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JONAS SALZGEBER

Manage your expectations

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

We act surprised by what happens

The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them. That’s all you need to know. Nothing more. Don’t demand to know ‘why such things exist.’ Anyone who understands the world will laugh at you, just as a carpenter would if you seemed shocked at finding sawdust in his workshop, or a shoemaker at scraps of leather leftover from work. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 8.50)


The anti-puppet mindset

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

We are puppets on strings

If a person gave away your body to some passersby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?

(Epictetus, Enchiridion, 28)


The art of living the good life

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

How to live a good life? This classic philosophic question stands at the origin of the primary concern of Stoic philosophy: How to live one’s life, or how to master “the art of living.”
 


What you do now matters

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

Dear stranger... the things that seem to stand in our way, maybe they are here for us. Not against us.

 


On how not to fear death

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

Fear of death is irrational - There’s nothing we fear more than our own death. Yet this fear is irrational, say the Stoics, nothing but rumors from the living.


The art of listening

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

Are we listening? Once you start observing conversations, you’ll quickly recognize that most people are terrible listeners. 


A time to evaluate the nature of what we have

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

We have no grounds for self-admiration, as though we were surrounded by our own possessions; they have been loaned to us. We may use and enjoy them, but the one who allotted his gift decides how long we are to be tenants; our duty is to keep ready the gifts we have been given for an indefinite time and to return them when called upon, making no complaint:. 

Seneca, Consolation to Marcia 


Play your given roles well

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

Remember that you are an actor in a play determined by the author: if short, then short; if long, then long. If he wants you to act as a beggar, then act even that with excellence, just as a cripple, a ruler or a citizen. Because that is your objective: to act the role that is given to you well. To select the role is up to someone else. 

Epictetus, Enchiridion 17 


Paying attention: The skill of practice

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

Stoicism isn’t an easy-to-follow road. There are many principles to keep in mind and to live by. 


Learning to practice the “reserve clause”

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

I will sail across the ocean, if nothing prevents me. 

Attributed to Seneca by Donald Robertson 


What’s your job? Being a good person

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

What are you reading this magazine for? 

You won’t get a badge of honor or some other award for learning about Stoicism. Nobody cares what books you read or what you know about ancient philosophy. 


Everyday equanimity: Playing the game

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it. 

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.11 


In forgiveness lies strength

Feature || JONAS SALZGEBER

The Stoics used their philosophy to correct their own faults, not to judge others for theirs. If anything, they tried to show kindness and forgiveness toward others, knowing that they’ve gone wrong themselves before. As Marcus Aurelius reminded himself: 


Emotional first-aid—help when you need it

Practicing Stoicism || JONAS SALZGEBER

The Stoics often summarized their main principles in succinct statements such as 

Live with aretê.
(Always try to express your best self.) 


Relax. Things change all the time

Practicing Stoicism || JONAS SALZGEBER

Change is a universal law of nature.