Desire and aversion

Desire and aversion, though powerful, are but habits. And we can train ourselves to have better habits. Restrain the habit of being repelled by all those things that aren’t within your control, and focus instead on combating things within your power that are not good for you.

~ Epictetus

Serious work

Well, then, are we teachers the only idle dreamers? No; it is you young men who are much more so. For, indeed, we old men, when we see young ones at play, are keen to join in that play ourselves. Far more so, then, if I saw them wide awake and keen to join us in our studies, should I be eager myself to join with them in serious work.

~ Epictetus

Show yourself first

If you should ever turn your will to things outside your control in order to impress someone, be sure that you have wrecked your whole purpose in life. Be content, then, to be a philosopher in all that you do, and if you wish also to be seen as one, show yourself first that you are and you will succeed.

~ Epictetus

My other faults

If anyone tells you that a person speaks ill of you, don’t make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: ‘He does not know my other faults, or he would not have mentioned only these.’

~ Epictetus

Show us you have learned

Eat like a human being, drink like a human being, dress up, marry, have children, get politically active — suffer abuse, bear with a headstrong brother, father, son, neighbor, or companion. Show us these things so we can see that you truly have learned from the philosophers.

~ Epictetus