Remember that you must behave in life as at a dinner party. Is anything brought around you? Put out your hand and take your share with moderation. Does it pass by you? Don’t stop it. Is it not yet come? Don’t stretch your desire toward it, but wait until it reaches you.
Are you patient? Patience can be difficult for most people but can be cultivated by focusing intensely and positively on the present. To cultivate gratitude in the now is to fight impatience.
Nothing, therefore, is more important than that we should not, like sheep, follow the flock that has gone before us.
What makes you unique? The thing we should all strive for is to be the best at being ourselves. You are the artist and the art. Make your painting your own and one that highlights your unique qualities.
Men are continually seeking retreats for themselves, in the country, or by the sea, or among the hills. Yet all this is the sheerest folly, for it is open to you every hour to retreat into yourself.
Do you need a vacation? You bring yourself wherever you go and that should be a good thing. The break you need from your routine can happen anywhere and at any time if you understand that you are the source of happiness and peace.
We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one.
How do you learn from mistakes? The only way to make use of mistakes is to properly reflect on them, learn and then act differently. If you seem to be plagued by making the same mistake again, and again it is likely not the mistake itself that is the problem. It may be a lack of honest reflection and appropriate action.
Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self: for that does fall within your control.
Do you compare yourself to others? Before you can be who you should be, you have to be clear about who you are. Your process will only ever be your own and each and every one of us is extremely unique. Instead of comparing and inevitably competing with others, learn from them and add value to their lives.
Books are the training weights of the mind.
How often do you read? Reading a book of your choosing is a great way to express your will, learn and cultivate discipline. Sitting down on a daily basis and reading something that is aimed at your growth and development is a great habit to cultivate a strong mind.
We are in the habit of exaggeration, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
Do you have a positive imagination? Focus on being competent in the now. Let yourself feel good about your competence, even in the smallest of things. This feeling will build if you let it and will lead to a healthy confidence. If you are confident in the now, your view of the future will be more optimistic. Think, write and really describe a positive image of tomorrow. Return to this positive image frequently.
Do not be troubled by the future: you will encounter it, if need be, with the same sword of reason in your hand that now serves you against the present.
How do you view your future? Our focus should be on building confidence now. Use the present moment to cultivate a sense of strength before looking to the future. If you do this, your gaze will be tinted with courage and not with fear.
True happiness is a verb.
What makes you happy? For Epictetus, the answer is you. More specifically, what you do. When unhappy, literally do something that makes you happy. However small the action may seem or short it may last, it is the starting point to your happiness.
How is your life complicated? How many of these complications are results of your own thinking and of your own actions? Eliminate the unnecessary clutter of your daily thinking and acting. Create your purpose on a daily basis and unwaveringly abide by your overall vision with your thoughts and actions. Increasing your focus will decrease your feelings of being overwhelmed by complications.