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These stoicism quotes can help you through some of the hardest times in your life. Or give you the motivation to improve any goal. From meditation to losing weight. They can help you deal with daily life, problems, and obstacles.
Stoicism gets a bad rap.
Most people think that stoicism means not feeling anything. Or caring about anything. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Truth be told every great leader, and athlete lives some principles of Stoicism. Whether they know it or not. They have to…So before we go into the best stoic quotes, let’s first address what
Stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy I have been studying and practicing for a few years now. It has become an obsession of mine. I read, watch, or learn something about Stoicism every single day. It is a discipline of mine. And a discipline I happily lean into.
And on this list of the best stoic quotes, we have the best sayings from leading stoics.
Including Marcus Aurelius quotes, quotes by Epictetus, and Seneca Quotes. And more. But some of them date back to the ancient Greek time period.
But before we get to these quotes I think we need to quickly talk about Stoicism and the ideas behind this philosophy.
Misconceptions About Stoic Philosophy
Before we get to the best stoic quotes I think it is important to address some of the common misconceptions about Stoicism.
These are some common misconceptions about Stoicism that aren’t true:
Some people imagine that Stoicism involves an unfeeling approach to other people. But it is not true. Stoicism isn’t about not feeling. It is about controlling your emotions and focusing on the things you can control.
Some people think that Stoics are Pessimists. But it is not true. Stoicism helps us prepare for dealing with adverse situations. It teaches us that bad things will happen sooner or later and that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be controlled by our negative feelings.
What is Stoicism
Stoicism is a philosophy that teaches people how to deal with adversity and negative emotions in life. It was founded by the Greek philosopher Zeno in 301 B.C., and it has helped many people including Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca, and many more famous historical figures throughout history.
Stoicism differs from a lot of philosophy because its focus wasn’t on great writings or big schools. It wasn’t about prestige or fame.
Stoic is about action! It is about rules for living.
But what is Stoicism?
As Ryan Holiday (Probably the Biggest Stoic of our time) talks about in his video, boiling down Stoic Philosophy into an elevator pitch.
Stoicism isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about focusing on the things you can control. And working on that.
Whatever stands in your path, is now the NEW path.
The Obstacle is the Way.
Stoicism is about Justice, Courage, Wisdom, and Discipline.
The Best Stoicism Quotes for Life, Love, and Travel
Marcus Aurelius Stoicism Quotes and Intro
If I could have dinner with one, figure it would be Marcus Aurelius.
Marcus is seen today as the shining example of Stoicism.
Marcus Aurelius, who ruled the Roman Empire from 161 to 180 CE, was the last of the five good emperors.
It is often said that Absolute power, corrupts absolutely. If you look at almost any Roman Emperor you’ll find that this is true.
Well, Marcus Aurelius is the exception that proves the rule.
In fact, the first thing he did after becoming Emperor was to give away half his power to his stepbrother.
Marcus Aurelius is seen today as the shining example of Stoicism. And almost every stoic quote is famous.
Fun fact about me! Marcus Aurelius is my great, great, great…etc Grandfather. He had a few kids, so there are probably millions of relatives. And this brag is not very stoic of me.
Stoic Quotes by Marcus Aurelius
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”- Marcus Aurelius
It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.
We live only now. Everything else is either passed or is unknown.
“Do not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something while you live and it is in your power.”
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear.
That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.
You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
“Don’t be overheard complaining… not even to yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
“The act of dying is one of the acts of life.”
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
“The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it.”
“Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter.”
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Let men see, let them know a real man, who lives as he was meant to live.”
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.”
“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.”
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
“Where a man can live, he can also live well.”
“Your life is what your thoughts make it.”
“Anything in any way beautiful derives its beauty from itself and asks nothing beyond itself. Praise is no part of it, for nothing is made worse or better by praise.”
“Begin. To begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt has finished.”
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”
Epictetus Stoicism Quotes and Quick Intro
If you want to know how to be resilient. Then look no further than Epictetus.
Epictetus (AD 55-135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. And one of the most well-known Stoic Philiosphers because of his teachings on overcoming adversity.
And adversity subject Epictetus was well versed in.
Epictetus was born into slavery. And remained a slave until he was in his 30s.
