Time to think…about shock and facing danger

“Once your mind has been shocked – once it gets in the habit of blind panic – it can’t provide for its own safety. For it doesn’t really avoid danger, it just runs away. Yet we are exposed to greater danger with our backs turned.” Seneca, Moral Letters. At some point we need to stop […]

Time to think…about leisure and study

“Leisure without study is death – a tomb for the living person.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Need we say more about this? If we choose not to, perhaps then we fall victim to the very concept itself, in that we look no deeper into the reasons why we can so easily waste away our time in […]

Time to think…about reason and resolve

“Remember that your ruling reason becomes unconquerable when it rallies and relies on itself, so that it won’t do anything contrary to its own will, even if its position is irrational. How much more unconquerable if its judgements are careful and made rationally? Therefore, the mind freed from passions is an impenetrable fortress – a […]

Time to think…about your inner beat

“When forced, as it seems, by circumstances into utter confusion, get a hold of yourself quickly. Don’t be locked out of the rhythm any longer than necessary. You’ll be able to keep the beat if you are constantly returning to it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Know the sound of your own drum and beat it yourself […]

Time to think…about wrestling with life

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, because an artful life requires being prepared to meet and withstand sudden and unexpected attacks.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. What challenges might you face today? When limbering up, what core strengths will help get you through? It is the sudden and unexpected events in our lives that […]

Time to think…about change and free will

“Remember that to change your mind and to follow someone’s correction are consistent with a free will. For the action is yours alone – to fulfil its purpose in keeping with your impulse and judgement, and yes, with your intelligence.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. No-one can make you change your mind: that power remains firmly with […]

Time to think…about pain

“Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it can’t degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good. And in most cases you should be helped by the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you […]

Time to think…about living gracefully

“What if someone despises me? Let them see to it. But I will see to it that I won’t be found doing or saying anything contemptible. What if someone hates me? Let them see to that. But I will see to it that I’m kind and good-natured to all, and prepared to show even the […]

Time to think…about perseverance

“Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly-talented, but the characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.” Seneca, On Providence. As Churchill once remarked, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”. Persevere. Make sense of what is happening. Find meaning. Orientate yourself to that reality […]

Time to think…about your rational soul

“No-one is crushed by Fortune, unless they are first deceived by her…those who aren’t pompous in good times don’t have their bubbles burst with change. Against either circumstance, the stable person keeps their rational soul invincible, for it’s precisely in the good times they prove their strength against adversity.” Seneca, On Consolation to Helvia. Good […]

Time to think…about freedom to choose

“You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” Epictetus, Discourses. Viktor Frankl talks about the power to choose your attitude being the only power that cannot be taken away from you. While we are subjected to trials and tribulations that are not in our […]

Time to think…about a hard winter training

“We must undergo a hard winter training and not rush into things for which we haven’t prepared.” Epictetus, Discourses. This statement is even more pertinent now in these challenging times. Take the time to prepare, and that includes mental preparation as well as physical and logistical.

Time to think…about new ways versus old habits

“Won’t you be walking in your predecessors’ footsteps? I surely will use the older path, but if I find a shorter and smoother way, I’ll blaze a trail there. The ones who pioneered these paths aren’t our masters, but our guides. Truth stands open to everyone, it hasn’t been monopolised.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Habits are […]

Time to think…about the first judgements we make

“I’ll never be ashamed to quote a bad writer with a good saying.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. What judgements do we make about the characteristics of things while ignoring whether they fulfil the initial purpose for which we engage with them? How quick are we to dismiss fundamental values and virtues because we place […]

Time to think…about knowing what’s good for you

“Therefore, explain why a wise person shouldn’t get drunk – not with words, but by the facts of its ugliness and offensiveness. It’s most easy to prove that so-called pleasures, when they go beyond proper measure, are but punishments.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Too much of a good thing becomes bad for you. At what point do […]

Time to think…about importance being relative

“It is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth, for then you won’t tire and give up, if you aren’t busying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. There are some things in life that we don’t […]

Time to think…about being miserable in advance

“It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery, engulfed by anxiety that the things it desires might remain its own until the very end. For such a soul will never be at rest – by longing for things to come it will lose the ability to […]

Time to think…about your strength of mind

“A good person is invincible, for they don’t rush into contests in which they aren’t the strongest. If you want their property, take it – take also their staff, profession, and body. But you will never compel what they set out for, nor trap them in what they would avoid. For the only contest the […]

Time to think…about your reasoned choice

“Nothing outside my reasoned choice can hinder or harm it – my reasoned choice alone can do this to itself. If we could lean this way whenever we fail, and would blame only ourselves and remember that nothing but opinion is the cause of a troubled mind and uneasiness, then by God, I swear we […]

Time to think…about reasons, not emotions

“You’ve endured countless troubles – all from not letting your ruling reason do the work it was made for – enough already!” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. On those occasions when you’ve thought and acted like a prize gibbon, what do you remember about the event afterwards? How realistic and accurate were your thoughts at the time? How […]

Time to think…about habits before theory

“When the problem arose for us whether habit or theory was better for getting virtue – if by theory is meant what teaches us correct conduct, and by habit we mean being accustomed to act accordingly to this theory – Musonius thought habit to be more effective.” Musonius Rufus, Lectures. When you know what needs to […]

Time to think…about perfectionism and perseverance

“We don’t abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.” Epictetus, Discourses. Having an all-or-nothing mindset is a sure route to unhappiness. The old adage that it’s not about the winning but about the taking part applies in many fields of your life. Don’t waste much time in worrying about getting it right, winning […]

Time to think…about facts, not hearsay

“Don’t tell yourself anything more than what the initial impressions report. It’s been reported to you that someone is speaking badly about you. This is the report – the report wasn’t that you’ve been harmed. I see that my son is sick – but not that his life is at risk. So always stay within […]

Time to think…about choosing to live well, wherever

“Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well; life is also in the demands of court, there too one can live well.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. To live ‘well’ is to be clear about your values and to live by them. The pragmatism required of the situation need not prevent you from living by […]

Time to think…about applying yourself to thinking

“Apply yourself to thinking through difficulties – hard times can be softened, tight squeezes widened, and heavy loads made lighter for those who apply the right pressure.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. Apply yourself to logical thinking – abstract, objective, facts-based exploration of the situation you find yourself in – and avoid where possible becoming engrossed […]

Time to think…about silence

“Silence is a lesson learned from the many sufferings of life.”  Seneca, Thyestes. When you can listen to someone a little longer, why talk? We feel the need to justify ourselves – in showing we belong to a group, or displaying our strength in resistance to an insult or perceived wrong being committed, especially when we […]

Time to think…about living in the moment

“At this moment, you aren’t on a journey, but wandering about, being driven from place to place, even though what you seek – to live well – is found in all places. Is there any place more full of confusion than the Forum? Yet even there you can live at peace, if needed.”  Seneca, Moral Letters. […]