“A podium and a prison is each a place, one high and the other low, but in either place your freedom of choice can be maintained if you so wish.” — Epictetus, Discourses, 2.6.25
What circumstances and situations we find ourselves in are out of our control. Whether we find ourselves in gold palaces or in the middle of a desert is a flip of a coin. It is futile to wonder and wish how we should be in a different situation. The Stoics remind us that no matter what the situation is, we still control our choices. While it is easy to think that such advice can only be given by people born in privilege, the above advice is given by Epictetus who was literally born in slavery. Even as a slave, he maintained his freedom of choice. Even when fortune turns away from us, we can exercise our own freedom of choice. The choice to control our perceptions. The choice to control our reasoning. The choice to control our actions. Our ability to choose is what sets us free.
This article is a part of my Stoic Musings challenge, inspired by the book “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, where I take a quote from the book and reflect on it, every day.