140 Stoic Quotes on Life, Happiness & Purpose

Stoic Quote by Marcus Aurelius

In this post, we’ll read stoic quotes, which is an ancient Greek philosophy that teaches the development of self-control and reason as a means to overcome irrational emotions.

Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium around the early 3rd century BCE and later expanded by philosophers such as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. It emphasizes rationality, the acceptance of fate, and the pursuit of virtue as the highest good.

Stoics distinguish between what is within our control (our own thoughts and actions) and what is not (external events and the actions of others) and believe in maintaining a calm and balanced mind regardless of external circumstances

Let’s read some of the best stoic quotes about happiness, control, purpose, life and more.

Stoic Quotes by Famous Stoic Philosophers

Marcus Aurelius Quotes

Stoic Marcus Aurelius Quote

1. “Confine yourself to the present.”

2. “The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.”

3. “If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it”

4. “’Imagine you are dead, you have lived you life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.’”

5. “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.”

6. “In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive. In your life, don’t be all about business.”

7. “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.”

8. “The best answer to anger is silence.”

9. “External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”

10. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Seneca Quotes

Seneca Quote

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

2. “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

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

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

5. “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”

6. “Life, if well lived, is long enough.”

7. “For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.”

8. “While we wait for life, life passes.”

9. “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.”

10. “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.”

Epictetus Quotes

Stoic Epictetus Quote

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

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

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

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

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

6. “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.”

7. “Curb your desire — don’t set your heart on so many things and you will get what you need.”

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

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

10. “If you want something good, get it yourself.”

Zeno of Citium Quotes

Stoic Zeno of Citium Quote

1. “Man conquers the world by conquering himself.”

2. “Follow where reason leads.”

3. “Man seems to be deficient in nothing so much as he is in time.”

4. “By silence, I hear other men’s imperfections and conceal my own.”

5. “He who is greedy is always in want.”

6. “No loss should be more regrettable to us than losing our time, for it’s irretrievable.”

7. “Steel your sensibilities, so that life shall hurt you as little as possible.”

8. “Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing.”

9. “We should not spoil what we have by desiring what we have not; but remember that what we now have was once among the things we only hoped for.”

10. “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”

Heraclitus Quotes

Stoic Heraclitus Quote

1. “There is nothing permanent except change.”

2. “A man’s character is his fate.”

3. “Big results require big ambitions.”

4. “Much learning does not teach understanding.”

5. “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”

Diogenes Quotes

Stoic Diogenes Quote

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

2. “People who talk well but do nothing are like musical instruments; the sound is all they have to offer.”

3. “No man is hurt but by himself.”

4. “The wise man knows that he knows nothing, and yet he still seeks knowledge.”

5. “There is only a finger’s difference between a wise man and a fool.”

Gaius Musonius Rufus Quotes

Stoic Gaius Musonius Rufus Quote

1. “Willingly accept the inevitable, and you will lead a life in harmony with the universe.”

2. “The greatest thing in the world is self-sufficiency.”

3. “Train yourself to strive for giving, rather than receiving.”

4. “You will deserve respect from everyone if you will start by respecting yourself.”

5. “Generally speaking, if you devote yourself to the life of philosophy, whilst tilling the land at the same time, I couldn’t compare it to any other way of life, nor would I prefer any other livelihood.” – Gaius Musonius Rufus

Stoic Quotes on Life

Stoic Quote on Life

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

2. “Life is long if you know how to use it.” – Seneca

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

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

5. “Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.” – Marcus Aurelius

6. “What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life.” – Seneca

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

8. “You say you’re scared of dying, but tell me, is the life you live, any different than being dead?

9. “It is not possible to live well today unless you treat it as your last day.” – Gaius Musonius Rufus

Stoic Quotes on Purpose

Stoic Quote on Purpose

1. “Without a purpose, nothing should be done.” – Marcus Aurelius

2. “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” – Seneca

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

4. “The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.” – Zeno of Citium

5. “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

6. “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

7. “Never act without purpose and resolve, or without the means to finish the job.” – Marcus Aurelius

Stoic Quotes on Happiness

Stoic Quote on Happiness

1. “Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.” – Heraclitus

2. “Happiness is a good flow of life.” – Zeno of Citium

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

4. “The happiness in your life consists in the quality of your thoughts.”

