How a person can preserve their proper character in any situation

Epictetus – Discourses Book 1
I.2. How a person can preserve their proper character in any situation

As a rule,

  1. Humans can tolerate what is reasonable, and
  2. They cannot tolerate what is unreasonable.

Education is needed to align our preconceptions of reasonable and unreasonable with nature.

But this alignment requires knowing your own individual nature, as much as it requires appraising the value of externals.

A person’s character, and its value, can only be estimated by the person himself. In taking account of the valuations of others’, which are externals, we risk mistaking the value of our own character.

  1. Only a person himself can know how to keep with his own character.
  2. Only a person himself can realise his own strengths.
  3. So only I can know what is in keeping with my own Character.
  4. Only I can realise my own strengths.

No one becomes a hero overnight, one has to train many winters. But not everyone has in his individual nature what takes to be a hero.

This is inconsequential. This should not keep us from trying to do our best, according to our nature. “We do not abandon any discipline for despair of ever being the best in it.”