Epictetus’ Art of Winning in All Circumstances (Stoicism) | Summary and Q&A

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August 10, 2023
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Einzelgänger
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Epictetus’ Art of Winning in All Circumstances (Stoicism)

TL;DR

Epictetus teaches that by embracing defeat and not caring about winning or losing, we can always win.

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Key Insights

  • 🧑‍🏭 Placing our happiness in external factors beyond our control is unreliable.
  • 🥺 The desire for external validation and praise can lead to anxiety and disappointment.
  • 😉 By not caring about winning or losing outwardly, we can focus on our performance and find satisfaction internally.
  • 😨 Embracing failure and not fearing it can alleviate anxiety and transform defeat into something positive.
  • 😚 Losing becomes a victory when it is what we want and expect.
  • 😚 Our attitude towards losing determines whether it causes us harm or not.
  • 😚 Removing the aversion to losing allows us to welcome any outcome and find contentment.

Transcript

When we’re in a competition of some sort, we generally uphold a binary vision of the possible outcome: we either win or we lose. Most people who participate do not want to lose; they compete with a desire to win. And when they indeed win, they’re likely to be happy and satisfied. But when they lose, chances are high that they’re sad and disappointe... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do people generally hate losing?

Losing is often seen as a painful experience, a degradation of the ego, and a diminishment of one's self-worth. It can be disappointing and lead to sadness.

Q: Can we put ourselves in circumstances where we always win?

According to Epictetus, we can. By not desiring to win externally and focusing on what is within our control, we can always win inwardly, no matter the outcome.

Q: How does the desire for praise from others lead to anxiety and fear?

When we desire praise from others, we are dependent on external factors that are beyond our control. The fear of not receiving the desired praise and approval can lead to anxiety and trembling.

Q: Why does wanting to impress someone often lead to fear and anxiety?

When we desire to make a good impression on someone, we are dependent on their judgment and approval. If we let go of this desire and focus on being true to ourselves, we eliminate fear and anxiety.

Q: Why do people generally hate losing?

Losing is often seen as a painful experience, a degradation of the ego, and a diminishment of one's self-worth. It can be disappointing and lead to sadness.

More Insights

  • Placing our happiness in external factors beyond our control is unreliable.

  • The desire for external validation and praise can lead to anxiety and disappointment.

  • By not caring about winning or losing outwardly, we can focus on our performance and find satisfaction internally.

  • Embracing failure and not fearing it can alleviate anxiety and transform defeat into something positive.

  • Losing becomes a victory when it is what we want and expect.

  • Our attitude towards losing determines whether it causes us harm or not.

  • Removing the aversion to losing allows us to welcome any outcome and find contentment.

  • Embracing defeat and not caring about winning or losing leads to inner strength and resilience.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Epictetus warns against placing our happiness in external factors beyond our control.

  • When we desire to win in competitions where the outcome depends on external factors, we put ourselves in an unreliable position.

  • By adopting the right mindset and attitude, we can always win, even when we lose.

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