“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I would like to add to this at this point.

The great power of Stoicism is, like Buddhism, you can become calm to the point of serenity even in the midst of the worst kinds of calamities to befall you and yours.

I know you’re wondering how this is done. I know you want to know what sort of magic trick enables the Stoic to maintain this level of calm and composure.

You don’t have to be aware of how or why to relax and feel serene, just as you don’t have to brush up on Seneca and Marcus Aurelius to imagine how you can embrace the quiet calm of a Stoic attitude.

I wonder if you realise that you all have access to the same level of serenity, you can feel it when you realise that it’s only your reaction to the event that is causing the distress, you know it for a fact when you open up to the possibility, and you can immediately let your whole body and mind relax at that point.


Sooner or later, everybody gets tested. Calamity strikes the best of us, and the worst of us. There is no escaping this, and so there is no doubt that the best time to learn the inner strength of a Stoic attitude is now.

So focus your awareness on how you are feeling right now, and notice feeling calm in the face of trouble, and you will find yourself being the one who keeps your head while all around are losing theirs.

And that’s a good feeling to have.