What We Should Know By The End - Day 130 - Deepstash
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What We Should Know By The End - Day 130

  • Marcus has accomplished many things in life, but during his last days his emotions were still the cause of discomfort, pain, and frustration. He knew that with his limited time left, better choices would provide relief.
  • Hopefully, you have a lot more time left - but that makes it even more important to make headway while you still can. We are unfinished products up until the end. But the earlier we learn it, the more we can enjoy the fruits of the labor on our character - and the sooner we can be free (or freer) of insincerity, anxiety, ungraciousness, and un-Stoic-ness.

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If You Want To Be Steady - Day 157

  • The Stoics seek steadiness, stability, and tranquility - traits most of us aspire to but seem to experience only fleetingly.
  • These can be achieved by filtering the outside world through the straightener of our judgment. That's what our reason can do - it can take the crooked, confusi...

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Two Tasks - Day 80

  • You have two essential tasks in life: to be a good person and to pursue the occupation that you love. Everything else is a waste of energy.
  • How does one do that? Stoics makes it simple enough: say no to distractions, to destructive emotions, to outside pressure. Ask yourself: Wh...

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Awareness Is Freedom - Day 209

  • Seneca observes how often powerful people are slaves to their money, positions, mistress, etc. We see this slavery all the time - a codependent person who can't help but clean up after a dysfunctional friend, a boss who micromanages employees and sweats every penny. The countless causes, eve...

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That Sacred Part Of You - Day 221

  • That fact that you can think, read this thought, able to reason things - all of this is what gives you the ability to improve your circumstances and become better. It's important to appreciate this because it's a genuine ability.
  • Take a little time today to remember that you're bless...

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Don't Hide From Your Feelings - Day 124

"It's better to conquer grief than to deceive it." - Seneca

  • The Stoics intended to teach us to face, process and deal with emotions immediately instead of running from them. Distraction might be pleasant in the short term but focusing is better in the long term.
  • ...

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Pragmatic and Principled - Day 1

Pragmatic and Principled - Day 1

Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well;

  • Abraham Lincoln is the most renowned politician of his time. Even at a profession like that, he was able to be compassionate, humble, open-minded and purposeful.
  • Principles and pragmatism are no...

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Control And Choice - Day 148

  • The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiation between what we can change and what we can't. What we have influence over and what we do not.
  • There's something called Serenity prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the cou...

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Fear Is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Day 185

  • The leader convinced that he might be betrayed acts first and betrays others first. Afraid that he's not well-liked he works hard that it has the opposite effect. Convinced of mismanagement, he micromanages and becomes the Source of mismanagement. The things we dread or fear, we blindly infl...

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Everything Is Change - Day 101

"Meditate often on the swiftness with which all that exists and is coming into being is swept and carried away. For substance is like river's unending flow, its activities continually changing and causes infinitely shifting so that almost nothing stands still." - Marcus Aurelius

    ...

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Dignity And Bravery - Day 127

"As Cicero says, we hate gladiators if they are quick to save their lives by any means; we favor them if they show contempt for their lives." - Seneca

  • We do not need to disregard our physical safety or engage in wanton acts of violence to be brave. But nobody respects a cowar...

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You Hold The Trump Card - Day 53

  • We could look at the upcoming day and despair at all the things we don't control: other people, our health, the outcome of a project once it leaves our hands.
  • Or we could look out at that very same day and rejoice at the one thing we do control: the ability to decide what any event ...

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The Day In Review - Day 169

  • At the beginning or end of each day, the Stoic sits down with his journal and reviews: what he did what he thought, what could be improved.
  • Keep your own journal, whether it's saved on a computer or in a little book. Be unflinching in your assessments. Notice what contributed to your...

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Take Responsibility For Your Choices - Day 11

  • Today, see if u can go without blaming a single person or thing. Someone messed up your instructions - it's on you for expecting anything different. Your stock portfolio takes a big loss - what did you expect making such a big bet?
  • Whatever it is, however bad it may be, see whether ...

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Always Love - Day 67

"Hecato says, 'I can teach you a love potion made without any drugs, herbs or special spell - if you would be loved, love." - Seneca

  • Love. Love. Love. Why? Because, as the Beatles put it, "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Not just in politics, not ...

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Four Habits Of The Stoic Mind - Day 104

Whatever our case is today, let's align our minds along these four critical habits:

  1. Accept only what is true.
  2. Work for the common good.
  3. Match our needs and wants with what is in our control.
  4. Embrace what nature has in store for us.

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What Comes To Us All - Day 134

  • In a world that is many ways becoming more and more unequal, there aren't many truly equalitarian experiences left.
  • We all face the same end. Whether you conquer the known world or shine the shoes of the people who do, at the end death will be a radical equalizer - a lesson in abjec...

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Character Is Fate - Day 84

  • In the hiring process, most employers look what jobs the candidates have held in the past. This is because past success can be an indicator of future success. But is it always?
  • Of course not. This is why character is a far better measure of a man or woman. Not just for jobs, but for...

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All Is Fluid - Day 95

  • Is the ship of Theseus the same ship after every wooden plank of it is replaced or is it a new one?
  • In Japan a Shinto shrine is rebuilt every 23 years. Is it one shrine, 1400 years old? Or sixty consecutive shrines?
  • Our understanding of what something is, is just a snapshot...

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Marks Of The Good Life - Day 75

  • What's the meaning of life? Most of us struggle with this question. Rarely do we find much in the way of direction. But that's because we miss the point. As Viktor Frankl points out, it is not our question to ask. Instead, it is we who are being asked the question. It's our lives th...

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Don't Be Miserable In Advance - Day 15

  • The way we nervously worry about some looming bad news is strange. By definition, the waiting means it hasn't happened yet so that feeling bad in advance is totally voluntary.
  • The pragmatist, is too busy to waste time on such silliness. Think about it. Best case scenario - if the ne...

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Behold, Now As Ever - Day 106

  • The events that will transpire today are the same things that have always occurred. This moment right now, is a quotation of the moments that have come before and will come ever after.
  • This idea is expressed beautifully in the Christian hymn Gloria Patri. "As it was in the beginning...

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The Supreme Court Of Your Mind - Day 9

  • This can be swiftly taught in very few words: virtue is the only good; there is no certain good without virtue; and virtue resides in our nobler part.
  • And what this virtue can be? True and steadfast judgement. For from this will arise every mental impulse, and by it every appearance...

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Life Isn't A Dance - Day 45

  • Dancing is a popular metophor for life. One must go along with the music, feel and follow and flow with the partner. But the fact is nobody ever gets up on stage and tries to tackle a dancer. The dancer never gets choked out by a rival.
  • For a wrestler, on the other hand, adversity a...

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Confining The Unnecessary - Day 13

  • Since the vast majority of our words & actions are unnecessary, confining them will create an abundance of leisure & tranquility. We must also confine unnecessary thoughts, too, so needless acts don't tag along after them.
  • What vanity obligates us to do, what greed signs us up for, ...

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What Are You So Afraid Of Losing - Day 139

"You are afraid of dying. But, come now, how is this life of yours anything but death?" - Seneca

  • Most of us are afraid of dying. But sometimes this fear begs the question: To protect what exactly? For a lot of people the answer is: hours of television, gossiping, wasting pote...

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What Do You Have To Show For Your Years - Day 137

"An old man has no other evidence besides age to prove that he has lived a long life" - Seneca

  • One day, our hours will begin to run out. It would be nice to be able to say: "Hey I really made the most of it." Not in the form of achievements, not money, not status - you know wh...

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Your Actual Needs Are Small - Day 54

  • It can be beneficial to reflect on what you used to accept as normal! Consider your first paycheck - how big it seemed then. Today, as you've become more successful, these conditions would hardly feel sufficient. In fact, you want even more than what you have now. Yet a few years ago those s...

