Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man's ability to stop just where he is and spend some time in his own company.
To be everywhere is to be nowhere.
‘What progress have I made? I am beginning to be my own friend.' That is progress indeed. Such a people will never be alone and you may be sure he is a friend to all.
You should neither become like the bad because they are many, nor be an enemy of the many because they are unlike you. Retire into yourself as much as you can. Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.
Inwardly everything should be different, but our outward face should conform with the crowd. Our clothes should not be gaudy, yet they should not be dowdy either. We should not keep silver plates with inlays of solid gold but at the same time we should not imagine that doing without gold and silver is proof that we are leading the simple life. Let our aim be a way of life not diametrically opposed to, but better than that of the mob. Otherwise we shall repel and alienate the very people whose reform we desire; we shall make them, moreover, reluctant to imitate us in anything for fear they may have to imitate us in everything.
We need to set our affections on some good man and keep him constantly before our eyes, so that we may live as if he were watching us and do everything as if he saw what we were doing.
Set aside now and then a number of days during which you will be content with the plainest of food, and very little of it, and with rough, coarse clothing, and will ask yourself, 'Is this what one used to dread?' It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself to deal with difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favours on us then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.
Count your years and you'll be ashamed to be wanting and working for exactly the same things as you wanted when you were a boy. Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do.
He should be delivering himself of such sayings, not memorizing them. It is disgraceful that a man who is old or in sight of old age should have wisdom deriving solely from his notebook. 'Zeno said this.' And what have you said? 'Cleanthes said that.' What have you said? How much longer are you going to serve under others? Assume authority over yourself and utter something that may be handed down to posterity. Produce something from your own resources.
To remember is to safeguard something entrusted to your memory, whereas to know, by contrast, is actually to make each item your own, and not to be dependent on some original and be constantly looking to see what the master said.
Show me a man who isn't a slave; one is a slave to sex, another to money, another to ambition; all are slaves to hope or fear. […] And there's no state of slavery more disgraceful than one which is self-imposed.
I am too great, was born to too great a destiny to be my body's slave. So far as I am concerned that body is nothing more or less than a fetter on my freedom. I place it squarely in the path of fortune, letting her expend her onslaught on it, not allowing any blow to get through it to my actual self. For that body is all that is vulnerable about me: within this dwelling so liable to injury there lives a spirit that is free. Never shall that flesh compel me to feel fear, never shall it drive me to any pretense unworthy of a good man; never shall I tell a lie out of consideration for this petty body.
An ordinary journey will be incomplete if you come to a stop in the middle of it, or anywhere short of your destination, but life is never incomplete if it is an honourable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is a whole.
As it is with a play, so it is with life–what matters is not how long the acting lasts, but how good it is. It is not important at what point you top. Stop wherever you will–only make sure that you round it off with a good ending.
Cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, never to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune's habit of behaving just as she pleases, treating her as if she were actually going to do everything it is in her power to do.
The good man should go on living as long as he ought to, not just as long as he likes.
Shapes frightening to the sight, hardship and death, are not so at all if one can break through the surrounding darkness and look directly at them. Many are the things that have caused terror during the night and been turned into matters of laughter with the coming of daylight.
It's not because it's hard that we lose confidence; it's hard because we lack the confidence.
To expect punishment is to suffer it; and to earn it is to expect it.
Life's no soft affair. It's a long road you've started on: you can't but expect to have slips and knocks and falls, and get tired, and openly wish - a lie - for death.
You needn't be surprised to discover so much individuality where the vices are concerned. Vice are manifold, take countless different forms and are incapable of classification. Devotion to what is right is simple, devotion to what is wrong is complex and admits of infinite variations. It is the same with people's characters; in those who follow nature they are straightforward and uncomplicated, and differ only in minor degree, while those that are warped are hopelessly at odds with the rest and equally at odds with themselves.
Let me indicate here how men can prove that their words are their own: let them put their preaching into practice.
To pursue a straight course and eventually reach that destination where the things that are pleasant and the things that are honourable finally become, for you, the same. And we can achieve this if we realize that there are two classes of things attracting or repelling us. We are attracted by wealth, pleasures, good looks, political advancement and various other welcoming and enticing prospects: we are repelled by exertion, death, pain, disgrace and limited means. It follows that we need to train ourselves not to crave for the former and not to be afraid of the latter. Let us fight the battle the other way round--retreat from the things that attract us and rouse ourselves to meet the things that actually attack us.
No man's good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt. Pleasure is a poor and petty thing. No value should be set on it: it's something we share with dumb animals--the minutest, most insignificant creatures scutter after it. Glory's an empty, changeable thing, as fickle as the weather. Poverty's no evil to anyone unless he kicks against it. Death is not an evil.