100 Leo Tolstoy Quotes (On Love, Life, Happiness)

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Explore 100 of the best Leo Tolstoy quotes.

Together with Marcus Aurelius, he’s one of my favorite authors.

Through his writings, I’ve learned:

  • How to live with more purpose
  • How to be more spiritual (and less materialistic)
  • The importance of self-reflection to grow and be more peaceful

So if you’re ready to discover one of the most influential writers and philosophers of all time, jump right in.

You’ll find deep thoughts on love, life, happiness, kindness, wisdom, and more.

He’s been nominated 4 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

And 3 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

And it shows.

His quotes are deep, impactful, and inspiring.

I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Top 10 Leo Tolstoy Quotes

leo tolstoy quotes not kind person obligation wisdom

If you are not kind to a person, you are not fulfilling your major obligation. Leo Tolstoy

If you want to save your soul, forget about your comfort. Leo Tolstoy

Try to find out your potential. After you know it, do not be afraid to underestimate it. Be cautious not to exaggerate it. Leo Tolstoy

Grow spiritually and help others to do so; it is the meaning of life. Leo Tolstoy

A truly wise man is always joyful. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes person cannot have understanding wisdom

A person cannot have complete understanding of the meaning of life. A person can only know its direction. Leo Tolstoy

The life of a person without faith is the life of an animal. Leo Tolstoy

The more humble a person is, the freer and stronger he is. Leo Tolstoy

The best the future can offer is dreams. There is only one thing which really exists: the present. Leo Tolstoy

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Love

leo tolstoy quotes should goodness choosing wisdom

You should do goodness without choosing to whom. Leo Tolstoy

Try to live with the part of your soul which understands eternity, which is not afraid of death. And that part of your soul is love. Leo Tolstoy

Love provides a person with the purpose of his life. Intellect shows him the means to achieve that purpose. Leo Tolstoy

Anything you do should be filled with love. Leo Tolstoy

A person who loves himself has the advantage of having very few competitors. Leo Tolstoy

Let us forgive each other. If we can forgive each other, then we can live in peace. Leo Tolstoy

Among all actions, there is only one type which is complete, and that is love which seeks no reward. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes truly virtuous person wisdom

Truly virtuous is the person who gives his love to the weak. Leo Tolstoy

There is only one thing in this world which is worth dedicating all your life. This is creating more love amoung people and destroying barriers which exist between them. Leo Tolstoy

That feeling which solves all of the contradictions of human life and gives one the greatest bliss is known to all people: this feeling is love. Leo Tolstoy

Real love is not in words but in deeds, and only love can give real wisdom. Leo Tolstoy

Try to be a master over greed, sloth, lechery, and rage. Leo Tolstoy

Deny your personality, and you will come to understand the highest good in life: love. Leo Tolstoy

The less love a person has, the more he suffers. Leo Tolstoy

There is no love in the future. Love can exist only in the present moment. A man who does not manifest love in the present does not love at all. Leo Tolstoy

My religion is to love all beings. Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Life

leo tolstoy quotes good life given efforts wisdom

A good life is given only to those who make efforts to achieve it. Leo Tolstoy

Abstain from all unnecessary things. Leo Tolstoy

The improvement of man can be measured by the level of his inner freedom. The more a person becomes free from his personality, the more freedom he has. Leo Tolstoy

If you want to preserve your good name, do not praise yourself and do not so much as allow others to praise you. Leo Tolstoy

Our invisible work at the improvement of our soul is the most important work in the world, and all other visible kinds of work are useful only when we do this major work. Leo Tolstoy

A person can always improve himself. Leo Tolstoy

A person can understand his real destination in life only after he manages to liberate from the sensual, material world. Leo Tolstoy

All good things can be achieved only with effort. Leo Tolstoy

You should live in such a way that you can confide anything in your mind. Leo Tolstoy

Really true, good, and great things are always simple. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes only accepts essence meaning life wisdom

Only he who accepts that the essence or meaning of his life is not material but spiritual can be free. Leo Tolstoy

The most important thing in life is the path to perfection, and what kind of perfection can exist if a person is proud and satisfied with himself? Leo Tolstoy

Good books are a good influence. Good art is a good influence. Prayer is an influence as well. But the strongest influence is the example of a good life. Leo Tolstoy

Your life may be cut short at any time; therefore, your life should have a deep purpose, a significance that will not depend on whether it is short or long. Leo Tolstoy

Life is constant movement, and therefore goodness in life is not a certain state, but the direction of movement. Leo Tolstoy

Life is a constant approach to death; therefore, life can be bliss only when death does not seem to be an evil. Leo Tolstoy

Life is constant change; it ought to consist of weakening the material and increasing the spiritual side of our existence. Leo Tolstoy

It is better to know several basic rules of life than to study many unnecessary sciences. Leo Tolstoy

Our soul’s perfection is our life’s purpose; any other purpose, keeping death in mind, has no substance. Leo Tolstoy

If you care too much about being praised, in the end you will not accomplish anything serious. Leo Tolstoy

We lost because we told ourselves we lost. Leo Tolstoy



Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Happiness, Misery

leo tolstoy quotes best most important every person wisdom

The best and the most important object for every person is his inner self, his spiritual being. Leo Tolstoy

People can live without need and without jealousy only when they lead a life of moderation. Leo Tolstoy

The teaching about your inner life is the most useful one. Leo Tolstoy

For a person to know the law that makes him free, he must be elevated from a material to a spiritual life. Leo Tolstoy

