The 44 Best & Most Important Stoic Quotes From Seneca, Marcus Aurelius & Co. - Deepstash
The 44 Best & Most Important Stoic Quotes From Seneca, Marcus Aurelius & Co.

The 44 Best & Most Important Stoic Quotes From Seneca, Marcus Aurelius & Co.

Curated from: fourminutebooks.com

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

52 ideas

·

65.6K reads

108

7

Explore the World's Best Ideas

Join today and uncover 100+ curated journeys from 50+ topics. Unlock access to our mobile app with extensive features.

44 Best Stoic Quotes

44 Best Stoic Quotes

The first time I ever heard about Stoicism was when my parents used a German expression called “stoische Ruhe” — Stoic calm. The phrase usually describes someone who seems to be unfazed in the face of adversity. “With Stoic calm, he accepted his plight,” we might say. Someone who has Stoic calm is not invincible but unshakeable, and if you’re looking to develop this and other Stoic qualities, what better place to start than a selection of the best Stoic quotes? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

238

2.3K reads

Top 10 Stoic Quotes From the Most Famous Stoic Philosophers

If you want to grasp the most important Stoic ideas — self-reflection, restraint, taking action, and acceptance — in a nutshell, you could do worse than start with these lines from 10 quintessential Stoics. We’ve sorted them chronologically based on when their originators lived.

217

2.21K reads

Technically, Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BC, wasn’t a Stoic, but his ideas greatly influenced all subsequent philosophers. Zeno, born 334 BC, is considered the founder of Stoicism, and Marcus Aurelius can be deemed the last great Stoic before the decline of the Roman Empire. Here are some of their and other famous Stoics’ best thoughts:

220

1.97K reads

1. “You could not step twice into the same river.” — Heraclitus

249

2.79K reads

2. “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak.” — Zeno of Citium

273

2.58K reads

3. “Fate guides the willing, but drags the unwilling.” — Cleanthes

257

2.51K reads

4. “There could be no justice, unless there were also injustice; no courage, unless there were cowardice; no truth, unless there were falsehood.” — Chrysippus

249

2.39K reads

5. “Let your desires be ruled by reason .” — Cicero

268

2.07K reads

6. “I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” — Cato the Younger

285

2.3K reads

7. “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca

314

2.03K reads

8. “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

314

2.04K reads

9. “Men are disturbed not by things but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.” — Epictetus

239

1.98K reads

10. “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

293

1.92K reads

The 10 Most Popular Stoic Quotes

Okay, so much for the most important quotes from Stoics, but what about the most popular ones? Which ones resonate the most with people? On Goodreads , over 125 million members can vote on their favorite lines from books and authors. Below, we’ve compiled the ten most-voted lines from three of the most well-known Stoics, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus (mainly because their writings have partially survived to this day) and one other philosopher, Epicurus.

216

1.04K reads

A few caveats: Epicurus founded his own school of thought, Epicureanism, and though it is often depicted as a philosophy contrary to Stoicism, the two approaches actually have a lot in common. Hence, some of his Stoic-leaning ideas are worth including. Each quote has received over 1,000 likes on Goodreads, some up to 5,000. Any line that would be a double mention from above was excluded, and so was any quote we couldn’t at least somewhat verify as correctly attributed. 

216

1.03K reads

1. “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius

242

1.59K reads

2. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” ― Marcus Aurelius

297

1.48K reads

3. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus

297

1.44K reads

4. “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” — Seneca

259

1.33K reads

5. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius

254

1.39K reads

6. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ― Marcus Aurelius

250

1.28K reads

7. “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. 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.” — Seneca

258

1.13K reads

8. “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” ― Marcus Aurelius

248

1.21K reads

9. “Men are disturbed not by things but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.” — Epictetus

226

1.13K reads

10. “If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, ‘He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.’” ― Epictetus

260

1.13K reads

10 Inspiring Quotes From Modern-Day Stoics

Around 600 years after its inception, Stoicism got lost in the sands of time. For nearly 2,000 years, the philosophy and its scarce literary remnants were condemned to obscurity. Sitting in church archives and private collections, Stoic ideas were shunned in public by Christians and other religions alike, perhaps practiced in private by few.

