Let's Read Epictetus: Enchiridion #17

Epictetus encourages us to think of ourselves as if we were in a play. The director of the play will decide whether the play is short or long, and what role we are put into. The short version of a really short chapter is that we have to accept the providence of god. 

My first thought on reading this chapter is to just ignore it. I don't believe in an almighty god who is directing all things, nor do I think it is helpful to just accept where you are. I can't agree that you should just accept being poor if the opportunity to change that situation presents itself. 

But perhaps the main point isn't to stop people from acquiring wealth if they are able. Epictetus places the emphasis on how the accomplished actor will play the role assigned to himself with excellence. So I should strive for virtue and excellence where I am at in life, at any moment in my life. Sitting around bemoaning the fact that I am not a business leader certainly isn't going to get me there. Pining away while wishing for wealth is not going to help me secure any. If however I strive for excellence and virtue where ever I am at, then I might both secure what is truly valuable and even some preferred indifferent things such as wealth and status. 

This seems like good advice to me: don't whine, pursue excellence where you are.