The greatest bliss a person can know is the state of complete freedom and happiness that can come only through self-sacrifice and love. Leo Tolstoy

Just imagine that the purpose of your life is your happiness only – then life becomes a cruel and senseless thing […] The meaning of life is to serve the force that sent you into the world. Then life becomes a constant joy. Leo Tolstoy

Your rage cannot be justified by anything. The reason for your rage is always inside you. Leo Tolstoy

The greatest knowledge is self-knowledge. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes should satisfied small things wisdom

We should be satisfied with the small things in life. The less we need, the less trouble we can have. Leo Tolstoy

You should look in suffering for the seeds of your future spiritual growth, or the bitterness of suffering will be severe. Leo Tolstoy

Our purpose is to make it a better and more joyous place to live, for those who live with us and those who come after us. Leo Tolstoy

Time does not exist. There is only a small and infinite present, and it is only in this present that our life occurs. Therefore, a person should concentrate all his spiritual force only on this present. Leo Tolstoy

He who always listens to what other people say about him will never find inner peace. Leo Tolstoy

Live your life in such a way that you neither hide nor have a wish to display your life to people. Leo Tolstoy

Your understanding of your inner self holds the meaning of your life. Leo Tolstoy

Without suffering, spiritual growth cannot happen. Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Kindness, Generosity

leo tolstoy quotes good things done never disappear wisdom

Good things, once done, will never disappear, even if you forget about them. Leo Tolstoy

Kindness is for your soul as health is for your body: you do not notice when you have it. Leo Tolstoy

Just as fire blows out candles, good deeds for the benefit of others destroy a selfish life. Leo Tolstoy

Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness. Leo Tolstoy

When you approach a man, you should think not about how he can help you, but how you might serve and help him. Leo Tolstoy

Do not expect some tangible reward for your goodness; your actions are their own reward. Leo Tolstoy

We should live so as to bring good to all people. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes society improved self sacrifice wisdom

Society can be improved only by self-sacrifice. Leo Tolstoy

Every person should make a small effort, even the smallest effort, to improve the general well-being of humanity. Leo Tolstoy

What reward should a good deed bring you? Only the joy you receive by performing it. And any other reward lessens the feeling of this joy. Leo Tolstoy

When you do a good deed, be grateful that you have had the chance to do it. Leo Tolstoy

For a truth to be heard, it must be spoken with kindness. Leo Tolstoy

Kindness defeats everything and can never be defeated. Leo Tolstoy

Kindness is the major quality of the soul. If a person is not kind, it is because he was subjected to some lie, passion, or temptation which violated his natural state. Leo Tolstoy

Self-sacrifice brings a bliss that far transcends the pleasure of a person who lives by the self-indulgent satisfaction of his animal passions. Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Wisdom

leo tolstoy quotes perhaps important know think wisdom

Perhaps it is even more important to know what one should not think about than what one should think about. Leo Tolstoy

We suffer from the past, and we spoil our future because we neglect the present. Leo Tolstoy

In order to change the nature of things, either within yourself or in others, one should change, not the events, but those thoughts which created those events. Leo Tolstoy

Nobody knows where the human race is going. The highest wisdom, then, is to know where you should go: toward perfection. Leo Tolstoy

The most important knowledge is that which guides the way you lead your life. Leo Tolstoy

There is no wisdom in he who thinks that he is wise. Leo Tolstoy

When you have doubts about what to do, just imagine that you might die at the end of that same day, and then all your doubts will disappear. Leo Tolstoy

The more urgently you want to speak, the more likely it is that you will say something foolish. Leo Tolstoy

Make sure that you do not gossip about your brother. Leo Tolstoy

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. Leo Tolstoy

The more upset a person is with other people, and with circumstances, and the more satisfied he is with himself, the further he is from wisdom. Leo Tolstoy

leo tolstoy quotes man understand benefit suffering wisdom

A man who does not understand the benefit of suffering does not live a clever and true life. Leo Tolstoy

Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough? Leo Tolstoy

The future does not really exist. It is created by us in the present. Leo Tolstoy

A scholar knows many books; a well-educated person has knowledge and skills; an enlightened person understands the meaning and purpose of his life. Leo Tolstoy

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. Leo Tolstoy

Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. Leo Tolstoy

It’s important to strive to do good, and even more important to strive to abstain from evil. Leo Tolstoy

Wisdom is limitless, and the closer you approach it, the more important it becomes for your life. Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. Leo Tolstoy


The meaning of life lies in two major areas: your personal perfection and service to other people. Leo Tolstoy

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Key Takeaways From Leo Tolstoy’s Quotes

  • Kindness. Focus on helping other people, being kind to them, and caring for them. This way, you’ll fulfill “your major obligation”, as Tolstoy said.
  • Meaning. It isn’t easy to find the precise meaning of your life. But one thing you can do is to take the next step in the right direction. It’s the only thing you control.
  • Love. The person with wisdom is the person who does everything with love. As Tolstoy said, it’s also a person that “do goodness without choosing to whom.”
  • Humility. Remember: a person can “always improve himself”, as Tolstoy said. So don’t ever think you’re the best. Don’t ever think you’re smarter than others. Stay humble.
  • Spirituality. Once you’re detached from the material world, you’ll be able to “find your real destination in life.” Indeed, Tolstoy believed we are all spiritual. And the more you are, the happier you’ll be.

Visual For Leo Tolstoy Quotes

leo tolstoy quotes stuff freedom materialism wisdom

Life is constant change; it ought to consist of weakening the material and increasing the spiritual side of our existence. Leo Tolstoy

Further Readings

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