Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors, and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.
Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion.
1. Your control:
My reactions, my emotions, virtue / doing the right things. Don’t worry about what’s not under your control like external events.
2. Conform your will to the divine order of the universe, go with the flow. Everything happens for your own greater good.
3. Understand your emotions:
Don’t repress or assent to all emotions. Stoic calm, stop and think about your emotions and analyse them. Be master of your mind; differentiate between your beliefs and emotions.
4. Do the right thing no matter what the cost:
Universe is intelligent every action has its own outcome, every reaction has equal or opposite reaction. Do good and receive good, do bad and receive bad.
You only control your soul/mind, so take care of it. Live virtuously and with integrity. Confirm mind to reality it will lead to virtue.
5. Understand that events are not problematic:
Rather it’s your thinking and reaction to them. Adjust your beliefs and expectations to fit reality.
Have more realistic and less optimistic expectations and beliefs. Optimism is often harmful. Prepare your mind so you don’t lose it, two people experience same event but react differently because of how they perceive or think of that situation.
6. Live with compassion and respect for human rights:
Every human has a divine spark within them; everyone is a brother or sister. Everyone is fighting their own battle, be nice to everyone.
7. Cultivate right thinking through daily activities like meditation, contemplation, reflection, journalising etc. Meditation on death and all that could go wrong in life, immunize your-self. Destroy all lower emotions which are destructive.
8. Your external world is created by your internal beliefs and thoughts:
Clarify first theme, people who are forgiving others are controlled by forces beyond their understanding.
9. Calmness, humility, discipline, and indifference to pleasure and pain because of their worldview and training, the stoics are calm in face of adversity. Calmness prepares one for all scenarios of life.
Indifferent to own suffering, they understand pleasure and pain to be externals beyond control. Disciplined because mind guides.
10. Stop whining, turn adversity into advantage:
Build on other themes. Think of many ways you could fail. How could you turn those failures into something good?