Perception and choosing his response: When faced with challenges, Bill uses the power of his perception to step back and assess the situation. The perception of a problem dictates the response, so having a clear and level head allows for a more productive solution.
- Gratitude: Bill has a daily journal practice where he jots down what he is grateful for. Not comparing himself to others is also a part of his daily practice. He shares that comparison is not useful, “I will not concern myself with that, because it does not serve me. I am grateful for so many things, and when I get down, I reset by taking a step back and applying gratitude.”
Stoicism as RENU Therapy's Inspiration
Bill was introduced to the Wim Hof method and cold water immersion at the same time he began exploring Stoicism. His business idea of cold plunge pools was born and though he was still recovering from his injury, he focused his energy and attention on what was in his control and building his business.
Building RENU Therapy with Stoic Virtues
Bill explained that he was able to 'Take Action' at a time when he had no income coming in. During the research and development phase of RENU Therapy's cold plunge tanks, he says that it took 'Resilience' to show up every day and work at a time when the outcome was not clear. While it was only human nature that self-doubt and fear crept in, he persevered and stayed connected to the Stoic philosophy and vision of RENU Therapy.
RENU Therapy founder, Bill Bachand, talks about why he started a cold plunge therapy company
Entrepreneurship Supported by Stoic Virtues
Becoming an entrepreneur and building RENU Therapy from the ground up was not easy. Bill says that the stoic virtue of focusing on what he could control helped to put his reality in perspective. While the common reaction would be to default to fear, he focused on the reality of the present moment and the fact that he had the opportunity to build something that could bring him joy, creativity, and fulfillment.
"The virtues of Stoicism gave me the framework to dive into the deep end of a new business and to bootstrap it without any outside support," says Bill. He adds that "To succeed you will have to be uncomfortable, just like cold water immersion. We get better and stronger by taking on resistance." This is a belief that he takes with him not only in his professional life but into his daily cold plunge practice.
Cold Plunge Pools and Stoicism
RENU Therapy's cold plunge tanks include the Cold Stoic®, the Cold Stoic® 2.0, the Siberian Cold Plunge, and the Traveling Stoic®. Bill named his products within the framework of Stoicism to show his gratitude and tribute to the great Stoics.
Using cold plunge pools is a way to practice resilience training and can help you to gain inner peace, release tension and anxiety, improve your mood, and improve brain function.
In addition, RENU Therapy shows their gratitude to Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, with rustic, hand-made concrete statues. Marcus Aurelius was the ‘Philosopher King’ who held virtue despite his position of power and life in politics.
Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’ is a collection of personal writings which became one of the most profound documents of ancient Stoicism. This artistic tribute to the Stoic role model can be a daily reminder to live by the stoic principles in your everyday life.
Live Like a Stoic with RENU Therapy’s Cold Plunge Pools
Interested to learn about the cold plunge tanks that are inspired by Stoicism? Cold exposure therapy offers numerous emotional, mental, and physical benefits. Try RENU Therapy’s handmade in the United States cold-water exposure tanks and experience the difference that it can make in your daily life. Contact RENU today to learn more!