Stoicism is crucially about cultivating virtue. Virtue, our character, is one of the only things that is under our control. Shaped by each decision, it’s up to us and us alone.

Here’s Seneca reinforcing this idea:

Wisdom comes haphazard to no man. Money will come of its own accord; titles will be given to you; influence and authority will perhaps be thrust upon you; but virtue will not fall upon you by chance.

It’s easy to forget this the importance of virtue. As life comes at us, whether it money, status, and power or obstacles and strife it becomes harder to act well.

Remind yourself of the importance of virtue before each day. Rehearse acting well. Then follow through.

For the Stoics, the core virtues were justice, self-control, wisdom, and courage.

Courage concerns acting bravely. Neither being cowardly nor reckless. Rather, it means not letting our fears hold us back. Acting in accord with reason no matter how hard it is.

Acting with self-control involves moderation. Neither too much nor too little of a thing.

The virtue of justice is all about making decisions that treat others right. It’s about doing the right thing and building that into your character.

When one is wise, one knows what is good and bad. The virtues are ultimately good, everything else is indifferent.

You may value other virtues. Marcus Aurelius did. At one point, he names 14!


Each of these are important. Do not forget them. Remind yourself of their importance every day.