“The proper work of the mind is the exercise of choice, refusal, yearning, repulsion, preparation,EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.11.6–7
purpose, and assent. What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but
its own corrupt decisions.”
In this discourse, Epictetus focused on the 7 functions of the mind. Let’s try to understand each one in details
The first and foremost thing here is to be aware that you have a choice. You have a choice to pick up your thoughts, to pick up your reactions, and to choose your values.
Once you are aware that you have a choice, you should learn to exercise it and learn the art of saying no to anything that doesn’t conform with your values. To have X in your life, you have to let go of anything non-X
Picking the right values, and a desire to be better than you were yesterday. We must acknowledge the limitations of our mind and inculcate the habit of learning so that we can pick right from wrong, and know our ultimate goal.
A person becomes the company he keeps, the books he read, the thoughts he cultivates. So, be aware of negative thoughts and people in your life and try to keep your distance from them.
You will face all kinds of challenges and this step talks about being prepared to face them. You must be prepared for things to fail and not giving up at the first misstep. Change your perspective and try to solve your problems in an alternate way.
It is important to define our goals and values because it is very easy to get lost and be busy in the course of life. We might be working very hard, only to know that we are heading in the wrong direction. So, one must clarify their intention.
Now, a stoic person will always give his best in the endeavor he is involved in, but he will never have the assumption that he will reach his goal. So, one must be able accept and move on. The knowledge of differentiating what is under our control and what isn’t is the key.