The Little Book of Stoicism summary

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Author: Jonas Salzgeber & Nils Salzgeber

55 Practical exercises for implementing Stoicism.

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If this book is your first introduction to Stoicism, then you should avoid it. It is better to read “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy”

This book as of now has poor editing efforts. It is filled with a lot of grammatical errors. Overall, It is a comprehensive summary of practical exercises you can do without reading whole background of stoicism.

5 Key take-aways

  • Your happiness should depend on external circumstances as little as possible.
  • Avoid the victim mentality in life.
  • Insults can be re-interpreted in a positive manner.
  • What you fear is often a product of your imagination, not reality.
  • Speak only if it add value to the conversation. Avoid gossip. Don’t blame. Don’t complain. Don’t talk too much.



  • Equanimity = state of being calm.

  • For stoics, eudaimonia was goal of life.

  • Edumonia is to become good (eu) with your inner daimon(guiding spirit). (Not to be confused with demon, which is a bad spirit.)

  • We should close the gap between who were capable of being (our ideal self) and who we actually are in that moment. How can we do that? The Stoics had a word for that too: arete.

  • arete directly translates as “virtue” or “excellence,” but it has a pro founder meaning—something like expressing the highest version of yourself in every moment.

we’re responsible for our own flourishing. We’re responsible for not letting our happiness depend on external circumstances

Promise #2: Emotional Resilience

  • A man who has gone through countless misfortunes “acquires a skin calloused by suffering.”
  • Unfortunately, according to the Stoics, most of us are enslaved to passions—strong negative emotions such as irrational fear, grief, or anger. This is why so many of us are miserable, we’re far away from being a tower of strength, we’re far away from being at good terms with our ideal self. Our passions cause us to act far beneath of what we’re capable of.

The promise of Stoic philosophy

  • happy life (eudaimonia)
  • the preparation (ready for anything) to deal effectively with whatever life throws at us.
  • This overcoming of one’s emotions is sometimes called the Stoic “therapy of the passions”
  • Therefore, we need apatheia—the ability to overcome these interfering emotions

Is Stoicism emotionless?

  • No,Stoicism has nothing to do with suppressing or hiding one’s emotions or being emotionless.

Core of Stoicism

core of stoicism

  • Live with Arete: Express your highest self in every moment. If we want to be on good terms with our highest self., we need to close the gap between what we’re capable of and what we’re actually doing

What to Focus on?

  • Focus on What You Control: This is the most prominent principle in Stoicism. At all times, we need to focus on the things we control, and take the rest as it happens

Take Responsibility

  • Good and bad come solely from yourself.
  • Actualization of our highest selves is easier in imagination than reality.
  • Its ok to make mistakes and learn.

Stoicism Virtues

Stoic Virtues
understanding how to act and feel appropriately.knowing how to act and feel well in our relationships with others.knowing how to act and feel correctly when facing fearful situationsknowing how to act and feel right, despite strong emotions (like desire, inner resistance, or lust)
Excellent deliberation
Healthy judgment
good sense.
public service
opposes the vice of folly or thoughtlessness.opposes the vice of wrongdoing or injustice.opposes the vice of cowardiceopposes the vice of excess
  • virtue = to know what’s the appropriate thing to do, and to actually do it.

  • Notes: Virtue should be its own reward rather than virtue signaling.

    • Similar to: Do the right deeds and forget.
    • It does not matter if someone gives you appreciation for your actions or not. Keep doing the right thing.
  • Virtue is an all-or- nothing package.

    • Means, you need to incorporate all 4 virtues.
  • prosoche: attention, similar to: mindfulness.

  • Marcus Aurelius -> “pay vigorous attention to the performance of the task in hand with precise analysis, with unaffected dignity, with human sympathy, with dispassionate justice.” We can achieve such a mind free of other thoughts by performing “each action as if it were the last of your life.”

Stoics and Social duty

  • The goal is to be useful, to help others, and to take care of ourselves and everybody else.
  • “What brings no benefit to the hive brings none to the bee.” ~ Marcus Aurelius.

