80 Epictetus Quotes on Stoicism, Life, Control & Freedom

In this post, we’ll read Epictetus quotes who was an ancient Greek Stoic philosopher.

Epictetus (55 to 135 AD) was born as a slave in Hierapolis, Phrygia (present-day Pamukkale, Turkey), and later gained his freedom and became a student of Stoic philosophy under the philosopher Musonius Rufus.

He taught ethics, personal development, and the pursuit of inner peace and tranquility. Epictetus was one of the leading figures of Stoicism and he emphasized on developing moral character, self-control, and maintaining a calm and rational mindset despite what comes in one’s way.

Let’s read some of the best Epictetus quotes on stoicism, control, happiness, life and more.

Stoic Epictetus Quotes

Stoic Epictetus Quote

1. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

2. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

3. “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

4. “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

5. “When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”

6. “All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.”

7. “The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing.”

8. “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”

9. “From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.”

10. “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.”

11. “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”

Epictetus Quotes on Life

Epictetus Quote on Life

1. “Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.”

2. “Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!”

3. “Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet. As something is being passed around it comes to you; stretch out your hand, take a portion of it politely. It passes on; do not detain it. Or it has not come to you yet; do not project your desire to meet it, but wait until it comes in front of you. ”

4. “Your life is too short and you have important things to do. Be discriminating about what images and ideas you permit into your mind. If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest.”

5. “We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope.”

Epictetus Quotes on Control

Epictetus Quote on Control

1. “Some things are in our control and others not. 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 actions.”

2. “Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee.”

3. “It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.”

Epictetus Quotes on Happiness

Epictetus Quote on Happiness

1. “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

2. “If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these for to whatever point the perfection of

anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it.”

3. “The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”

4. “Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.”

5. “If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.”

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

Epictetus Quotes on Success

Epictetus Quote on Success

1. “The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.”

2. “Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort.”

3. “It’s time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become.”

4. “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”

5. “Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.”

6. “No great thing is created suddenly.”

7. “One that desires to excel should endeavor in those things that are in themselves most excellent.”

8. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

Epictetus Quotes on Freedom

Epictetus Quote on Freedom

1. “Freedom is the right to live as we wish.”

2. “Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.”

3. “Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.”

4. “Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.”

5. “No man is free who is not master of himself.”

Epictetus Quotes on Death

Epictetus Quote on Death

1. “It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.”

2. “It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.”

3. “Remind yourself that what you love is mortal … at the very moment you are taking joy in something, present yourself with the opposite impressions. What harm is it, just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die, or to your friend similarly: Tomorrow one of us will go away, and we shall not see one another any more.”

Epictetus Quotes on Self

Epictetus Quote on Self

1. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”

2. “Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.”

3. “He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.”

4. “God has entrusted me with myself.”

5. “I laugh at those who think they can damage me. They do not know who I am, they do not know what I think, they cannot even touch the things which are really mine and with which I live.”

6. “You become what you give your attention to.”

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

8. “If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.”

Epictetus Quotes on Circumstances

Epictetus Quote on Circumstances

1. “Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.”

2. “Difficulties are things that show a person what they are.”

3. “Seek not the good in external things;seek it in yourselves.”

4. “Don’t let the force of an impression when it first hits you knock you off your feet; just say to it, “Hold on a moment; let me see who you are and what you represent. Let me put you to the test.”

5. “Getting distracted by trifles is the easiest thing in the world… Focus on your main duty.”

6. “There is nothing good or evil save in the will.”

Epictetus Quotes on Wealth

Epictetus Quote on Wealth

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

2. “Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”

3. “Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world.”

Epictetus Quotes on Education

Epictetus Quote on Education

1. “Only the educated are free.”

2. “It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.”

3. “To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.”

4. “We are not to give credit to the many, who say that none ought to be educated but the free; but rather to the philosophers, who say that the well-educated alone are free.”

5. “Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”

Epictetus Quotes on Character

Epictetus Quote on Character

1. “We tell lies, yet it is easy to show that lying is immoral.”

2. “Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public.”

3. If you seek truth you will not seek victory by dishonorable means, and if you find truth you will become invincible.”

4. “He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses though he be not drunk.

5. “Know you not that a good man does nothing for appearance sake, but for the sake of having done right?”

6. “Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness.”

7. “If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.”

8. “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.”

9. “If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.”

Wisdom Epictetus Quotes

Wisdom Epictetus Quote

1. “It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.”

2. “All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.”

3. “You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.”

4. “Do not seek to bring things to pass in accordance with your wishes, but wish for them as they are, and you will find them.”

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

6. “Do not try to seem wise to others.”

7. “Events do not just happen, but arrive by appointment.”

8. “Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.”

9. “Silence is safer than speech.”

These Epictetus quotes teaches us the importance of living in accordance with nature, accepting what is beyond our control, and living a life of wisdom, courage, and self-discipline.

His teachings have had a great influence on the western philosophy and his works “Discourses” and the “Enchiridion” (or “Handbook”), recorded by his students, are studied by many philosophers, scholars, and practitioners of Stoicism.

Which of these Epictetus quotes is your most favorite?

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