Epictetus Quotes

“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

 

 

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

 

 

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

“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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason? You have been given the principles that you ought to endorse, and you have endorsed them. What kind of teacher, then, are you still waiting for in order to refer your self-improvement to him? You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Only the educated are free.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“You are a little soul carrying around a corpse”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“To accuse others for one’s own misfortune 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.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“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.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Τίς εἶναι θέλεις, σαυτῷ πρῶτον εἰπέ: εἶθ’ οὕτως ποίει ἃ ποιεῖς. (First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.)”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

“Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weaknesses. Avoid being one of the mob who indulges in such pastimes. 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. It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there’s no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. 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.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Do not try to seem wise to others. ”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

“If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“God has entrusted me with myself. No man is free who is not master of himself. A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.”
― Epictetus

 

 

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

 

 

“A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single
hope”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. ”
― Epictetus

 

 

“You know yourself what you are worth in your own eyes; and at what price you will sell yourself. For men sell themselves at various prices. This is why, when Florus was deliberating whether he should appear at Nero’s shows, taking part in the performance himself, Agrippinus replied, ‘Appear by all means.’ And when Florus inquired, ‘But why do not you appear?’ he answered, ‘Because I do not even consider the question.’ For the man who has once stooped to consider such questions, and to reckon up the value of external things, is not far from forgetting what manner of man he is.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“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. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other”
― Epictetus

 

 

“If you wish to be a writer, write.”
― Epictetus

 

 

“I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment?”
― Epictetus

 

 

“Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, nor can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!”
― Epictetus

 

 

“We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us.”
― Epictetus

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