Degree of Influence

Full ControlLess controlNo control
Our choices in judgments and actions.Health, wealth, relationships, and outcomes of our behaviorsWeather, ethnicity, and most external circumstances

Focus on Process

  • We can choose our intentions and actions but the ultimate outcome depends on external variables beyond our control.
  • This is the reason why the Stoics advised to focus on what we control, and let the rest happen as it will.

What is success

  • Success, then, is defined by our effort to do everything that’s within our power. Whether we hit the target or not, whether we win or lose, whether we drop some weight or not, ultimately does not matter. We succeed or fail already in the process. So the Stoic archer focuses on the process (preparing and shooting well); a possible positive outcome (hitting the target) won’t arouse jubilation, and a possible negative outcome (missing the target) won’t arouse despair. The Stoic archer succeeds in the process and is ready to take any outcome with equanimity and calm confidence, knowing they’ve tried their very best

    • “Suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens
    • Events can give us physical pain, but suffering and inner disturbance only come from resisting what is, from fighting with reality. We get angry at that driver that cut us off, we’re unhappy with our exam grades, and we’re desperate because the train is running late. If we look at those situations objectively, we recognize it’s futile to fight with them, because we can’t change or undo what already is. Yet, we fight with reality all the time and want it to be different. That driver shouldn’t drive like that, my grades should be better, the train should be on time. We must have it our way, the way we want it, the way we expected it to be. ~ Dan Mill man in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
    • Focus on what you control, and take the rest as it happens. The rest is not under your control, that’s why the Stoics advise to accept it even if it’s not pleasing. Accept it first, and then try to make the best out of it. We should accept rather than fight every little thing.
    • “Seek not for events to happen as you wish but rather wish for events to happen as they do and your life will go smoothly
    Good thingsBad things:Indifferent things
    self- discipline
    All that is vice
    Everything else - life & death
    health & sickness
    wealth & poverty
    pleasure & pain
    reputation & bad repute.
    • the wise man “desires friends, neighbors, and associates, no matter how much he is sufficient unto himself.” We’re able to live a happy life without friends, but we prefer not to. ~ Seneca

On Love

  • Character should never be traded for love. “Love conquers all” is good for movies only.

It’s better to endure loneliness, sickness, and poverty in an honorable manner than to seek friendship, health, and wealth in a shameful one. The good person will always pursue virtue and avoid vice at all costs.

Focus on the process

The stoics focused on the process in the present moment (living with arete) than future outcome (a happy life).

The victim mentality

  • Avoid the victim mentality
    • Blaming external circumstances for our unhappiness.
  • Make happiness depends as little as possible on outside circumstances.
    • There should be only a loose connection between what happens to us and how happy we are.
    • That’s possible by focusing on what we control and trying to make the best with the given circumstances.
    • desiring what’s not within our power is the root cause of emotional suffering.

‘There are three things in your composition: body, breath, and mind. The first two are yours to the extent that you must take care for them, but only the third is in the full sense your own.’ (12.3) ~ Marcus Aurelius

How to practice

  • Be the example out there. Stoicism is a practical philosophy.
    • Our voluntary thoughts and actions are by definition the only things within our control.
    • And they only exist in the here and now.
    • We can’t choose an action if we’re lost in thought, ruminating in the past, or dreaming about the future.

P1: Accept and Love whatever happens

Accept reality rather than fighting against it. Fate leads the willings and drags the reluctant.

P2: Undertake Actions with a Clause

I will sail across the ocean if nothing prevents me. ~ Seneca Having a clause helps to accept the outcomes of your actions. I think its helps as we should always take uncertainty into account.

P3: What stands in the way becomes the way

  • Imagine a fire. Every obstacle gets consumed and used as fuel. If there’s nothing standing in the way, the fire dies. You are that fire. Nothing really is an obstacle because they only feed you and make you stronger. Marcus Aurelius calls this ability to use obstacles for fuel “turning the obstacle upside down.”

P4: Remind yourself of impermanence of things

Change is a universal law of nature. Life is ephemeral.

