Best Stoic Quotes: On Life, Success, Change and More

Stoicism emerged as a life-affirming philosophy that focuses on the four cardinal virtues: courage, justice, wisdom, and self-control. Though it was founded two millennia ago, Stoic’s wisdom is valid and empowering even today. Here is the collection of great Stoic quotes for motivation and inspiration:

 

Best Stoic Quotes

“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.” – Seneca

stoic quotes

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

“He who fears death will never do anything worth of a man who is alive.” – Seneca

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” – Epictetus

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

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” – Epictetus

“If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca

“Stop drifting…Sprint to the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.” – Marcus Aurelius

“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.” – Seneca

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

“To be evenminded is the greatest virtue.” – Heraclitus

“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” – Epictetus

“The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” – Seneca

“He has the most who is content with the least.” – Diogenes

“To be stoic is not to be emotionless, but to remain unaffected by your emotions.” – James Pierce

“Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” – James Allen

“Man conquers the world by conquering himself.” – Zeno of Citium

“Be stoic: Just do the right thing. Just keep going.” – Maxime Lagacé

 

Stoic Quotes on Acceptance

“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.” – Marcus Aurelius

best stoic quotes

“It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it.” – Seneca

“Man conquers the world by conquering himself.” – Zeno of Citium

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” – Marcus Aurelius

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Equanimity is the voluntary acceptance of the things which are assigned to thee by the common nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

Stoic Quotes on Adversity

“Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius

stoic quotes on adversity

“Failure and deprivation are the best educators and purifiers.” – Albert Einstein

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” – Marcus Aurelius

“The wise man is neither raised up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity; for always he has striven to rely predominantly on himself, and to derive all joy from himself.” – Seneca

“The obstacle is the way.” – Ryan Holiday

“Problems only exist in the human mind.” – Anthony de Mello

“Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity.” – Robert Greene

“Don’t be the person that looks at the weather report the night before to decide what you are going to do the next day.” – David Goggins

“Life is full of hostility — some of it overt, some clever and underhanded.” – Robert Greene

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

“It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them.” – Epictetus

“If you want something good, get it from yourself.” – Epictetus

“You can bind up my leg, but not even zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” – Epictetus

“How does it help…to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?” – Seneca

 

Stoic Quotes on Anger

“The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.” – Dalai Lama

stoic quotes on anger

“Don’t get mad at others because life is kicking your ass.” – David Goggins

“When you have been compelled by circumstances to be disturbed in a manner, quickly return to yourself and do not continue out of tune longer than the compulsion lasts.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” – Seneca

“How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course.” — Seneca

“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on— it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance— unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” — Seneca        

“Understand at last that you have something in you more powerful and divine than what causes the bodily passions and pulls you like a mere puppet.” — Marcus Aurelius

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

 

You might like: Plato Quotes

 

Stoic Quotes on Anxiety

“The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable.” – Seneca

stoic quotes on anxiety

“There are two of the most immediately useful thoughts you will dip into. First that things cannot touch the mind: they are external and inert; anxieties can only come from your internal judgement. Second, that all these things you see will change almost as you look at them, and then will be no more. Constantly bring to mind all that you yourself have already seen changed. The universe is change: life is judgement.” – Marcus Aurelius

“When I see an anxious person, I ask myself, what do they want? For if a person wasn’t wanting something outside of their own control, why would they be stricken by anxiety?” — Epictetus

“Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person or that person, this challenge, this deed. Quit the evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in right now. You are not some disinterested bystander. Participate. Exert yourself.” — Epictetus

“What upsets people is not things themselves, but their judgements about these things.” — Epictetus

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.” — Epictetus

“It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery, engulfed by anxiety that the things it desires might remain its own until the very end. For such a soul will never be at rest— by longing for things to come it will lose the ability to enjoy present things.” — Seneca

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” — Seneca

“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, for he that is 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

“Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them worry no more. We however are tormented alike by what is past 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

“But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.” — Seneca

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus. The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.” ― Marcus Aurelius

