The Daily Stoic

The One (or Two) Words To Live By

January 28, 2019 Daily Stoic Season 2 Episode 9
The Daily Stoic
The One (or Two) Words To Live By
Chapters
The Daily Stoic
The One (or Two) Words To Live By
Jan 28, 2019 Season 2 Episode 9
Daily Stoic

Confucius was once asked by a student if there was a single word to to live by, a word that would always provide guidance and truth. He thought about it for a minute and replied with the word chu, which translates roughly into “forbearance.”

This is interesting because Epictetus was once asked which words would help a person live a life of peace and goodness. The two words, he said, were ἀνέχου (bear) and ἀπέχου (forbear). (Another translation puts it at: Persist and Resist). 

Again, it’s remarkable how two wise men living in the ancient world some 5,000 miles apart from each other, raised in different cultures and very different circumstances, speaking very different languages, in very different philosophies, could come to express the same concept. 

But that’s why we must take it to heart. There is universality in their simple formula (though it’s not an easy one): We resist giving in, resist temptation, resist despair, and resist degradation. We persist in our efforts, we persist in trying to be a good example for others, we persist in our training, we persist despite the obstacles thrown at us

The definition of forbearance perfectly captures both those ideas: Patient self-control. 

That’s our aim. Forever and always.



Show Notes

Confucius was once asked by a student if there was a single word to to live by, a word that would always provide guidance and truth. He thought about it for a minute and replied with the word chu, which translates roughly into “forbearance.”

This is interesting because Epictetus was once asked which words would help a person live a life of peace and goodness. The two words, he said, were ἀνέχου (bear) and ἀπέχου (forbear). (Another translation puts it at: Persist and Resist). 

Again, it’s remarkable how two wise men living in the ancient world some 5,000 miles apart from each other, raised in different cultures and very different circumstances, speaking very different languages, in very different philosophies, could come to express the same concept. 

But that’s why we must take it to heart. There is universality in their simple formula (though it’s not an easy one): We resist giving in, resist temptation, resist despair, and resist degradation. We persist in our efforts, we persist in trying to be a good example for others, we persist in our training, we persist despite the obstacles thrown at us

The definition of forbearance perfectly captures both those ideas: Patient self-control. 

That’s our aim. Forever and always.