Stay on the Stoic Path

Stay on the Stoic Path


Enchiridion Chapter 22/53: In this lesson, Epictetus encourages us to stick on the Stoic path even when people try to knock us off.

When you aim up in life and dream big, it will sometimes make those around you feel insecure about their own failed ambitions, and as a result, they will try to mess with your emotional state so you remain the same.

The same will happen when you commit to the Stoic path.

If you tell people that you wish to cultivate wisdom and become a Stoic philosopher, they may laugh at you:

"Look at Mr. Philosopher over here. Tell me the meaning of life then..."
"She is so arrogant and is a know-it-all. Must be all that philosophy stuff she's reading."
"So you're telling me you are forgoing pleasure... to be happier. Now that's a clever idea, genius."

Don't react to such snide remarks or become pretentious.

Simply stick to your Stoic principles as if this were part of your destiny.

If you stick to your principles:

the very same people that once made fun of you will eventually come to respect and admire you and ask you how you become such a wise person.

If you do not stick to your principles:

Those people who tempted you to leave the Stoic path will just mock you with twice the ferocity.


Life works like this in many ways. Whether you want to become a writer, athlete, great thinker, artist, etc., there will always be people who try to block you. You represent their own failed ambitions and challenge their own limiting beliefs that keep them small.

The irony is that these same people who try to prevent you from reaching your goals, admire people "who have made it" just as much as anyone else. The closer someone is to us in proximity, sex, and age, the more envy there will be and therefore the high likelihood of ridicule.

As Epictetus instructs, stay true to your principles, and stay on the path. These same people that once mocked us, will soon come to us for advice. And as compassionate and helpful members of society, we will be there to help when the time comes.

If you commit to philosophy, be prepared at once to be laughed at and made the butt of many snide remarks, like, ‘Suddenly there’s a philosopher among us!’ and ‘What makes him so pretentious now?’ Only don’t be pretentious: just stick to your principles as if God had made you accept the role of philosopher. And rest assured that, if you remain true to them, the same people who made fun of you will come to admire you in time; whereas, if you let these people dissuade you from your choice, you will earn their derision twice over.