"Associate with people who are philosophers not in name only, but in truth, if you were willing to follow their teachings." Musonius
There are those who are good at doing and good at teaching. There are also those who are good at doing but not good at teaching. However, there cannot be those who are not good at doing but good at teaching. For how can one understand, much less teach, what it is like to struggle without struggling? How can one obtain knowledge of overcoming an adversity or a great temptation without actually having done so? How can one show you treasure if he has never found it and all he has is a dubious map?
Where I sit there are plenty of men of the sort. They are in low positions and they are in high positions. They counsel to children and they counsel to kings. They write beautiful poems and publish exquisite plays. They might be good writers but they are not philosophers. They convince with words and that is as far as they go. In contrast, philosophers convince also with the tilling, sowing, watering, and laboring to produce the fruits of those words.
In short, a philosopher is a friend of wisdom. He is a friend of wisdom when he refuses to quit when the going gets tough, or to make decisions not always in his best interests. Being a friend of wisdom is hard; it sometimes takes sacrifice and contemplation. However, the entire world is a philosopher's playground, with areas to stretch one's mental and physical muscles. If everything was level and without challenge, it would not be a very fun playground at all.
Seek those who choose the difficult path because it can be a more interesting path. Follow those who take the lonely road because it can be a worthy road. People will laugh at them, calling them fools and naive. These people might even be correct for the time being. But like when one is correct to keep walking, he would not be correct to do so toward a cliff ahead. Like when a broken clock is right one minute, it is unsurprisingly not the next. The universe is tricky and mysterious like that, and so it would be a rollicking experience to play along.
I could not be happier if you always stay on the path of benevolence. Although it is sometimes difficult in terms of short-term consequences, it is rather simple (and rewarding) to follow. There are only two options to take within this path: to be honest, and if not, to be kind. Honesty is working hard for an honest day's pay which would inevitably lead you to greater powers and resources. Kindness is to protect others from harm, to promote justice, and to choose to lose for the benefit of others. I know an old man who went into debt and faced being ridiculed so he could purchase a slave to only then turn around and free him.
Of course you cannot lose anything of value when you take philosophy seriously, to choose what is wise and not always what is obvious, and to choose to be wisdom's friend -- not only when it is convenient -- until the end. What you can only lose are your anger and selfishness, and to take their places are contentment and abundance. How can one be angry and tranquil at the same time? How can one be selfish when he feels he is blessed with so much?
I am blessed to have you as my son, Epictetus.
"Do not tell people what they should do when you do what you should not." Musonius