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A Strong Soul Is Better Than Good Luck - Day 26

  • Cato the younger had enough money to dress in fine clothing. Yet he often walked around Rome barefoot. He chose this way because he was training his soul to be strong and resilient. He was learning indifference: an attitude of "let come what may" that would serve him well.
  • His train...

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Take Charge and End Your Troubles - Day 7

You've endured countless troubles - it's enough already!

  • How many things you fear have actually come to pass? How many times had anxiety, jealousy or frustration lead you down a bad road?
  • Letting our reason rule the day might seem like more work, but it saves us quite...

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Steady Your Impulses - Day 183

  • Think of the maniac people in your life, the ones whose lives and choices are in disorder. Everything is soaring highs or crushing lows; the day is either amazing or awful. Don't you wish they has a filter through which they could test the good impulses versus the bad ones?
  • There is ...

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Stake Your Own Claim - Day 138

  • It's easier to quote, to rely on the wise words of others. Especially when the people you're deferring to are such towering figures.
  • It's harder (and more intimidating) to venture out on your own and express your own thoughts. But how do you think those wise and true quotes from tho...

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Don't Make Things Harder Than They Need To Be - Day 194

  • Imagine working with a frustrating boss. If you could step back and see, you'd probably see that not everything he's asking for is unreasonable. In fact, some of it is pretty easy to do or is, at least agreeable. And if you did it, it might make the rest of the tasks a bit more tolerable.

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Dealing With Haters - Day 42

  • When someone has a strong opinion about something, it usually says more about them than whatever or whomever the opinion happens to be. This is especially true when it comes to resentment and hatred of other people.
  • A Stoic does two things. They ask: Is this opinion inside my co...

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You Are Going To be OK - Day 115

"Don't lament this and don't get agitated." - Marcus Aurelius 

  • There's that feeling we get when something happens. It's all over now. All is lost. What follows are complaints and pity and misery - the impotent struggle against something that's already occurred. Why bo...

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Flexibility Of The Will - Day 44

  • When you set your mind to a task, do you always follow through? It's good if you do. But don't let yourself become a prisoner of that kind of determination.
  • Conditions change. New facts come in. Circumstances arise. If you can't adapt to them - if you simply proceed forward without ...

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Protect Your Piece Of Mind - Day 190

  • The dysfunctional job that stresses you out, a contentious relationship, life in the spotlight. Why are you subjecting yourself to this? Our adrenal glands can handle only so much before they become exhausted. Shouldn't you preserve them for life-and-death situations?
  • So yes, use Sto...

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Don't Mind Me, I'm Dying Slow - Day 118

"Let each thing you do, say or intend be like that if a dying person." - Marcus Aurelius

  • Here's the thing: you already have a terminal diagnosis. We all do. As the writer Edmund Wilson put it, "Death is one prophecy that never fails." Every person is born with a death sentenc...

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Don't Burn The Candle At Both Ends - Day 141

  • The mind is a muscle, and like the rest, it can be strained, overworked, even injured. Our physical health is also worn down by overcommitment, a lack of rest, and bad habits. Remember John Henry - the man who challenged the machine? He died of exhaustion at the end. Don't forget that.
  • ...

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Get Active In Your Own Rescue - Day 147

  • The purpose of all our reading and studying is to aid us in the pursuit of the good life. At some point, we must put our books aside and take action. So that, as Seneca put it, the "words become works." There is an old saying that a "scholar made is a soldier spoiled." We want to be both sch...

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The Philosopher As An Artisan Of Life And Death - Day 119

  • Philosophy is not some pursuit only for academics or the rich. It is for everyone to help us solve problems of life, not only theoretically but practically.
  • You're not reading these quotes for fun. Though they may be enjoyable, their aim is to help you sculpt and improve your life. ...

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Laugh, Or Cry? - Day 21

  • Heraclitus would shed tears whenever he went out in public - Democritus laughed. One saw the whole as a paradise of miseries, the other of follies. And so, we should take a lighter view of things and bear them with an easy spirit, for it is more human to laugh at life than to lament it.

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Did That Make You Feel Better? - Day 186

  • The next time someone gets upset near you - crying, yelling, or breaking something, watch how quickly this statement will stop them cold: "I hope this is making you feel better." Because of course, it isn't.
  • It's worth applying that standard to yourself. The next time you find yourse...

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What Would Less Look Like? - Day 36

  • At any moment, we may be toppled from our perch and made to do with less - less money, less recognition, less access, less resources. Even the "less-es" that come with age: less mobility, less energy, less freedom. But we can prepare for that, in some way by familiarizing o...

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The Strong Accept Responsibility - Day 98

  • A sign on President Truman's desk read, THE BUCK STOPS HERE. As president, he knew that good or bad, there wasn't anyone he could blame for stuff other than himself.
  • As president of our own lives - and knowing that our powers begin and end with our reasoned choice - we would do well...

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Following The Doctor's Orders - Day 89

"Just as we commonly hear people say the doctor prescribed some particular exercises, or ice baths, we should in the same way say that nature prescribed someone to be diseased, or disabled, or suffer any impairment. Incase of the doctor, something is ordered to help aid someone's healing. But...

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Only Bad Dreams - Day 193

  • Many of the things that upset us are a product of the imagination, not reality. They are vivid and realistic at the time like dreams. We don't stop and say: "Does this make any sense?". No, we go along with it. The same goes with our flights of anger or fear or other extreme emotions.

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Be Down To Earth, Or Be Brought Down - Day 37

  • People tend to get ahead of themselves, thinking they've got it all figured out and are better than those that don't. It becomes so unpleasant when someone has to drop some knowledge on them.
  • But this is entirely avoidable. If the bubble is never inflated, it won't need to be popped...

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Know Thyself - Before It's Too Late - Day 133

  • Some of the most powerful and important people in the world seem to have almost no self-awareness. We can be guilty of the same sin.
  • We ignore Socrates's dictum to "know thyself" - often realizing we have done so at our peril, years later, when we wake up one day and realize how rar...

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Once Is Enough, Once Is Forever - Day 107

  • Perhaps wisdom and happiness are like winning a medal in the Olympics. It doesn't matter whether you won just once or in multiple events, a hundred years before or just now and it doesn't matter whether you never compete again. You'll always be a medalist, and you'll always know what it feel...

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The Banquet Of Life - Day 197

  • Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass you by? Don't stop it. It hasn't yet come? Don't burn desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way w...

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Pretend Today Is The End - Day 117

  • "Live each day as if it were your last" is a chiche. Plenty say, few actually do it.
  • A better analogy would be soldiers who are about to leave on deployment. Not knowing whether they'll return or not, what do they do?
  • They get their affairs in order, handle their business, ...

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Circumstances Have No Care For Our Feelings - Day 200

"You shouldn't give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don't care at all" - Marcus Aurelius

  • Marcus was reminding himself: circumstances are incapable of considering or caring for your feelings, your anxiety, or your excitement. They don't care about your reaction...

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Spread The Word - Day 71

  • Stoicism is not a religion. You're not obligated to save anyone - there's no risk of hell if a soul remains ignorant to the Stoic philosophy.
  • But now that you've learned a better path, you can be of service to others. You can share your wisdom or insight with a friend or stranger - ...

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You Can't Touch Me - Day 55

  • Rubin Carter, the boxér was wrongly convicted of homicide and spent nearly 20 years in prison. He would say, "I don't acknowledge the existence of the prison. It doesn't exist for me." Of course the prison existed, and he was inside it. But he refused to let his mind be contained by it.

