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

Paragraph 51

How much longer will you procrastinate before beginning your own plan and following your own best advice? You have received the theory of what you will gain by doing it, what you need to do to gain those ends, and why you should do some things and avoid others. Why do you hesitate when you are a grown man and capable of making your own decisions. If you are slothful you will soon be negligent, and then avoidant of challenge and will become insensible to a more meaningful life and soon persevere only in being vulgar. If you choose vulgar ways you will soon be vulgar. If you choose to be mature, you must choose to behave as a mature person, and do the right things because they are the things that a wise person does. For you the right thing to do in a situation becomes a law of nature, and if a situation of pain or pleasure, or of glory or disgrace, comes to you, you will know that you are prepared and you will face your challenge with courage, competence and kindness. Prepare now, because every moment of your life is a now, and it will be met with all that you have to offer. Socrates behaved as himself every moment of his life, even when tormented and even at his execution. We may never achieve his perfection but we can strive to be the best we are capable of being.


This is a challenge to rise to the task of doing the work necessary for becoming your best possible person. That challenge is always in the present moment. So, what is it at this very moment that I can be doing to make myself into a more tranquil and contented person, in tune with the harmony of Nature? For me at this moment, it is to make these ideas as clear as possible, with the intent of helping you to choose to do something right now to take a positive action with tranquility in mind.