“The Little Book of Stoicism” Quotes

I recently read “The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness” by Jonas Salzgeber. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. if you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“The Stoics were living proof that it’s possible for someone to be exiled to a desert island and still be happier than someone living in a place. They understood very well that there’s only a loose connection between external circumstances and our happiness.” (4)

“Stoics recognized that the good life depends on the cultivation of one’s character, on one’s choices and actions rather than on what happens in the uncontrollable world around us.” (4)

“Epictetus wrote, “So, what should each of us say to every trial we face? This is what I’ve trained for, this is my discipline!” Hey, a boxer who gets punched in the face won’t leave the ring, it’s what he prepared for, it’s his discipline.” (18)

“Stoicism has nothing to do with suppressing or hiding one’s emotions or being emotionless. Rather, it’s about acknowledging our emotions, reflecting on what causes them, and learning to redirect them for our own good.” (21)

“It’s more about unslaving ourselves from negative emotions, more like taming rather than getting rid of them.” (21)

“We can train ourselves to act calmly despite feeling angry, act courageously despite feeling anxious.” (21)

“The goal isn’t to eliminate all emotions, the goal is to not get overwhelmed by them despite their immense power.” (22)

“For the Stoics, positive emotions are more like an added bonus than a motive by themselves.” (23)

“Since every man dies, it is better to die with distinction than to live long.” -Musonius Rufus (32)

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” -Marcus Aurelius (34)

“A tower of strength can be born the moment you decide to give outside events no more power over you.” (39)

“Brian Johnson translates arete as “Expressing the highest version of yourself moment to moment to moment.”” (41)

“Eudaimonia, to live a happy and smoothly flowing live. To achieve this goal, we need to be on good terms with our inner daimon, the highest version of ourselves, our natural inborn potential.” (41)

“In whatever you do, imagine there are two lines: the higher line indicating what you’re capable of and the lower line what you’re actually doing.” (41)

“Handing power to things we have no direct control over causes emotional suffering.” (57)

“If we define success as giving our best in the process, then we cannot fail, feel calmly confident, and can accept any outcome with equanimity.” (63)

“Just because we should try to accept whatever happens does not mean we approve of it. It just means that we understand that we cannot change it.” (67)

“For the Stoics, the only good lies in our voluntary actions, and our actions can only be voluntary when we’re bringing awareness into every moment.” (96)

“Epictetus says that as philosophers we should adapt to whatever happens, so that nothing happens against our will and nothing that we wish for fails to happen.” (111)

“Marcus Aurelius has a trick to bring his will into harmony with reality. He compares what happens to us to what a doctor prescribes to us. Just like you take some medicine when a doctor tells you to, we should take external events as they are, because they’re like the medicine there to help us.” (112)

“What happens to us is nature’s treatment to become better people. Those things happen for us, not against us, even if it doesn’t seem so.” (112)

“Epictetus says that if you fulfill your duties toward others, then you’re living in agreement with nature.” (147)

“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too.” -Marcus Aurelius

“We’re better off if we’re indifferent to fame and social status. After all, it’s not within our control.” (151)

“By seeking social status, we give other people power over us. We have to act in a calculated way to make them admire us, and we must refrain from doing things in their disfavor. We enslave ourselves by seeking fame.” (151)

“Epictetus observes, “Freedom is not achieved by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it.” (154)

“It’s not about not playing video games, not watching TV, not working full-time – it’s about the awareness and purposefulness we bring into these things. We can still choose to do whatever we think is worth spending our time with.” (166)

“You are disturbed not by what happens, but by your opinion about it.” (173)

“Nothing but opinion is the cause of a troubled mind.” (173)

“Harm does not come from what happens – an annoying person or unloved situation – but from your reaction to it.” (173)

“He who does not desire anything outside his control cannot be anxious.” (183)

“Don’t wish for life to be hard, but neither wish for it to be easier when it gets tough. Rather wish for the strength to deal with it. It’s an opportunity for growth.” (198)

“Epictetus says, “We would do better to remember how we react when a similar loss afflicts others.” (205)

“Seneca says, Let philosophy scrape off your own faults, rather than be a way to rail against the faults of others.” (258)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

“Actor For Life” Quotes

I recently read Actor for Life: How To Have An Amazing Career Without All The Drama by Connie de Veer and Jan Elfline. Here’s the quotes I found most interesting:

“For one week, start your days with two minutes of power. Stand in one or the other of the power poses (“Superman” pose – feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips, and the second pose, stand with your arms stretched out above you and to the sides, so your body forms a four pointed star – like athletes crossing the finish line), or mix the two. Spend two whole minutes. That’s a fourteen minute investment, total. Give it a try.” (57)