5. “Man’s proper work is the practice of the virtues, which alone produce happiness.” – Zeno of Citium

Stoic Quotes on Love

Stoic Quote on Love

1. “Love is a God, who cooperates in securing the safety of the city.” – Zeno of Citium

2. “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

3. “What one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

4. “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.” – Socrates

5. “It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

Short Stoic Quotes

Short Stoic Quote

1. “More is lost by indecision than wrong decision.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

2. “Warriors should suffer their pain silently.” ― Erin Hunter, Into the Wild

3. “Feeling too much is a hell of a lot better than feeling nothing.” ― Nora Roberts

4. “Most men are within a finger’s breadth of being mad.”

5. “While pain is inevitable, suffering is always a choice.”

6. “You cannot step into the same river twice.” – Heraclitus

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

8. “Be a master of the mind, not mastered by the mind.” – Zen proverb

9. “The only journey is the one within.”

10. “A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

11. “What matters most is how you walk through the fire.” -Bukowski

12. “What is to give light must endure burning.” – Viktor Frankl

13. “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Tim Ferriss

14. “No human thing is of serious importance.” – Plato

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

Stoic Quotes on Resilience

Stoic Quote on Resilience

1. “It is difficulties that show what men are.” – Epictetus

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

3. “Won’t we, therefore, be willing to endure pain in order to gain complete happiness?” – Gaius Musonius Rufus

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

5. “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

6. “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl

Stoic Quotes on Strength

Stoic Quote on Strength

1. “Difficulties strengthen the mind as labor does the body.” – Seneca

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

3. “For manliness gained strength by being challenged.” – Seneca

4. “The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths.” – Epictetus

5. “Strength and growth only come through continuous effort and struggle.” — Napoleon Hill

Stoic Quotes on Control

Stoic Quote on Control

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

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

3. “Stoicism teaches how to keep a calm and rational mind no matter what happens to you and it helps you understand and focus on what you can control and not worry about and accept what you can’t control.” – Jonas Salzgeber

4. “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not.”

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

Stoic Quotes on Emotion

Stoic Quote on Emotion

1. “Stoicism is about the domestication of emotions, not their elimination.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

2. “Keep your intention pure. Emotions will try to distract you. So keep going. That’s the cure.” – Maxime Lagacé

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

4. “Stoicism, understood properly, is a cure for a disease. The disease in question is the anxiety, grief, fear, and various other negative emotions that plague humans and prevent them from experiencing a joyful existence.” – William B. Irvine

Stoic Quotes on Death

Stoic Quote on Death

1. “I cannot escape death, but at least I can escape the fear of it.” – Epictetus

2. “Death twitches at my ear. “Live,” he says. “I am coming.” – Virgil

3. “Since every man dies, it is better to die with distinction than to live long.” – Gaius Musonius Rufus

4. “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 Courage

Stoic Quote on Courage

1. “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” – Seneca

2. “Courage is the key to mastery; the key to conquering our fears and unlocking our true potential.” – Diogenes

3. “The soul is trained for courage when we show patience under hardships.” – Gaius Musonius Rufus

4. “You will earn the respect of all if you begin by earning the respect of yourself. Don’t expect to encourage good deeds in people conscious of your own misdeeds.”

Stoic Quotes on Hard work

Stoic Quote on Hard work

1. “The sum of wisdom is that time is never lost that is devoted to work.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. “Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.” – Charles Baudelaire

3. “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” — William James

4. “What you stay focused on will grow.” — Roy T. Bennett

5. “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.”

Stoic Quotes on Self Improvement

Stoic Quote on Self Improvement

1. “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self.” – Zen proverb

2. “What you leave behind is not engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” – Pericles

3. “Temperance is a tree which has for its root very little contentment, and for its fruit calm and peace.” – Buddha

4. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.” – Viktor Frankl

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

6. “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” – Sophocles

7. “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Motivational Stoic Quotes

Motivational Stoic Quote

1. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant

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

3. “Excellence is doing an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way”.

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

5. “It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential. The closer to the source, the less wastage there is.” – Bruce Lee

6. “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

These stoic quotes provide practical guidance for leading a fulfilling life, emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility, logical thinking, and emotional resilience.

Stoicism teaches that rationality and reason are fundamental to human nature. By living in accordance with reason, individuals can achieve tranquility and peace of mind.

Which of these stoic quotes are your most favorite?

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