In his 30s he was freed, which was a common practice in Rome at the time.
After that, he was freed and became a Stoic philosopher, who believed that humans should control their emotions rather than let them control them.
Epictetus Stoic Quotes
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” – Epictetus
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going
Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do.
Hold on to true aspirations. No matter what is going on around you,
You may fetter my leg, but Zeus himself cannot get the better of my free will.
When you are offended at any man’s fault. Turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger
Hold not the good in external things.
Seek it in yourselves on the occasion of every accident that befalls you. Remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.
It is the nature of the wise to resist the pleasures of the foolish, to be a slave to them.
The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast, and one day you will build something that endures something worthy of your potential.
No great thing is created suddenly any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig I will answer that. There must be time needed. The first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen first. Say to yourself what you would be and then do what you have to do.
“To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.
Seneca Stoicism Quotes and History
Seneca is a sort of an enigma. And – for many reasons – the most interesting Stoic.
To explain the complexity and contradictions of Seneca’s life would take a book, or a dedicated, very long blog post.
But it is more space than when having on our list of Stoic Quotes.
One reason Seneca is so interesting is that unlike other stoics craved fame, loved his wealth and desired to be remembered for generations. All things that many other revered stoics often talked against. And wrote the worthlessness of them.
And Seneca agreed with them.
He wrote, “some few great men will raise their heads above it, but most are destined to depart into the same realms of silence, into battle against oblivion.”
Perhaps it is because Seneca was born with a chronic illness. And quickly realized at an early age what so many of us never fully do.
Life is short, fragile, and extraordinary.
Seneca also said, “our lives like jewels of a great price be noteworthy not because of their width, but because of their weight. Let us measure them by their performance, not of their duration.”
And that is how Seneca lived, until his last breath.
We go into more detail about the life of Lucius Annaeus Seneca in our post. That covers a lot more quotes of Seneca that are listed here.
Seneca Stoicism Quotes
“To do the same things, whether well or ill, is a slavery that no one can be strong enough to endure.”
If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you are needing is not to be in a different place, but to be a different Person
Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them, but because we had them.
He suffers more than necessary. Who suffers before it is necessary
“You will find that you are most alive when you are in movement, not at rest.”
“Money talks more eloquently than words. It is a kind of poetry without words.”
‘To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.” -SENECA
True happiness is to enjoy the present without anxious dependence upon the future. Not to amuse ourselves. We are the hopes and our fears. But the rest are satisfied with what we have. Which is sufficient.
Count each separate day as a separate life.
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult.
It is not the man who has too little. But the man who craves more. That is poor.
Hang on to your useful enthusiasms. You’ll be able to use them better when you are older.
We often complain of the shortness of time and yet have much more than we know what to do with our lives. Either spent doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end to them.
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
“To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.” – Seneca
A jem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man affected without trials The bravest saint in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.
Throw me to the wolves? And I will return. Leading the pack
Life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is whole
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
Ignorance is the cause of fear.
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
While we wait for life, life passes.
Life is long, if you know how to use it.
Hurry up and live.
You want to live. Do you know how to live? You are scared of dying. But tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?
Cease to hope and you will cease to fear.
Wealth is the slave of a wise man and the master of a fool.
Man is affected not by events, but by the view, he takes of them.
Only time can heal what reason cannot.
While we are postponing, life speeds by.
The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be. Without wishing for what he has not.”
Life, if well lived, is long enough.
Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms, you will be able to use them better when you are older.
He who is brave is free.
“Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by past memories and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.” – Seneca
Is a man knows not to which port he sails? No wind is favorable
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
It is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
As is a tale. So is life. Not how long it is, but how good it is what matters
Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage.
Difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
To reduce your worry, you must assume that what you fear may happen is certainly going to happen.” – Seneca
Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.
What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.
It does not matter how many books you have, but how good are the books which you have.
Every night before going to sleep, we must ask ourselves, what weakness did I overcome today? What virtue did I inquire?
When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
“If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich.” Nature’s wants are slight; the demands of opinion are boundless.”
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
Zeno Stoicism Quotes
Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, was a Greek philosopher who founded that school of thought in Athens around 300 BC. He was a student of Crates (Crates of Thebes) and Diogenes (Diogenes the Cynic).