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The Real Source Of Harm - Day 201

  • Our reaction is what actually decides whether harm has occurred. If we feel that we've been wronged and get angry, of course, that's how it will seem. If we raise our voice because we feel we're being confronted, naturally a confrontation will ensue.
  • But if we retain control of ourse...

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Accepting What Is - Day 87

  • Something happened that we wish had not. Which of these is easiest to change: our opinion or the event that is past?
  • The answer is obvious. Accept what happened and change your wish that it had not happened. The art of acquiescence - to accept rather than fight every little thing.

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Don't Let Your Soul Go First - Day 143

  • Marcus Aurelius throughout his struggles - the years at war, the crippling illness, his troubled son - he never gave up. It's an inspiring example for us to think about today if we get tired, frustrated, or have to deal with some crisis. Here was a guy who has every reason to be angry, who c...

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This Isn't For Fun; It's For Life - Day 8

  • Philosophy isn't a parlor trick or made for show. It's concerned with facts that shapes and builds up the soul, gives order to life, guides action, shows what should and shouldn't be done - it sits at the rudder steering our course as we cruise through uncertainties.
  • The idea of idl...

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You Choose The Outcome - Day 100

"He was sent to prison. But the observation 'he has suffered evil', is an addition coming from you" - Epictetus

  • This is classic Stoic thinking, as you've gathered by now. An event itself is objective. How we describe it - that it was unfair, or it's a great calamity - is on u...

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If You Want To Be Unsteady - Day 158

"If a person seeks what is controlled by others, he will be agitated, fearful, and unstable." - Epictetus

  • Epictetus is reminding you that serenity and stability are the results of your choices and judgment, not your environment. If you seek to avoid all disruptions to tranquil...

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The Only Prize - Day 172

  • Warren Buffet, whose net worth is $65 billion, lives in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. There're many people like him.
  • Their lifestyle is the result of prioritizing. They cultivate interests below their financial means, and as a result, any income would allow them the f...

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A Proper Frame Of Mind - Day 180

  • We resent the person who comes in and tries to boss us around. This is because we are independent, self-sufficient people. Or at least that's what we tell ourselves.
  • Yet if someone says something we disagree with, something inside us tells us we have to argue with them.
  • We wo...

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The One Path To Serenity - Day 159

  • In the morning, remind yourself of what is in your control and what's not.
  • Before lunch, remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess is your ability to make choices.
  • In the afternoon, remind yourself that aside from the choices, your fate is not entirely up to you.

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The Smoke And Dust Of Myth - Day 202

  • Marcus Aurelius constantly points out how the emperors who came before him were barely remembered just a few years later.
  • The same goes for those driven to the heights of hate or anger or obsession or perfection. Alexander the great - one of the most ambitious and passionate men - wa...

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Frenemies - Day 73

  • It's pretty obvious that one should keep away from the wicked and two-faced as much as possible. Marcus is reminding us to avoid false friends.
  • But what if we turn it around? We've all been frenemy at one point or another. We've been nice to their face - usually because there was som...

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The Benefits Of Sobering Thoughts - Day 121

  • Political winds could change in an instant, depriving you of the most basic freedoms you take for granted. Or, no matter who you are or how safely you've lived your life, there's someone out there who would rob and kill you for a couple of dollars.
  • Death is not the only unexpected i...

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Follow The Logos - Day 116

  • The guiding reason of the world - the Stoics called this the logos - works in mysterious ways.
  • There is a helpful analogy to explain the logos. We are like a dog leashed to a moving cart. The direction of the cart will determine where we go. Depending on the length...

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It's Not On Them, It's On You - Day 114

"If someone is slipping up, kindly correct them and point out what they missed. But if you can't, blame yourself-or no one." - Marcus

  • To be able to see that if a friend is unreliable, maybe it's because they don't know what's wrong or because we haven't tried to help them fix ...

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Fear The Fear Of Death - Day 136

  • Death is scary because it is such an unknown. No one can come back and tell us what it is like. We are in the dark about it.
  • There is a helpful consideration about death from the Stoics. If death is truly the end, then what is there exactly to fear? For everything from your fears to ...

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Revenge Is A Dish Best Not Served - Day 68

  • Let's say someone has treated you rudely. It's natural to think: Oh that's how the world works, or One day it will be my turn to be like that.
  • But the proper response - indeed the best revenge - is to exact no revenge at all. If you meet other people's dishonesty w...

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Seeking Out Shipwrecks - Day 20

  • I was shipwrecked before I even boarded... the journey showed me this - how much of what we have is unnecessary, and how easily we can decide to rid ourselves of these things whenever it's necessary, never suffering the loss. - Seneca
  • The stoics weren't being hypothetical when they s...

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The Opulent Stoic - Day 22

  • The founder of the universe, who assigned us to the laws of life, provided that we should live well, but not in luxury. Everything needed for our well-being is right before us, whereas what luxuries requires is gathered by many miseries and anxieties. This is the pragmatic instead of the mor...

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What Time Off Is For - Day 51

  • You deserve a vacation. You work hard. You sacrifice. You push yourself. It's time for a break. Hop a plane, check into a hotel, and head to the beach - but tuck a book under your arm. Make sure you enjoy your relaxation like a poet - not idly but actively, observing the world around you, be...

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Never Do Anything Out Of Habit - Day 163

  • A worker is asked: "Why did you do it this way?" The answer is, "Because that's the way we've always done things." The worker has stopped thinking and is mindlessly operating out of habit. The worker will probably get fired by any thinking boss.
  • We should apply the same ruthlessness ...

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Be Ruthless To The Things That Don't Matter - Day 150

  • One of the hardest things in life is to say "No." To invitations, entertainment and obligations. Even harder is saying no to certain time-consuming emotions: anger, excitement, obsession, lust. These don't feel like a big deal, but they become commitment like anything else.
  • Saying n...

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The Big Three - Day 151

"All you need are these: certainty of judgement in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way." - Marcus Aurelius

Perception, Action, Will. Those three sum up the critica...

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A Higher Pleasure - Day 63

"Yes getting your wish would have been so nice. But isn't that exactly why pleasure trips us up? Instead, see if these things might be even nicer - a great soul, freedom and honesty, kindness, saintliness." - Marcus Aurelius

  • Marcus reminds us that pleasure hardly stand up to ...

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Don't Sell Yourself Too Cheaply - Day 126

  • Do we treat the days of our lives like we treat our money? Because we don't exactly know how many days we'll be alive, and because we try our hardest not to think about the fact that someday we'll die, we're pretty liberal with how freely we spend our time. We let people and obligations impo...

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The Benefit of Kindness - Day 72

  • The first person you meet today - passing acquaintance or friend - no matter the context - positive or negative - is an opportunity for kindness. For both of you. You can seek to understand who they are, and what forces might be acting on them. And you can treat them well and be better off f...

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Let Virtue Shine Bright - Day 56

"Doesn't the light of a lamp shine and keep its glow until its fuel is spent? Why shouldn't your truth, justice, and self-control shine until you are extinguished?" - Marcus Aurelius

Seneca writes that, "we mortals are lighted and extinguished." Whether the wick of your lamp is be...

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The Sword Dangles Over You - Day 122

"Don't behave as if you're destined to live forever. What's fated hangs over you. As long as you live and while you can, become good now." - Marcus Aurelius

  • The reality is, a sword is hanging over all of us - life can be taken from us at any moment. And that threat can send u...

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Watching The Wise - Day 175

  • Seneca has said, "Without a ruler to do it against, you can't make crooked straight." That is the role of wise people in our lives - to serve as models and inspiration. To bounce our ideas off and test our presumptions.
  • Who that person will be for you is up to you. Perhaps it's your ...

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When You Feel Lazy - Day 24

If you start something and right away feel yourself getting lazy and irritated, first ask yourself: Why am I doing this? If it really is a necessity, ask yourself: Whats behind my reluctance? Fear? Spite? Fatigue?

