Epictetus from The Handbook

Whatever rules you chose,
treat them like laws. As if
it would be impious
not to obey. Forget what
others may be saying of you.
That’s not your concern.

How long are you planning to wait
to demand the best of yourself?
How long will you act against reason?

You know the principles. So,
what kind of master are you waiting for?
What is your excuse for delay?
You aren’t a child anymore.

You neglect. You procrastinate.
You laze around. You say, “I’ll
start next week. Next month.
Sometime.” And so you go on

doing nothing. Living and dying
like the majority. Think: now—
right not is the time to grow up.

Consider your rules
as if they were laws.

Pleasure. Accomplishment.
Embarrassment. Everything
is an opportunity for practice.

The Olympics are now.
They can’t be postponed.
This is a contest to be lost or won.

This is how Socrates did it:

he learned from every experience,
using only his own mind.

You may not be Socrates
but still you can live like
someone trying to be Socrates.


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