P5: Contemplate your own death

Mementori mori (remember you are mortal)

P6: Consider everything borrowed from nature

Do you truly own anything? Consider your laptop, car borrowed from nature. If it gets stolen or lost, you can deal with the loss. Note: Imagine yourself as a traveler at the inn(Earth)~ Epictetus.

P7: Negative visualization: Foreseeing bad stuff

  • Negative visualization is an imagination exercise in which you foresee bad stuff. It prepares you to stay calm and deal effectively with whatever life will throw at you.
  • One important goal of the Stoics is to be able to remain calm and reflected even in the face of adversity. So that you can live by your values and express your highest version of yourself—rather than panic and go crazy.
  • They prepared to soften the shock of reality and achieve greater tranquility, but also to rehearse the philosophy’s core principles. To deepen their values.

p8: Voluntary discomfort

  • Temporary Poverty: Seneca recommends spending a few days a month to live as if impoverished.

“Be content with the scantiest and cheapest food, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: Is this the condition that I feared?”

  • Get Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations
  • Purposefully Forgo Pleasure:

Prepare for the day: Morning Routine

  • One of the most advocated routines by the Stoics is to take time to look inward, examine, and reflect. Best times to do that? In the morning after rising and in the evening before you go to bed.
  • The idea is to get better each and every day. Get a step closer toward our goals. Also, we should remind ourselves of our rational nature so we don’t (over-)identify with body, property, or reputation. We better aspire to greater reason and virtue, and meditate on our actions - Personally, I do the good, better, best exercise. I ask myself three simple questions: • Good: What did I do well today? • Better: How could I improve? What could I do better? • Best: What do I need to do if I want to be the best version of myself?

Review your day: In Evening

  • What bad habits did you put right today?
  • Which fault did you take stand against?
  • In what respect are you better?

Attention: Always stay kind and forgiving to yourself. Show some self­ compassion. You’re trying your best, that’s all you can do. And even if you don’t feel well, that’s normal, everybody struggles and experiences setbacks. Take this to heart: always be kind to yourself.

P11: Keep a Role Model

  • This fictitious ideal gives us direction, structure, and consistency in our actions. As we want to make progress as good people, we might compare ourselves against this ideal by asking, “What would the Sage do?” This can help us make the best decisions in challenging situations.

P12: Aphorisms: keep them handy

They act as a reminder and aid in everyday life.

P13: Play your roles well

  • Epictetus says that if you fulfill your duties toward others, then you’re living in agreement with nature, which is the direct path to a happy and smoothly flowing life.

Eliminate the non-essential

  • One thing that’s certain is that the next moment is never promised. And yet many people spend their days on things of little value, wandering aimlessly in no clear direction, mindlessly doing what comes easy—binge­ watching Netflix, chitchatting with coworkers, or following the latest Trump scandal. We’re unaware of the grains of sand trickling down from our life-glass. We make random choices with no goals whatsoever, until we wonder where our time went
  • We’re better off if we’re indifferent to fame and social status. After all, it’s not within our control.
  • What do others think of us? Not up to us. We must not mistake outward success with what’s truly valuable—patience, confidence, self-control, forgiveness, perseverance, courage, and reason

P15: Forget fame

  • By seeking social status, we give other people power over us. We have to act in a calculated way to make them admire us, and we must refrain from doing things in their disfavor. We enslave ourselves by seeking fame. Let’s rather focus on what we control—our voluntary behavior. Being

P15: Live like a minimalistic

  • Rufus advises to dress to protect our bodies, not to impress other people. Seek the necessary, not the extravagant. The same is true for our housing and furnishings. They should be functional and do little more than keep out heat and cold, and shelter us from the sun and wind

P17: Take your time back: cut out News and other TimeWasters

  • Let’s not spend our time on things that don’t matter. Because the more time we spend on something, the more importance we give it. At the same time, what truly matters—family, friends, commitments, expressing the highest self—becomes less important because we spend less time on them

It is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth, for then you won’t tire and give up, if you aren’t busying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed’ - Marcus Aurelius

P18: Live by reason

One of the causes of the troubles that beset us is the way our lives are guided by the example of others; instead of being set to rights by reason we’re seduced by convention.” (Live by first principles)

  • If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters—don’t wish to seem knowledgeable.” Epictetus
    • Make sure you won’t be the old person with no other evidence besides your age and white hair to prove you’ve lived a long life.

