Philosophies of life have two components: They tell us what things in life are and aren’t worth pursuing, and they tell us how to gain the things that are worth having

— From A Guide to the Good Life – The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by WILLIAM B. IRVINE

PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY, the Stoics argue, in large part because they are confused about what is valuable. Because of their confusion, they spend their days pursuing things that, rather than making them happy, make them anxious and miserable.

If we wish to retain our freedom, says Epictetus, we must be careful, while dealing with other people, to be indifferent to what they think of us. Furthermore, we should be consistent in our indifference; we should, in other words, be as dismissive of their approval as we are of their disapproval.

I don’t have it in my power to stop others from sneering at me, so it is foolish for me to spend time trying to stop them.

We work hard, first to win the admiration of other people and then to avoid losing it.

Realize that many other people, including, quite possibly, your friends and relatives, want you to fail in your undertakings.

Only someone who really knows who she is-someone who, as they say, feels good about herself-would display this kind of indifference.

it is possible to enjoy something and at the same time be indifferent to it.”


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