Do you know Epictetus?
Do you know Stoicism?
If not, buckle up!
You’re about to discover 87+ Epictetus quotes about life, success, difficulties, control, death, and more.
And these will transform your life in the next 5 minutes.
Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher (55–135 C.E.) who taught
- the importance of self-knowledge
- that most things are outside your control
- that you are responsible for how you react to external events
I hope you’ll enjoy his quotes, thoughts, and philosophy as much as I did.
Top 10 Epictetus Quotes
No man is free who is not master of himself. Epictetus
Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself. Epictetus
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid. Epictetus
How long will you wait before you demand the best of yourself? Epictetus
To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it occurs. Epictetus
The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have. Epictetus
When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval. Epictetus
People are not disturbed by things but by the view they take of them. Epictetus
You are hurt the moment you believe yourself to be. Epictetus
Epictetus Quotes About Control
It’s not things that upset us but our judgments about things. Epictetus
The important thing is to take great care with what you have while the world lets you have it. Epictetus
Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and your life will be serene. Epictetus
The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Epictetus
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will. Epictetus
What does it mean to be getting an education? It means learning to apply natural preconceptions to particular cases as nature prescribes, and distinguishing what is in our power from what is not. The operations of the will are in our power. Epictetus
What ought one to say then as each hardship comes? I was practicing for this, I was training for this. Epictetus
A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. Epictetus
The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Epictetus
You need to suspend desire completely, and train aversion only on things within your power. You should dissociate yourself from everything outside yourself. Epictetus
We get angry because we put too high a premium on things that they can steal. As long as you honour material things, direct your anger at yourself rather than the thief or adulterer. Epictetus
Epictetus Quotes About Life And Happiness
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it. Epictetus
Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. Epictetus
If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be. Epictetus
Try to enjoy the great festival of life with other men. Epictetus
It is inevitable if you enter into relationships with people on a regular basis that you will grow to be like them. Epictetus
He who laughs at himself, never runs out of things to laugh at. Epictetus
Fortify thyself with contentment: that is an impregnable stronghold. Epictetus
We should discipline ourselves in small things, and from there progress to things of greater value. Epictetus
A person is not going to undertake to learn anything that they think they already know. Epictetus
Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epictetus
To live a life of virtue, you have to become consistent, even when it isn’t convenient, comfortable, or easy. Epictetus
If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: “He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.” Epictetus
It is more necessary for the soul to be cured than the body; for it is better to die than to live badly. Epictetus
It is better to die with hunger, exempt from grief and fear, better to die than to live in affluence and be disturbed; and it is better your servant should be bad, than you unhappy. Epictetus
Every habit and faculty is formed or strengthened by the corresponding act – walking makes you walk better, running makes you a better runner. If you want to be literate, read, if you want to be a painter, paint…So if you like doing something, do it regularly; if you don’t like doing something, make a habit of doing something different. Epictetus
Don’t pretend you have a particular skill if you don’t yet; yield to whoever has the requisite experience; and for your own part take satisfaction in an awareness that your persistence is helping you become expert in the subject yourself. Epictetus
Sickness is an impediment to the body, but not to the will, unless itself pleases. Lameness is an impediment to the leg, but not to the will; and say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens. For you will find it to be an impediment to something else, but not truly to yourself. Epictetus
Finally decide that you are an adult who is going to devote the rest of your life to making progress. Epictetus
Only the educated are free. Epictetus
Epictetus Quotes About Success And Difficulties
Difficulties show a person’s character. Epictetus
Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes and figs need time to ripen. Epictetus
No bull reaches maturity in an instant, nor do men become heroes overnight. Epictetus
You can’t hope to make progress in areas where you have made no application. Epictetus
In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend; but in adversity it is the most difficult of all things. Epictetus
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. Epictetus
Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived by external source. Epictetus
Every difficulty in life presents us with an opportunity to turn inward and to invoke our own submerged inner resources. The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths. Epictetus
Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.” Epictetus
No thing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. Epictetus
Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily. Epictetus
When you let your attention slide for a bit, don’t think you will get back a grip on it whenever you wish—instead, bear in mind that because of today’s mistake everything that follows will be necessarily worse. Epictetus
When trouble comes, think of yourself as a wrestler whom God, like a trainer, has paired with a tough young buck. For what purpose? To turn you into Olympic-class material. Epictetus
Every habit and capability is confirmed and grows in its corresponding actions. Epictetus
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going. Epictetus
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. Epictetus
The true man is revealed in difficult times. Epictetus
Epictetus Quotes About Death
For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death. Epictetus
I cannot escape death; but cannot I escape the dread of it? Must I die trembling and lamenting? Epictetus
Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible, be daily before your eyes, but death chiefly; and you will never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything. Epictetus
I must die. But must I die bawling? I must be put in chains – but moaning and groaning too? I must be exiled; but is there anything to keep me from going with a smile, calm and self-composed? Epictetus
Because we’re the only animals who not only die but are conscious of it even while it happens, we are beset by anxiety. Epictetus
Deep Epictetus Quotes
You become what you give your attention to. Epictetus
Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves. Epictetus
Philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. Epictetus
If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will. Epictetus
If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. 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
Whenever anyone assents to what is false, one may be sure that he does not willingly give his assent to falsehood but rather that what is false seemed to him to be true. Epictetus
I cannot call somebody ‘hard-working’ knowing only that they read…Even if ‘all night long’ is added, I cannot say it – not until I know the focus of all this energy…If their efforts aim at improving the mind. Epictetus
Use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance; and even these lightly, and with gentleness and reservation. Epictetus
Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words. Epictetus
Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you! Epictetus
Who is your master? Anyone who has control over things upon which you’ve set your heart, or over things which you seek to avoid. Epictetus
If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Epictetus
But if we are endowed by nature with the potential for greatness, why do only some of us achieve it? Well, do all horses become stallions? Are all dogs greyhounds? Even if I lack the talent, I will not abandon the effort on that account. Epictetus
Place an extinguished piece of coal next to a live one, and either it will cause the other one to die out, or the live will make the other reignite. Since a lot is at stake, you should be careful about fraternizing with non-philosophers in these contexts. Epictetus
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. Epictetus
If the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition, so quickly and easily? Epictetus
If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for? Epictetus
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
5 Lessons from Epictetus?
- Control your mind, or someone else will.
- Don’t be a fool: don’t try to control what you can’t.
- Want to improve yourself?
- Practice daily.
- Don’t mind what others think of you.
- What’s the only source of strength and happiness? Your mind.
- Difficulties are opportunities. Face them calmly. Aim for progress. Not perfection.
- Topic: Life And Inspiration
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- More Stoics like Epictetus
- More philosophers
- Enchiridion by Epictetus (Amazon book)
- Discourses And Selected Writings by Epictetus (Amazon book)
- The Art of Living by Epictetus (Amazon book)
- Epictetus on Wikipedia
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