EPICTETUS - quotes
55 - 135 AD
Epictetus was a Greek-born slave of Rome in
the first century. He became a great philosopher and teacher, and was
eventually granted his freedom. Although he didn't write his teachings,
which are based in Stoic philosophy, thankfully, others did. These quotes
appeared (in Greek, then Latin) in "The Enchiridion" which was written by Arrian,
a student of Epictetus. The quotes are translations from the
original and can therefore vary slightly.
I have selected some of my favourite
quotes, which suggest that Epictetus had a good handle on what we might today
call Cognitive Therapy, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Try not to react merely in the
moment. Pull back from the situation. Take a wider view.
the bigger picture.....think things through and fully commit!
not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you
can either accept it or resent it.
are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
yourself: Does this appearance (of events) concern the things that are
within my own control or those that are not? If it concerns anything
outside your control, train yourself not to worry about it.
really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way
in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our
interpretation of their significance.
demand or expect that events happen as you would wish them do. Accept
events as they actually happen. That way, peace is possible.
you think, so you become.....Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions,
manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren't there.
matter where you find yourself, comport yourself as if you were a distinguished
of what is going on around you, make the best of what is in your power, and take
the rest as it occurs.
yourself, "How are my thoughts, words and deeds affecting my friends, my spouse,
my neighbour, my child, my employer, my subordinates, my fellow citizens?"
not seek to bring things to pass in accordance with your wishes, but wish for
them as they are, and you will find them.
say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at
for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to
follow, in private as well as in public.
is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that
these things are insulting.
have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Make the best use of what is in your
power, and take the rest as it happens.
concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things
He is a wise man who
does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he
distinguish what you can and canít control. Within our control are our own
opinions, aspirations, desires and the things that repel us. They are directly
subject to our influence.
attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern and be clear that
what belongs to others is their business, and not yours.
test a prospective action before undertaking it. Before you proceed, step back
and look at the big picture, lest you act rashly on raw impulse.
It is not
external events themselves that cause us distress, but they way in which we
think about them, our interpretation of their significance. It is our attitudes
and reactions that give us trouble. We cannot choose our external
circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
a good person? One who achieves tranquillity by having formed the habit
of asking on every occasion, ďwhat is the right thing to do now?Ē
happiness are won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.
When we name
things correctly, we comprehend them correctly, without adding information or
judgements that arenít there. Does someone bathe quickly? Donít say be bathes
poorly, but quickly. Name the situation as it is, donít filter it through your
judgments. Give your assent only to that which is actually true.
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