P18: Win at what matters

  • But what do we do? We invest our working time in getting better at topics necessary for our (future) jobs, and our leisure time in mindless activities to numb ourselves.
    • We become experts at fantasy series, video games, sports, celebrity news, and effortless jobs—unaware that none of these things will teach us anything about how to listen to our friends, how to become self- disciplined, and what to do with anger or grief.
    • Don’t envy the colleagues who shine bright at the office, as their success comes at the cost of life. The father who puts in eighty hours a week might be a hero at work, but he probably neglects his wife, son, and health.
    • Your most valuable asset is your character. It will help you win at what matters.
    • “Leisure without study is death—a tomb for the living person.” - Seneca

P19: Become an Eternal Student

  • Remember, the Stoics saw themselves as veritable warriors of the mind— to learn how to live and most importantly, to put it into practice. Epictetus taught his students to contemplate their lives as if they were at a festival— the festival of life
  • Be humble
  • Put it into practice

Don’t be satisfied with mere learning, Epictetus warns us, “For as time passes we forget and end up doing the opposite.” As warriors of the mind, we must go out and actually live out what we’ve learned.

P20: What do you have to show for your years?

  • People are prepared to give everything to stay alive. But when they are alive, they squander their time. Unaware that it will cease any moment.
    • I want to make sure that I can look back and say: “Yes, I made the most of it. I lived well. I savored every drop of my life.” It’s not about trophies and status, but about making progress as a person, growing into a mature human being, thriving in my deep values of calm, patience, justice, kindness, perseverance, humor, courage, and self-discipline.
    • This last sentence, that we act like mortals in everything we fear and like immortals in all we desire—it’s been true for me
    • I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I’m made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made for this, to snuggle under
    • The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours . . . The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately

P21: Do what needs to get done

  • We are not born for pleasure, he says. Just look at the plants, birds, ants, spiders, and bees—they go about their individual tasks. Do you hear them moan and complain? Nope, they do what they do, as best as they can. Day in, day out
    • But we human beings are not willing to do our jobs? We feel lazy. Unmotivated. Sluggish. There is certainly time to sleep and rest, but there’s a limit to that. “And you’re over the limit,” Marcus reminds himself. But he hasn’t done all his work yet. He’s still below his quota

P22: Your judgment harms you

  • You are disturbed not by what happens, but by your opinion about it. That’s a classic Stoic principle. Your troubled mind comes from judging an outside event as undesirable or bad. Often in the form of whining, moaning, and complaining about it. Keep that in mind: Nothing but opinion is the cause of a troubled mind.
    • Take responsibility.
    • Just try this: Don’t whine, moan, or complain.

P23: How to deal with Grief?

“It’s better to conquer grief than to deceive it.” - Seneca

  • As they say, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Face the emotion, and get out of the hole. At some point the negative feeling will feed from itself, like a vicious cycle. You feel bad about still being grief-stricken, this will make you feel worse, and so on.

What to do when other grieve?

  • Epictetus says we should be careful not to “catch” the grief of others. We should sympathize with the person and if appropriate even accompany their moaning with our own. In doing so, be careful not to moan inwardly.
    • It’s as they tell you each time you board a plane, “Put your oxygen mask on first.” As you cannot help anyone when you’re dead, and you cannot help others when you’re as grief-stricken as they are.

P24: Choose courage and Calm over Anger

  • Anger is desire to repay suffering, in brief is madness, says Seneca.
  • Once you get carried away by anger, reason counts for nothing.
    • Instead of being led by dangerous and unpredictable anger, we’re motivated by intrinsic values, and deliberately choose to do the right thing.

    “When a man is wandering about our fields because he has lost his way, it is better to place him on the right path than to drive him away.” Seneca makes this beautiful comparison. He says we should not hunt down the people who have lost their ways and err in their actions, but show them the right course. Instead of reacting to anger with anger, we better choose a more sensible and compassionate way, and try to help them.