“Imagine yourself walking into the audition room with beliefs like this: “I love what I do.” “I get an opportunity to share my gifts with others, right now in this audition.” “I’m well-prepared for this.” “I’ve done enough.” “I’m ready.” “Aren’t they nice people/” “We’re equal partners, those interesting people over there and me.” “I’m so grateful I get to be here doing this.” “Whatever comes of this audition, it’s all good. I will have met inspiring people, shown them what I can do, and gained experience. Most of all, I will have used my time to prepare for and then do the thing I love.”” (63)

“You want a belief to move you forward, not away from something. “More peace” is toward. “Less worry” is away from. “Feeling motivated” is toward.” “Not procrastinating” is away from.” (64)

“Concern yourself with being good first, and how to move through your career second. Have the product, have the goods, have the chops, and then worry about where it’s going to take you.” (89)

“Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d.” -Cymbeline, Act 4, scene 3 (106)

“The brain’s neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being increases more in the person who gives a gift than it does in the recipient.” (124)

“I increase the sum total of human happiness.” If we all used that as a guide, what kind of world would we create?” (130)

“Come in with your own interpretation. Because that interpretation might open a door and shine a new light on the character, and provide something the writers, director, and casting director haven’t thought of.” (143)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

“I Must Say” Quotes

I recently read I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short. Here’s the quotes I found most interesting:

“What I discovered, through Ed, was that I simply needed to commit: to not worry about jokes. The reaction seemed to get the biggest lagush, not the action. I didn’t need to be a stand-up comedian delivering punch lines. If I just sincerely devoted myself to Ed’s panic with every fiber of my being, the audience would commit to him.” (5)

“Something terrible can happen to you, and yet, the day after this something terrible, the sun still rises, and life goes on. And therefore, so must you.” (49)

“What we all learned at Second City was to trust the concept that our comedy wasn’t about jokes. Rather, it was about situations and characters – the peculiar moments that we encounter in life, the peculiar people that we meet, and how we (and they) react to these moments and meetings.” (142)

“Don’t telegraph, don’t oversell – that was how you created an absurd yet three-dimensional character.” (143)

“The working pace at SCTV was so civilized. We’d take six weeks to write and then six weeks to shoot, followed by another cycle of six weeks writing and six weeks shooting. The writing breaks were crucial, for they allowed inchoate ideas to develop, mature, ripen, and, on occasion, ferment into total, utter originality, all without the SNL-style pressure of “Whaddaya got for this week/” (159)

“I wasn’t above poking fun at Jerry Lewis, but I brought affection and a sense of tribute to my Lewis bits too… Yes, you had to show the warts, but you also had to prove why the subject was worthy of your attention.” (163)

“The way I see it, you spend the first fifteen years of your life as a sponge, soaking up influences and experiences, and the remainder of your life recycling, regurgitating, and reprocessing those first fifteen years.” (163)

“After each take, we’d all crowd around the monitor and watch the playback, and everyone would discuss how to recalibrate the scene for the next take: “Okay, maybe a little less from John, a little more form Andrea, and a lot less from Marty.” (174)

“Manic energy, I learned as the season went on, was the key to success on SNL, and a big differentiator from SCTV: the need for insane, unexpected, can’t look away energy.” (179)

“You can be incredibly talented comedically, but on the unforgiving stage of Saturday Night Live, if you don’t bring that immediate energy, you just won’t connect with the audience.” (179)

“In Hollywood, you’re hottest at the point when you’re all about anticipation: when everyone in the business knows you have product pending, but none of it is out yet. You’re busy, in demand, hectically jumping from one job to the next, energized by a sustained industry murmur.” (193)

“I have this philosophy around people I don’t know but am excited to meet that I call “immediate intimacy”: I do an impersonation of someone who is relaxed, loose, and not at all intimidated, in the hope that this impersonation will ultimately become reality.” (196)

“Critical favor, talent, and tenacity are only part of the formula for a hit. You also need luck and good timing.” (206)

“Damage’s creators, Daniel Zelman and the brothers Todd and Glenn Kessler, liked using comic actors in serious roles, trusting them to be looser and more inventive with dialogue.” (284)

“When you start your career, you worry about how you’re going to pay the rent. But when that’s covered, you feel an even greater pressure: How do you stay interested? For me, the answer has always lain in the theater. Live performance – in its potential for danger, fun, and anarchy – is what sustains me.” (311)

“A sermon by Oxford theologian Henry Scott Holland has evolved over time into a funeral prayer:
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.” (316)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.