There are many writings on Stoicism going back thousands of years, and I've been collecting and posting my favorite Stoicism quotes on Instagram every single day since 2019 for our community of 100,000+ people.
I've always been amazed at just how these thoughts from the greatest Stoic philosophers from ancient times are still relevant today.
These include things like Stoic quotes on death, Stoic quotes on love, honestly, ego, judgement, and how to live a happy life.
Each stoic philosopher had their own style, and I'll be showing the best stoic quotes from my top 5 philosophers — Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, Zeno, and Musonius Rufus.
Marcus Aurelius quotes
Marcus Aurelius is one of the most famous stoic philosophers, and one of the most powerful people in the world while he was alive. He was the emperor of ancient Rome, and would often write down his thoughts in his now famous journal we now call Meditations. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and an interesting look into the mind of Marcus. His journal was never meant to be published, so what you see here is pure honesty that ended up including some of the greatest stoic quotes.
- The best answer to anger is silence.
- The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.
- How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.
- You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
- The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.
- 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.
- Confine yourself to the present.
- 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.
- You can commit injustice by doing nothing.
- Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.
- Each day provides its own gifts.
- Give yourself a gift, the present moment.
- The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.
- Have I been made for this, to lie under the blankets and keep myself warm?
- Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.
- Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.
- I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it.
- How trivial the things we want so passionately are.
- Settle on the type of person you want to be and stick to it, whether alone or in company.
- Consider at what price you sell your integrity, but please, for God’s sake, don’t sell it cheap.
Seneca (4 BC—AD 65) was another prominent stoic philosopher in Rome, as had a unique position as the advisor to newly appointment Emperor Nero in 54. His book called Letters from a Stoic is one of my favorite books on stoicism, and is full of wisdom and lessons about morality.
This book is another great source for stoic wisdom quotes.
- We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
- Ignorance is the cause of fear.
- While we wait for life, life passes.
- Life is long, if you know how to use it.
- Hurry up and live.
- Cease to hope and you will cease to fear.
- Wealth is the slave of a wise man and the master of a fool.
- Only time can heal what reason cannot.
- While we are postponing, life speeds by.
- 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.
- 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.
- Difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
- 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.
- When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
- For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.
- The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
Epictetus (AD 50—135) was born a slave and lived in Rome until his banishment. His teachings were documented and published by one of his students named Arrian in two books - Discourses, and Enchiridion.
- We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
- No man is free who is not master of himself.
- Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.
- It is difficulties that show what men are.
- Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
- A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.
- No great thing is created suddenly.
- Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.
- It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.
- First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
- If you want something good, get it yourself.
While Zeno (334—262 BC) isn't quite as popular as Marcus Aurelius or Seneca (mostly to the lack of available teachings), he was the founder of the stoic school of philosophy in Athens around 300 BC.
What did remain of his teachings were passed down by one of his students named Diogenes.
- All the good are friends of one another.
- No loss should be more regrettable to us than losing our time, for it’s irretrievable.
- Extravagance is its own destroyer.
- Man conquers the world by conquering himself.
- Steel your sensibilities, so that life shall hurt you as little as possible.
- Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue
- A bad feeling is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason, and against nature.
Musonius Rufus quotes
Musoniuis Rufus was a stoic philosopher in Rome around the 1st century AD. He is most famous for being the primary teacher for Epictetus, as well as being another stoic philosopher that was exiled from Rome by the Emperor Nero in 65 AD.
- We begin to lose our hesitation to do immoral things when we lose our hesitation to speak of them.
- Humanity must seek what is NOT simple and obvious using the simple and obvious.
- Since every man dies, it is better to die with distinction than to live long.
- Only by exhibiting actions in harmony with the sound words which he has received will anyone be helped by philosophy.
- Thus whoever destroys human marriage destroys the home, the city-the whole human race.
Diogenes (300 AD) was mostly known as a biographer for some of the more famous philosophers outlined above, and much of his life remains a mystery.
He had a controversial reputation among scholars for repeating things and perhaps focusing on the wrong part of certain teachings, but since he wasn't reinterpreting those teachings, his accounts are some of the most reliable we have.
- He with the most who is content with the least.
- The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.
- Blushing is the color of virtue.
- Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.
- I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
- The mob is the mother of tyrants.
- Poverty is a virtue which one can teach oneself.
Daily stoic quotes
If you're interested in daily stoic quoters, make sure to head over to our Instagram, where we've been posting daily quotes from a variety of thinkers since 2019.
What is the best quotes by Epictetus? ›
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” “Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it.” “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.”
