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Category / Stoics

Miles Davis, So What, and being in accord no matter the chord

This story that opens jazz great Herbie Hancock’s memoir, Possibilities, is profound: I’m onstage at a concert hall in Stockholm, Sweden, in the mid-1960s playing piano with the Miles Davis Quintet. We’re on tour, and this show is really heating up. The band is tight—we’re all in sync, all on the same wavelength. The music […]

Get a move on

Meditations 9.29: “Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.” Do your work. Don’t make a big a […]

Good Government

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.” –Michel de Montaigne Good for Montaigne. He certainly had the right idea, and I don’t doubt that he had more success than the average person in governing himself and avoiding the futility of worrying over things outside his control. How simple it is to understand that […]

Defying gravity

I get The Daily Stoic daily email. Today’s email quoted this passage from Walker Percy’s book, The Moviegoer: “I don’t know quite what we’re doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I […]


“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.” –Epictetus, Discourses 1.18.21 (I came across this while catching up on my reading of The Daily Stoic, which has become a delightfully bracing start to most of my mornings.)  I had an interpersonal communication class in college where I […]

Take your stand right here, right now

Meditations 7.45: “It’s like this, gentlemen of the jury: The spot where a person decides to station himself, or wherever his commanding officer stations him—well, I think that’s where he ought to take his stand and face the enemy, and not worry about being killed, or about anything but doing his duty.” Marcus Aurelius just […]

Raw materials

I routinely forget to celebrate the arrival of unwanted circumstances that are beyond my control. I need to remind myself that external events which I perceive to be happening to me are actually raw materials that I can use in my endeavor to craft a more excellent life. I can utilize events out of my control to […]

Sunday morning Stoic: A man’s true delight

Marcus Aurelius: “A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.” I don’t think we are each “made” for a particular vocation or calling. But we are all made to be authentic human beings. We are made for connection. We thrive as members of groups, as citizens of tribes, as sisters, […]

When you need encouragement

Meditations 6.48: “When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity, and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them.” What if I were intentional about looking for […]

The best way to get even 

“The best way to get even with them is not to resemble them.” –Marcus Aurelius Word.  Fight fire with… water.  Better to lose with your character intact than to win by becoming what you loathe. 

Sunday night Stoic: Lift me up and hurl me

Meditations 8.45: “Lift me up and hurl me. Wherever you will. My spirit will be gracious to me there—gracious and satisfied—as long as its existence and actions match its nature. Is there any reason why my soul should suffer and be degraded—miserable, tense, huddled, frightened? How could there be?” Fling me anywhere and into anything. I […]

Sunday night Stoic: Satisfied

Meditations 7.54: Always and everywhere, it depends on you piously to be satisfied with the present conjunction of events… Accept whatever you are facing.  Embrace “the present conjunction of events”, even if it’s not the particular conjunction you would have chosen. Be satisfied with this moment.  It’s pointless to rail against what is. What is, […]

Sunday night Stoic: Freedom is the only worthy goal

“Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.” –Epictetus So much of what weighs on me is beyond my control. Maybe most of my worries, actually. You do have control over your initiative and effort and mindset and what merits your attention, and over […]

Sunday night Stoic: Follow Nature

Meditations 5.3: “If an action or utterance is appropriate, then it’s appropriate for you. Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism. If it’s right to say or do it, then it’s the right thing for you to do or say. The others obey their own lead, follow their own impulses. Don’t be distracted. […]

Sunday morning Stoic: Why before how

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” Viktor Frankl — Daily Stoic (@dailystoic) August 26, 2016 “Why?” is THE question. Drill down to your Why.  You may find you have to rethink everything.  Discard the superficial answers—the ones handed to you by others and the ones that don’t hold […]

Sunday morning Stoic: Change is the constant

Meditations 4.36: “Constant awareness that everything is born from change. The knowledge that there is nothing nature loves more than to alter what exists and make new things like it. All that exists is the seed of what will emerge from it. You think the only seeds are the ones that make plants or children? […]

Sunday morning Stoic: On getting away from it all

Meditations 4.3:  “People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul. Especially if you have […]

Sunday night Stoic: Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes

Meditations 3.4: “Someone like that—someone who refuses to put off joining the elect—is a kind of priest, a servant of the gods, in touch with what is within him and what keeps a person undefiled by pleasures, invulnerable to any pain, untouched by arrogance, unaffected by meanness, an athlete in the greatest of all contests—the […]

Sunday night Stoic: Town mouse

Meditations 11.22: “The town mouse and the country mouse. Distress and agitation of the town mouse.” I spent the day with my family touring parts of Los Angeles. It was a town mouse kind of day. Delightful, touristy fun. But definitely a town mouse kind of town.

Sunday morning Stoic: Civic goals and your gift

Meditations 11.21: “If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.” Unhelpful, unless you specify a goal. There is no common benchmark for all the things that people think are good—except for a few, the ones that affect us all. So the goal should be a common one—a […]

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