Put It In Your Own Words

“Many words have been spoken by Plato, Zeno, Chrysippus, Posidonius, and by a whole host of equally excellent Stoics. I’ll tell you how people can prove their words to be their own — by putting into practice what they’ve been preaching.”


(Another hilarious translation, as “preaching” probably wasn’t a concept back in the time of Seneca. But whatever, it helps us understand the meaning better, so I’m okay with it. ~BT)

Stoicism is known to be repetitive. The philosophers quoted in The Daily Stoic have often repeated each other, or drawn from each others’ writings, and so it starts to sound a bit the same. Some might even call this a fault of stoicism, that they “borrow” ideas so freely from each other.

But the true stoic doesn’t really care about this. Why not? Because it doesn’t really matter who had the idea first. The only thing that matters is if it’s true and good, and whether you’re putting it into action.

So what that the core concepts are sometimes repeated or rephrased. Taking action and putting these concepts into practice is more important than all the conjecture and discussion in the world, anyway. If it takes a few reminders on the same concepts over time to prod us into action, then I’m okay with that.

Put stoicism into your own words — adapt it for today, and for your life. There’s nothing stopping you from rephrasing it yourself, even if you’re no grand philosopher (yet)!

But in the end, you have to prove it by taking imperfect action, rather than being all talk.

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