Time to think…about staying the course

“This is what you should teach me, how to be like Odysseus – how to love my country, wife and father, and how, even after suffering shipwreck, I might keep sailing on course to those honourable ends.”  Seneca, Moral Letters. Steer your course by your values. Recognise the temptation of seeking instant pleasure at the expense […]

Time to think…about the potential you have right now

“On those mornings you struggle with getting up, keep this thought in mind – I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I am made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made […]

Time to think…about doing the right thing

“Good people will do what they find honourable to do, even if it requires hard work; they’ll do it even if it causes them injury; they’ll do it even if it will bring danger. Again, they won’t do what they find base, even if it brings them wealth, pleasure or power. Nothing will deter them […]

Time to think…about protecting the good

“Protect your own good in all that you do, and, as concerns everything else, take what is given as far as you are able to make reasoned use of it. If you don’t, you’ll be unlucky, prone to failure, hindered and stymied.” Epictetus, Discourses. Know what is right and true for you, and make sure you […]

Time to think…about choosing how to experience life

The task of the philosopher: we should bring our will into harmony with whatever happens, so that nothing happens against our will and nothing that we wish for fails to happen.” Epictetus, Discourses. When something happens that is not in your control, no amount of emotionality – wailing and gnashing of teeth – is going to […]

Time to think…about duty

“Never shirk the proper dispatch of your duty, no matter if you are freezing or hot, groggy or well-rested, vilified or praised, not even if dying or pressed by other demands. Even dying is one of the important assignments of life and, in this as in all else, make the most of your resources to […]

Time to think…about being true to yourself

“Whatever anyone does or says, for my part I’m bound to the good. In the same way an emerald or gold or purple might always proclaim: ‘whatever anyone does or says, I must be what I am and show my true colours’”. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Being true to yourself can sometimes be difficult. When the heat […]

Time to think…about finding your way around the obstacles

“While it’s true that someone can impede our actions, they can’t impede our intentions and our attitudes, which have the power of being conditional and adaptable. For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. […]

Time to think…about not beating yourself up

“Philosophy calls for simple living, but not for penance. It’s quite possible to be simple without being crude.” Seneca, Moral Letters. If you’re in the habit of noticing your failings and short-comings, and then getting all worked up and annoyed with yourself, then you are undoing all the good work achieved through noticing in the first […]

Time to think…about not complaining

“How does it help to make misfortune heavier by complaining about it? This is more fit for a king – to seize your adversities head on. The more precarious his situation, the more imminent his fall from power, the more firmly he should be resolved to stand and fight. It isn’t manly to retreat from […]

Time to think…about the wisdom of reflecting

“This is why we say that nothing happens to the wise person contrary to their expectations.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. If you expect something to happen, and it comes to pass, then you’ll not be surprised by it, and so you are better able to manage your emotions in advance by using your experience and […]

Time to think…about learning what’s in your control

“The beautiful and good person neither fights with anyone else nor, as much as they are able, permits others to fight. This is the meaning of getting an education – learning what is in your own affair and what is not. If a person carries themselves so, where is there any room for fighting?” Epictetus, Discourses. […]

Time to think…about enjoying the moment

“You could enjoy this very moment all the things you are praying to reach by taking the long way around – if you’d stop depriving yourself of them.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. If you are seeking happiness, fame and fortune, or security, to what extent do you have them already right now? Our emotional-thinking brain sees […]

Time to think…about change and repetition

“If you are defeated once and tell yourself you will overcome, but carry on as before, know in the end you’ll be so ill and weakened that eventually you won’t even notice your mistake and will begin to rationalise your behaviour.” Epictetus, Discourses. Even in defeat, resist the temptation to rush towards feeling in control again […]

Time to think…about wondering while wandering

“We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. In the same way that a ‘refresh’ of your computer screen might reload a web page or synchronise your email inbox with new emails (by the way, whether […]

Time to think…about calm and balance

“If then it’s not that the things you pursue or avoid are coming at you, bur rather that you in a sense are seeking them out, at least try to keep your judgement of them steady, and they too will remain calm and you won’t be seen chasing after or fleeing from them.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. […]

Time to think…about taking action now

“Don’t let your reflections on the whole sweep of life crush you. Don’t fill your mind with all the bad things that might still happen. Stay focussed on the present situation and ask yourself why it’s so unbearable and can’t be survived.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the grand scheme […]

Time to think…about fate and effort

“Let Fate find us prepared and active. Here is the great soul – the one who surrenders to Fate. The opposite is the weak and degenerate one, who struggles with and has a poor regard for the order of the world, and seeks to correct the faults of the gods rather than their own.” Seneca, Moral […]

Time to think…about luck versus being prepared

“Fortune doesn’t have the long reach we suppose. She can only lay siege to those who hold her tight. Let’s step back from her as much as possible.” Seneca, Moral Letters There is good luck and bad luck. Both are things that are not in your control. To believe that everything you do is down […]

Time to think…about asking for help

“Don’t be ashamed of needing help. You have a duty to fulfil just like a soldier on the wall of battle. So what if you are injured and can’t climb up without another soldier’s help?” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. We all have our limitations. Some things can be improved upon by ourselves: we can train to become […]

Time to think…about listening

“To the youngster talking nonsense Zeno said, ‘The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is so we might listen more and talk less.” Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers If there is a time when it is especially important to listen more and talk less, then it is in these straitened […]

Time to think…about two handles

“Every event has two handles – one by which it can be carried, and one by which it can’t. If your brother does you wrong, don’t grab it by his wrongdoing, because this is the handle incapable of lifting it. Instead, use the other – that he is your brother, that you were raised together, […]

Time to think…about life being a battlefield

“Don’t you know life is like a military campaign? One must serve on watch, another in reconnaissance, another on the front line. So it is for us – each person’s life is a kind of battle, and a long and varied one too. You must keep watch like a soldier and do everything commanded. You […]

Time to think…about a flexible mind

“In this way you must understand how laughable it is to say, ‘Tell me what to do!’. What advice could I possibly give? No, a far better request is, ‘Train my mind to adapt to any circumstance.’…In this way, if circumstances take you off script…you won’t be desperate for a new prompting.” Epictetus, Discourses. When faced […]

Time to think…about an uncontrolled mind

“How much more harmful are the consequences of anger and grief than the circumstances that aroused them in us!” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. ‘Losing it’ is usually followed by regret for the things you did when in a moment of madness, be that in a fit of anger, a surge of fear or any other unhelpful and […]

Time to think…about others’ achievements

“If you find something very difficult to achieve yourself, don’t imagine it impossible – for anything possible and proper for another person can be achieved as easily by you.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. “If they can do it, so can I!” Having an affirmative mindset does not mean you lose the ability to apply logic and reason […]

Time to think…about nipping emotions in the bud

“There is no vice which lacks a defence, none that at the outset isn’t modest and easily intervened – but after this the trouble spreads widely. If you allow it to get started, you won’t be able to control when it stops. Every emotion is at first weak. Later it rouses itself and gathers strength […]

Time to think…about sticking to your values

“You must build up your life action by action, and be content if one achieves its goal as far as possible – and no-one can keep you from this. But there will be some external obstacle! Perhaps, but no obstacle to acting with justice, self-control, and wisdom. But what if some other area of my […]