150 Marcus Aurelius Quotes On Life, Control, Happiness

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder and chief editor of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm, peaceful and powerful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

Marcus Aurelius was one of the most powerful men in the world.

He was:

  • A Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD
  • A Stoic philosopher
  • A clear thinker

Inspired by this, I collected the top 150 Marcus Aurelius quotes.

I spend dozens of hours curating the best ones for you.

You will learn from Marcus Aurelius:

  • How to have more self-control
  • How to be indifferent to external events
  • How to live a better and more peaceful life

I hope you’ll enjoy his quotes as much as I did.

marcus aurelius quotes best answer anger silence wisdom

The best answer to anger is silence. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes more value things outside control less control have wisdom

The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes not events that disturb people their judgements concerning them wisdom

It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius graphic quotes learn indifferent what makes difference wisdom man walking

To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes love only what happens destined greater harmony wisdom man walking street

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

marcus aurelius quotes soul becomes dyed with color its thoughts wisdom

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Marcus Aurelius


marcus aurelius quotes receive without conceit release struggle wisdom

Receive without conceit, release without struggle. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius graphic quotes life short all there say get what from present thoughfully justly wisdom nature

Life is short. That’s all there is to say. Get what you can from the present – thoughtfully, justly. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes content seem what you really are wisdom

Be content to seem what you really are. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes reject your sense injury itself disappears wisdom

Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius graphic quotes how soon will time cover things how many covered already wisdom man hiking nature

How soon will time cover all things, and how many it has covered already. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes each needs what nature gives when wisdom

Each of us needs what nature gives us, when nature gives it. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes remember matter how tiny share time brief fleeting your allotment fate small role you play wisdom

Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it. Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate. How small a role you play in it. Marcus Aurelius


marcus aurelius quotes nothing natural evil wisdom rock nature

Nothing natural is evil. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius graphic quotes someone properly grounded life should have look outside themselves approval wisdom man nature

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

marcus aurelius quotes who follows reason all things both tranquil active same time wisdom nature water islands

He who follows reason in all things is both tranquil and active at the same time, and also cheerful and collected. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes rock thrown air loses nothing coming down gained going up wisdom sea water

A rock is thrown in the air. It loses nothing by coming down, gained nothing by going up. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes someone responds insult like rock what has abuser gained with invective wisdom man stoic

If someone responds to insult like a rock, what has the abuser gained with his invective? Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius graphic quotes stick what front idea action utterance wisdom man hiking nature

Stick to what’s in front of you – idea, action, utterance. Marcus Aurelius

marcus aurelius quotes tolerant others strict with yourself wisdom nature man stoic

Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Marcus Aurelius


Here’s one of the books I recommend the most: Meditations

Quick facts
Name at birth: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Place: Rome, Italia
April 26, 121, March 17, 180 (aged 58)
Occupation: Roman emperor
More Marcus Aurelius facts (Wikipedia page)

The Best Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes first step dont anxious nature controls all wisdom man surf

The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all.

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.

Don’t be overheard complaining… Not even to yourself.

Do not be perturbed, for all things are according to the nature of the universal; and in a little time you will be nobody and nowhere.

True good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, good actions.

Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.

Objective judgement, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance, now, at this very moment – of all external events. That’s all you need.

How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.

You’re subject to sorrow, fear, jealousy, anger and inconsistency. That’s the real reason you should admit that you are not wise.

marcus aurelius quotes almost nothing material needed happy life understood existence wisdom man alone

Almost nothing material is needed for a happy life, for he who has understood existence.

For God’s sake, stop honouring externals, quit turning yourself into the tool of mere matter, or of people who can supply you or deny you those material things.

As the same fire assumes different shapes when it consumes objects differing in shape, so does the one self take the shape of every creature in whom he is present.

A man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.

Receive without pride, let go without attachment.

When you have assumed these names – good, modest, truthful, rational, a man of equanimity, and magnanimous – take care that you do not change these names; and if you should lose them, quickly return to them.


I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.

Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.

Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go.

Consider that before long you will be nobody and nowhere, nor will any of the things exist that you now see, nor any of those who are now living. For all things are formed by nature to change and be turned and to perish in order that other things in continuous succession may exist.

