October 21

FOR, without strong and constant exercise, it is not possible to preserve our desire undisappointed, and our aversion unincurred; and therefore, if we suffer it to be externally employed on things independent on choice, be assured that your desire will neither gain its object, nor your aversion avoid it.

And, because habit hath a powerful influence, and we are habituated to apply our desire and aversion to externals only, we must oppose one habit to another, and where the appearances are most slippery, there oppose exercise. I am inclinable to pleasure. I will bend myself beyond a due proportion to the other side for the sake of exercise.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §12. ¶1, 2.

AFTERWARDS you will venture into the lists at some proper season, by way of trial, if at all, to see whether appearances get the better of you as much as they used to do. But at first, fly from what is stronger than you.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §12. ¶2.


  1. Upon reading these I am reminded of the adage to "avoid the appearance of evil"... stay out of temptations way in order to avoid temptation.

  2. Og Mandino echoed this sentiment"

    "As a child I was slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have already marked out a path, which threatens to imprison my future. My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.
    I will form good habits and become their slave."