Demanding the best for oneself: Epictetus

Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, once said:

"How long will you wait before you demand the best for yourself?"

This quote has stood the test of time and is still relevant today. It is human nature to settle for less, but Epictetus' words encourage us to strive higher and demand the best. In this article, we explore the meaning of the quote and what we can learn from it - but also what the quote does not mean.

Self-esteem is important

Demanding the best for yourself means that you have self-respect. This respect is important because it determines the quality of the life you lead. If you do not respect yourself or demand respect, you are unlikely to achieve anything in life.

This in turn means that you should put your needs first and make sure that you fulfill them. When you realize how important self-respect is, everything else will fall into place and you will start making better choices.

Speak for yourself

Another thing that Epictetus' quote teaches us is that we should stand up for ourselves. If you don't demand the best for yourself, will someone else do it for you? The answer, unsurprisingly, is no.

Only you can stand up for your needs and desires in life. So don't be afraid to speak your mind, to express yourself and to demand what you deserve, because by doing so you take responsibility for yourself.

Overcome fear

Fear is a natural feeling that we all experience from time to time. For example, it's understandable to be afraid of failure or rejection, but you shouldn't let that stop you from doing the things you want to do.

Demand the best for yourself, even if that means facing your fears. Fear can be an obstacle to success, and overcoming it is important to achieving what you want in life.

You'll never know what you're capable of unless you take the plunge and ask for what you want.

Take control of your life

By demanding the best for yourself, you take control of your life. You don't let anyone or anything hold you back, and you create the life you want to live. Taking control of your life means that you are free from outside influences and manipulations.

You live on your own terms and make choices that work best for you.

Become the best version of yourself

To become the best version of yourself, it is important to demand the best for yourself. When you demand the best, you set high standards that you want to meet. This motivates you to do your best, to learn every day, and to grow as a person. You are not satisfied with mediocrity, but constantly strive for excellence.

What this quote does not mean

However, Epictetus' quote does not mean that we should have unrealistic expectations or be reckless in achieving what we want. Rather, it means that we should focus on what we have control over and act according to our rational principles.

Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher who taught that the only thing we can control is our own judgments and actions, and that everything else is external and indifferent. He urged his students to live in harmony with nature and reason and to cultivate virtues such as wisdom, justice, courage, and self-discipline. He also warned them not to attach themselves to things that are not theirs, such as wealth, fame, health or prestige.

So when he asks us how long we want to wait before demanding the best for ourselves, he is not asking us to give in to our desires or passions or to pursue things that are beyond our control. He does not tell us to be selfish or greedy or to harm others for our own gain. He is asking us to examine our own beliefs and actions and see if they are consistent with our nature and reason. He asks us to improve ourselves morally and intellectually and to live according to our true values.

Epictetus, for example, would not consider someone who has a lot of money or fame to be the best unless he also has good character and a clear mind. He would not admire someone who achieves his goals by lying, cheating, or hurting others, but rather someone who acts with honesty, integrity, and kindness. He would not praise someone who complains about his circumstances or blames others for his problems, but rather someone who accepts everything with equanimity and gratitude. He would not encourage someone who is lazy or careless, but rather someone who is diligent and responsible.

In short, Epictetus wants us to demand the best for ourselves by being the best version of ourselves. He wants us to live with dignity and excellence regardless of what happens outside of us. He wants us to be free from external influences and internal disturbances, and to be content with what we have and who we are.


The quote from Epictetus "How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?" should remind us to set high standards - first and foremost for ourselves -. and to strive for excellence.

It is important that you put your needs first, speak up, overcome your fears, and take control of your life. By demanding the best for yourself, you become the best version of yourself. So go ahead, set high standards and demand the best for yourself.

This is the area where we grew up - Pictured: Simon

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