In a word, if there is a god, all is well; and if chance rules, do not also be governed by it.

Treat whatever happens as wholly natural; not novel or hard to deal with; but familiar and easily handled.

So I look for the best and am prepared for the opposite.

Part 2. Marcus Aurelius Quotes That Are…

The Most Famous Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes power over your mind outside events realize this will find strength wisdom woman

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.

If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it.

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

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.

Confine yourself to the present.

Straight, not straightened.

Whatever happens to you has been waiting to happen since the beginning of time.

That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.

To live happily is an inward power of the soul.

You can commit injustice by doing nothing.

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.

The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Do every act of your life as if it were your last.

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Short Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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One-liners, short Marcus Aurelius quotes, sayings, and thoughts for your bio, social status, self-talk, signs, posters, wallpapers, and backgrounds.
marcus aurelius quotes someone despises thats their problem wisdom man sunglasses

Someone despises me. That’s their problem.

Integrity and manliness. (What Marcus learned from his father)

To accept without arrogance, to let it go with indifference.

Each day provides its own gifts.

Character and self-control. (What Marcus learned from his grandfather Verus)

Anger cannot be dishonest.

Nothing should be done without a purpose.

Even the smallest thing should be done with reference to an end.

What is your art? To be good.

Give yourself a gift: the present moment.

What illusion about myself do I entertain?

Glory’s an empty, changeable thing, as fickle as the weather.

A man should be upright, not be kept upright.

Our life is what our thoughts make it.

Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure.


Inspirational Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes keep blazing fire takes whatever you throw and makes light flame wisdom woman sitting mountains water nature

Keep at it… As a blazing fire takes whatever you throw on it, and makes it light and flame.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.

Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.

When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstance, revert at once to yourself and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of harmony if you keep going back to it.

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

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.

Take the shortest route, the one that nature planned – to speak and act in the healthiest way. Do that, and be free of pain and stress, free of all calculation and pretention.

It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.

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.

There were two vices much blacker and more serious than the rest: lack of persistence and lack of self-control… persist and resist.

The universal order and the personal order are nothing but different expressions and manifestations of a common underlying principle.

Look within. Within is the foundation of good, and it will ever bubble up, if you will ever dig.

The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.

Forward, as occasion offers. Never look round to see whether any shall note it… Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.

Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.

People with a strong physical constitution can tolerate extremes of hot and cold; people of strong mental health can handle anger, grief, joy and the other emotions.

It is in your power to live here. But if men do not permit you, then get away out of life, as if you were suffering no harm. The house is smoky, and I quit it. Why do you think that this is any trouble? But so long as nothing of the kind drives me out, I remain, am free, and no man shall hinder me from doing what I choose; and I choose to do what is according to the nature of the rational and social animal.

If you didn’t learn these things in order to demonstrate them in practice, what did you learn them for?

How long will you wait before you demand the best of yourself, and trust reason to determine what is best? (Related: 9 Ways to Reach Your Full Potential Every Day, lifehack.org)

‘I will throw you into prison.’ Correction – it is my body you will throw there.

In the morning, when you rise unwillingly, let this thought be present: I am rising to the work of a human being.

No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.

Related: The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living (Amazon book)

Funny And Surprising Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes have been made lie under blankets keep myself warm wisdom dog

Have I been made for this, to lie under the blankets and keep myself warm?

Do you have reason? I have. Why then do you not use it?

‘But I get to wear a crown of gold.’ If you have your heart set on wearing crowns, why not make one out of roses – you will look even more elegant in that.

Who exactly are these people that you want to be admired by? Aren’t they the same people you are in the habit of calling crazy? And is this your life ambition, then – to win the approval of lunatics?

Consider what men are when they are eating, sleeping, coupling, evacuating, and so forth. Then what kind of men they are when they are imperious and arrogant, or angry and scolding from their elevated place.

He who has a vehement desire for posthumous fame does not consider that every one of those who remember him will himself also die very soon.

Let us overlook many things in those who are like antagonists in the gymnasium. For it is in our power, as I said, to get out of the way and to have no suspicion or hatred.

Begin – to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.

