#1543 Areté +1° #008: Ready at Hand

Your Philosophical Armamentarium

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter idea from my new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

We're going through the first 11 micro-chapters, then we're going to systematically walk through some of my favorites.

451 total ideas in the book. Hope you dig it.

For today…


Epictetus is my favorite teacher.

He was a former slave who taught (and practiced!) Stoic philosophy in ancient Rome. He trained the guys who trained the emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius. He’s also the primary influence for the guys who created the modern cognitive behavioral therapy movement.

One of his students took really good lecture notes (thanks, Arrian!) and captured his wisdom in a manual called the Enchiridion.

The Greek word enchiridion is translated as “handbook.” But it’s important to note that the word literally means “within” (en) + “hand” (kheir).

To put it in perspective, the word was used to describe a hand dagger.

Epictetus’s wisdom (and the wisdom of all great ancient philosophers) was less like a guidebook you held in your hand and more like a sword (or a tool) (or a Navy SEAL’s explosive!) you held in your hand—wisdom that was ready at hand and could be used to meet life’s inevitable challenges.

As we’ll discuss, the Stoic philosophers told us that we needed to be WARRIORS of the mind, not mere librarians of the mind cataloging interesting ideas. They had an entire collection of weapons/tools in what was known as their “armamentarium.”

That’s how I’d like us to think about this book.

451° ideas to help us move from Theory to Practice to Mastery Together— closing the gap between who we’re capable of being and who we’re actually being as we activate our Heroic potential and give the world all we’ve got.

Not someday.


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