“The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.” “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today.What is Marcus Aurelius most famous quote? ›
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.What are the golden sayings of Epictetus quotes? ›
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.” In other words, one must not be made unhappy by what one cannot change, and one must strive towards self-improvement (changing the things one can) through intense discipline.What is Epictetus best known for? ›
Epictetus (l.c. 50 - c. 130 CE) was a Stoic philosopher best known for his works The Enchiridion (the handbook) and his Discourses, both foundational works in Stoic philosophy and both thought to have been written down from his teachings by his student Arrian.What are Stoicism 3 morals? ›
Stoicism can be epitomized by three essential beliefs: (1) that virtue is sufficient for happiness, (2) that other so-called goods should be regarded with indifference, and (3) that the world is providentially ordered by God.What is the Stoic motto? ›
To the Stoics, the answer is virtue. If we act virtuously, they believed, everything else important could follow: Happiness, success, meaning, reputation, honor, love.Is being Stoic healthy? ›
Stoicism is an attractive philosophy for mental health. Researchers have recognized that stoic (actions) can contribute to mental well-being when the anguishing oppression of emotional thoughts piercing through the mind, creating a front-line of emotional distress and pain.What are 5 famous quotes? ›
- The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
- The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
- Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
- If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Daily Stoic on Twitter: ""There's nothing more insufferable than people who boast about their own humility." — Marcus Aurelius" / Twitter.
What are the 4 virtues of Stoicism? ›
The Stoics elaborated a detailed taxonomy of virtue, dividing virtue into four main types: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Wisdom is subdivided into good sense, good calculation, quick-wittedness, discretion, and resourcefulness. Justice is subdivided into piety, honesty, equity, and fair dealing.Is Stoic positive or negative? ›
Stoicism is a school of philosophy that hails from ancient Greece and Rome in the early parts of the 3rd century, BC. It is a philosophy of life that maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative emotions and helps individuals to hone their virtues of character.What makes a Stoic happy? ›
Stoicism holds that the key to a good, happy life is the cultivation of an excellent mental state, which the Stoics identified with virtue and being rational. The ideal life is one that is in harmony with Nature, of which we are all part, and an attitude of calm indifference towards external events.What does Epictetus say about love? ›
And Epictetus would argue that only the lover of wisdom and rationality can truly appreciate and understand love. “Whoever then understands what is good, can also know how to love; but he who cannot distinguish good from bad, and things which are neither good nor bad from both, can he possess the power of loving?What does Epictetus say we can control? ›
Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.What did Epictetus say about death? ›
As Epictetus said, “Death and pain are not frightening, it's the fear of pain and death we need to fear.” So we redefine death.What did Epictetus believe? ›
Primarily interested in ethics, Epictetus described philosophy as learning “how it is possible to employ desire and aversion without hindrance.” True education, he believed, consists in recognizing that there is only one thing that belongs to an individual fully—his will, or purpose.What does Epictetus say about happiness? ›
Epictetus (c. 50–c. 135 A.D.) was one of the most prominent Stoic philosophers, who believed happiness comes from finding life's purpose, accepting one's fate, and behaving morally regardless of the personal cost.What kind of philosophy did Epictetus teach? ›
Epictetus (pronounced Epic-TEE-tus) was an exponent of Stoicism who flourished in the early second century C.E. about four hundred years after the Stoic school of Zeno of Citium was established in Athens. He lived and worked, first as a student in Rome, and then as a teacher with his own school in Nicopolis in Greece.Do Stoics believe in Jesus? ›
Among the parallels between Stoicism and Christianity, both are monotheistic. Stoicism follows Heraclitus and believes in one Logos; Christianity follows Jesus, and requires followers to believe in the one true God and have no other gods before him [her].
Is Stoicism against Christianity? ›
Stoicism is not connected to Christianity. Although Stoicism refers to gods, it is a philosophical doctrine without religion.What are the 12 Stoic lessons? ›
- Don't Avoid Adversity. ...
- Take Your Own Advice. ...
- Focus on Now. ...
- Know What You Can (And Can't) Control. ...
- Persist and Resist. ...
- Learn From Pain. ...
- Accept Eventualities. ...
- Mind Your Own Business.
This suggests that Zeno may have introduced the metaphor of the ideal Stoic Republic as consisting of a herd of cattle led by a bull.Who is the most famous Stoic? ›
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, born nearly two millennia ago is perhaps the best known Stoic leader in history.What is the mantra for Stoicism? ›
The Stoic Mantra: Focus Only On What You Can Control
That I am responsible for my current state of misery, and I am responsible for letting it pass. Because it will, and it did. Just the simple fact of reminding myself that I am in control of my state of being brought a feeling of calmness inside me.
Ancient Stoic women may be largely absent from our history books, but modern Stoic women are vocal and influential. Our events offer a unique opportunity to hear from leading Stoic women (and Stoics in general) as they share their stories, insight and expertise delivered through inspiring talks with a practical focus.What is a stoic person like? ›
Being stoic is being calm and almost without any emotion. When you're stoic, you don't show what you're feeling and you also accept whatever is happening. … The adjective stoic describes any person, action, or thing that seems emotionless and almost blank. ( vocabulary.com)Are some people born stoic? ›
Some people are natural born Stoics. Without ever reading the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome, they develop an ability to avoid needless anxiety, to enjoy the world around them, and to remain optimistic in the face of setbacks. Other people clearly don't fall into this category.What is the greatest good According to Epictetus? ›
Courage. Epictetus was once asked which words would help a person thrive. “Two words should be committed to memory and obeyed,” he said, “persist and resist.” It is the timeless symbol of Stoicism—the lone knight fighting a war they cannot hope to win, but fighting bravely and honorably nonetheless.