The Stoic Art of Living Lessons From Epictetus


Stoicism is a philosophy that dates back over 2,000 years, but its precepts are as important now as they were then. This ancient Greek philosophy, which was subsequently adopted by the Romans, stresses the cultivation of self-control and resilience in the face of hardship. Epictetus, a slave-turned-philosopher who lived in the first century AD, was one of the most prominent Stoic thinkers. His teachings, as documented by his pupil Arrian, continue to inspire people today.

In this blog article, we will look at the Stoic art of life and the lessons Epictetus can teach us. We’ll look at the Stoic perspective, the significance of philosophy in everyday life, and the Stoic approach to emotions. By the end of this piece, readers will have a better knowledge of Stoicism and its current applications.

Epictetus was born a slave in the Roman Empire, but after gaining his freedom, he traveled to Greece to study Stoicism. He spoke and published extensively on Stoic philosophy, with his major message being that we have no influence over and cannot rely on external occurrences, only our own judgements and actions. He felt that comprehending this and exercising the virtues of intelligence, justice, bravery, and moderation would allow one to live a virtuous and full life. Enchiridion, a text that is still extensively read and studied today, gathered his teachings.

The Stoic Way of Thinking

The concept of having a “Stoic attitude” is one of the key concepts of Stoicism. This entails understanding that there are certain aspects of life over which we have no control, such as natural calamities, the conduct of others, and even our own mortality. We can, however, choose how we react to these occurrences and how they influence us emotionally.

Epictetus’ main doctrine was the notion of “prohairesis,” or the power to select one’s own actions and reactions. He felt that while we have power over our judgements and acts, we do not have influence over external occurrences. We may avoid being disappointed or agitated about things we cannot control by concentrating on what we can control.

The Stoic perspective may be applied to several facets of life, including relationships, employment, and personal development. In relationships, for example, we cannot control the acts of others, but we can control how we respond to them. Instead of being angry or resentful, we might choose to respond with love, kindness, and forgiveness. Instead of feeling disheartened by variables beyond our control, such as promotion or recognition, we may focus on doing our best and putting in the effort at work. In terms of personal development, rather than comparing ourselves to others, we may concentrate on being the best version of ourselves.

We may learn to be more robust and less reactive to life’s problems and tensions by cultivating a Stoic mentality. It teaches us to be patient, endure, and keep a clear mind, all of which are vital skills for overcoming daily challenges.

It’s crucial to remember that adopting a Stoic perspective does not imply being dispassionate or apathetic; rather, it means acknowledging and accepting reality and working around it rather than obsessing on what we can’t alter.

The Importance of Philosophy in Everyday Life

One of Epictetus’ major concepts of Stoicism is that philosophy should be implemented in daily life rather than only learned academically. Epictetus emphasized the value of practical knowledge, also known as “phronesis,” in making better judgments and living a virtuous life in his teachings.

The capacity to grasp and apply ethical concepts to specific situations is referred to as practical wisdom. It is not only necessary to understand what is good or bad, but also to know how to use that information. Epictetus advised his students to exercise mindfulness and self-reflection in order to gain practical knowledge.

One method to incorporate philosophy into your everyday routine is to spend a few moments at the beginning or conclusion of each day reflecting about your actions and decisions. Examine if they are consistent with your ideals and contribute to living a virtuous life.

Another method for incorporating philosophy into your daily life is to practice mindfulness, which involves paying attention to the current moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment. This may be accomplished by simple techniques like meditation, writing, or even going for a stroll.

Finally, attempt to combine the Stoic values of knowledge, justice, bravery, and moderation into your daily acts. This may be as easy as consciously attempting to be more honest and fair, or to be more courageous in the face of adversity.

We may make better judgments, strengthen our relationships, and live a more satisfying existence by infusing philosophy into our daily lives and practicing practical wisdom.

Emotions and the Stoic Way

One of the most notable differences between Stoicism and other philosophical traditions is its approach to emotions. Stoics think that while emotions like fear, wrath, or sadness are normal reactions to circumstances, it is possible to detach from them and not allow them to rule one’s actions or judgements.

Stoics, unlike other schools of thought, do not regard emotions as intrinsically unpleasant or as something to be avoided. They understood that emotions are a normal aspect of being human, but felt that being able to notice and manage them was essential for living a virtuous and full life.

One method proposed by Stoics is to distinguish between “judgments” and “feelings.” Our ideas and views about occurrences are known as judgements, and it is these judgments that can cause unpleasant feelings. Feelings, on the other hand, are merely a normal reaction to an occurrence, such as mourning the loss of a loved one.

Recognizing this distinction allows us to develop “emotional detachment,” or not allowing our judgements and bad emotions to govern us. Instead, we may notice these feelings and accept them as natural, but not allow them to govern our actions or judgments.

It is critical to understand that this does not imply being apathetic or uncaring. In fact, exercising emotional detachment might assist us in being more empathetic and understanding toward others. Controlling our emotions allows us to respond to others in a more calm and sensible manner.

In conclusion, the Stoic approach to emotions focuses on understanding and embracing the naturalness of emotions, distinguishing between judgements and feelings, and monitoring and controlling emotions rather than being governed by them, allowing for a balanced and clear perspective on life.


In this blog article, we looked at the Stoic art of life and the lessons that Epictetus’ teachings may offer us. We’ve spoken about the Stoic approach, which stresses the value of accepting what we can’t control and concentrating on what we can. We’ve also discussed the significance of philosophy in everyday life and how practical knowledge may help us make better judgments. Finally, we looked at the Stoic approach to emotions, which focuses on emotional detachment and acknowledging the naturalness of emotions.

We may learn to be more resilient in the face of hardship, make better judgments, and live a more virtuous and fulfilling life by knowing and adopting Stoic concepts.

I invite you to use the Stoic concepts we’ve discussed in your own life and see how they affect your well-being and perspective. There are several resources accessible for additional reading and research on the topic of Stoicism, including Epictetus’ Enchiridion, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Tad Brennan’s Stoicism of Seneca, and others. Tad Brennan’s The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate, Seneca’s Stoic Philosophy and the Stoic Sage: The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood, and Socrates.

I hope this essay was useful and instructive in offering an introduction of Stoic philosophy and how it might be utilized in our daily lives. Thank you for taking the time to read this.