More Stoic Thoughts

Still working my way through Letters From A Stoic by Seneca  – which seems like it’s going to take me a really long time to get through.

With life stressors, the holidays upon us, and losing my cat recently, I haven’t felt particularly stoic.

I do try.

I tried to comfort my cat as I was rushing him to the vet, telling him that “all pain is temporary” and that “whatever needs to happen I will make sure he is no longer in pain by the end of the visit.” I kept that promise to him, as painful as it was.

Here are a few more thoughts from the book:

There are more things likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.

When men surround you and try to talk you into believing that you are unhappy, consider not what you hear but what you yourself feel, and to take counsel with your feelings and question yourself independently, because you know your own affairs better than anyone else.

There is nothing so certain among these objects of fear that it is not more certain still that things we dread sink into nothing and that things we hope for mock us.

Weigh carefully your hopes as well as your fears, and whenever all the elements are in doubt, decide in your own favor; believe what you prefer. And if fear wins a majority of the votes, incline in the other direction anyhow, and cease to harass your soul, reflecting continually that most mortals, even when no troubles are actually at hand, become excited and disquieted.

Natural desires are limited; but those which spring from false options can have no stopping-point. The false has no limits.

The acquisition of wealth has been for many men, not an end, but a change, of troubles.

If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.

That’s it for this week. Let me know if any of these quotes speaks to you right now.

I wish you all a merry, and stoic, holiday season.


  1. Good reminders to not invite worry and torment. Which is how I’ve tended to view the approach of the holidays every year – with dread about all the (imagined) demands on time and energy. Here’s to a stoic holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I found both Seneca and Marcus Aurelius a little tough to get through. Have you Irving’s A guide to the good life? It’s like a road map/guide to stoicism and i wish i’d read it first!


    • It’s on my list of books to read but I haven’t read it yet. I am finding Seneca hard to get through. I am reading it on Kindle and it says I am only 14% through! This is tempting me to put it aside for a bit and maybe try A Guide to the Good Life first and then revisit Seneca.

      Liked by 1 person

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