Musonius Rufus on Duty

“Those men do not live long who have become accustomed to say to their subjects in defence of whatever they do, not, ‘It is my duty,’ but, ‘It is my will.'”

~ Musonius Rufus

Musonius Rufus on Life

“…the more one pushes the intelligent person away from the life he was born for, the more he inclines towards it.”

~ King, Cynthia. Musonius Rufus: Lectures and Sayings (p. 89). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

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 a Good Life

“The most important reason for adopting a philosophy of life, though, is that if we lack one, there is a danger that we will mislive—that we will spend our life pursuing goals that aren’t worth attaining or will pursue worthwhile goals in a foolish manner and will therefore fail to attain them.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 203). 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 Being Sensitive

“If we are overly sensitive, we will be quick to anger. More generally, says Seneca, if we coddle ourselves, if we allow ourselves to be corrupted by pleasure, nothing will seem bearable to us, and the reason things will seem unbearable is not because they are hard but because we are soft.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 161). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Insults

“WHEN INSULTED, people typically become angry. Because anger is a negative emotion that can upset our tranquility, the Stoics thought it worthwhile to develop strategies to prevent insults from angering us—strategies for removing, as it were, the sting of an insult. One of their sting-elimination strategies is to pause, when insulted, to consider whether what the insulter said is true. If it is, there is little reason to be upset.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 144). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Stoic Self-Denial

“Indeed, by practicing Stoic self-denial techniques over a long period, Stoics can transform themselves into individuals remarkable for their courage and self-control. They will be able to do things that others dread doing, and they will be able to refrain from doing things that others cannot resist doing. They will, as a result, be thoroughly in control of themselves. This self-control makes it far more likely that they will attain the goals of their philosophy of life, and this in turn dramatically increases their chances of living a good life.”

Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 116). Oxford University Press.

William Irvine on Control

“A practicing Stoic will keep the trichotomy of control firmly in mind as he goes about his daily affairs. He will perform a kind of triage in which he sorts the elements of his life into three categories: those over which he has complete control, those over which he has no control at all, and those over which he has some but not complete control. The things in the second category—those over which he has no control at all—he will set aside as not worth worrying about. In doing this, he will spare himself a great deal of needless anxiety. He will instead concern himself with things over which he has complete control and things over which he has some but not complete control.”

Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (pp. 100-101). Oxford University Press.

Seneca on Possessions

“Again, let us possess nothing that can be snatched from us to the great profit of a plotting foe. Let there be as little booty as possible on your person.”

~ Seneca / Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium

Seneca on Provocation

“So the wise man will never provoke the anger of those in power; nay, he will even turn his course, precisely as he would turn from a storm if he were steering a ship.”

Seneca / Epistulae Morales AD Lucilium

Seneca on Fortune

“In the mean time, cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases.”

~ Seneca