107+ Seneca Quotes (On Life, Happiness, Hardship)

By Maxime Lagacé

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

Top 10 QuotesOn LifeOn HappinessOn HardshipOn DeathOn AngerDarkInspiringWhat are the best Stoic quotes?

Discover 107+ of the best Seneca Quotes (On Life, Happiness, Hardship, Death, Anger, etc.)

What you’ll learn on this page?

  • How to value your time
  • How to have a stronger mind
  • How to be indifferent to external events

Seneca was indeed a master at being indifferent to things he couldn’t control.

But here’s the kicker:

He was also a master at doing his best, right here and right now.

Despite hardships.

Despite death lurking by.

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

Seneca is one of the few Stoics (with Marcus Aurelius) that shaped how I approach life today.

Let’s begin!

Top 10 Seneca Quotes

seneca quotes day man becomes superior pleasure pain wisdom

The day a man becomes superior to pleasure, he will also be superior to pain. Seneca

He who is brave is free. Seneca

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. Seneca

As long as you live, keep learning how to live. Seneca

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. Seneca

A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. Seneca

It does not matter what you bear, but how you bear it. Seneca

I would rather offend you with the truth than please you with flattery. Seneca

Prosperity does not elevate the sage and adversity does not depress him. Seneca

Nothing is so bitter that a calm mind cannot find comfort in it. Seneca


Seneca Quotes About Life And Time

seneca quotes not have short time live waste wisdom

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Seneca

Hold every hour in your grasp. Seneca

Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. Seneca

People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy. Seneca

The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. Seneca

You are living as if destined to live forever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply. Seneca

How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived! Seneca

Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present. But the man who organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day. Nothing can be taken from this life. Seneca

Nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. We have to be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point. Seneca

Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. Seneca

You must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow. Seneca

While we wait for life, life passes. Seneca


seneca quotes whole future uncertainty live immediately wisdom

The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. Seneca

External goods are of trivial importance and without much influence in either direction. Seneca

But when [time] is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. Seneca

Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Seneca

They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity — time! Seneca

And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay. Seneca

We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go. Seneca

What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? Seneca

The life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it. Seneca

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. Seneca

Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. Seneca


Seneca Quotes About Happiness And Unhappiness

seneca quotes how pleasant demand nothing noble contented wisdom

How pleasant it is to demand nothing, how noble it is to be contented. Seneca

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. Seneca

No one can have whatever he wants. What he can do is not want what he doesn’t have, and cheerfully enjoy what comes his way. Seneca

It was nature’s intention that there should be no need of great equipment for a good life: every individual can make himself happy. Seneca

Never have I trusted Fortune, even when she seemed to offer peace. All those blessings which she kindly bestowed on me — money, public office, influence — I relegated to a place whence she could claim them back without bothering me. Seneca

No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself. Seneca

We are plunged by our blind desires into ventures which will harm us, but certainly will never satisfy us; for if we could be satisfied with anything, we should have been satisfied long ago. Seneca

The wise man enjoys the giving more than the recipient enjoys the receiving. Seneca

There is not a man who, when he has benefited his neighbour, has not benefited himself. Seneca

On his happy and calm mind: It bursts through to the heights and enjoys the noblest sight of divine things and, mindful of its own immortality, it ranges over all that has been and will be throughout all ages. Seneca

The wise man does not need to walk about timidly or cautiously: for he possesses such self-confidence that he does not hesitate to go to meet fortune nor will he ever yield his position to her. Seneca

To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden. Seneca

The greatest wealth, is a poverty of desire. Seneca

Seneca Quotes About Hardship

seneca quotes difficulties strengthen mind labor does body wisdom

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. Seneca

Whatever can happen at any time can happen today. Seneca

All life is slavery. Therefore each one must accustom himself to his own condition and complain about it as little as possible, and lay hold of whatever good is to be found near him. Seneca

Apply reason to difficulties; harsh circumstances can be softened, narrow limits can be widened, and burdensome things can be made to press less severely on those who bear them cleverly. Seneca

With the omission of those things which either cannot be done, or can only be done with difficulty, let us follow the things which are placed near at hand and which offer encouragement to our hopes; but let us remember that all things are equally unimportant, presenting a different appearance on the outside, but equally empty within. Seneca

Those whom an unfavorable fortune has placed in a critical position will be safer if they eliminate pride from their proud circumstances and bring down their fortune as much as possible to a lowly state. Seneca

Not because things are hard, that we do not confront. But by not confronting, we make things hard. Seneca

Nor does he appear worthless in his own eyes because he knows that he is not his own, but he will do everything as diligently and carefully as a conscientious and pious man is accustomed to guard that which is entrusted in his care. Seneca

