Accept the fact that I will need straightening and correction of my character; and to not be turned aside after hot, pointless arguments; neither to write about speculations; nor prepare silly little speeches; nor pose as the greatest moral athlete nor the hardest working man; and to eschew rhetoric, poetry and fancy words — oh, don’t walk around the house in robes — and to write plain letters (like the one which he sent to my mother from Sinuses): just don’t do those things.
And be willing to be easily called and reconciled to those who have been angry and struck the wrong note, when they are willing to quickly return: be in that state of mind.
And read carefully: don’t be content with a general overview — and don’t agree too quickly with every chatterer.
And hold a conversation with the Memoirs of Epictetus (he gave me a copy from his own library).
Greek Text & Notes:
Παρὰ Ῥουστίκου τὸ λαβεῖν φαντασίαν τοῦ χρῄζειν διορθώσεως καὶ θεραπείας τοῦ ἤθους: καὶ τὸ μὴ ἐκτραπῆναι εἰς ζῆλον σοφιστικόν, μηδὲ τὸ συγγράφειν περὶ τῶν θεωρημάτων, ἢ προτρεπτικὰ λογάρια διαλέγεσθαι, ἢ φαντασιοπλήκτως τὸν ἀσκητικὸν ἢ τὸν ἐνεργητικὸν ἄνδρα ἐπιδείκνυσθαι:  καὶ τὸ ἀποστῆναι ῥητορικῆς καὶ ποιητικῆς καὶ ἀστειολογίας: καὶ τὸ μὴ ἐν στολῇ κατ̓ οἶκον περιπατεῖν μηδὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα ποιεῖν: καὶ τὸ τὰ ἐπιστόλια ἀφελῶς γράφειν, οἷον τὸ ὑπ̓ αὐτοῦ τούτου ἀπὸ Σινοέσσης τῇ μητρί μου γραφέν:  καὶ τὸ πρὸς τοὺς χαλεπήναντας καὶ πλημμελήσαντας εὐανακλήτως καὶ εὐδιαλλάκτως, ἐπειδὰν τάχιστα αὐτοὶ ἐπανελθεῖν ἐθελήσωσι, διακεῖσθαι: καὶ τὸ ἀκριβῶς ἀναγινώσκειν καὶ μὴ ἀρκεῖσθαι περινοοῦντα ὁλοσχερῶς μηδὲ τοῖς περιλαλοῦσι ταχέως συγκατατίθεσθαι: καὶ τὸ ἐντυχεῖν τοῖς Ἐπικτητείοις ὑπομνήμασιν, ὧν οἴκοθεν μετέδωκεν.
τὸ λαβεῖν φαντασίαν τοῦ χρῄζειν διορθώσεως καὶ θεραπείας τοῦ ἤθους:
Implied verb: I learned. The infinitive labein (to receive) completes the the implied verb, I learned to receive.
The infinitive is followed by
φαντασίαν τοῦ χρῄζειν: the appearance/apparent of the need
τοῦ ἤθους: of character
καὶ τὸ μὴ ἐκτραπῆναι εἰς ζῆλον σοφιστικόν,
καὶ τὸ μὴ ἐκτραπῆναι
and to not be turned aside: aorist passive participle
εἰς ζῆλον σοφιστικόν
To zealous sophistry: don’t waste time with word-wrangling arguments. Paul says something similar to Timothy “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” 2 Timothy 2:23 (ESV)
μηδὲ τὸ συγγράφειν περὶ τῶν θεωρημάτων
And neither to write about speculations
The conjunction indicates this a parallel to the preceding clause. Peri makes the subject of the writing.
ἢ προτρεπτικὰ λογάρια διαλέγεσθαι,
nor hortatory petty speeches to deliver
ἢ φαντασιοπλήκτως: nor like one who is showing off: this is the only use of this word listed in the LSJ.
τὸν ἀσκητικὸν: ascetic, laborious, like an athlete
ἢ τὸν ἐνεργητικὸν ἄνδρα ἐπιδείκνυσθαι
nor the (most) hardworking man/industrious to appear (to be)
καὶ τὸ ἀποστῆναι ῥητορικῆς
and to eschew rhetoric
καὶ ποιητικῆς καὶ ἀστειολογίας:
and poetry and clever wit
καὶ τὸ μὴ ἐν στολῇ κατ̓ οἶκον περιπατεῖν
And to not walk around the house in robes
μηδὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα ποιεῖν:
neither these things to do.
This last clause sounds emphatic: really don’t do this.
These commands are essentially: Don’t be Oscar Wilde.
καὶ τὸ τὰ ἐπιστόλια ἀφελῶς γράφειν,
And to write plain letters
The infinitive is articular; the intervening words modify the infinitive.
ἀφελῶς: literally “without a stone.” Used metaphorically to mean without rhetorical flourish or complication.
οἷον τὸ ὑπ̓ αὐτοῦ τούτου ἀπὸ Σινοέσσης τῇ μητρί μου γραφέν:
like the one from him [Diogenus] from Sinuessa to your mother to write
 καὶ τὸ πρὸς τοὺς χαλεπήναντας
And to those provoked/bitter ones [articular participle; they are characterized by the state of being bitter]
καὶ πλημμελήσαντας εὐανακλήτως
and striking a false note easily called
and easily reconciled.
ἐπειδὰν τάχιστα αὐτοὶ ἐπανελθεῖν ἐθελήσωσι,
whenever quickly they return they are will
to be in a state of mind
καὶ τὸ ἀκριβῶς ἀναγινώσκειν
and to read carefully
καὶ μὴ ἀρκεῖσθαι περινοοῦντα ὁλοσχερῶς
and to not be content [with] looking just at the whole thing; that is, don’t be content with a general picture.
μηδὲ τοῖς περιλαλοῦσι ταχέως συγκατατίθεσθαι:
and to not agree quickly with every chatterer
καὶ τὸ ἐντυχεῖν τοῖς Ἐπικτητείοις ὑπομνήμασιν,
and to converse with the Memoirs of Epictetus.
ὧν οἴκοθεν μετέδωκεν.
being from [his] house he delivered to me.