Control and Choice

The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…

Some things are in our control , while others are not. We control our opinion. choice, desire, aversion, and in a word, everything of our own doing. We do not control our body, property, reputation, position, and, in a word, everything not of our own doing. Even more, the things in our control are by nature free, unhindered, and unobstructed, while those not in our control are weak, slavish, can be hindered, and are not our own.

Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4 – 5


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