Why need we weep over parts of our life? The whole of it calls for tears: new miseries assail us before we have freed ourselves from the old ones. Seneca

He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary. Seneca


Seneca Quotes About Death And Grief

seneca quotes whatever you do keep death mind wisdom

Whatever you do, keep death in mind. Seneca

Time heals what reason cannot. Seneca

Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes, as well. Seneca

The grief that has been conquered by reason is calmed for ever. I am not therefore going to prescribe for you those remedies which I know many people have used, that you divert or cheer yourself by a long or pleasant journey abroad, or spend a lot of time carefully going through your accounts and administering your estate, or constantly be involved in some new activity. All those things help only for a short time; they do not cure grief but hinder it. But I would rather end it than distract it. Seneca

Your grief should not be intruded upon while it was fresh and agonizing, in case the consolations themselves should rouse and inflame it. Seneca

For an illness too nothing is more harmful than premature treatment. Seneca

I was waiting until your grief of itself should lose its force and, being softened by time to endure remedies, it would allow itself to be touched and handled. Seneca

All your sorrows have been wasted on you if you have not yet learned how to be wretched. Seneca

Every great and overpowering grief must take away the capacity to choose words, since it often stifles the voice itself. Seneca

You are scared of dying — and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different than being dead? Seneca

A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. Seneca

Seneca Quotes About Anger, Revenge, And Fear

seneca quotes greatest remedy anger delay wisdom

The greatest remedy for anger is delay. Seneca

Ignorance is the cause of fear. Seneca

Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it. Seneca

Savage, implacable anger does not suit a king because he does not maintain much superiority over the person with whom he levels himself by getting angry. Seneca

Revenge is an admission of pain: a mind that is bowed by injury is not a great mind; its course lies wholly toward the future. Seneca

The person who renounces revenge when he can easily take it wins unqualified praise for his mercy. Seneca

The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears. Seneca

Dark And Deep Seneca Quotes

seneca quotes cruelty springs weakness wisdom

All cruelty springs from weakness. Seneca

There is no genius without a touch of madness. Seneca

Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack. Seneca

What is clear often, becomes clearer. Seneca

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. Seneca

Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?” Seneca

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

Fortune falls heavily on those to whom she is unexpected; the man who is always expecting her easily withstands her. Seneca

For an enemy’s arrival too scatters those whom it catches off guard; but those who have prepared in advance for the coming conflict, being properly drawn up and equipped, easily withstand the first onslaught, which is the most violent. Seneca

What is harder than rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water. Seneca

seneca quotes not regard man poor remains enough him wisdom

I do not regard a man as poor, if the little which remains is enough for him. Seneca

No one, after all, can wear a mask for long. Pretence quickly lapses into its true nature. Seneca

I need to remind you, over and over, that I am not speaking about an ideal wise man to whom every duty is a pleasure, and who rules over his own spirit, imposing on himself any law he pleases, while always obeying what he has imposed, but I am talking about anyone who, with all his imperfections, desires to follow the perfect path, and yet has passions that often are reluctant to obey. Seneca

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. Seneca

Time discovers truth. Seneca

Inspiring Seneca Quotes

seneca quotes rough road leads heights greatness wisdom

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. Seneca

Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Seneca

No one is deserving of love who is incapable of bestowing it upon others. Seneca

Love in its essence is spiritual fire. Seneca

I shall be more pleased with myself for being happy in conditions which normally make men wretched. Seneca

Virtue depends partly on training and partly on practice. You must learn first, and then strengthen what you’ve learned by practice. Seneca

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca

Whatever is good for us should be discussed often and frequently brought to mind, so that it may be not just familiar to us, but also ready for use. Seneca

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Seneca

seneca quotes power mind unconquerable wisdom

It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable. Seneca

Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Seneca

A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer. Seneca

I am working for later generations, writing down some ideas that may be of assistance to them. Seneca

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. Seneca

No man was ever wise by chance. Seneca

What are the best Stoic quotes?

Here are the top 5:

Man conquers the world by conquering himself. Zeno of Citium

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

He has the most who is content with the least. Diogenes

Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity. Robert Greene

Be indifferent to what makes no difference. Marcus Aurelius

Related: 91 Of The Best Stoic Quotes (For A Better Life)


seneca quotes man who puffed good times collapse change wisdom

The man who is not puffed up in good times does not collapse either when they change. His fortitude is already tested and he maintains a mind unconquered in the face of either condition: for in the midst of prosperity he has tried his own strength against adversity. Seneca

Seneca Quotes Video

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seneca quotes life hapiness hardship wisdom

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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 X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

December 8, 2022

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