Don't forge ahead hoping that someone will relieve you or s...

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The Altar Of No Difference - Day 112

"We are like pellets of incense falling on the altar. Some collapse sooner, others later, but it makes no difference."-Marcus Aurelius

  • Measuring ourselves against others makes acceptance difficult, because we want what they have, not what we happen to have. But that makes no ...

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It's In Your Self-Interest - Day 17

  • It's most easy to prove that so-called pleasures, when they go beyond proper measure, are but punishments.
  • Stoics don't say, "Stop doing this, it's a sin." Instead they say, "Don't do this because it will make you miserable. They don't say," Pleasure isn't pleasurable." They say," E...

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Reboot The Real Work - Day 164

  • Most teenagers put in half-hearted, lazy efforts which give them a ready-made excuse: "It doesn't matter. I wasn't even trying."
  • As we grow older, failure is not inconsequential anymore. What's at stake is not some grade or sports trophy, but the quality of your life and your ability...

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Always The Same - Day 96

  • One of the striking things about history is just how long human beings have been doing what they do - living, dying, loving, fighting, crying and laughing. 
  • Popular books perpetuate the belief that, things are really different now. This irony is that people have believed that for cen...

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Do Not Be Deceived By Fortune - Day 33

"No one is crushed by fortune, unless they are first deceived by her... those who aren't pompous in good times, don't have their bubbles burst with change. Against either circumstance, the stable person keeps their rational soul invincible, for it's precisely in the good times they prove thei...

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The Beauty Of Choice - Day 222

"You are not your body and hairstyle, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be." - Epictetus

  • You might look beautiful today, but if that was the result of vain obsession in the mirror this morning, the Stoics would ask, are you act...

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The Vulnerability Of Dependence - Day 50

  • We're all addicts in one way or another. We're addicted to our routines, to our coffee, to our comfort, to someone else's approval. These dependencies mean we're not in control of our own lives - the dependency is.
  • Our routines can be disrupted, the doctor can forbid us from drinkin...

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Stick with just the facts - Day 3

Stick with just the facts - Day 3

Don't tell yourself anything more than what the initial impressions report.

  • It's been reported to you that someone is speaking badly about you. This is the report - the report wasn't that you've been harmed. I see that my son is sick - but not that his life is...

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The Philosopher's School Is A Hospital - Day 27

  • Have you ever been to physical rehab? It's not a fun place to be. It turns out that healing hurts. The experts know where to exert pressure so that they can strengthen where the patient is weak and help stimulate the areas that have atrophied.
  • Stoic philosophy is a lot like that. So...

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Life Is Long - If You Know How To Use It - Day 142

  • Today, if you find yourself rushed or uttering the words "I just don't have enough time," stop and take a second. Is this actually true? Or have you committed to a lot of unnecessary things?
  • Are you actually being efficient, or have you assumed a great deal of waste into your life? ...

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Reignite Your Thoughts - Day 167

  • Have you had a bad couple of weeks? Have you been drifting away from the principles and beliefs that you hold dear? It's perfectly fine. It happens to all of us.
  • But the reminder here is that no matter what happens, no matter how disappointing our behavior has been in the past, the p...

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Seeing Things As The Person At Fault Does - Day 217

  • Socrates used to say that "nobody does wrong willingly." Meaning that no one is wrong on purpose either. Nobody thinks they're wrong, even when they are. They think they're right, they're just mistaken. Otherwise, they wouldn't think it anymore.
  • How much more tolerant and understandi...

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Someone Else Is Spinning The Thread - Day 92

"If the breaking day sees someone proud, the ending day sees them brought low.

No one should put too much trust in triumph, No one should give up hope of trails improving.

God mixes one with the other and stops fortune from resting, spinning every fate around. ...

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Perfection is the enemy of Action - Day 4

Perfection is the enemy of Action - Day 4

We don't abandon our pursuits because we dispair of ever perfecting them.

  • Psychologists speak of cognitive distortions - exaggerated thoughts which include
  1. If you're not with me, you're against me.
  2. Because this wasn't a complete success, it is a tot...

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Don't Tell Yourself Stories - Day 211

  • Epictetus points out, there is no reason to tell stories about your past. It's boring, annoying, and self-absorbed. It might make you feel good to dominate the conversation and make it all about you, but how do you think it is for everyone else? Do you think people are really enjoying your l...

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Everlasting Good Health - Day 132

  • It's dangerous to have faith in what you do not control. But your own reasoned choice? Well, for now that is in your control. Therefore it is one of the few things you can have confidence in. It's the one area of health that can't suddenly be given a terminal diagnosis. It's the only one tha...

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Human Scale - Day 135

  • The amount of matter in the universe is immense - on the order of trillions of atoms. What percentage of that matter does one human body constitute? Of the earth's 4.6 billion years of age, our time on earth? Several decades, maybe?
  • Sometimes we need to have the facts and figures sp...

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Philosophy As Medicine Of The Soul - Day 178

  • We're making money and we're stimulated and busy. But the busier we get we drift further and further from philosophy.
  • Eventually, stress builds up, our mind gets clouded and we forget what's important. When that happens it's needful that we tap The breaks - put aside all the momentum...

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Where, Who, What, And Why? - Day 153

  • How often are we asked a simple question like "Who are you?" and or "What do you do?" or "Where are you from?" Considering it a superficial question - if we even consider it at all - we don't bother with more than a superficial answer.
  • But, gun to their head, most people couldn't giv...

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Don't Get Mad, Help - Day 69

  • The person sitting next to you on the plane, the one who is loudly chattering and knocking around in your space? In these situations, you might feel it takes everything you have to restrain yourself from murdering them.
  • It's funny how that thought comes into our heads before, you kn...

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Think Before You Act - Day 192

  • Why did I do that? You've probably asked yourself. We all have. How could I have been so stupid? What was I thinking?
  • You weren't. That's the problem. Within that head of yours is all the reason and intelligence you need. It's making sure that it's deferred to and utilized that's the...

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Cut The Strings That Pull Your Mind - Day 161

  • Think of all the interests vying for a share of your wallet or for a second of your attention. Every human is pulled by these internal and external forces that are increasingly more powerful and harder to resist.
  • Philosophy is simply asking us to pay careful attention and to strive t...

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Accurate Self-Assessment - Day 207

  • Most people resist the idea of a true self estimate probably because they fear it might mean downgrading some of their beliefs about who they are and what they're capable of. Don't fear self-assessment. It's equally damaging to value yourself at less than your true worth.
  • We underest...

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One Day It Will All Make Sense - Day 218

  • Part of the reason we fight against the things that happen is that we're so focused on our plan that we forget that there might be a bigger plan we don't know about. Plenty of times, something we thought was a disaster turned out to be, a lucky break?
  • This sense of being wrong is a s...

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The Grand Parade Of Desire - Day 198

  • It's never great to judge other people, but it's worth taking a second to investigate how a life dedicated to indulging every whim actually works out.
  • Ever wonder what God thinks of money? Just look at the people he gives it to. The same goes for pleasure. Look how quickly the partyi...

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Clarify Your Intentions - Day 152

"By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop." - Robert Greene

  • Having an end in mind is no guarantee that you'll reach it - but not having an end in mind is a guarantee you won't.
  • How will you know what do to in a ...

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The Enemy Of Happiness - Day 195

  • I'll be happy when I graduate when I get this promotion when I do this or that. Psychologists call this conditional happiness. Like the horizon, you can walk for miles but you'll never reach it.
  • Eagerly anticipating some future event, passionately imagining something you desire, look...

