There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power. Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and whatever are not properly our own affairs. If you take for your own only that which is your own, and view what belongs to others just as it really is, then on one will ever compel you, no one will restrict you, you will find fault with no one, you will accuse no one, you will do nothing against your will; no one will hurt you, you will not have an enemy, nor will you suffer any harm. If it concerns anything beyond our power, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you. Remember that desire demands the attainment of that of which you are desirous; and aversion demands the avoidance of that to which you are averse; he who fails to attain his desires is disappointed; and he who incurs the object of his aversion is wretched. If you shun only those undesirable things which you can control, you will never incur anything which you shun; but if you shun sickness, or death, or poverty, you will run the risk of wretchedness. Remove the habit of aversion, then, from all things that are not within our power, and apply it to things undesirable, which are within our power. For the present restrain desire; for if you desire any of the things not within our own power, you must necessarily be disappointed. With regard to whatever objects either delight the mind, or contribute to use, or are tenderly beloved, remind yourself of what nature they are. We are disturbed not by things, but by the views which we take of things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never impute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own views. Be not elated at any excellence not your own. Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well. Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless itself pleases. Say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens. For you will find it to be an impediment to something else, but not truly to yourself. Upon every accident, remember to turn towards yourself and inquire what faculty you have for its use. If pain, then fortitude, if reviling, then patience. And when thus habituated, the phenomena of existence will not overwhelm you. Never say of anything, “I have lost it;“ but, “I have restored it.“ While you possess it, hold it as something not your own; as do travelers at an inn. It is better to die of hunger, exempt from grief and fear, than to live in affluence with perturbation. When you call your servant, consider that it is possible he may not come at your call; or, if he does, that he may not do what you wish. But it is not at all desirable for him, and very undesirable for you, that it should be in his power to cause you any disturbance. Be content to be thought foolish and dull with regards to externals. Do not desire to be thought to know anything; and though you should appear to others to be somebody, distrust yourself. It is not easy to keep your will in harmony with nature, and to secure externals; but while you are absorbed in the one, you must of necessity neglect the other. If you wish your children and your wife and your friends to live forever, you are foolish; for you wish things to be in your power which are not so. If you wish not to be disappointed in your desires, that is in your own power. Exercise what is in your power. A man's master is he who is able to confer or remove whatever that man seeks or shuns. If you do not so much as take the things which are set before you, but are able even to forego them, then you will not only be worthy to feast with the gods, but to rule with them also. When you see any one weeping for grief, say, “What hurts this man is not this occurrence itself,—for another man might not be hurt by it,—but the view he chooses to take of it.“ As far as conversation goes, however, do not disdain to accommodate yourself to him, and if need be, to groan with him. Take heed, however, not to groan inwardly too. Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the author chooses. It is your business to act well the given part; but to choose it, belongs to another. You can be unconquerable, if you enter into no combat in which is not in your own power to conquer. For your own part, do not desire but for a free, and the only way to this is a disregard of things which lie not within our own power. When any one provoke you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Remember, if you are persistent, those very persons who at first ridiculed will afterwards admire you. If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, for the pleasure of any one, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented in everything, with being a philosopher; and if you wish to seem so likewise to any one, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you. Who can give to another the things which he himself has not? If I can get them with the preservation of my own honor and fidelity and self-respect, show me a way, and I will get them; but if you require me to lose my own proper good, that you may gain what is no good, consider how unreasonable and foolish you are. Which would you rather have, a sum of money, or a faithful and honorable friend? Rather assist me, then, to gain this character, than require me to do those things by which I may lose it. It is enough if every one fully performs his own proper business. The place you should hold is whatever preserves your fidelity and honor. Happiness, the effect of virtue, is the mark which God hath set up for us to aim at. Our missing it is no work of His; nor so properly anything real, as a mere negative and failure of our own. Duties are universally measured by relations. Preserve your own just relations. Consider not what they do, but what you are to do, to keep your own will in a state conformable to nature. For another cannot hurt you, unless you please. First, clearly understand that every event is indifferent, and nothing to you, of whatever sort it may be; for it will be in your power to make a right use of it, and this no one can hinder. Prescribe to yourself some character and demeanor, such as you may preserve both alone and in company. Be mostly silent; or speak merely what is needful and in few words. Let not your laughter be loud, frequent, or abundant. Avoid taking oaths, if possible, altogether; at any rate, so far as you are able. Avoid public and vulgar entertainments; but if ever an occasion calls you to them, keep your attention upon the stretch, that you may not imperceptibly slide into vulgarity. If a person ever be so pure himself, yet, if his companion be corrupted, he who converses with him will be corrupted likewise. Provide things relating to the body no further than absolute need requires. Cut off everything that looks towards show and luxury. It is not necessary for you to appear often at public spectacles; but if ever there is a proper occasion for you to be there, do not appear more solicitous for any other than for yourself; that is, wish things to be only just as they are, and only the best man to win; for thus nothing will go against you. Abstain entirely from acclamations and derision and violent emotions. When you leave, do not discourse a great deal on what has passed, and what contributes nothing to your own amendment. In society, avoid a frequent and excessive mention of your own actions and dangers. Avoid likewise an endeavor to excite laughter. For this may readily slide you into vulgarity, and, besides, may be apt to lower you in the esteem of your acquaintance. If you are dazzled by the semblance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being bewildered by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time,—that in which you shall enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repend and reproach yourself, after you have enjoyed it,—and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will rejoice and applaud yourself, if you abstain. If you are not acting rightly, shun the action itself; if you are, why fear those who wrongly censure you. As in walking you take care not to tread upon a nail, or turn your foot, so likewise take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. And if we were to guard against this in every action, we should enter upon action more safely. When any person does ill by you, or speaks ill of you, remember that he acts or speaks from an impression that it is right for him to do so. He only follows what appears so to himself. If he judges from false appearances, he is the person hurt; since he too is the person deceived. You consist neither in property nor in style. Never proclaim yourself a philosopher; nor make much talk among the ignorant about your principles, but show them by actions. At an entertainment, do not discourse how people ought to eat; but eat as you ought. If ever there should be among the ignorant any discussion of principles, be for the most part silent. There is great danger in hastily throwing out what is undigested. Sheep do not hastily throw up the grass, to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digest their food, and they produce it outwardly in wool and milk. When you have learned to nourish your body frugally, do not pique yourself upon it; nor if you drink water, be saying upon every occasion, “I drink water.“ First consider how much more frugal the poor are than we, and how much more patient of hardship. The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is that he looks to himself for all help or harm. The marks of a proficient are that he censures no one, praises no one, blames no one, accuses no one; says nothing concerning himself as being anybody, or knowing anything. When he is in any instance hindered or restrained, he accuses himself; and if he is praised, he smiles to himself at the person who praises him; and if he is censured, he makes no defence. But he goes about with the caution of a convalescent, careful of interference with anything that is doing well, but not quite secure. He restrains desire; he transfers his aversion to those things only which thwart the proper use of our own will; he employs his energies moderately in all directions; if he appears stupid or ignorant, he does not care; and, in a word, he keeps watch over himself as over an enemy and one in ambush. Whatever rules you have adopted, abide by them as laws, and as if you would be impious to transgress them; and do not regard what any one says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. How long will you delay to demand of yourself the noblest improvements, and in no instance to transgress the judgements of reason? You are no longer a boy, but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue to accomplish nothing, and living and dying, remain a vulgar mind. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best, be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, glory or disgrace, be set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olypiad comes on, nor can it be put off; and that by one failure and defeat honor may be lost—or won. Become perfect, improve yourself by everything, follow reason alone.