Zeno’s quotes are the best because he is the best and he has all these great sayings that are so important.
Best Stoicism Quotes from Zeno
“Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue.” – Zeno
“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” – Zeno
“If you lay violent hands on me, you’ll have my body, but my mind will remain with Stilpo.” – Zeno
“Happiness is a good flow of life.” – Zeno
“A bad feeling is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason and against nature.” – Zeno
“Well-being is realized by small steps but is truly no small thing.” – Zeno
Cato Stoicism Quotes and History
The Stoic philosopher Cato was a man who lived his life according to the principles of stoicism. He was known for being a great senator, warrior, and esteemed statesman.
But more importantly, he was known for having an excellent character.
Cato’s character was so well known that even in his lifetime there was a common saying. “Not everyone can be a Cato”.
He stood up to Julies Ceaser and fought to preserve the Roman Republic.
When Ceaser won, Cato took his own life. He would rather die than live under a tyrant.
Cato Stoicism Quotes
An honest man is seldom a vagrant. – Marcus Porcius Cato
I will begin to speak, when I have that to say which had not better be unsaid. – Marcus Porcius Cato
“Wise men profit more by fools than fools by wise men.” ― Marcus Porcius Cato
“He who hesitates is lost.” ― Marcus Porcius Cato
Stoic Quotes on Purpose
These stoic quotes can help you overcome challenges. And enhance your fulfillment.
“When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.” – Marcus Aurelius.
“Life is like a play; it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.”
“Of all the things that wisdom provides us with, the most important is a kind and generous spirit.”
“Nothing natural is evil.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Don’t Be Prideful With Any Excellence That Is Not Your Own.” – Epictetus
The Greater The Difficulty, The More Glory In Surmounting It. Skillful Pilots Gain Their Reputation From Storms And Tempests. – Epictetus
“No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.” – Marcus Aurelius
The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…
“Never let people who choose the path of least resistance steer you away from your chosen path of most resistance.” – David Goggins
“Discomfort is the currency of success.” – Brooke Castillo
Stoic Quotes on Anxiety
“Put Up With Being Laughed At On Occasion; Look Around You, And Give Yourself A Good Shaking To Find Out Who You Really Are.” – Epictetus, The Discourses.
“Your Happiness Depends On Three Things, All Of Which Are Within Your Power: Your Will, Your Ideas Concerning The Events In Which You Are Involved, And The Use You Make Of Your Ideas.” – Epictetus
“Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken no advantage. It is time now to realize the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling Power whose offspring you are, and to understand that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and never in your power again.” – Marcus Aurelius
“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” – Seneca
Stoic Motivational Quotes
“Demand Not That Things Happen As You Wish, But Wish Them To Happen As They Do, And You Will Go On Well.” – Epictetus, The Discourses.
“Freedom Is The Only Worthy Goal In Life. It Is Won By Disregarding Things That Lie Beyond Our Control.” – Epictetus
“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will-then your life will flow well.” – Epictetus
“If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly, but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly, but the shame endures” – Musonius Rufus.
More Stoicism Quotes
Self-control is strength right thought is mastery calmness is power – James Allen
To be stoic is not to be emotionless but to remain unaffected by your emotions – James Pierce
“Warriors should suffer their pain silently.” – Erin Hunter, Into the Wild
“Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.”-Markus Zusak
“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.” – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” – Taleb Nassim Nicholas
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One. – Marcus Aurelius
No matter what you’re going through, there’s some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. We all have moments where we feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out. That’s when the wisdom of the Stoic philosophers can help us get through it by reminding us about how to live a good life.
These are the best quotes from the Stoics. Which is your favorite stoic inspirational quote? Personally, I think the Marcus Aurelius Quotes are my favorite.
The Stoic philosophy teaches us to have self-control and focus on things that are within our control (not just material wealth). Here are some of my favorite quotes from the ancient stoics. And this school of thought can help you become a better human being, control your emotion, and improve your mental health.
There are many more stoicism quotes out there, but these should give you a good start. If you’re interested in learning more about Stoicism, check out our other articles on the subject! They’re full of advice and tips on how to live your best life according to ancient philosophy. And apply these stoicism quotes to your daily life. And I promise you will start to see self-development.