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50 Epictetus Quotes to Make You Think

These Epictetus quotes will help you understand what’s truly important to us and how we can find the positives in a negative situation.

What impact did Epictetus have?

Born a slave, Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher with a complicated life. Despite his own story, Epictetus’ ideas have had an impact on people and society for more than a thousand years after his death. He had many philosophies that were groundbreaking for the time period he lived in, and are still so important today. 

No matter what you’re going through, these Epictetus quotes will be a source of inspiration that can hopefully change your attitude and mindset about the challenges you’re facing. And, if you’re in a good place in your life right now, then these quotes can help you keep that momentum going. 

Don’t forget to also read these stoic quotes that will strengthen your perspective on life.

Epictetus Quotes on Life

1. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ― Epictetus

2. “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” ― Epictetus

3. “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” ― Epictetus

4. “A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope” ― Epictetus

5. “The flourishing life cannot be achieved until we moderate our desires and see how superficial and fleeting they are.” ― Epictetus

6. “Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.” ― Epictetus

7. “Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.” ― Epictetus

8. “Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness” ― Epictetus

9. “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

10. “Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.” ― Epictetus

11. “Although we can’t control which roles are assigned to us, it must be our business to act our given role as best we possibly can and to refrain from complaining about it. Where ever you find yourself and in whatever circumstances, give an impeccable performance.” ― Epictetus

12. “Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.” ― Epictetus

13. “Do not try to seem wise to others. ” ― Epictetus

14. “If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.” ― Epictetus

You might also like these Seneca quotes that will help you in all facets of life.

Epictetus Quotes on Money

15. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” ― Epictetus

16. “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ” ― Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes on Happiness

17. “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.” ― Epictetus

18. “God has entrusted me with myself. No man is free who is not master of himself. A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.” ― Epictetus

19. “Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.” ― Epictetus

20. “He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ― Epictetus

21. “Other people’s views and troubles can be contagious. Don’t sabotage yourself by unwittingly adopting negative, unproductive attitudes through your associations with others.” ― Epictetus

22. “I laugh at those who think they can damage me. They do not know who I am, they do not know what I think, they cannot even touch the things which are really mine and with which I live.” ― Epictetus

23. “Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions.” ― Epictetus

24. “When we blather about trivial things, we ourselves become trivial, for our attention gets taken up with trivialities. You become what you give your attention to.” ― Epictetus

25. “We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us.” ― Epictetus

26. “It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.” ― Epictetus

27. “Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.” ― Epictetus

Also check out these powerful Thomas Paine quotes that will make you question your philosophy.

Epictetus Quotes on Action

28. “Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. 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

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

30. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” ― Epictetus
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of Greek Philosopher quotes on ancient knowledge to motivate you.

31. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” ― Epictetus

32. “If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.” ― Epictetus

33. “When your thoughts, words, and deeds form a seamless fabric, you streamline your efforts and thus eliminate worry and dread.” ― Epictetus

34. “It’s time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become.” ― Epictetus

35. “Getting distracted by trifles is the easiest thing in the world… Focus on your main duty.” ― Epictetus

36. “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. ” ― Epictetus

37. “A half-hearted spirit has no power. Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Average people enter into their endeavors headlong and without care.” ― Epictetus

38. “Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent.”― Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes on Thinking For Yourself

39. “Only the educated are free.” ― Epictetus

40. “People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.” ― Epictetus

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

42. “Be careful whom you associate with. It is human to imitate the habits of those with whom we interact. We inadvertently adopt their interests, their opinions, their values, and their habit of interpreting events.” ― Epictetus

43. “Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you.” ― Epictetus

44. “No man is free who is not master of himself.” ― Epictetus

We also have a collection of wise Alexander the Great quotes that will inspire you to do the impossible.

Epictetus Quotes on Education

45. “To accuse others for one’s own misfortune is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.” ― Epictetus

46. “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” ― Epictetus

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

48. “Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.” ― Epictetus

49. “Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” ― Epictetus

50. “To know that you do not know and to be willing to admit that you do not know without sheepishly apologizing is real strength and sets the stage for learning and progress in any endeavor.” ― Epictetus

You might also like these philosophical Epicurus quotes for a happy life.

What did you learn from these Epictetus quotes?

Epictetus, the Stoicism philosopher from ancient times, had a lot to say about understanding what’s truly important to us and how we can try to find the positives in a negative situation.

Often times, we have so much going on that we forget to think about what really matters. In today’s world, we have so many distractions, that it’s easy to get caught up in situations and thoughts that are not benefiting us in any way. While Epiceteus shouldn’t serve as your support system, these quotes can help you get through a hard time in your life by teaching you to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Epictetus quotes? Do you have any other thought-provoking quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. Mikale

    October 15, 2020 at 1:14 PM

    Save to the bookmarks!

  2. Andreas Vargas

    August 2, 2020 at 4:59 PM

    Truly inspiring…Thank you!

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