This is repost from saint&sinner blog.. I grouped together some of Epictetus’s quotes into this passage…
How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason?
You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them.
What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him?
You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside.
And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event.
That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encounte(red). And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.
Practice then from the start to say to every harsh impression,
“You are an impression, and not at all the thing you appear to be.”
Then examine it and test it by these rules you have, and firstly, and chiefly, by this: whether the impression has to do with the things that are up to us, or those that are not; and if it has to do with the things that are not up to us, be ready to reply,
“It is nothing to me.”
We will not be troubled at any loss, but will say to ourselves on such an occasion:
“I have lost nothing that belongs to me; it was not something of mine that was torn from me, but something that was not in my power has left me.”
Nothing beyond the use of our opinion is properly ours. Every possession rests on opinion. What is to cry and to weep? An opinion. What is misfortune, or a quarrel, or a complaint? All these things are opinions; opinions founded on the delusion that what is not subject to our own choice can be either good or evil, which it cannot.
By rejecting these opinions, and seeking good and evil in the power of choice alone, we may confidently achieve peace of mind in every condition of life.
Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.