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What is stoicism?

As my favorite quote by James Pierce explains, “To be stoic is not to be emotionless, but to remain unaffected by your emotions”.

So simple yet so difficult to achieve.

If you’re interested in stoic philosophy, check out this collection of the most famous stoic quotes by famous stoic philosophers from ancient times to modern-day thinkers.

Let’s start!

Top 10 Most Influential Stoic Quotes

1. “If you make happiness your goal, you’ll be disappointed. If you make presence your goal, you’ll be satisfied.” — Maxime Lagacé

roman statue image representing stoic quote

2. “Man is mostly a collection of emotions, most of which he would do better not to be feeling.” — Neel Burton

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

4. “Keep your intention pure. Emotions will try to distract you. So keep going. That’s the cure.” — Maxime Lagacé

5. “Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius

statue of a man image representing stoic quote

6. “We’re never unhappy until we remember why we’re supposed to be unhappy.” — Daniel V Chappell

7. “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca

8.  “To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony. ” — Marcus Aurelius

9. “There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” — Plato

10. “Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.” — Ryan Holiday

image of a statue representing stoicism quote

Inspirational Quotes On Stoicism

1. “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” — Seneca

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

2. “The phrase that I use the most to myself in my head is one word: accept.” — Naval Ravikant

3. “The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable.” — Conor McGregor

4. “Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.” — Seneca

5. “A bad feeling is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason, and against nature.” — Zeno

A bad feeling is a commotion of the mind repugnant to reason, and against nature

6. “Stoicism, understood properly, is a cure for a disease. The disease in question is the anxiety, grief, fear, and various other negative emotions that plague humans and prevent them from experiencing a joyful existence.” — William B. Irvine

7. “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desires into undertaking.” — Taleb Nassim Nicholas

8. “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.” — Marcus Aurelius

9. “You must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.” — Leonardo da Vinci

10. “Be a master of the mind, not mastered by the mind.” — Zen proverb

Be a master of the mind, not mastered by the mind

11. “It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you — inside or out.” — Marcus Aurelius

12. “We begin to lose our hesitation to do immoral things when we lose our hesitation to speak of them.” — Zeno

13. “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

14. “The good and the bad occur at all times and will keep happening. We can become lost if we go with the hype of ‘good and bad’ every time.” — Tiisetso Maloma

15. “Sometimes in life we must fight not only without fear, but also without hope.” — Alessandro Pertini

Sometimes in life we must fight not only without fear, but also without hope

16. “To become a stoic is to endorse the truthfulness of its worldview and accept its prescription for how you ought to live, not just to like how it makes you feel.” — Julian Baggini

17. “To be stoic is not to be emotionless, but to remain unaffected by your emotions.” — James Pierce

18. “Stoicism teaches how to keep a calm and rational mind no matter what happens to you and it helps you understand and focus on what you can control and not worry about and accept what you can’t control.” — Jonas Salzgeber

19. “I practice stoic philosophy. As a human being, you may have emotions, but these don’t need to affect your soul. The two are not one.” — Daphne Guinness

20. “Entrust everything willingly to the gods, and then make your way through life – no one’s master and no one’s slave.” — Marcus Aurelius

Entrust everything willingly to the gods, and then make your way through life - no one’s master and no one’s slave

See also: 70 Best Trust God Quotes To Boost Your Spiritual Growth

Stoic Quotes By Marcus Aurelius

1. “Perfection of character: to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, or sloth, or pretense.” — Marcus Aurelius

Perfection of character to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, or sloth, or pretense

2. “Consider at what price you sell your integrity, but please, for God’s sake, don’t sell it cheap.” — Marcus Aurelius

3. “Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” — Marcus Aurelius

4. “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” — Marcus Aurelius

5. “Life is neither good nor evil, but only a place for good and evil.” — Marcus Aurelius

Life is neither good nor evil, but only a place for good and evil

6. “At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?” — Marcus Aurelius

7. “Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” — Marcus Aurelius

8. “To rest in these principles only: the one, that nothing will happen to me which is not conformable to the nature of the universe; and the other, that it is in my power never to act contrary to my god and daemon: for there is no man who will compel me to this.” — Marcus Aurelius