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On Being Invincible - Day 182

  • "Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice." - Epictetus
  • Have you watched a seasoned pro handle the media? They parry every blow with humor, poise, and patience. They always choose not to flinch or react.
  • Our reasoned choice...

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All For One, One For All - Day 59

"That which isn't good for the hive, isn't good for the bee. That which doesn't harm the community can't harm the individual." - Marcus Aurelius

Just because something is bad for you doesn't mean it's bad for everyone. Just because something is good for you definitely doesn't mean...

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Focus On What Is Yours Alone - Day 30

  • Remember, then, if you deem what is by nature slavish to be free, and what is not your own to be yours, you will be shackled and miserable, blaming both gods and other people.
  • But if you deem as your own only what is yours, and what belongs to others as truly not yours, then no one ...

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Pleasure Can Become Punishment - Day 191

  • Whenever you get an impression of some pleasure, as with any impression, guard yourself against being carried away by it, let it await your action, tube yourself a pause. After that, bring to mind both times, first when you have enjoyed the pleasure and later when you will regret it and hate...

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Find The Right Scene - Day 214

  • Consciously consider whom you allow into your life - like someone who is trying to cultivate the best life possible. Ask yourself about the people you meet and spend time with: Are they making me better? Do they encourage me to push forward or do they drag me down to their level? Now, with t...

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It's Just A Number - Day 129

  • They say age is just a number. Rich people and health nuts spend billions in an effort to move the expiration date from around seventy-eight to hopefully forever.
  • The number of years we manage to eke out doesn't matter, only what those years are composed of. Seneca put it b...

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Don't Sweat The Small Stuff - Day 16

  • It is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to it's worth, for then you won't tire and give up.
  • If you give things more time and energy than they deserve, they're no longer lesser things. You've made them important by the...

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Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself - Day 34

"There is no reason to live and no limit to our miseries if we let our fears predominant." - Seneca

"Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat int...

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Binding Our Wishes To What Will Be - Day 88

"But I haven't at any time been hindered in my will, nor forced against it. And how is this possible? I have bound up my choice to act with the will of God. God wills that I be sick, such is my will. He wills that I should choose something, so do I. He will that I reach for something, or some...

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Three Parts, One Aim - Day 81

The best and the greatest number of authors have asserted that philosophy consists of three parts: the moral, the natural, and the rational.

  1. The first puts the soul in order.
  2. The second throughly examines the natural order of things.
  3. The third enquires into ...

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Where Philosophy Begins - Day 206

  • Philosophy is intimidating. Where does one start? With books? With lectures? With selling worldly possessions?
  • Epictetus is saying that one becomes a philosopher when they begin to exercise their guiding reason and start to question the emotions and beliefs that others take for grant...

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The Fountain Of Goodness - Day 79

"Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging." - Marcus Aurelius

  • Today, we could hope that goodness comes our way - good news, good weather, good luck. Or we could find it ourselves, in ourselves. Goodness...

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On Being Remembered - Day 144

  • When walking towards the New York City Public Library, you'll pass the "Library Way" which holds the names of so many important people.
  • How many of these people have we even heard of? The people involved in the story of the library were the most famous men of that time, rich beyond i...

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Protecting Our Inner Fortress From Fear - Day 38

  • The stoics give us a marvelous concept: the Inner Citadel. It is this fortress, they believed, that protects our soul. Though we might be physically vulnerable, our inner domain is impenetrable.
  • But history teaches us that impenetrable fortress can still be breached, if betrayed fro...

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They Can Throw You In Chains, But... - Day 31

"You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice." - Epictetus

  • Great men like Epictetus, Stockdale, McCain etc., where put under chains.
  • None of these men broke. No one could make them sacrifice their principles. That's the thin...

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Anger Is Bad Fuel - Day 188

  • As the Stoics have said many times, getting angry almost never solves anything. Usually, it makes things worse. We get upset, then the other person gets upset - now everyone is upset, and the problem is no closer to getting solved.
  • Some say anger is a good fuel. The desire to "prove ...

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A Garden Is Not For Show - Day 40

  • After all you've read, it night be tempting to think: This stuff is great. I get it. I'm a Stoic. But it's not that easy. Just because you agree with the philosophy doesn't mean the roots have fully taken hold in your mind.
  • Fooling with books so you can sound smart or have ...

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Never Complain, Never Explain - Day 99

"Don't allow yourself to be heard any longer griping about public life, not even with your own ears!" - Marcus Aurelius

  • It calls to mind a motto of British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli: "Never complain, never explain." He said this because, like Marcus, he knew that the b...

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When You Lose Control - Day 205

  • You messed up a little. Or maybe you messed up a lot.
  • So? That doesn't change the philosophy that you know. It's not as if your reasoned choice has permanently abandoned you. Rather, it was you who temporarily abandoned it.
  • Remember that the tools and aims of our training are...

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Words Can't Be Unsaid - Day 60

"Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue." - Zeno

  • You can always get up after you fall, but remember, what has been said can never be unsaid. Especially cruel and hurtful things.
  • So it's always better to think twice before you say something which makes you r...

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Give People The Benefit Of The Doubt - Day 70

  • A virtuous person does not jump to hasty judgements about other people. A virtuous person is generous with assumptions: that something was an accident, that someone didn't know, that it won't happen again. This makes life easier to bear and makes us more tolerant. Meanwhile, assuming malice ...

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We Reap What We Sow - Day 82

  • It's something to think about when you consider whom to work with and whom to do business with in life. If you provide a bad example or something illegal or unethical advice to your employees, associates, or your children, might they betray you or hurt you down the road? What goes around com...

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You Were Born Good - Day 86

  • The notion of original sin has weighed down humankind for centuries. In reality, we're made to be good to each other.
  • You were born good. All of us have been made by nature, so that we can live free from error and nobly - not that one can and another can't, but all. You were born wit...

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Train To Let Go Of What's Not Yours - Day 110

  • At a Roman triumph, everyone would keep praising the victorious general. Only a few would notice the aide whispering into his ear, "Remember, thou art mortal." What a reminder at the peak of glory.
  • In our lives we can train to be that whisper. When there is something or someone we l...

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Seven Clear Functions Of The Mind - Day 154

Let's get into the tasks:

  1. Choice - to do and think right
  2. Refusal - of temptation
  3. Yearning - to be better
  4. Repulsion - of negativity, of bad influences, of what isn't true
  5. Preparation - for what lies ahead or whatever may happen
  6. Purpose - our guidi...

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You Don't Have To Have An Opinion - Day 187

  • Think about all the upsetting things you don't know about - people talking behind your back, the valuable things you would've lost without your knowledge. What's your reaction? You don't have one because you don't know about it.
  • It is possible to hold no opinion about a negative thin...

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The Glass Is Already Broken - Day 108

  • A Zen master who had a beautiful cup would repeat to himself, "The glass is already broken." He enjoyed the cup and used it, but in his mind it was already broken. And so one day when it actually did break, he said, "Of course."
  • Devastation - that feeling of shock - is a factor of ho...

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The Present Is All We Possess - Day 220

  • Today, notice how often you look for more. That is, wanting the past to be more than what it was (different, better, still here) or wanting the future to unfold exactly as you expect (with hardly a thought as to how that might affect other people).
  • When you do this, you're neglecting...

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The Pleasure Of Tuning Out The Negative - Day 113

  • Turn your mind away from the things that provoke it. If you find discussing politics at home leads to fighting or your siblings choices bother you, why don't you stop making these choices your concern?
  • It's not a sign of weakness to shut them out. Instead, it's a sign of strong will...

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You Don't Own That - Day 120

  • Marcus Aurelius used to say that we don't own anything and that even our lives are held in trust.
  • We may claw and fight and work to own things, but those things can be taken away in a second. The same goes for other things we like to think are "ours" but are equally precarious: our ...

