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

Paragraph 38

You have learned to be careful when walking about not to step on a nail or a rock and thus hurt your foot, and you should learn to apply this same principle and never through lack of caution to hurt your ruling principle of carefully seeking tranquility and contentment.


This statement charges the student of Stoicism to greater effort. The idea is that this philosophy of easy living isn’t just some quickly read suggestions that are instantly forgotten. It is a constant struggle to invariably do the right thing. What the right thing might be changes with every moment and every situation, and it is impossible to maintain perfect attention. Because of that difficulty, it is essential to use every conscious moment to cultivate the right habits for automatically guiding you through the difficult moments. And, every moment is potentially difficult.