To live a life of virtue, you have to become consistent, even when it isn’t conceivable, comfortable, or easy.
It is incumbent that your thoughts, words, and deeds match up. This is a higher standard than that help by the mob. Most people want to be good and try somewhat to be good, but then a moral challenge presents itself and lassitude sets in.
When your thoughts, words, and deeds form a seamless fabric, you streamline your efforts and thus eliminate worry and dread. In this way, it is easier to seek goodness than to conduct yourself in a haphazard fashion or according to the feelings of the moment.
When you free yourself of the distractions of shallow or illusory pleasures and devote yourself instead to your rightful duties, you can relax. When you know you’ve done the best you can under the circumstances, you can have a light heart. Your mind doesn’t have to moonlight, making excuses, thinking up alibis, defending your honor, feeling guilty or remorseful. You can simply, cleanly, move on to the next thing.
It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.
The Art of Living
By Epictetus, Translated by Sharon Lebell