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What Will Prosperity Reveal - Day 52

Robert Caro has written that "power doesn't corrupt, it reveals." In some ways, prosperity - financial and personal - is the same way.

  • If your mind has developed a certain cast - the habit of panicking, then it won't matter how good things get for you. You're still primed for panic. Y...

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Show The Qualities You Were Made For - Day 78

  • It's easy to blame our circumstances. One person curses that they weren't born taller, another that they're not smarter, with a different complexion, or born in a different country. It'd be hard to find a single person - who doesn't think they're deficient in atleast some way.
  • But t...

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Give Thanks - Day 145

  • Think of all the things you can be grateful for today. That you are alive, you live in a time of peace, you have enough health and leisure to read these entries. What of the little things? The person who smiled at you, that song you like on the radio, the pleasant weather.
  • Gratitude...

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See The World Like A Poet And An Artist - Day 165

  • A powerful perspective lies in ordinary or seemingly unbeautiful events. It takes an artist's eye to see that the end of life is not unlike a ripe fruit falling from its tree.
  • It takes a poet to notice the way "baking bread splits in places and those cracks, while not intended in the...

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For The Hot-Headed Man - Day 179

  • Try to remember that anger is not impressive or tough - it's a mistake. It's a weakness. Depending on what you're doing, it might even be a trap that someone laid for you.
  • Fans and opponents call boxer Joe Louis the "Ring Robot" because he was utterly unemotional - his cold, calm dem...

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Keep It Simple - Day 176

  • Each day presents the chance to overthink things. What should I wear? Do they like me? Am I eating well enough? What's next for me in life? Is my boss happy with my work?
  • Today, let's focus just on what's in front of us. "Do your job."We don't need to get lost in a thousand other dis...

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Cultivating Indifference Where Others Grow Passion - Day 204

  • Seneca was a Stoic. He had many material things, yet, as the Stoics say, he was also indifferent to them. He enjoyed them while they were there, but he accepted that they might someday disappear. What better attitude than desperately craving more or fearfully dreading losing even one penny. ...

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The Cards We're Dealt - Day 123

  • We have an irrational fear of acknowledging our own mortality. We avoid thinking about it because we think it will be depressing. In fact, reflecting on mortality often has the opposite effect - invigorating us more than saddening us. Why? Because it gives us clarity.
  • If you had onl...

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Wish Not, Want Not - Day 199

  • Remember that it's not only the desire for wealth and position that debates and subjugates us, but also the desire for peace, leisure, travel, and learning. It doesn't matter what the external thing is, the value we place on it subjugates us to another... where our heart is set, there our im...

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Start where the world is - Day 2

Start where the world is - Day 2

Do now what nature demands of you. Get right to it if that's in your power. Don't wait for the perfect timing.

  • There is plenty that you could do right now, today, plenty of small steps, were you to take them, would help move things forward.
  • Don't excus...

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Only Fools Rush In! - Day 12

  • A good person is invincible, for they don't rush into contests in which they aren't the strongest. You will never compel what they set out for, nor trap them in what they would avoid. How can such a person not be invincible?
  • Don't try to beat the opponent where they are strongest. T...

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Respect The Past, But Be Open To The Future - Day 19

  • Won't you be walking in your predecessor's footsteps? The ones who pioneered these paths aren't our masters, but our guides.
  • Traditions are often time-tested best practices for doing something. But remember, today's conservative ideas were once controversial.
  • Perhaps we hav...

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Consider Your Failings Too - Day 25

No one does wrong on purpose.

  • The clearest proof of that hypothesis? All the time we did wrong without malice or intention. Remember them? The rude behaviour because we haven't spelt in two days. The time you acted on bad information, got carried away, forgot, didn't understan...

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First, A Hard Winter Training - Day 28

  • "Hard winter training" is the notion that there is no such thing as part-time soldering (or part time anything for that matter). In order to achieve victory, one must dedicate every second into preparation and training.
  • The same is true for us. We can't do this life half heartedly. ...

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Dealing With Pain - Day 43

  • Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it's nothing to be ashamed of and that it can't degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good.
  • By the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you can remember these ...

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It Could Happen To You - Day 49

"Being unexpected adds to the weight of a disaster, and being a surprise has never failed to increase a person's pain. For that reason, nothing should ever be unexpected by us. Our minds should be sent out in advance to all things and we shouldn't just consider the normal course of things, bu...

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A Mantra Of Mutual Independence - Day 58

"Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other - for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathe...

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Honesty As Our Default - Day 66

  • All of us have used phrases like, "I'm going to be straightforward with you here... ", "I'll be honest with you... ", "No disrespect but..." Empty expressions or not, if you say you're being honest now, does that mean you usually aren't?
  • What if, instead, you cultivated a life and a...

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Anyone Can Get Lucky, But Not Everyone Can Persevere - Day 41

  • Anyone can get lucky. There's no skill in being oblivious, and no one would consider that greatness.
  • On the other hand, the person who perseveres through difficulties, who makes it to their destination through hard work and honesty? That's admirable because their survival was a resu...

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We Were Made For Each Other - Day 83

  • Philosophy attracts introverts. The study of human nature can make you aware of other people's faults and can breed contempt for others. So do struggle and difficulty - they isolate us from the world.
  • But none of that changed that we are, as Aristotle put it, social animals. We need...

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Who Gets The Lion's Share - Day 85

  • According to Seneca, philosophy shouldn't have to accept what time or energy is left over from other occupations but instead we should graciously make time for those other pursuits only once our study is finished.
  • If real self-improvement is what we're after we why do we leave our r...

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Actors In A Play - Day 94

  • Marcus Aurelius didn't want to be emperor. Epictetus lived his life like a slave. Our station in life can be as random as a roll of dice. Some of us are into previlage and others adversity. Sometimes opportunities, other times a lucky break, but to us it feels like a burden.
  • Whatever...

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Don't Trust The Senses - Day 212

  • Self-awareness is the ability to objectively evaluate the self, to question our own instincts, patterns, and assumptions. But even our own eyes deceive us.
  • I can't even trust my own senses? Because our senses are often wrong, our emotions overly alarmed, our projections overly optimi...

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Spendthrifts Of Time - Day 125

  • Today there will be endless interruptions: calls, mails, visitors. A philosopher knows that their default state should be one of reflection and inner awareness. That's why they protect their personal space and thoughts from the intrusions of the world.
  • Senaca reminds us that while w...

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The Beat Goes On - Day 128

  • All things die. Not just people but companies, kingdoms, religions, and ideas - eventually. The Roman republic lasted 450 years. The Roman Empire lasted 500 years. The longest recorded life of a human being is 122 years.
  • The average life expectancy in the United States is over seven...

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Meaningless... Like A Fine Wine - Day 140

"You know what wine and liqueur tastes like. It makes no difference whether a hundred or a thousand bottles pass through your bladder." Senca

  • As fun and exciting pleasures are, it's worth putting them in their place. You don't get a prize at the end of your life for having co...

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The Power Of A Mantra - Day 173

  • Anyone who has been exposed to Hindu or Buddhist thought has probably heard of the concept of a mantra. It's a word or utterance which allows us to block everything else while we focus.
  • Marcus would suggest this Stoic mantra - a reminder or watch phrase to use when we feel false impr...

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The Source Of Your Anxiety - Day 181

  • Anxiety surfaces when we're wanting something outside our control. Getting worked up, getting excited, nervously pacing - these intense, pained, and anxious moments show us at our most futile and servile. Staring at the clock, at the sky - it's as if we all belong to a religious cult that be...

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(Dis)Integration - Day 208

We're all complicated people. We have multiple sides to ourselves - conflicting wants to be desires, and fears. The outside world is no less confusing and contradictory. If we're not careful, all these forces - pushing and pulling - will eventually tear us apart.

