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Epictetus 50-135 AD
Greek Stoic, Philosopher, & Author, former slave
 Great Truths       

All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.

It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

No man is free who is not master of himself.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

All religions must be tolerated…for every man must get to heaven in his own way.

Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.

God has entrusted me with myself.

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.

Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.

Only the educated are free.

It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.

You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.

We do not choose our own parts in life, and have nothing to do with those parts. Our duty is confined to playing them well.

On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.

So when the crisis is upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a tough and stalwart antagonist; that you may prove a Victor at the great games. Yet without toil or sweat this may not be.

In theory it is easy to convince an ignorant person; in actual life, men not only object to offer themselves to be convinced, but hate the man who has convinced them.

If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase. At first, keep quiet and count the days when you were not angry: I used to be angry every day, then every other day: next, every two, then every three days! And if you succeed in passing 30 days, sacrifice to the gods in Thanksgiving.

Lampis the ship owner, on being asked how he acquired his great wealth, replied, my great wealth was acquired with no difficulty, but my small wealth, my first gains, with much labor.

In all the affairs of life let it be your great care, not to hurt your mind, or offend your judgment. And this rule, if observed carefully in your deportment, will be a mighty security to you in your undertakings.