Have the wisdom to know what cannot be changed, and the strength to change what can.

What did Epictetus mean by:

Have the wisdom to know what cannot be changed, and the strength to change what can.


This quote emphasizes the importance of discernment and courage in life. It suggests that wisdom lies in recognizing the things that are beyond our control, and accepting them as they are. This could include circumstances of birth, the actions of others, or the natural progression of time. Accepting these unchangeable aspects of life can free us from unnecessary stress and frustration.

On the other hand, the quote also encourages us to have the strength to change what we can. This involves recognizing the areas of our life that we do have control over, such as our attitudes, our actions, and our responses to situations. It requires courage and determination to make these changes, especially when they involve breaking old habits or stepping out of our comfort zone.

In today’s world, this quote is highly relevant. We live in a time of rapid change and uncertainty, where it can often feel like many things are beyond our control. However, by focusing on what we can change – our attitudes, our actions, our responses – we can navigate these uncertain times with greater resilience and positivity.

In terms of personal development, this quote can serve as a powerful guide. It encourages us to focus our energy and efforts on the areas of our life that we can improve or change, rather than wasting time worrying about things beyond our control. This could involve setting personal goals, developing new skills, or working on our mental and physical health. At the same time, it teaches us to let go of the things we cannot change and to accept them with grace and wisdom. This balance between acceptance and change can lead to a more fulfilling and peaceful life.

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