We have a choice: to stand ...

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Living Without Restriction - Day 216

  • Take a look at some of the powerful, rich people. Look at what success has cost them. Mostly? Freedom.
  • Their work demands they wear a suit. It will require - inevitably - realizing they are unable to say what they actually think. Worse, it demands that they become a different person....

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Set The Standards And Use Them - Day 64

We go through our days responding and reacting, but it's better to really pause and ask: Is this the kind of thing the person I would like to be should do?

The work of living is to set standards and then not compromise them. When you're brushing your teeth, choosing your friends, ...

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It's Easy to Get Better. But Better At What? - Day 77

  • Self-improvement is a noble pursuit. Most people don't even bother. But among those who do, it's possible for vanity and superficiality to corrupt this process.
  • Our will shouldn't be directed at becoming the person who is in perfect shape or who can speak multiple languages but who ...

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Not Good Neither Bad - Day 90

  • When people say change is good, they're usually trying to reassure themselves. Because instinctively we view change as bad - or at least we're suspicious of it.
  • The Stoics want you to do away with those labels altogether. Change isn't good. The status quo isn't bad. They just are.

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75 reads

How To Be Powerful - Day 93

"Don't trust in your reputation, or position, but in the strength that is yours - namely, your judgements about the things that you control and don't control. For this alone is what makes us free and unfettered, that picks us up by the neck from the depths and lifts us eye to eye with the ric...

2.07K

76 reads

Seeing Our Addictions - Day 155

  • What we consider to be harmless indulgences can easily become full-blown addictions. The little compulsions and drives we have not only chip away at our freedom and sovereignty, they cloud our clarity. We think we're in control - but are we really? As one addict put it, addiction is when we'...

1.87K

50 reads

Push For Deep Understanding - Day 171

  • Marcus read all of Epictetus's ideas and he absorbed them wholly with a deep understanding. They became part of his DNA as a human being. He quoted them at length over the course of his life, finding real clarity and strength in words, even amid the immense luxury and power he would come to ...

1.77K

33 reads

Prepare For The Storm - Day 196

  • Today, we have forecasters and experts who can fairly accurately predict storm patterns. Today, we're defenseless against a hurricane only if we refuse to prepare or heed the warnings.
  • If we don't have a plan, if we never learned how to put up the storm windows, we will be at the mer...

1.62K

29 reads

Don't Unintentionally Hand Over Your Freedom - Day 213

  • Instinctively, we protect our physical selves. We don't let people touch us, push us, control where we go. But when it comes to the mind, we're less disciplined. We hand it over willingly to social media, to television, to what other people are doing, thinking, or saying.
  • We don't re...

1.56K

20 reads

Judge Not, Lest... - Day 103

  • Remember, the proper direction of philosophy - of all the things we're doing here - is focused inward. To make ourselves better and to leave other people to that task for themselves and their own journey. Our faults are in our control, and so we turn to philosophy to help scrape them off lik...

2.05K

57 reads

How Can You Know Whether You've Never Been Tested - Day 29

I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent - no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you. - Seneca

  • There's a benefit for so-called misfortune. Having experienced and survived it, we w...

2.34K

496 reads

Révérence And Justice - Day 65

"Leave the past behind, let the grand design take care of the future, and instead only rightly guide the present to révérence and justice. Révérence so that you'll love what you've been allotted, for nature brought you both to each other. Justice so that you'll speak the truth freely and with...

2.16K

124 reads

It's Not The Thing, It's What We Make Of It - Day 97

"When you are distressed by an external thing, it's not the thing that troubles you, but only your judgment of it" - Aurelius

  • Franklin Roosevelt, widely regarded as one of America's greatest leaders, at middle age was diagnosed with polio after spending years preparing for pre...

2.06K

75 reads

Hope And Fear Are The Same - Day 102

  • Hope is generally regarded as good. Fear is generally regarded as bad. To a Stoic, they are the same - both are projections into the future about things we do not control. Both are enemy of this present moment that you are actually in. Both mean you're living a life in opposition to amor...

2.05K

68 reads

Attachments Are The Enemy - Day 109

  • There is only one thing that causes unhappiness. It's attachment. Attachments to a specific person, place, time, job or a lifestyle.
  • Attachments are what make it so hard to accept change. Once we have them, we don't want to let go. We become slaves to maintaining the status quo.

2.04K

68 reads

Education Is Freedom - Day 149

  • Why are you reading these entries? Not to pass your time - there are plenty of easier choices than reading. Because you are learning how to live. Because you want to be freer, fear less, and achieve a state of peace. Education - reading and meditating on the wisdom of great minds - is not to...

1.89K

36 reads

You Don't Have To Stay On Top Of Everything - Day 177

  • Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of a critically acclaimed series, follow the news regularly, etc.
  • But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? How much more time, energy, an...

1.75K

32 reads

What We Control And What We Don't - Day 156

  • Today you won't control the external events that happen. Is that scary? A little, but it's balanced when we see that we can control our opinion about those events. You decide whether they're good or bad, fair or unfair. You don't control the situation, but you control what you think about it...

1.87K

38 reads

Circle of Control - Day 160

  • This is important enough that it bears repeating: a wise person knows what's inside their circle of control and what is outside of it.
  • The circle of control contains just one thing: YOUR MIND. Everything else, even your physical body isn't completely within the circle. There are phys...

1.86K

39 reads

Hero Or Nero? - Day 189

  • There are kings who are tyrants and like Nero and Domitian. And also there were kings like Marcus Aurelius, a wise philosopher-king.
  • So in fact it looks like it comes down, in any way, to the inner strength and self-awareness of individuals - what they value, what desires they keep i...

1.7K

31 reads

To Each His Own - Day 203

  • Abraham Lincoln got fuming mad with a subordinate. Rather than taking it out on that person directly, he'd write a long letter, outlining his case why they were wrong. Then he would fold it up, put the letter in the desk drawer, and never send it.
  • He knew, that it was easy to fight b...

1.62K

27 reads

A Simple Way To Measure Our Days - Day 131

  • The Stoics didn't think that anyone could be perfect. The idea of becoming a sage - the highest aspiration of a philosopher - wasn't realistic.
  • Still, they started every day hoping to get a little closer to that mark. There was much to gain in the trying.
  • Can you actually l...

1.95K

45 reads

Find Yourself A Cato - Day 215

  • Seneca tells us that we should each have our own Cato - a great and noble person we can allow into our minds and use to guide our actions. It doesn't have to be an actual person, just someone who, like Seneca said, can stand witness to our behavior. Someone who can quietly admonish us if we ...

1.56K

31 reads

No Pain, No Gain - Day 47

  • The stoics saw sports as both a fun pastime as well as a training ground to practice for the challenges one will inevitably face in the course of living.
  • Everyone has found themselves outmatched by an opponent, frustrated by some skill that we don't - height, speed, vision, whatever...

2.28K

183 reads

A Higher Power - Day 91

  • In undergoing the twelve step program, many addicts struggle most with step 2: acknowledging a higher power. Addicts often fight this one. At first they claim its because they're atheists or because they don't like religion. But later they realise that this is just the addiction talking.

2.07K

71 reads

A Morning Ritual - Day 168

  • Many successful people have a morning ritual. For some, it's meditation. For others, it's exercise. For many, it's journaling - just a few pages where they write down their thoughts, fears, hopes. In these cases, the point is not so much the activity itself as it is the ritualized reflection...

1.86K

67 reads

A Selfish Reason To Be Good - Day 62

"The person who does wrong, does wrong to themselves - making themselves evil" - Marcus Aurelius

  • The next time you do something wrong, try to remember how it made you feel. Rarely does one say, "I felt great!"
  • We feel a version of sickness when we lie, when we cheat a...

