The ancient Stoics were doers. Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of the vast Roman Empire. Seneca was a statesman and Epictetus was the head of a Stoic school. They walked the talk. Stoicism was never meant for academic discussion in educational institutions. It was devised as a practical tool to help people deal with the daily challenges of life.
Here are 5 quotes from the ancient Stoics about taking action.
- “The living voice and the intimacy of a common life will help you more than the written word. You must go to the scene action.” Letters from a Stoic 6
- “”Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well; and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day” Letters from a Stoic 2
- “I shall leave it to Death to determine what progress I have made. Therefore with no faint heart I am making ready for the day when, putting aside all stage artifice and actor’s rouge, I am to pass judgment upon myself—whether I am merely declaiming brave sentiments, or whether I really feel them; whether all the bold threats I have uttered against fortune are a pretense and a farce” Letters from a Stoic 26
- “I see such a person in you, if only you go steadily on and bend to your task, and see to it that all your actions and words harmonize and correspond with each other and are stamped in the same mould. If a man’s acts are out of harmony, his soul is crooked.” Letters from a Stoic 34
- “I do not say that the philosopher can always keep the same pace. But he can always travel the same path. Observe yourself, then, and see whether your dress and your house are inconsistent, whether you treat yourself lavishly and your family meanly, whether you eat frugal dinners and yet build luxurious houses. You should lay hold, once for all, upon a single norm to live by, and should regulate your whole life according to this norm.” Letters from a Stoic 20