Epictetus part 33: 16 Lessons for Living

The thirty-third part of Epictetus’ Handbook contains a wealth of advice for living a good life. It is the longest part of the Encheiridion and gives an overview of best practices in a wide range of areas, particularly in social situations.

Seneca part 23: An Endless Source of Joy

What is the source of a good and happy life? For constant happiness, we have to find a constant life. The person who is always chasing one thing and then moving on to the other, can never reach a state of lasting ‘eudaimonia’. He can never build his character and flourish.

Ill and yet Happy
How to stand strong in the face of disease

It happens to all of us: we get sick. Sometimes, our body decides it needs a time-out or it simply can’t take all that’s coming to it. And it feels terrible. But it is not the end of the world: we can use our mind to stand strong in the face of disease, and even become better because of it.

How to get up in the morning
Remember your purpose and get active

For most of us, getting out of bed in the morning is not the easiest part of the day. When you are tucked in under warm and soft sheets, you probably don’t feel like stepping on the cold floor and getting active. Even though you know you should. Don’t worry: Marcus Aurelius has the answer we are all seeking.

Epictetus part 32: Looking into the Future

We all wish to know what the future holds for us, right? And sometimes, people believe they can predict the future. For ages, people have visited oracles, fortune-tellers, prophets and diviners for advice and a glimpse of their fortune or misfortune. Aside from the question whether they can actually predict the future, Epictetus teaches us how we should deal with fortune-telling.

Epictetus part 31: Piety, Gods, and Nature

In the thirty-first paragraph of the Encheiridion, Epictetus repeats that we must direct our desire and aversion properly: we should live in accordance with Nature. Epictetus links this to piety towards the gods, but it is also perfectly possible to practise this in a secular context.

Epictetus part 30: Relational duties

The thirtieth paragraph of the Encheiridion provides us with guidance for our duties towards others. Epictetus argues that our duties are dictated by the natural relations between us and other people. No matter how the other person behaves, your relation towards him should guide your own behaviour.

Seneca part 22: Withdraw from business

Nowadays, most of us work hard to earn money. However: the question we should ask ourselves is this: do we need that money? Will we become happier if we get a bigger paycheck? Or should we withdraw from business?

Epictetus part 29: Rewards and Sacrifices

Do you want to be an athlete? Or a leader? Do you wish you were a popstar or a famous actor? Do you want to become a philosopher? Whatever you want: think carefully about what it takes to get there and what benefits it will give. Think about the sacrifices and about the rewards. This is the main message of paragraph 29 of the Encheiridion.

Seneca part 21: Fame and Pleasure

The twenty-first letter of Seneca is a very peculiar one. While Stoics don’t seek fame, Seneca promises Lucilius in this letter to keep his name known after his death. He even seems to boast about the reach and importance of his own writings. This makes it a rather ‘un-Stoic’ letter, in my opinion.