While millennials (and Gen Z for that matter) get a bad rap as being entitled personalities with whiny, me-first attitudes, the explosion of Stoic-themed posts on Tiktok exhorting right living through determination and self-control argues otherwise.
Stoicism, the grit-and-glory philosophy of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, has been processed into edible TikTok meme bites, a la, "It's not what happens to us that matters, it's how we react to what happens to us that matters." Add to this bestselling millennial authors such as Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph), and you’ve got an onslaught of determination-focused content as opposed to entitlement chic. After all, if you’re lazy, you’re certainly not going to like a post that suggests you “see people as opportunities to practice self-discipline in the face of unfairness.”
What’s behind this craze for the wisdom of the ancients, and how specifically does it reveal a more determined millennial and Gen Z mindset than we’ve given these groups credit for?