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.” — Marcus Aurelius

 

Stoic Quotes on Being Alone

“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people – it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else.” – Johann Hari

Stoic quotes on being alone

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius

“He that lives alone lives in danger; society avoids many dangers.” – Marcus Aurelius

“The ultimate power in life is to be completely self-reliant, completely yourself.”- Robert Greene

“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” ― Marcus Aurelius

“Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig. ― Marcus Aurelius

 

Stoic Quotes on Change

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou

stoic quotes on change

“Nothing endures but change.” – Heraclitus

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Unknown

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be, be one.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.” – Epictetus

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them.” – Epictetus

 

Stoic Quotes on Control

“A rational person can find peace by cultivating indifference to things outside of their control.” Naval Ravikant

stoic quotes on control

If you are easily provoked you are easily controlled.

“Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.” – Ryan Holiday

“Expect the river to be wild, surprising and challenging. To expect the opposite is to live in delusion.” – Maxime Lagacé

“Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” – Epictetus

“It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it.” – Seneca

“Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” – James Allen

“We should always be asking ourselves: Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?” – Epictetus   

“Define for me now what the “indifferents” are. Whatever things we cannot control. Tell me the upshot. They are nothing to me.” – Epictetus

 

Stoic Quotes on Death

“I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.” – Epictetus

stoic quotes on death

“You are scared of dying — and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different than being dead?” – Seneca

“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left, and live it properly.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: ‘Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?’” – Marcus Aurelius

“Brief is man’s life and small the nook of the Earth where he lives; brief, too, is the longest posthumous fame, buoyed only by a succession of poor human beings who will very soon die and who know little of themselves, much less of someone who died long ago.” – Marcus Aurelius

“About death: Whether it is a dispersion, or a resolution into atoms, or annihilation, it is either extinction or change.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Let each thing you would do, say, or intend, be like that of a dying person.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Death remembered should be like a mirror, Who tells us life’s but breath, to trust it error.” – William Shakespeare

 

Stoic Quotes on Forgiveness

“Bestow pardon for many things; seek pardon for none.” – Seneca

stoic quotes on forgiveness

“The wise man will not pardon any crime that ought to be punished, but he will accomplish, in a nobler way, all that is sought in pardoning. He will spare some and watch over some, because of their youth, and others on account of their ignorance. His clemency will not fall short of justice, but will fulfill it perfectly.” – Seneca the Younger

“To forgive all is as inhuman as to forgive none.” – Seneca the Younger

“Forgive that you may be forgiven.” – Seneca the Younger

“He who repents of having sinned is almost innocent.” – Seneca the Younger

“Forgiveness is better than revenge, for forgiveness is the sign of a gentle nature, but revenge is the sign of a savage nature.” – Epictetus

“You should leave another’s wrong where it lies.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

Stoic Quotes on Gratitude

You need not look about for the reward of a just deed; a just deed in itself offers a still greater return.” – Seneca

stoic quotes on gratitude

Some can delay gratification. Others don’t seek it at all. Be the latter.” – Maxime Lagacé

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” – Seneca

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass you by? Don’t stop it. It hasn’t yet come? Don’t burn in desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way with children, a spouse, toward position, with wealth—one day it will make you worthy of a banquet with the gods.” — Epictetus

“It’s in keeping with Nature to show our friends affection and to celebrate their advancement, as if it were our very own. For if we don’t do this, virtue, which is strengthened only by exercising our perceptions, will no longer endure in us.” — Seneca

“Pass through this brief patch of time in harmony with nature, and come to your final resting place gracefully, just as a ripened olive might drop, praising the earth that nourished it and grateful to the tree that gave it growth.” — Marcus Aurelius

 

Related: Shakespeare Quotes

 

Stoic Quotes on Happiness

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

stoic quotes on happiness

Be an island of calm in the sea of craziness.