219

740 reads

It is only in the second half of the 20th century that Stoicism found renewed interest, thanks in part to a book by an academic, Problems in Stoicism . The second party to be credited is Albert Ellis , a psychologist who partially relied on Stoic ideas to develop the foundations of cognitive behavioral theory , a now popular approach to treating various cognitive disorders, including anxiety and depression.

220

682 reads

1. “Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” ― Ryan Holiday

255

958 reads

2. “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.” — Reinhold Niebuhr

272

938 reads

3. “People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.” ― Timothy Ferriss

247

961 reads

4. “As a Stoic, I must despise injury, or, rather, I must not feel it, must not be affected by it so that it cannot violate the freedom of my soul…” ― Alexandra David-Néel

224

899 reads

5. “Our happiness is not to be found in the judgments of others or in things outside of our control.” — Arianna Huffington

236

909 reads

6. “Having to fight for the thing you want doesn’t mean you deserve it any less.” ― Anna Kendrick

233

933 reads

7. “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

237

846 reads

8. “We love being mentally strong, but we hate situations that allow us to put our mental strength to good use.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

245

887 reads

9. “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” — Nassim Taleb

240

833 reads

10. “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” — Jerzy Gregorek

245

859 reads

My 14 Favorite Stoic Quotes From Seneca, Marcus Aurelius & Co.

I’m not an expert in Stoic philosophy, but I’ve been studying and enjoying Stoic wisdom for almost a decade. I read The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday several years in a row. Other books I’ve read, at least in parts, include Meditations , Letters from a Stoic , and On the Shortness of Life . I most enjoy the themes of using our time well, remembering our mortality , and focusing on what we can control. My perspective on Stoicism isn’t perfect, but here are 14 of my favorite quotes that I’ve curated over the years:

217

516 reads

1. “We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it. Life is long if you know how to use it.” — Seneca

241

828 reads

2. “Let the mind be disciplined to understand and to endure its own lot; let it have the knowledge that there is nothing which fortune does not dare — that she has the same jurisdiction over empires as over emperors, the same power over cities as over the citizens who dwell therein. We must not cry out at any of these calamities. Into such a world have we entered, and under such laws do we live.” — Seneca

225

716 reads

3. “Receive without pride, let go without attachment.” — Marcus Aurelius

245

789 reads

4. “Make peace again with destiny, the destiny that unravels all ties: We are unequal at birth, but are equal in death.” — Seneca

231

808 reads

5. “Given that all must die, it is better to die with distinction than to live long.” — Musonius Rufus

231

803 reads

6. “Choose not to be harmed, and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed, and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius

236

796 reads

7. “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.” — Seneca

228

667 reads

8. “Nothing ought to be unexpected by us. Our minds should be sent forward in advance to meet all problems, and we should consider not what is wont to happen, but what can happen.” — Seneca

223

696 reads

9. “Freedom isn’t secured by filling up on your heart’s desire but by removing your desire.” — Epictetus

234

747 reads

10. “People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.” — Seneca

237

686 reads

11. “Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well.” — Marcus Aurelius

224

729 reads

12. “So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.” — Seneca

229

645 reads

13. “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” — Marcus Aurelius

234

756 reads

14. “It would be tedious to recount all the ways by which fate may come; but this one thing I know: all the works of mortal man have been doomed to mortality, and in the midst of things which have been destined to die, we live!” — Seneca

225

712 reads

IDEAS CURATED BY

tomjoad

Introverted Extravert

CURATOR'S NOTE

44 Best Stoic Quotes

Tom Joad's ideas are part of this journey:

How To Become a Better Decision-Maker

Learn more about motivationandinspiration with this collection

Understanding the importance of decision-making

Identifying biases that affect decision-making

Analyzing the potential outcomes of a decision

Related collections

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Personalized microlearning

100+ Learning Journeys

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.

Email

I agree to receive email updates