It is just charming how people boast about qualities beyond their control. For instance, ‘I am better than you because I have many estates, while you are practically starving’; or, ‘I’m a consul,’ ‘I’m a governor,’ or ‘I have fine curly hair.’

How strangely men act. They will not praise those who are living at the same time and living with themselves; but to be themselves praised by posterity, by those whom they have never seen or ever will see, this they set much value on.

“A cucumber is bitter.” Throw it away. “There are briars in the road.” Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, “And why were such things made in the world?”

Always observe how ephemeral and worthless human things are, and what was yesterday a speck of semen tomorrow will be a mummy or ashes.

Under no circumstances ever say ‘I have lost something,’ only ‘I returned it.’

Deep Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes harm yourself injustice wisdom

To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice.

Tomorrow is nothing, today is too late; the good lived yesterday.

Do little, if you want contentment of mind.

Misfortune nobly born is good fortune.

If something does not make a person worse in himself, neither does it make his life worse, nor does it harm him without or within.

Death and life, success and failure, pain and pleasure, wealth and poverty, all these happen to good and bad alike, and they are neither noble nor shameful – and hence neither good nor bad.

The present is the only thing of which a man can be deprived, if it is true that this is the only thing which he has, and that a man cannot lose something he does not already possess.

Don’t believe your situation is genuinely bad – no one can make you do that. Is there smoke in the house? If it’s not suffocating, I will stay indoors; if it proves too much, I’ll leave. Always remember – the door is open.

What springs from earth dissolves to earth again, and heaven-born things fly to their native seat.

Someone bathes in haste; don’t say he bathes badly, but in haste. Someone drinks a lot of wine; don’t say he drinks badly, but a lot. Until you know their reasons, how do you know that their actions are vicious?

Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in your power. Take away then, when you choose, your opinion, and like a mariner who has rounded the headland, you will find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay.

The flaw which is hidden is deemed greater than it is.

Glory paid to our ashes comes too late.

The universe is transformation: life is opinion.

A vine cannot behave olively, nor an olive tree vinely – it is impossible, inconceivable. No more can a human being wholly efface his native disposition.

Since the greatest part of what we say and do is unnecessary, dispensing with such activities affords a man more leisure and less uneasiness.

To have contemplated human life for forty years is the same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand years. For what more will you see?

Passions stem from frustrated desire.

Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.

Whatever man you meet with, immediately say to yourself: “What opinions has this man about good and bad?”

To the rational animal the same act is at once according to nature and according to reason.

Poverty’s no evil to anyone unless he kicks against it.

Wise Marcus Aurelius Quotes

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marcus aurelius quotes thing neither better nor worse having been praised wisdom man sitting

A thing is neither better nor worse for having been praised.

Take care that you don’t treat inhumanity as it treats human beings.

A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.

An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.

The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.

Whatever anyone does or says, I must be good, just as if the gold, or the emerald, or the purple were always saying this, whatever anyone does or says, I must be emerald and keep my color.

Your three components: body, breath, mind. Two are yours in trust; to the third alone you have clear title.

No one objects to what is useful to him. To be of use to others is natural. Then don’t object to what is useful to you – being of use.

When I see that one thing [virtue] is supreme and most important, I cannot say that something else is, just to make you happy.

A boxer derives the greatest advantage from his sparring partner – and my accuser is my sparring partner. He trains me in patience, civility and even temper.

Either you’re going to be depressed when your wish is not realized or foolishly pleased with yourself if it is, overjoyed for the wrong reasons.

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.

Most of us dread the deadening of the body and will do anything to avoid it. About the deadening of the soul, however, we don’t care one iota.

Don’t let outward appearances mislead you into thinking that someone with more prestige, power or some other distinction must on that account be happy.

If you lost the capacity to read, or play music, you would think it was a disaster, but you think nothing of losing the capacity to be honest, decent and civilized.

Things do not touch the soul, for they are external and remain immovable; so our perturbations come only from our inner opinions.

Pleasures, when they go beyond a certain limit, are but punishments.

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 only to the wise man.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Related: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius (Amazon book)

Part 3. Conclusion

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Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Quotes Video

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18 Marcus Aurelius Quotes (For Strength And Character)

Further Readings

Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube.

Last update

December 18, 2022

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