The Stoics were a fascinating group of philosophers dating back to the early 3rd century BC. It seems like they had advice for almost every situation you could think of. At this point in my life, I’m going to be honest, the temptation to give up and run away from my responsibilities is at its peak. So, I’ve turned to Stoicism for help, and so far it seems to be working. In the spirit of this blog, I thought I’d share some of my favourite stoic quotes for when you feel like giving up.
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“Stop wandering about! You aren’t likely to read your own notebooks, or ancient histories, or the anthologies you’ve collected to enjoy in your old age. Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue-if you care for yourself at all-and do it while you can.”
“Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what the world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”
“The most fruitful breaks are often those we are or were forced to take by life.”
“Growth is often the cause or the result of pain.”
“Cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, never to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases, treating her as if she were actually going to do everything it is in her power to do. Whatever you have been expecting for some time comes as less of a shock.”
“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”
“He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.”
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
“Remember that you’re an actor in a play, which will be as the author chooses, short if he wants it to be short, and long if he wants it to be long. If he wants you to play the part of a beggar, act even that part with all your skill; and likewise if you’re playing a cripple, an official, or a private citizen. For that is your business, to act the role that is assigned to you as well as you can; but it is another’s part to select that role.”
“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. ”
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ”
So what did you think? I think my favourite would have to be “ The most fruitful breaks are often those we are or were forced to take by life.” by Mokokoma Mokhonoana. So far, it seems like whenever I’ve had these intrusive thoughts to flee, I’ve definitely needed to take a step back.
So my personal advice to you if you’re feeling like giving up isn’t to keep slamming your head into the wall. Allow yourself to rest for a bit. It could be for a couple of hours, days, weeks. Take as long as you need to get back to who you are.