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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

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When about to do something, for example going to a public swimming pool, consider what type of activity it is, and what kinds of things happen there. Prepare yourself for how you might respond to those things with some forethought. Typically you will be splashed, pushed about and made fun of, and sometimes things are stolen from the storage area. As you enter the area say to yourself, “I am choosing to swim in this public pool, and I want to enjoy myself and maintain my equanimity.” When uncomfortable things happen, as they often will, remember your intention for being here was not only to swim, but also to enjoy yourself by maintaining your good humor. If you become annoyed with some trivial happening you would be contradicting your whole reason for being there. Be prepared not to become annoyed but to take happenings as good fun, and move on and enjoy yourself.

COMMENTS

Epictetus takes a common public event where boisterous activities are common, even between strangers, and where some of them may become annoying. So he makes a general strategy for avoiding becoming annoyed and precipitating an angry interchange. Getting angry usually makes a difficult situation worse. A calm demeanor will better diffuse the conflict and will also help the Stoic keep his own mind tranquil.