Jim Harrison on Helping People

“I’m always having a man in desperate straits trying to help somebody else out with no apparent success, because nobody can be helped by anybody.”

~ Jim Harrison

William Irvine on Contamination

“We are social creatures; we will be miserable if we try to cut off contact with other people. Therefore, if what we seek is tranquility, we should form and maintain relations with others. In doing so, though, we should be careful about whom we befriend. We should also, to the extent possible, avoid people whose values are corrupt, for fear that their values will contaminate ours.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 228). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Happiness

“Many of us have been persuaded that happiness is something that someone else, a therapist or a politician, must confer on us. Stoicism rejects this notion. It teaches us that we are very much responsible for our happiness as well as our unhappiness. It also teaches us that it is only when we assume responsibility for our happiness that we will have a reasonable chance of gaining it.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (pp. 221-222). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Other People’s Opinions

“Marcus agrees with Epictetus that it is foolish for us to worry about what other people think of us and particularly foolish for us to seek the approval of people whose values we reject. Our goal should therefore be to become indifferent to other people’s opinions of us. He adds that if we can succeed in doing this, we will improve the quality of our life.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 168). Oxford University Press.

William Irvine on Other People

“In our dealings with others, we should operate on the assumption that they are fated to behave in a certain way.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 138). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Annoying People

“When dealing with an annoying person, it also helps to keep in mind that our annoyance at what he does will almost invariably be more detrimental to us than whatever it is he is doing. In other words, by letting ourselves become annoyed, we only make things worse.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 137). Oxford University Press.

Alain de Botton on Paranoia

“For paranoia about ‘what other people think’: remember that very few love, only some hate – and nearly everyone just doesn’t care.”

~ Alain de Botton