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I have often wondered how it is everyone loves himself more than the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than the opinions of others.
Be modest and simple in your deportment, and treat with indifference whatever lies between virtue and vice. Love the human race; obey God.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them.
Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours.
A man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.
A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
Accustom yourself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, try to inhabit the speaker’s mind.
All our efforts must be directed towards an end, or we will act in vain. If it is not the right end, we will fail utterly.
All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.
An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.
As if you had died and your life had extended only to this present moment, use the surplus that is left to you to live from this time onward according to nature.
Consider that as the heaps of sand piled on one another hide the former sands, so in life the events that go before are soon covered by those that come after.
Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in your power. Take away then, when you choose, your opinion, and like a mariner who has rounded the headland, you will find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay.
Death and life, success and failure, pain and pleasure, wealth and poverty, all these happen to good and bad alike, and they are neither noble nor shameful – and hence neither good nor bad.
Death and pain are not frightening, it’s the fear of pain and death we need to fear. Which is why we praise the poet who wrote, ‘Death is not fearful, but dying like a coward is.’
Do as Socrates did, never replying to the question of where he was from with, ‘I am Athenian,’ or ‘I am from Corinth,’ but always, ‘I am a citizen of the world.’
Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.
Don’t let outward appearances mislead you into thinking that someone with more prestige, power or some other distinction must on that account be happy.
Either you’re going to be depressed when your wish is not realized or foolishly pleased with yourself if it is, overjoyed for the wrong reasons.
Every day as it comes should be welcomed and reduced forthwith into our own possession as if it were the finest day imaginable. What flies past has to be seized at.
Failure to observe what is in the mind of another has seldom made a man unhappy; but those who do not observe the movements of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy.
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.
He (God) remembers that we are but shadows and dust, therefore what we do in this life echoes in eternity.
He who has a vehement desire for posthumous fame does not consider that every one of those who remember him will himself also die very soon.
Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not “This is misfortune,” but “To bear this worthily is good fortune”.
I say that virtue is more valuable than wealth to the same degree that eyes are more valuable than fingernails.
If money is your only standard, then consider that, by your lights, someone who loses their nose does not suffer any harm.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
If you don’t want to be cantankerous, don’t feed your temper, or multiply incidents of anger. Suppress the first impulse to be angry, then begin to count the days on which you don’t get mad.
If you have been placed in a position above others, are you automatically going to behave like a despot? Remember who you are and whom you govern – that they are kinsmen, brothers by nature, fellow descendants of Zeus.
In a little while you will have forgotten everything; in a little while everything will have forgotten you.
In the morning, when you rise unwillingly, let this thought be present: I am rising to the work of a human being.
Is any man afraid of change? What can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature? And can you take a hot bath unless the wood for the fire undergoes a change? And can you be nourished unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change? Do you not see then that for yourself also to change is just the same, and equally necessary for the universal nature?
Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness. All things are implicated in one another and in sympathy with each other. This event is the consequence of some other one. Things push and pull on each other, and breathe together, and are one.
Never get into family fights over material things; give them up willingly, and your moral standing will increase in proportion.
Never value anything as profitable that compels you to break your promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any man, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains.
No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.
Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes or figs need time to ripen. If you say that you want a fig now, I will tell you to be patient. First, you must allow the tree to flower, then put forth fruit; then you have to wait until the fruit is ripe. So if the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition, so quickly and easily?
Nothing is burdensome if taken lightly, and how nothing need arouse one’s irritation so long as one doesn’t make it bigger than it is by getting irritated.
Now think of the things which goad man into destroying man: they are hope, envy, hatred, fear and contempt.
Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us.
Pain is neither intolerable nor everlasting if you bear in mind that it has its limits, and if you add nothing to it in imagination.
Pain too is just a scary mask: look under it and you will see. The body sometimes suffers, but relief is never far behind. And if that isn’t good enough for you, the door stands open; otherwise put up with it. The door needs to stay open whatever the circumstances, with the result that our problems disappear.
Remember that what pulls the strings is the force hidden within; there lies the power to persuade, there the life -- there, if one must speak out, the real man.
Remind yourself that it is not the future or what has passed that afflicts you, but always the present.
Set yourself in motion, if it is in your power, and do not look about you to see if anyone will observe it; nor yet expect Plato’s Republic: but be content if the smallest thing goes on well, and consider such an event to be no small matter.
Shall any man hate me? That will be his affair. But I will be mild and benevolent toward every man, and ready to show even him his mistake, not reproachfully, nor yet as making a display of my endurance, but nobly and honestly.
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?
The art of living is more like that of wrestling than of dancing; the main thing is to stand firm and be ready for an unseen attack.
The following are non-sequiturs: ‘I am richer, therefore superior to you’; or ‘I am a better speaker, therefore a better person, than you’.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
The present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived, if it is true that this is the only thing which he has, and that a man cannot lose something he does not already possess.
Think of all the years passed by in which you said to yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and how the gods have again and again granted you periods of grace of which you have not availed yourself. It is time to realize that you are a member of the Universe, that you are born of Nature itself, and to know that a limit has been set to your time. Use every moment wisely, to perceive your inner refulgence, or ’twill be gone and nevermore within your reach.
To be sure, external things of whatever kind require skill in their use, but we must not grow attached to them; whatever they are, they should only serve for us to show how skilled we are in our handling of them.
When a guide meets up with someone who is lost, ordinarily his reaction is to direct him on the right path, not mock or malign him, then turn on his heel and walk away. As for you, lead someone to the truth and you will find that he can follow. But as long as you don’t point it out to him, don’t make fun of him; be aware of what you need to work on instead.
When another blames you or hates you, or when men say anything injurious about you, approach their poor souls, penetrate within, and see what kind of men they are. You will discover that there is no reason to be concerned that these men have this or that opinion about you.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
When you’ve done well and another has benefited by it, why like a fool do you look for a third thing on top— credit for the good deed or a favor in return?
Whenever externals are more important to you than your own integrity, then be prepared to serve them the remainder of your life.
Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?
Who exactly are these people that you want to be admired by? Aren’t they the same people you are in the habit of calling crazy? And is this your life ambition, then – to win the approval of lunatics?
You can pass your life in an equable flow of happiness if you can follow the right way and think and act in the right way.
Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.
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