Stoic Tool Kit

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In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius says we should a mental tool kit that we can refer to when we encounter difficulties in life. This is the one I have come up with. It is organized in pairs of maxims.

The Tools

  • Right here, right now.
  • All is one.


  • It doesn't really hurt you.
  • There is no you to hurt.


  • Days gone by do not exist.
  • Days to come do not exist.


  • Everything changes.
  • Everything dies.


  • Just deal with it.
  • Adapt to it.


  • Accept what is.
  • Do something useful.


  • Don't let others make you bad.
  • Don't let phantoms make you mad.


  • Live simply.
  • Give greatly.


  • Listen more.
  • Talk less.


  • Remember your offenses when offended.
  • Tests are a gift.


  • Wait a week before you buy.
  • Consider virtue before you act.


  • Food should satisfy hunger.
  • Work should suit the task.


  • Body is mind.
  • Mind is body.


  • No excuses.
  • No lies.


  • Look for the spirit within the law.
  • Look for the spirit beyond the law.


  • Question everything.
  • Find your own answers.


Most of these are from religious sources, especially Zen. However:

  • "Adapt to it" comes from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Specifically the character Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe's common quote, "Display some adaptability."
  • Listen more/Talk less came from an article on white people and race. But it seemed generally applicable.
  • "Tests are a gift" is probably from some Christian source, but I got it from the works of Lois McMasters Bujold.
  • No Excuses/No Lies comes from Tyler Durden