You Can Always Improve

Tag: Epictetus

You are in control

“If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled — have you no shame in that?”


It’s easy to let someones actions or opinions get to you. It happens to me every day, try as I might. And while it’s impossible to float through life without getting annoyed or letting someone under your skin, your reaction is completely under your control. As a rule in business and in life, the more you show your hand, the less power your have in a situation. This is especially true for people actively trying to gain the upper hand on you. Law 3 in the book, The 48 Laws of Power, details how you can overcome an enemy or opponent trying to get you to show your hand. Robert Greene goes on to write, “Always keep your intentions obscured. This way, your opponents cannot defend themselves. Lead them astray, and by the time they realize your plans, it will be too late.” You should always strive to be good-willed and forthcoming, but never underestimate the lengths people will go to see you fall to the bottom. Use tools like Robert Greene’s book and others to prepare yourself for the dog-eat-dog world we live in and never, let someone else control your actions.

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Prepare for the worst

“Is the oil spilled? Is a little wine stolen? Say on the occasion, at such price is sold freedom from being upset; at such price is sold tranquillity, but nothing is got for nothing.”


The ability to confront adversity can be a great tool, especially if we anticipate surprising events. No one likes to be caught off guard by misfortune. Preparing for the worst case scenario can help us deal with events that pop up along the way. A lot of the great stoics, and philosophers for that matter, spent a lot of time playing through scenarios to be able to respond optimally when the time called for it. It seems like little has actually changed in human nature since early Stoa, as much as we like to think we’ve advanced as mankind. We can all benefit from exercising forethought. If things go better than expected, great. If they go worse? Then you’re prepared.

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Internal values > External distractions

“No man is free who is not master of himself”


This is something that gets lost in today’s world where short-term pleasure is glorified. Think about all the things that make you impatient or test your will that seem trivial. We’ve been conditioned in a very short amount of time to be annoyed when something doesn’t happen fast enough. I am as guilty for this as anyone else but take some time and reflect on what is really happening. You are letting an outside source control your emotions and your ability to think or rationalize , both of which are better for your soul than short-term emotional distress. Control your own destiny.

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