No man is free who is not master of himself. ~ Epictetus

Most men are victims, and their victimhood isn’t at the hands of a more powerful oppressor, but in their hands. They don’t have mastery over the Self. Every desire that comes into their minds is followed to its fruition.

No man can be free if he isn’t free from himself and to master himself.

Are you free?

Can you control a desire and determine if its genuinely in your best interests to follow in a given moment, in this moment?

Do you let your weaker tendencies to prevail? Those like lust and envy, sloth and laziness, or do you have a fundamental understanding that your time and energy and imagination are best given to other things, like adventure, or work, or training of the body to become tougher, stronger, mightier?

Mastery over the Self is difficult. To not be a master of the Self is easy, you simply do whatever you feel like doing in a moment, and avoid the things you must do to get what you want from life and become who you must become.

What are your weaknesses?

In what areas of your life do you lack control?

Come to grips with where you’re weak. Write it down. Proclaim it. Those who seek to hide their weaknesses will always be weak. Finding clarity is simply being self-aware enough and courageous enough to admit where you’re weak. People like to be ignorant of their weaknesses, and I’m not talking about the blatant ones.

Do you have control over your spending? I mean real control. Or are their motivations that you don’t own, that are the result of clever advertising? Apply that question to every area of your life. Cover the things you’re not proud of, but also that don’t help you improve.

Are you in control of your TV watching? Even more importantly, are you in control of your thoughts?

Can you stop the depressive thinking that plagues us all or do you follow that rabbit hole until you’re off your game and you give up on a day.

Remember that each day is your life. You cannot separate the two nor can you give one more importance than the other.

You ruin one day, it could be your last. You ruin one day and you have an excuse to ruin another, and before you know if you’ve ruined them all.

Be real with yourself. Where do you lack control? Then figure out how to take control back.

Freedom is what every man needs and it’s what we all want. We just have ignorant ideas of what freedom is. We think freedom is the freedom to do stupid, selfish, lazy things. That isn’t freedom. Freedom is control and focus. Gain control over yourself and you’ll have real freedom.



Difficulty shows what men are. Therefore when a difficulty falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man. Why? So that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but it is not accomplished without sweat.” ~ Epictetus

We tend to get down when difficulty enters our lives. It’s the natural way of thinking. When something unplanned and negative happens, we pity ourselves rather than seeing such an event as Epictetus describes above. (Read This: Life is Hard. Deal with It.)

Don’t just accept difficulty, revel in it. See it as opportunity rather than disaster. Our history of humans is written by men who’ve overcome difficulty, who’ve found the good in it while others chose to pity their plight.

A decade ago I developed horrible spending habits. I spent as my pals spent – which was a lot. I bought because I wanted. I wasn’t in control of where my money went and thus, it went. Combine my ignorance with some bad business breaks and I found myself in seemingly insurmountable debt.

It sucked. Gone was my financial freedom. Gone was my ability to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. In front of me, however, was a great opportunity that has served me well ever since.

I needed to learn to budget. I needed this lesson to come into my life to buck the trends of a consumer society where people place value not on work done, accomplished, or character, but on stuff. It’s idiotic, but I needed a painful lesson to teach me how dumb that focus on life is so when I did make money, I wouldn’t fall into the same trap again.

Crisis is a gift. It’s a teacher. Use it, don’t let it use you, break you, crush you. There are lessons in every moment of our lives, and we either choose to see them or choose to ignore them.

Take the path of the warrior, not the coward. Don’t pity where you are, learn from where you are and do what you must to climb out of the despair you find yourself in.