Arda Cigin

Arda Cigin

Founder of Stoic Leaders

My Life Story

“To know what you like is the beginning of wisdom and of old age” – Robert Louis Stevenson

If someone asked me today: “In what way would you consider yourself lucky?” I’d tell them two concepts that strongly shaped the current life that I lead.  The first one would be something called polarity; being able to clearly define the things one loves doing and the things one hates doing.

“I’ve often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of man, yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others” – Marcus Aurelius

The second one would be self-reliance; making your own judgements and fully trusting that you are on the right path regardless of others’ opinions. With that in mind, you can continue reading.      


Hello everyone! My name is Arda Cigin and in this article, I’ll talk about my life. Let’s start with all the way back, shall we?

So if you were there when I was born in Ankara – capital of Turkey – you’d realize even back then that I was not your typical Joe. I was not only born cesarean but also prematurely; I only stayed in the womb with a good-looking companion for 6 months. 

Yes! I had a twin with me in my mother’s womb but unfortunately he died instantaneously after birth. Apparently, premature deaths are a real possibility due to insufficient oxygen to the brain and lack of lung development.

On top of that, my mother had smoked one pack of cigarettes daily the whole time she was pregnant so retardation and serious brain damage was a real possibility for me.

Yet I was lucky. Even back then, I was a warrior that went against the odds. I was fragile, thin and weak at first but with Nietzsche’s popular maxim – What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger –  I’ve decided to survive as much as I can as a 6 month old.

For 40 days after I was born, I lived plugged into machines that were giving me oxygen and nutrition directly to my bloodstream because my frail lungs were incapacitated and I could only swallow liquids in smattering amounts.

After starting life in difficult mode, things started to get better with time. After a well-balanced nutrition and daily exercise, my brain and body had fully recovered and reached its peaked potential at the age of five. I was finally like my peers.

In all my school years, I knew that something was wrong with me. I was very shy and had this weird hairstyle that everyone tought I was a girl.

I was awkward in general and had acute social anxiety where I was petrified talking in front of groups. I mostly prefered one on one interactions and even then it was difficult to hear me talking. I was quiet and my head was over the clouds.

I had a passion when I was young. After my brother introduced me to point and click video games with Monkey Island Series, to say the least I was hooked. Since I’m Turkish, my english was non-existent when I was 11 years old but I still remember how my brother translated the dialogue for me so that I could understand what was going on in the game.

When I saw my brother doing that, I thought I have to learn english as soon as possible and play the third installment of the Monkey Island Series – The Curse of Monkey Island – on my own without him.

With my mother, we went to the nearest language education center around our neighbourhoodTomer – to learn english to a point where I could play that game.

After 6 months of learning the basics of the language, I continued my education with Youtube and story heavy video games. I still couldn’t play the game but I was dedicated and committed, I somehow felt that if I kept listening and studying english, I knew one day I could finish the game.

I promised myself that from that day onwards: Everyday, I’d watch videos  (video game reviews) on YouTube and read text in english at least 3 hours a day.

And that’s exactly what I did for 2 years. I don’t remember skipping any day. In fact, I remember some days going for 6 -8 hours of reading and listening. 

When I was 13 years old, something weird started to happen. Not only I could finish the game (finally) but also my accent started to sound more and more native. I’ve started to think in english and started to prefer speaking english over my native-tounge.

Apparently when you know two languages on an advanced level, your personality starts to shift as you switch languages. Arda who was a shy and insecure kid speaking Turkish changed to Arda who was confident and secure speaking English.

When I was 15, I’ve started to really feel I was the odd one in the class. No one really picked on me or made fun of me throughout my school years but I definitely sensed that I was the black swan.

The age 15 was also the year I’ve learned the importance of reading books. I remember the first proper book I’ve read in English – the great socialists and writer Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

The book was about how some people achieve success when others fail. In a nutshell, Gladwell made the argument that success is influenced by things such as date of birth, environment and your family rather than IQ and intelligence. 

The first time I read the book, I thought this was genius. But now reflecting back on it, giving excuses like “I’m failure because of my family” or “I’m a failure because of my country” is absurd in 21st century.

Thanks to internet, the kinds of information we can access with a push of a button is out of this world. If Leonardo Da Vinci could see the internet age, he’d definitely lose his mind.

The biggest mistake Gladwell made while writing Outliers is that the whole argument of date of birth and family mostly applies to pre-internet age. I firmly believe that no one should put these kinds of self-imposed limitations between themselves and their dreams. 

And that’s exactly what I did. At the age of 15, I’ve created a blog and told myself that I’m going to become an entrepreneur. The idea of working 9-to-5 bored me to tears and I’ve soon realized the whole education system was preparing robotic employees not entrepreneurs of the future.

After getting a mentor and educating myself on business, I’ve dropped out of high school in 12th grade and started to pursue entrepreneurship.

It was the only career option where I could leverage my current strengths, skills and passions (online business, writing, personal development respectively).

The decision to drop out wasn’t too difficult when I knew that the diploma everyone was willing to waste years for would be worthless for me since I exactly knew what I wanted to do: becoming an online entrepreneur and making money blogging.

After my real education started, I’ve decided get hands on with blogging as soon as possible. I’ve started to write articles and make videos. My confidence in myself started to increase and on top of that I was doing what I adored the whole time: writing.

In the mean time, I have gotten interested in Hellenistic Philosophies like Stoicism, Buddhism and Skepticism.

I’ve found these philosophies much more practical than others because in the ancient times, philosophy was used to find how to live a good life, not to do armchair philosophy.

After that I’ve started to learn and practice mindfulness meditation on a daily basis. I went to many retreats and learned from many popular spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Shinzen Young and Peter Ralston.

After taking this work seriously, my whole psychological landscape has changed. Not only I have benefitted from things like improved metacognition, memory and concentration (due to strengthening of the pre-frontal cortex in the brain) but I also started my enlightenment journey.

– What is enlightenment, you said?

I don’t have the time to get into here, but as Buddha simply described, enlightenment is the end of all psychological suffering. And I mean “all of suffering”.

Imagine you don’t even fear the most fundamental of human sufferings (which comes from evolution) like being homeless, being alone, going hungry and death.

Obviously there is more to enlightenment than this but knowing that you can stop suffering altogether is motivation enough for any sane human being to start this investigation for themselves.

By taking meditation work seriously, not only you can be the happiest version of yourself, but you can also 10x your productivity in your practical lives.

You’ll be more caring, selfless and loving towards other people. You’ll be fearless in your career and relationship life. 

Contrary to common belief, you won’t get “lazy” when you get enlightened. Since duality (ex. pleasure and pain) disappears, you’ll enjoy almost any circumstance equally. You’ll have this innate urge to help other human being. You’ll also be psychologically resilient.

So just because you take meditation seriously (or even when you get enlightened), you don’t have to go and live in a buddhist monestary. You can do all the necessary practice in the comfort of your home.


I’ve learned a lot in these years and that’s why I’m here today. I’ve established a long-term framework and vision for your self actualization and psychological growth.


My Ultimate Long Term Vision For You


1- The Essence  of Self Actualization Work (Meditation, Stoicism, Budhhism, Mindfulness and Spirituality.) – Takes 1-3 years to fully grasp


2 – Mastery Over The Mind: Learn How to Stop The “Compulsive Thinking” (Ego)


3 – Achieve Enlightenment: The End of Psychological Suffering


To Your Psychological and Personal Development

True Happiness : Cure Suffering With Stoicism and Buddhism