The slave who charmed, embarrassed and taught his way to freedom

If anyone had earned the right to be a victim, it was Epictetus.

He was born into slavery. Surrounded by the heart of civilisation and free citizens of the Empire, he was owned by someone else.

More than that, he was physically disabled. Either he was born with a funky leg, or he broke it and it never healing properly.

Imagine that – you’re a slave, and not even a very appealing one. And if your master forced you to work a field anyway, it’s not like you could say no…

Sound like the recipe for a meaningful, enriching life?

Epictetus is one of history’s clearest examples of what you know is true:

There is always a way to improve your circumstances.

And there is always something to be grateful for.

He learned Stoicism, through which he learned he could choose to be happy. There was so much about his life he could admire.

So much that others would envy.

Sure, the Roman nobles probably didn’t envy this crippled slave. But a citizen living on the edge of the Empire, sweating for every meal, weeks away from the glories of Rome?

However he did it, Epictetus learned to be happy.

I don’t mean he put on a brave face. I mean he fully embraced the joys of life.

He’d spend whatever moments of spare time he could snatch on the streets of Rome, lecturing whoever would listen about Stoicism.

It was hard to ignore him – he radiated enthusiasm and excitement. While others discussed philosophy, he lived it.

Wealthy merchants and powerful nobles would walk by, frowning – and he would call them out on it. How could they be so miserable when they had everything? He, a slave, had nothing and was truly happy.

As he became more popular, it became more embarrassing for the elite. Not only was he right… but this exceptional master of Stoicism was being wasted as a slave.

So they freed him and gave him an academy, so he could teach their kids.

Or, to put it another way, he freed himself.

There’s a lesson in there about empowering yourself. You can, in fact, improve your circumstances, not matter who you are.

There’s another lesson in there too.

One about how to communicate hypnotically and ethically influence everyone you meet.

It might not be the flashiest or most exciting ‘technique’ (if it’s even a technique at all) – but it’s powerful and rarely used.

Do this and you will stand out – guaranteed.

I show you how in the first issue of Phronesis Accelerator. But I have bad news there. The deadline to subscribe isn’t measured in days but in hours.

If you miss the deadline, you miss this issue.

So catch it here before it slips by:

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