P25: Beat fear with Preparation and Reason

Imaginary fear has real consequences.

  • “The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive,’’ says Seneca. That’s why it’s so imp oil ant to prepare for challenging situations to arise.
    • What you fear is often a product of your imagination, not reality. You’re afraid of something not because the reality of it is bad, but because you think reality would be bad. Most people who are afraid of spiders have never even been touched by one. What do they fear

P26: Blame your expectations.

“The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them. That’s all you need to know. Nothing more. Don’t demand to know ‘why such things exist.’Anyone who understands the world will laugh at you, just as a carpenter would if you seemed shocked at finding sawdust in his workshop, or a shoemaker at scraps of leather left over from work.” - Marcus Aurelius

  • When you find yourself frustrated, don’t blame other people or outside events, but yourself and your unrealistic expectations. Turn your focus inward, remember, we must take responsibility

P27: Pain and Provocations: Great Opportunities and Virtue

  • For every challenge, remember the resources you have within you to cope with it. Provoked by the sight of a handsome man or a beautiful woman, you will discover within you the contrary power of self- restraint. Faced with pain, you will discover the power of endurance. If you are insulted, you will discover patience. In time, you will grow to be confident that there is not a single impression that you will not have the moral means to tolerate.” - Epictetus
    • While other people see adversity as bad, as something preventing them from achieving their goals, we recognize the opportunity for growth and flip it around—we see opportunity where they see evil.

    “Disease is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless the will itself chooses,” explains Epictetus. “Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will.”

    • Epictetus had a lame leg, and he decided to look at it as an impediment to the leg, not the mind. Pain and sickness, too, are to the body, not the mind. We must not allow to be taken over by self-pity. Such a self- indulgent response will only increase our suffering.
    • Let’s remind ourselves that every minor accident that happens to us presents an opportunity to practice virtuous behavior. Every headache is a chance not to curse. Every attractive person is a chance for self-restraint. Every annoying person is a chance for patience, kindness, and forgiveness. Every challenging situation is a chance for perseverance and hard-work.

P28: The equanimity Game

- Earlier, we said that a fire uses obstacles as fuel. They only make the fire stronger. Now, let's look at another fire metaphor: The wind fuels a fire and extinguishes a candle. The wind is the obstacle; it extinguishes you if your commitment and perseverance are weak, but it fuels you when you accept the challenge and don’t give up with the first difficulties.

P29: The Anti-Puppet mindset

“If a person gave away your body to some passersby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?” - Epictetus

  • Yes, says Marcus, others can impede our actions, but they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes. Our mind is adaptable. If things seem to turn against us, we can adapt and see the opportunity for growth. We can convert obstacles into opportunities.
  • The ambiguous remark of a colleague, the boyfriend who didn’t call, or the comment of a stranger—we get spun around by things beyond our control. We let others push our buttons. Even worse, it’s not just other people, we also let the weather, social media, news, and sports results pull our strings. We dance to sunshine and stomp to rain. We cheer the goal of our favorite team, and bemoan the late equalizer. This is madness. The mind is our own. Not our body, our possessions, our friends, but only our mind.
  • First, don’t get upset. Second, do the right thing. That’s it.
  • This process requires us to notice our impulses, impressions, and judgments so that we can step back from them rather than allowing them to sweep us away. We must avoid rashness in our reactions. That’s all.

P30: Life is supposed to be Challenging

We are quick to complain about a situation. Who said life should be easy.

  • Next time you’re facing a tough situation, accept it as a chance for growth. Don’t worry about it. You can only grow. Maybe it’s a formative experience you’ll be grateful for later.

P31: What so Troublesome here and now

  • We look far in the uncertain future and back in the certain but gone past. No wonder we get overwhelmed.
    • Let’s not forget that the past and the future are not under our control. They are indifferent to the Stoics. The present moment is all anyone possesses, says Marcus. But ‘no one can lose either the past or the future, for how can someone be deprived of what’s not theirs?”
    • past is unchangeably gone. The future can only be influenced by the actions we take here and now. That’s why the Stoics say we must be mindful in the present moment and focus on what’s real and graspable.
    • If we want to express our highest self in every moment, then we need to be aware of our actions in the present moment. This mindfulness is a prerequisite for the practicing Stoic.

