Daily Touch of Inspirations

September 25th: The Vulnerability of Dependence

Ryan Holiday, The 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Show me someone who isn't a slave to lust, another to greed, another to power, and all are slaves to fear. I could name a former Consul who is a slave to a little old woman, a millionaire who is the slave of the cleaning woman... No servitude is more abject than the self-imposed.— Seneca, Moral Letters, 47.17


We're all addicts in one way or another. We're addicted to our routines, to our coffee, to our comfort, to someone else's approval. These dependencies mean we're not in control of our own lives — the dependency is.

"Anyone who truly wants to be free." Epictetus said, "won't desire something that is actually in someone else's control, unless they want to be a slave." The subjects or our affection can be removed from us at a moment's notice. Our routines can be disrupted, the doctor can forbid us from drinking coffee, we can be thrust into uncomfortable situations.

This is why we must strengthen ourselves by testing these dependencies before they become too great. Can you try going without this or that for a day? Can you put yourself on a diet for a month? Can you resist the urge to pick up the phone to make a call? Have you ever taken a cold shower? It's not so bad after the first couple of times. Have you ever driven a friend's car while the nicer one you own was in the shop? Was it really that bad? Make yourself invulnerable to your dependency on comfort and convenience, or one day your vulnerability might bring you to your knees.

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The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom Perseverance and Art of Living

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