March 2018

81 – Impressions and Assent of the Will

“Impressions, striking a person’s mind as soon as he perceives something within range of his senses, are not voluntary or subject to his will, they impose themselves on people’s attention almost with a will of their own. But the act of assent which endorses these impressions is voluntary and a function of the human will.” — Epictetus

80 – Bad Neighbor

“I have a bad neighbour – bad, that is, for himself. For me, though, he is good: he exercises my powers of fairness and sociability. “ — Epictetus

79 – Accept the Inevitable

“If we try to adapt our mind to the regular sequence of changes and accept the inevitable with good grace, our life will proceed quite smoothly and harmoniously.” – Epictetus

78 – Deprived of the truth

“[Treat] unenlightened souls with sympathy and indulgence, remembering that they are ignorant or mistaken about what’s most important. Never be harsh, remember Plato’s dictum: ‘Every soul is deprived of the truth against its will.’“ — Epictetus

77 – Habits

“If you like doing something, do it regularly; if you don’t like doing something, make a habit of doing something different. The same goes for moral inclinations. When you get angry, you should know that you aren’t guilty of an isolated lapse, you’ve encouraged a trend and thrown fuel on the fire.” — Epictetus

76 – Action

“If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?” – Epictetus

75 – Be a Guide

“When a guide meets up with someone who is lost, ordinarily his reaction is to direct him on the right path, not mock or malign him, then turn on his heel and walk away. As for you, lead someone to the truth and you will find that he can follow. But as long as you don’t point it out to him, don’t make fun of him; be aware of what you need to work on instead.” -Epictetus

74 – Being Well Received

“Take a lyre player: he’s relaxed when he performs alone, but put him in front of an audience, and it’s a different story, no matter how beautiful his voice or how well he plays the instrument. Why? Because he not only wants to perform well, he wants to be well received – and the latter lies outside his control.“ -Epictetus

73 – One Fundamental Rule

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.” – Epictetus

72 – To What End?

“All our efforts must be directed towards an end, or we will act in vain. If it is not the right end, we will fail utterly.” – Epictetus

71 – Strong Mental Health

“People with a strong physical constitution can tolerate extremes of hot and cold; people of strong mental health can handle anger, grief, joy and the other emotions.” – Epictetus

70 – A Well Ordered Mind

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.” ― Seneca

69 – Persist and Resist

“There are two vices much blacker and more serious than the rest: lack of persistence and lack of self-control … persist and resist.” – Epictetus

68 – Apathy and Superficiality

“So when you hear that even life and the like are indifferent, don’t become apathetic; and by the same token, when you’re advised to care about them, don’t become superficial and conceive a passion for externals.” – Epictetus

67 – The Neutrality of Circumstances

“Where does the good lie? ‘In the will.’ And evil? ‘Also in the will.’ And things neither good nor bad – ‘… lie in whatever is external to the will.’” – Epictetus

66 – Change

“Is any man afraid of change? What can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature? And can you take a hot bath unless the wood for the fire undergoes a change? And can you be nourished unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change? Do you not see then that for yourself also to change is just the same, and equally necessary for the universal nature?” – Marcus Aurelius

62 – Reason (Just the Facts)

“For what does reason purport to do? ‘Establish what is true, eliminate what is false and suspend judgement in doubtful cases.’ … What else does reason prescribe? ‘To accept the consequence of what has been admitted to be correct.’“ – Epictetus

61 – A Science to Living Well

“What makes for freedom and fluency in the practice of writing? Knowledge of how to write. The same goes for the practice of playing an instrument. It follows that, in the conduct of life, there must be a science to living well.” – Epictetus

60 – Strong Impressions

“So make a practice at once of saying to every strong impression: ‘An impression is all you are, not the source of the impression.’ Then test and assess it with your criteria, but one primarily: ask, ‘Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?’” – Epictetus

59 – Dealing with Gossip

“If you learn that someone is speaking ill of you, don’t try to defend yourself against the rumours; respond instead with, ‘Yes, and he doesn’t know the half of it, because he could have said more.’” – Epictetus

58 – Open to Change

“If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance. “ – Marcus Aurelius

57 – Eliminating Desire

“People to whom such things are still denied come to imagine that everything good will be theirs if only they could acquire them. Then they get them: and their longing is unchanged, their anxiety is unchanged, their disgust is no less, and they still long for whatever is lacking. Freedom is not achieved by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it.” – Epictetus

56 – Falling Short

“Do not be disgusted, discouraged, or dissatisfied if you do not succeed in doing everything according to right principles; but when you have failed, return again, and be content if the greater part of what you do is consistent with man’s nature. “ – Marcus Aurelius

55 – How to Talk About Yourself

“In your conversation, don’t dwell at excessive length on your own deeds or adventures. Just because you enjoy recounting your exploits doesn’t mean that others derive the same pleasure from hearing about them.” – Epictetus

54 – Nature of Humans

“To care for all men is according to man’s nature; and man should value the opinion only of those who openly live according to nature. “ – Marcus Aurelius

53 – Compassion for Your Critics

“When someone criticizes you, they do so because they believe they are right. They can only go by their views, not yours. If their views are wrong, it is they who will suffer the consequences. Keeping this in mind, treat your critics with compassion. When you are tempted to get back at them, remind yourself, ‘They did what seemed to them to be the right thing to do.’” – Epictetus

52 – Contemplate

“Acquire the contemplative way of seeing how all things change into one another, and constantly attend to it, and exercise yourself in this part of philosophy. For nothing is so well suited to produce magnanimity.” – Marcus Aurelius