P32: Count your Blessings

  • Marcus reminds us here of three things:
  • Material things are not important, don’t gather and hoard that stuff.
  • Be grateful for all you have.
  • Be careful not to get attached to those things.
    • Desire not what you don’t have, but appreciate what you do have. Always be ready to give back what you’ve been given, and be thankful for the time it was yours to use

P33: Otherize

How differently we look at the same event, when it happens to other people.

  • But when it happens to us, we’re quick to judge ourselves as clumsy or incapable. Naturally, it’s far easier to remain calm and maintain equanimity when misfortunes happen to others rather than to ourselves.
  • Wouldn’t it be smarter to react similarly when something affects us? I mean, we’re not special. So why would we make a mountain out of a molehill when something affects us, but tick it off with a smile when it happens to others?
  • Epictetus takes it a step further: “Moving on to graver things: 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!’”

P34: Take the Bird’s Eye View

Imagine you leave your body and float up in the sky. Higher and higher. Zoom out from life.

  • “You can rid yourself of many useless things among those that disturb you,” Marcus observes, “for they lie entirely in your imagination.” Many problems can be solved with this perspective from far above. Human affairs and your own misfortunes seem trivial from this perspective.

P35: Its the same old things

Before you take yourself seriously, remind yourself that things happening to you are not special.

P36: Observe Objectively

Stick to the facts and describe an event as value-free and close to reality.

P37: Avoid Rashness: Test your impressions

We’re naturally evolved to feel good. When ever you are acting solely based on emotional reaction, what a little and ask if the impression is really true.

P38: Do Good, Be Good

  • What are you reading this book for? You won’t get a badge of honor or some other award for learning about Stoicism. Nobody cares what books you read or what you know about ancient philosophy.
  • It’s who you are and what you do that matters. It’s human excellence that makes a human being beautiful, says Epictetus. If you develop qualities such as justice, tranquility, courage, self-discipline, kindness, or patience you will become beautiful.
  • Don’t be the guy who shouts from the rooftops when done a just act. “Simply move on to the next deed just like the vine produces another bunch of grapes in the right season.” Marcus reminds us to do good for its own sake.

Situational Practices

Situational Practices let you deal with grief, lie or insults.

P39: We are all Limbs of the same body

Cooperation is a must amongst us.

  • “Constantly think of the universe as a single living being,” says Marcus. We must recognize ourselves as a limb of a larger body and work together: “Since you yourself are one of the parts that serve to perfect a social system, let your every action contribute to the perfecting of social life.
    • Working for each other is necessary if we want to live the best life possible. That means for you as a limb of the whole. Help others. Direct your actions for the common welfare. That’s the only way you’ll have a good life.

40: Nobody Errs on Purpose

  • We should not blame people, even if they treat us rudely and unfairly. They don’t do those things on purpose.
  • Let’s not forget that we’re privileged. Not everybody had the same upbringing as we had. Not all have them same genes, education, and early exposure. These things highly influence a person, and it’s not something we can control.
  • Just like a body in bad shape needs more time to heal than one in good shape, a person who lacks a lot of wisdom needs longer to catch up and understand than a person who had the wisest parents and best schooling.

P41: Find your own Faults

  • Study your own mistakes. There are plenty of them.
  • Don’t write people for erring. We all have bad moments.

P42: Forgive and Love Those Who Stumble

Stoics viewed stumbling people more like a child with less wisdom than malicious people. They fail to recognize that what they are doing isn’t even in their own best interest. They are blind to see. Its like an illness.

  • Marcus makes a neat comparison: He says wishing for the unknowing man not to do wrong is like wishing for a fig tree not to produce figs, babies not to cry, and horses not to neigh. These are inevitable things. They just happen by nature.