2.17K

151 reads

Make the Words Your Own - Day - 6

How can people prove their words to be their own - by putting into practice what they've been preaching.

  • There was a lot of borrowing among the philosophers. That's because they weren't concerned with authorship. More important, they believed that what was said mattered

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4.25K reads

Learn From All Sources - Day 18

"I'll never be ashamed to quote a bad writer with good saying." - Seneca

  • Seneca was looking for wisdom, period. It didn't matter where it came from. This is something a lot of people seem to miss. Who cares whether some bit of wisdom is from a stoic, epicurean or anyo...

2.39K

887 reads

The Most Valuable Asset - Day 57

"But the wise person can lose nothing. Such a person has everything stored up for themselves because they invest well" - Seneca

  • Some people put their money in assets - stocks, bonds, property. Others invest in relationships or accomplishments, knowing that they can draw on the...

2.19K

145 reads

Wherever You Go There Your Choice Is - Day 166

  • In all circumstances - adversity or advantage - we really have just one thing we need to do: focus on what is in our control as opposed to what is not. Right now we may be facing struggles but in just a few days we might do well that success is actually a burden.
  • Ultimately, this is ...

1.85K

27 reads

Place Is In Staying The Course - Day 162

  • Clarity of vision allows us to have belief. That's not to say we're always going to be 100 percent certain of everything. Rather, we're heading generally in the right direction - that we don't need to constantly compare ourselves with other people or change our minds every three seconds base...

1.86K

35 reads

A Different Way To Pray - Day 39

Try praying differently, and see what happens: instead of a 'way to get rid of him,' try asking for 'a way to not crave his demise.'

  • Prayer has a religious connotation, but in life we all find ourselves hoping and asking for things.
  • We want divine intervention so tha...

2.31K

274 reads

Looking Out For Each Other - Day 61

  • Watching other people succeed is one of the toughest things to do - especially if we are not doing well ourselves. In our hunter-gatherer minds, we suspect that life is a zero-sum game - that for someone to have more, means that we might end up less.
  • But like all parts of philosophy...

2.18K

159 reads

The Most Secure Fortress - Day 48

  • The mind freed from passions is an impenetrable fortress - a person has no more secure place of refuge for all time. When we repeat an action so often it becomes unconscious behaviour, we can default to it without thinking.
  • Proper training can change your default habits. Train yours...

2.27K

181 reads

Maintain Composure, Maintain Control - Day 46

  • We're going to get caught off guard from time to time. Not just by a terrorist attack or a financial panic - but also minor, unexpected occurrences. Your car battery dies, you don't feel well suddenly. These situations may throw us into confusion and disarray.
  • That's perfectly OK! I...

2.29K

207 reads

Don't Seek Out Strife - Day 184

  • Roosevelt was a truly great man. But he was driven by compulsion, a work and activity addiction that was seeming without end. Many of us share this affliction - being driven by something we can't control. We're afraid of being still, so we seek out strife and action as a distraction. We choo...

1.71K

21 reads

No Time For Theories, just Results - Day 5

No Time For Theories, just Results - Day 5

When the problem arose for us whether habit or theory was better for getting virtue - Musonius thought habit to be more effective.

  • There is no time to chop logic over whether our theories are correct. We are dealing with the real world here. What matters is how you're going t...

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5.15K reads

What's Better Left Unsaid - Day 199

  • It's easy to act - to just dive in. It's harder to stop, to pause, to think.
  • As Cato entered politics, many expected swift and great things from him. He was aware of this pressure - a pressure that exists on all of us at all times - and resisted.
  • Instead, he waited and prepar...

1.62K

28 reads

Your Hidden Power - Day 32

"Consider who you are. Above all, a human being, carrying no greater power than your own reasoned choice, which oversees all other things, and is free from any other master." - Epictetus

Your hidden power is your ability to use reason and make choices, however limited or small. Thi...

2.33K

396 reads

Where It Counts - Day 14

Inwardly, we ought to be different in every respect, but our outward appearance should blend in with the crowd.

  • Diogenes the cynic was a controversial philosopher who wandered the streets like a homeless person. It's tempting to take philosophy to the extremes, but who does i...

2.38K

1.17K reads

Heroes Here And Now - Day 76

  • Alexandria, the city in Egypt, still bears the name of its founder, Alexander the Great. How cool it would feel to have a city named after you?
  • Here's a thought: it wouldn't be cool. Because like Alexander, you'll be dead. You'll have no idea whether your name lasted down through ce...

2.13K

108 reads

Preparing On The Sunny Day - Day 35

"Here's a lesson to test your mind's mettle: take part of a week in which you have only the most meager and cheap food, and ask yourself if this is really the worst that you feared. It is when times are good that you should gird yourself for tougher times ahead, for when fortune is kind the s...

2.33K

341 reads

The Three Areas Of Training - Day 174

  • First, we must consider what we should desire and what we should be averse to. Why? So that we want what is good and avoid what is bad. It's not enough to just listen to your body - because our attractions often lead us astray.
  • Next, we just examine our impulses to act - that is, our...

1.75K

31 reads

Self Deception Is Our Enemy - Day 219

  • Self-deception and ego are the sworn enemy of our ability to learn and grow. We will be unable to improve, to learn, to earn the respect of others if we think we're already perfect, a genius admired far and wide.
  • In this sense, ego and self-deception are the enemies of the things we ...

1.56K

38 reads

Anything can be an advantage - Day 10

  • At 5'-3" tall, Muggsy Bogues was the shortest player to play professional basketball. Against all odds, he succeeded. He saw his height as his strength when others saw it as his weakness. In fact, small size has many advantages: speed and quickness, ability to steal the ball from unsuspectin...

2.42K

2.02K reads

Maxims From Three Wise Men - Day 105

  • Epictetus shows us the themes of tolerance and acceptance. Cleanthes and Euripides evoke destiny and fate as concepts that help ease acceptance. When one has a belief in a greater power, then there is no such thing as an event going contrary to plan.
  • What happens to us can seem rand...

2.05K

64 reads

The Truth About Money - Day 170

  • Seneca, who was one of the richest men in Rome, knew firsthand that money only marginally changes life. It doesn't solve the problems that people without it seem to think it will. In fact, no material possession will. External things can't fix internal issues.
  • We constantly forget th...

1.8K

28 reads

Cutting Back On The Costly - Day 210

  • Seneca is making a point that goes unheard in a society or ever bigger houses and ever more possessions: that there's a hidden cost to all that accumulating. And the sooner we're aware of it, the better.
  • Remember: even what we get for free has a cost, if only in what we pay to store ...

1.56K

28 reads

Want Nothing =Have Everything - Day 23

  • No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don't have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.
  • John D. Rockefeller believed that "a man's wealth must be determined by the relation of his desires and expenditures ...

2.37K

724 reads

Taking The Bite Out Of It - Day 146

"To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden" - Seneca

  • You can take a bite out of any tough situation by bringing a calm mind to it. But considering and meditating on it in advance. And this is not true for just our day-to-day adversities but fo...

1.91K

34 reads

Good Habits Drive Out Bad Habits - Day 74

  • When a bad habit reveals itself, counteract it with a commitment to a contrary virtue. For instance, let's say you find yourself procrastinating today - don't dig in and fight it. Get up and take a walk to clear you head and reset instead.
  • Oppose established habits, and use the coun...

2.14K

103 reads

Funny How That Works Out - Day 111

  • Stories about lottery winners tend to share one lesson: suddenly coming into a great deal of money is a curse, not a blessing. In just a few years, many lottery winners are actually in worse financial shape. They've lost friends, got divorced, and their lives have turned into a nightmare as ...

2K

72 reads

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