“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.” — Epictetus Transcript Often, we find it difficult to take the steps to improve in an area we’re weak in. We can see how we want to be, and we get impatient when we’re not make the progress that we think we should. It also hard because we often know what not to do, but we don’t quite know what we should do to get where we want to be. When I was in high school, I accidentally ended up in choir. And I do mean accidentally. I missed...
“Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.” ― Epictetus
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.” — Marcus Aurelius Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash
“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash
“Epictetus being asked how a man should give pain to his enemy answered, By preparing himself to live the best life that he can.” — Marcus Aurelius Photo by Fervent Jan on Unsplash
“The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.” ― Epictetus
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” ― Marcus Aurelius Photo by Brittney Burnett on Unsplash
“It is unrealistic to expect people to see you as you see yourself.” ― Epictetus Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash
“Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there’s no need for that to happen if...
“Do not try to seem wise to others. If you want to live a wise life, live it on your own terms and in your own eyes.” ― Epictetus
“A boxer derives the greatest advantage from his sparring partner – and my accuser is my sparring partner. He trains me in patience, civility and even temper.” — Epictetus
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” — Marcus Aurelius
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.” — Epictetus
“Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit the evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now. You are not some disinterested bystander. Participate. Exert yourself.” ― Epictetus
“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.” ― Epictetus
“Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.” ― Epictetus
“Accustom yourself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, try to inhabit the speaker’s mind.” — Marcus Aurelius
“When you have been compelled by circumstances to be disturbed in a manner, quickly return to yourself and do not continue out of tune longer than the compulsion lasts.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.” — Epictetus
“Remember, too, on every occasion that leads you to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.” — Marcus Aurelius
“So does this misfortune prevent you in any way from being just, generous, sober, reasonable, careful, free from error, courteous, free, etc. – all of which together make human nature complete?” — Epictetus
“If money is your only standard, then consider that, by your lights, someone who loses their nose does not suffer any harm.“ — Epictetus
“Show me one person who cares how they act, someone for whom success is less important than the manner in which it is achieved. While out walking, who gives any thought to the act of walking itself? Who pays attention to the process of planning, not just the outcome?” — Epictetus
“Let us overlook many things in those who are like opponents in the gymnasium. For, as I have said before, it is in our power to get out of the way and to have no suspicion or hatred.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Everything is only for a day, both that which remembers and that which is remembered.” — Marcus Aurelius
“When somebody’s wife or child dies, to a man we all routinely say, ‘Well, that’s part of life.’ But if one of our own family is involved, then right away it’s ‘Poor, poor me!’ We would do better to remember how we react when a similar loss afflicts others.” — Epictetus
“This, then, is the beginning of philosophy – an awareness of one’s own mental fitness.” — Epictetus
“We are responsible for some things, while there are others for which we cannot be held responsible.” — Epictetus
“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
“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
“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
“[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
“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
“If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?” – Epictetus
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“There are two vices much blacker and more serious than the rest: lack of persistence and lack of self-control … persist and resist.” – Epictetus
“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
“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
“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
“What illusion about myself do I entertain?” – Epictetus
“Settle on the type of person you want to be and stick to it, whether alone or in company. “ – Epictetus
“The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” – Epictetus
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“If someone bathes quickly, don’t say he doesn’t bathe properly, say he bathes quickly. If someone drinks a lot, don’t say he is a drunk, say he drinks a lot. Unless you know their reasons for their actions how can you be sure of your negative judgment of them? Not judging others too quickly will save you from misperceiving their actions.” – Epictetus
“When you confine yourself to only those things that are under your control, you cannot be defeated. Don’t be fooled by outward appearances. People with more prestige, power, or some other distinction are not necessarily happier because of what they have. There is no reason to be envious or jealous of anyone. If you lead a rational life, the good lies within you. Our concern should be our freedom, not titles and prestigious positions. The way to freedom is not to be too concerned about things we don’t control.” -Epictetus
“Remember that for every challenge you face, you have the resources within you to cope with that challenge. If you are inappropriately attracted to someone, you will find you have the resource of self-restraint. When you have pain, you have the resource of endurance. When you are insulted, you have the resource of patience. If you start thinking along these lines, soon you will find that you don’t have a single challenge for which you don’t have the resource to cope.” – Epictetus
“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” – Marcus Aurelius
“He who fears death fears either the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation. But if you shall have no sensation, neither will you feel any harm; and if you will acquire another kind of sensation, you will be a different kind of living being and you will not cease to live.” – Marcus Aurelius
“No longer talk at all about the kind of man that a good man ought to be, but be such.” – Marcus Aurelius
“If a man objects to truths that are all too evident, it is no easy task finding arguments that will change his mind. This is proof neither of his own strength nor of his teacher’s weakness. When someone caught in an argument hardens to stone, there is just no more reasoning with them.” – Epictetus
“A brief existence is common to all things, and yet you avoid and pursue all things as if they would be eternal.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.” – Seneca
“The man who spends his time choosing one resort after another in a hunt for peace and quiet, will in every place he visits find something to prevent him from relaxing.” – Seneca
“We abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.” – Epictetus
“It is essential to make oneself used to putting up with a little. Even the wealthy and the well provided are continually met and frustrated by difficult times and situations. It is in no man’s power to have whatever he wants; but he has it in his power not to wish for what he hasn’t got, and cheerfully make the most of the things that do come his way.” – Seneca
“A setback has often cleared the way for greater prosperity. Many things have fallen only to rise to more exalted heights.” – Seneca
“My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application – not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech – and learn them so well that words become works.” – Seneca
“What else are tragedies but the ordeals of people who have come to value externals, tricked out in tragic verse?” – Epictetus
Who do you seek the approval of? There’s only one person’s approval that matters.
Is a life with little drama boring or fulfilling?
When something bad happens in your life who’s to blame?
Let go of what you know so you can grow.
Learning a principle is easy. Applying it is hard. Growth takes time.
Are life’s difficulties troubles to be avoided or opportunities for you to grow? It’s your choice.
How do you balance living your true self with seek the approval of others?
How do you handle haters?
Keeping track our progress is key to creating a better life.
How do you let go of your assumptions?
Are you being the best version of yourself?
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Trust your path.
Never assume a malice when ignorance is more likely.
The greatest emperor in Rome had role models. Who are yours?
Can you be grateful for the challenges in your life?
How you think about things determines how you feel about them.
You cannot lose what you do not own
What does it mean to be a stoic?
Own every second that this world can give.
Are you creating a life that is better than death?
Why we should learn to love our fate.
What if you could be 100% in charge of your own emotions?
How should a stoic receive criticism?
Since we cannot control other people and have to accept them for who they are, does that mean we have to accept their bad behavior?
“Let philosophy scrape off your own faults, rather than be a way to rail against the faults of others,” wrote Seneca. Rather wasting time trying to change others, we should learn how be more accepting of who they are.
You can’t control what happens to you in your life, but you can control your reaction.
A key factor in living a principled life is consistency. What areas of your life could be improved with a little consistency?
What are the uncomfortable truths about yourself that you are afraid to face in your life?
8 – Unquestioned Beliefs
Latest episode of Stoic Meditations
Latest episode of Stoic Meditations
Learning is the new Procrastination
4 – What Are You Thinking?
Latest episode of Stoic Meditations
What are you meant to do in the world?
What is under your control?