P43: Pity, Rather than Blame the wrongdoer

‘As we pity the blind and the lame, so should we pity those who are blinded and lamed in their most sovereign faculties. The man who remembers this, I say, will be angry with no one, indignant with no one, revile none, blame none, hate none, offend none."- Epictetus

  • You wouldn’t judge an injured teammate when he’s unable to catch a ball. In the exact same way the injured player shouldn’t judge the person who tells him off. Because the offender is injured too, just not in his body but in his mind. Even if we can’t see it from the outside.
    • Whenever someone wrongs you, you have several options. Maybe you judge what happened as bad and get hurt by it. Maybe you judge the wrongdoer as evil and get angry at him. Maybe you see the situation as neutral and make the best of it. And maybe you recognize that the wrongdoer is blinded in his ability to use reason, and you choose to pity rather than blame him.

P44 Kindness is Strength

Whenever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.

  • You were born kind, says Marcus. It’s your nature to act in a kind and supportive way.

P45: How to deal with insults

  • We can only be insulted if we let it happen. If we don’t care what others say, then we won’t feel insulted.
2 ways to handle insults
Pause and ask whether what’s been said is true. “Why is it an insult,” Seneca asks, “to be told what is self-evident?”,
Plus, let’s ask who insulted us? If it’s someone we respect, then we value her opinion and accept it as something we can actually improve on. If we don’t respect the source, then why bother?
look at an insulter as an overgrown child. Just as it would be foolish for a mother to get upset by remarks of her toddler, we’d be equally foolish to get hurt by insults of a childish person

P46: Scratches happen in training

  • See each day and every situation as a training exercise. You will accept things quicker even if they’re annoying—it’s just training.

P47: Don’t abandon others or yourself

  • “As you move forward along the path of reason/ Marcus says, “people will stand in your way.” When you’re installing new habits and try to make progress, others might not be as quick or even willing to follow along. Now it’s our challenge not to abandon our new path and, at the same time, not to abandon our friends and family.

P48: Buy Tranquility

Starting with things of little value, a bit of spilled oil, a little stolen wine - repeat yourself: ' For such a small price, I buy tranquility and peace of mind'~ Epictetus

  • Skid marks are easy, it just takes a few seconds to clean up. Red wine on your white dress is still easy, it’s just a dress. A late and decisive equalizer against your favorite team is still manageable, it’s just a game. A cheating boyfriend is much more challenging, because it’ll take some grieve and anger work.

P49: Put yourself in others shoe

Think from other person’s point of view. Try to understand their reason behind their actions. We should not be too quick to judge

P50: Choose your company well

  • That’s peer pressure —we do things we usually wouldn’t do. We suddenly behave contrary to our values. We adapt to the people we surround ourselves with.

P51: Don’t judge but yourself

  • “Someone bathes in haste; don’t say he bathes badly, but in haste. Someone drinks a lot of wine; don’t say he drinks badly, but a lot. Until you know their reasons, how do you know that their actions are vicious? This will save you from perceiving one thing clearly, but then assenting to something different ”- Epictetus
  • We must not forget why we engage in philosophy in the first place: to improve ourselves. It’s not a tool to correct others. This will only cause pain and suffering.

P52: Do Good not only no Evil

  • Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.” - Marcus Aurelius
    • Stop the immature behavior. Step in between, help the bullied. A little courage, and do what’s right.

P53: Say only whats not better left unsaid

  • That’s what we do. We like to talk about ourselves. So we don’t really listen to what’s being said, but we prepare for when it’s our turn.
    • Don’t gossip. Don’t blame. Don’t complain. Don’t talk too much. Especially not about what’s not meaningful.
      • Indulging in gossip and judging people who aren’t present to defend themselves doesn’t seem to be a fair thing to do.
  • 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.”

P54: Listen with the intent to understand

  • Listen rather than speak. And if you listen, you should pay attention to what’s being said so you understand what the speaker is trying to express. That way, you acknowledge the other person’s values and autonomy.
    • Lead with your actions. Be the example. An active role model easily beats a lecture.
    • As Zeno famously said, “Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue.”

P55: Lead by Example

  • Show, don’t tell, what you’ve learned.
  • Set standards and live by them.

Mental models mentioned.

  • 2 Ways to handle insult.
  • Be process oriented.
  • Degree of Influence.

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