9. “Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.” — Marcus Aurelius

10. “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.” — Marcus Aurelius

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

11. “If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” — Marcus Aurelius

12. “The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” — Marcus Aurelius

13. “You have power over your mind – not external events. Realize this and you will have strength.” — Marcus Aurelius

14. “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.” — Marcus Aurelius

15. “External thoughts are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.” — Marcus Aurelius

External thoughts are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now

See also: 70 Marcus Aurelius Quotes To Change Your Outlook On Life

Seneca Quotes

1. “You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.” — Seneca

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire

2. “No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” — Seneca

3. “And if you want to know why all this running away cannot help you, the answer is simply this: you are running away in your own company.” — Seneca

4. “Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.” — Seneca

5. “It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” — Seneca

It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult

6. “If what you have seems insufficient to you, then though you possess the world, you will yet be miserable.” — Seneca

7. “So it is inevitable that life will be not just very short but very miserable for those who acquire by great toil what they must keep by greater toil.” — Seneca

8. “What is harder than a rock? What is softer than water? Yet hard rocks are hollowed out by soft water?” — Seneca

See also: 260 Gripping Water Captions For Instagram To Inspire Change

9. “You should live in such a way that there is nothing which you could not as easily tell your enemy as keep to yourself.” — Seneca

10. “He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.” — Seneca

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

11. “I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent—no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you.” — Seneca

12. “Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.” — Seneca

13. “Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.” — Seneca

14. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live to err is human, but to persist in the mistake is diabolical.” — Seneca 

15. “This is our big mistake: to think we look forward to death. Most of death is already gone. Whatever time has passed is owned by death.” — Seneca

This is our big mistake to think we look forward to death

See also: 150 Deep Dark Quotes About Life, Death, Pain & Love

Epictetus Quotes

1. “It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.” — Epictetus

It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them

2. “Curb your desire—don’t set your heart on so many things and you will get what you need.” — Epictetus

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

4. “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

5.  “Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” — Epictetus

Just keep in mind the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have

6. “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?” — Epictetus

7. “When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.” — Epictetus

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

9. “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. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…” — Epictetus

10. “How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?“ — Epictetus

How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself

See also: 170 Self-Improvement Quotes To Make Your Life Better

Control Your Ego Quotes

1. “Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” — James Allen

Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power

2. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Lao Tzu

3. “Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.” — Epictetus

4. “Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.” — Randy Pausch

See also: 170 Genius Goal Achievement Quotes To Help You Succeed

5. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Viktor Frankl

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves

6. “If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective – I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone.” — Marcus Aurelius

7. “Everything that we see is changing and will soon be gone, and we should bear in mind how many things have already changed over time, like the waters of streams flowing ceaselessly past – an idea that we can call the contemplation of impermanence.” — Donald Robertson

8.  “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 have not mentioned these alone.’” — Epictetus

9. “In short, know this: Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash.” — Marcus Aurelius

10. “There is no better way to grow as a person than to do something you hate every day.” — David Goggins

There is no better way to grow as a person than to do something you hate every day

11. “Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life.” — Robert Greene

12. “How small a part of the boundless and unfathomable time is assigned to every man! For it is very soon swallowed up in the eternal. And how small a part of the whole substance! And how small a part of the universal soul! And on what a small clod of the whole earth you creep!” — Marcus Aurelius

13. “Every part of me then will be reduced by change into some part of the universe, and that again will change into another part of the universe, and so on forever.” — Marcus Aurelius

See also: 120 Best Spiritual Universe Quotes To Contemplate Life

14. “I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” — Cato

15. “Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself.” — Pythagoras

Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself

16. “The basic philosophy of stoicism is that you have nothing real external to your own consciousness, that the only thing real is in fact your consciousness.” — Roger Avary

17. “The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. It is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.” — Marcus Aurelius

18. “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” — Maya Angelou

19. “I’ve come to the point where I never feel the need to stop and evaluate whether or not I am happy. I’m just ‘being’, and without question, by default, it works.” — Criss Jami

20. “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” — Viktor Frankl

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him

See also: 100 Quotes On Life Struggles To Help You Fight Better

Final Words

Living in harmony with nature, being peaceful and unshakable by any exterior events is all that stoicism is about.

I hope you enjoyed this collection of stoic quotes. 

Have a nice day!

90 Inspiring Stoic Quotes To Bring You Peace Of Mind

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