Memento Mori

#21 - How Not To Be Disturbed | Epictetus

Reflection ✏️

Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.

- Quote by Epictetus

Someone insults you. Calls you out. Embarrasses you.

Are you disturbed by what they say to you?

By the audacity they have to question you?

By the shames they seem to inflict?

Can words by themselves really cut so deep?

Aren’t words just some hot air out of someone's mouth?

What gives the words weight and meaning?

So many misunderstandings are triggered by interpretation, by applying one's ego to the conversation, by not listening to what the other person is really saying (or trying to).

Is it not what we make of it that forms our point of view and sends us often into negative thought spirals?

What if someone you don’t care about throws insults at you?

Would you not laugh at their pathetic attempt to trigger you? Just before simply walking away. That person has zero power over you. You are indifferent about their opinions. You are detached.

Why do you grant someone closer to you such power, then? To disturb you, to spend energy in a place you’d rather not.

Their words cut as deep as you will care to cut yourself with them.

Practicing awareness and mindfulness helps you to catch yourself, just before you go off the rails. Just before you let yourself be affected by others, linger a moment longer and appreciate the feeling, the tension creeping up in your body. While you are preparing to retaliate, ask yourself: Is this the person I want to be? Is this how I want to react?

You might reconsider, take a step back, relax. Look around for another angle how you might respond, or simply walk away.

This quote is very similar in meaning as one from James Allen, I reflected on a few weeks back.

As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains.

- Quote by James Allen

If you’d like, you can check out my reflection here → #7 — How To Remain Victorious | James Allen

Learning 💡

It doesn’t matter what happens, the only thing that matters is how you deal with it.

How do you want to be remembered, is how you should act. (Memento Mori)

If you haven’t figured that out for yourself, or you’d like a little refresher, I put together a free Notion template to get started.

The template is part of the Focus & Meaning OS. A Notion-based “operating system” to live a more meaningful life. Feel free to reach out to me for personal discounts.

Apart from knowing yourself and who you want to be, this quote is also about knowing when to act, which is the essence of the stoic virtue Wisdom.


Now I’d love to hear from you!

What situation have you dealt with where you chose not to be disturbed when others might have been?

Or maybe you have another great quote regarding Memento Mori or Wisdom? Don’t hesitate to submit it via this form 📝

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