High-Level Thoughts

My least favorite of the 3 famous stoic philosophers. Still motivational and interesting to read, especially considering these were his reminders to himself while he was essentially emperor of the world.

Summary Notes

“Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future.”

“Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.”

“To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.”

“So remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work— as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for— the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?” —But it’s nicer here.… So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands? —But we have to sleep sometime.… Agreed. But nature set a limit on that— as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.”

“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”

“So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize? I think it’s this: to do (and not do) what we were designed for.”

“Those to do with good and evil. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness, and self-control, and courage, and free will. And nothing bad except what does the opposite.”

“Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance— now, at this very moment— of all external events. That’s all you need.”

“Start praying like this and you’ll see. Not “some way to sleep with her”— but a way to stop wanting to. Not “some way to get rid of him”— but a way to stop trying. Not “some way to save my child”— but a way to lose your fear. Redirect your prayers like that, and watch what happens.”

“If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable … then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so. In your interest, or in your nature.”

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

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