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Every Challenge is a Gift

Chapter 10 / 53: n this lesson, Epictetus explains that whenever we get confronted with challenges or temptations there is little need to worry—in fact, there is more reason to celebrate.
Every Challenge is a Gift

Enchiridion Chapter 10 / 53

In today’s Stoic Handbook breakdown, we look at Chapter 10 from The Enchiridion.

In this lesson, Epictetus explains that whenever we get confronted with challenges or temptations there is little need to worry—in fact, there is more reason to celebrate.

For how can you ever develop an excellent character in a comfortable life without challenge?

If we practice Stoicism, we can use any challenge as a training device to practice acting in the world with greater virtue.


Every time you encounter a challenge in life, remember that nature has equipped you with the resources to deal with it.

You could say that every challenge brings with it a gift: the perfect opportunity for you to practice virtue.

For example:

If you see a beautiful woman or handsome man you will discover two opposing powers: lust and self-restraint—which path you choose is up to you.

The same is true with pain, it will elicit the choice between victimhood and endurance, both are within you.

The next time you get insulted, be thankful because you will discover the virtue of patience.

With enough practice, you will soon experience every challenge as a great opportunity to guide you toward virtue.

ENCHIRIDION CHAPTER TEN, EPICTETUS, TRANSLATION BY ROBERT DOBBIN:

For every challenge, remember the resources you have within you to cope with it. Provoked by the sight of a handsome man or a beautiful woman, you will discover within you the contrary power of self-restraint. Faced with pain, you will discover the power of endurance. If you are insulted, you will discover patience. In time, you will grow to be confident that there is not a single impression that you will not have the moral means to tolerate.