People often don't feel motivated and there is ample psychological literature that acknowledges this. But from a Stoic philosophical perspective it is indeed worth pondering whether "feeling not motivated" is a judgement or evaluation or impression? If not, then should one focus on motivating oneself through books, videos, music? Or should one "JUST DO IT" irrespective of their feelings? Whatever said hitherto all can be reworded as whether motivation comes on controllable or uncontrollable side of "dichotomy of control" as envisaged by Stoics?

  • You may want to flesh out your question by elaborating some on: "feeling motivated". For instance not feeling motivated can be a symptom of clinical depression, do you think stoicism can help with that? You may also state what aspects of stoicism you have in mind, and in what manner. Some examples or text references could be useful.
    – christo183
    Dec 14, 2018 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


A couple of quotes from Marcus Aurelius's Meditations should help.


From Maximus I learned self-government, and not to be led aside by anything; and cheerfulness in all circumstances, as well as in illness; and a just admixture in the moral character of sweetness and dignity, and to do what was set before me without complaining. I observed that everybody believed that he thought as he spoke, and that in all that he did he never had any bad intention; and he never showed amazement and surprise, and was never in a hurry, and never put off doing a thing, nor was perplexed nor dejected, nor did he ever laugh to disguise his vexation, nor, on the other hand, was he ever passionate or suspicious. ...


  1. Maximus

    • Self-control and resistance to distractions.
    • Optimism in adversity—especially illness.
    • A personality in balance: dignity and grace together.
    • Doing your job without whining.
    • Other people’s certainty that what he said was what he thought, and what he did was done without malice.
    • Never taken aback or apprehensive. Neither rash nor hesitant—or bewildered, or at a loss. Not obsequious—but not aggressive or paranoid either.
    • Generosity, charity, honesty.
    • The sense he gave of staying on the path rather than being kept on it.
    • That no one could ever have felt patronized by him—or in a position to patronize him.
    • A sense of humor.

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