“To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.” – Albert Einstein

“If you make happiness your goal, you’ll be disappointed. If you make presence your goal, you’ll be satisfied.” – Maxime Lagacé

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca

“If you have your heart set on wearing crowns, why not make one out of roses – you will look even more elegant in that.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Desire is a contract that you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.” – Naval  Ravikant

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Emerson

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – Seneca

“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” – Seneca

 

Stoic Quotes on Hard Work

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” – Seneca

stoic quotes on hard work

“The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable.” – Conor McGregor

“Move toward resistance and pain.” – Robert Greene

“Give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths.” – Epictetus

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb 

 

Stoic Quotes on Kindness

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Seneca

stoic quotes on kindness

“Constantly think of the universe as a single living being, comprised of a single substance and a single soul; and how all things issue into the single perception of this being, and how it accomplishes all things through a single impulse; and how all things work together to cause all that comes to be, and how intricate and densely woven is the fabric formed by their interweaving” – Marcus Aurelius

“Human beings have come into the world for the sake of one another. So either instruct them or endure them patiently.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being – and a man.” – Marcus Aurelius

“As an antidote to battle unkindness we were given kindness.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Kindness is invincible.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

Stoic Quotes on Life

“When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.” – Epictetus

stoic quotes on life

“The ultimate power in life is to be completely self-reliant, completely yourself.” – Robert Greene

“Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life.” – Robert Greene

“If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” – Voltaire

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi

“Live your life like you’re the hero in your movie.” – Joe Rogan

“It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you — inside or out.” – Marcus Aurelius

“In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.” – Ryan Holiday

“How do you move forward? One step at a time. How do you lose weight? One kilo at a time. How do you write a book? One page at a time. How do you build a relationship? One day at a time. In a world obsessed with speed, never forget things of real worth and value take time.” – Thibaut

“We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go.” – Seneca

“Be so busy building your own life that other people’s bullshit is of no concern.” – Ed Latimore

 

Stoic Quotes on Love

“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.” – Marcus Aurelius

stoic quotes on 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? To love, then, is only in the power of the wise.” – Seneca

“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

“If someone is incapable of distinguishing good things from bad and neutral things from either – well, how could such a person be capable of love? The power to love, then, belongs to the wise man.” – Epictetus

“I shall show you a love potion without a drug, without a herb; without the incantation of any sorceress: if you want to be loved, love.” – Seneca

“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.” – Marcus Aurelius

“(Your love) has been given to you for the present, not that it should not be taken from you, nor has it been given to you for all time, but as a fig is given to you or a bunch of grapes at the appointed season of the year. But if you wish for these things in winter, you are a fool.” – Epictetus

“Nature bore us related to one another … She instilled in us a mutual love and made us compatible … Let us hold everything in common; we stem from a common source. Our fellowship is very similar to an arch of stones, which would fall apart, if they did not reciprocally support each other.” – Seneca

 

Related: Dalai Lama Quotes

 

Stoic Quotes on Mindfulness

“Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have.” – Paul Graham

stoic quotes on mindfulness

“Be present above all else.” – Naval Ravikant

“Every hour focus your mind attentively…on the performance of the task in hand, with dignity, human sympathy, benevolence and freedom, and leave aside all other thoughts. You will achieve this, if you perform each action as if it were your last.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” ― Seneca

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

“External thinks are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

“To be even minded is the greatest virtue.” — Heraclitus

“Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity.” – Robert Greene

“We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go.” — Seneca

 

Stoic Quotes on Success

“Success is based off of your willingness to work your ass off no matter what obstacles are in your way.” – David Goggins

stoic quotes on success

“The limit is not the sky. The limit is the mind.” – Wim Hof

“Discomfort is the currency of success.” – Brooke Castillo

“Show people, don’t tell people.” – David Goggins

“Discomfort is a wise teacher.” – Caroline Myss

“What are the secret of success? -one word answer: “rational”.” – Charlie Munger

“Never let people who choose the path of least resistance steer you away from your chosen path of most resistance.” – David Goggins

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those who you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.” – Seneca

“Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 

 

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