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60 Stoic Quotes that will Strengthen your Perspective on Life

Published on July 16, 2020 6:43 AM EST
60 Stoic Quotes that will Strengthen your Perspective on Life

These Stoic quotes share the ancient teaching of stoicism, a practice of perspective.

A common misconception about Stoicism is that a stoic is a man who is fearless and has no emotions. This misconception was brought about through literature and old Hollywood where heroes such as the “stoic cowboy” influenced young men into thinking that emotion wasn’t manly.

60 Stoic Quotes that will Strengthen your Perspective on Life

What is stoicism?

The truth is, stoicism is not about living without emotion, and it is a practice that can be lived by anyone of any gender. 

Stoicism is a mindfulness practice that originated in Athens in the 3rd century, BCE. The practice reminds us that the world is unpredictable, and that life is fleeting. It teaches you how to be strong in your mind and to control your emotions, not to eliminate them altogether. 

The following motivational stoic quotes will share techniques and insights on restraint, being mindful, and having humility.

Also read these inspirational 48 Laws of Power quotes that will lead you to success.

Stoic quotes on restraint

1. “People hide their truest nature. I understood that; I even applauded it. What sort of world would it be if people bled all over the sidewalks, if they wept under trees, smacked whomever they despised, kissed strangers, revealed themselves?” ― Alice Hoffman

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

3. “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self.” ―  Zen proverb

4. “Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” – James Allen

5. We should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?” — Epictetus (see more quotes from Epictetus)

6. “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” – Marcus Aurelius

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Stoic quotes on mindfulness

7. “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” ― Seneca

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

9. “External thinks are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.” – Marcus Aurelius

10. “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius

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

12. “To be even minded is the greatest virtue.” — Heraclitus

13. “Learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.” – Marcus Aurelius

14. “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

15. “Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity.” – Robert Greene

16. “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

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

Stoic quotes that are evanescent

17. “Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.” ― Marcus Aurelius

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18. “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.” — Marcus Aurelius

19. “Cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, never to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases, treating her as if she were actually going to do everything it is in her power to do. Whatever you have been expecting for some time comes as less of a shock.” — Seneca

20. “No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” — Epictetus

21. “I have to die. If it is now, well then I die now; if later, then now I will take my lunch, since the hour for lunch has arrived – and dying I will tend to later.” —  Epictetus

Stoic quotes on humility 

22. “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

23. “It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

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

25. “Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” — Marcus Aurelius

26. “No human thing is of serious importance.” — Plato

27. “Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the gods.” —  Socrates

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28. “Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.” —  Marcus Aurelius

29. “If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.” —  Joe Rogan

30. “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” — Voltaire

Stoic quotes to motivate you

31. “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

32. “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” – Marcus Aurelius

33. “He who fears death will never do anything worth of a man who is alive.” – Seneca

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

35. “How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?” – Epictetus

36. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”- Epictetus

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

38. “Man conquers the world by conquering himself.” — Zeno of Citium

39. “The willing are led by fate, the reluctant dragged.” — Cleanthes

40. “If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius

Stoic quotes to broaden your thoughts

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

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

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43. “Problems only exist in the human mind.” — Anthony de Mello

44. “Discomfort is the currency of success.” — Brooke Castillo

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

46. “A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” ― Taleb Nassim Nicholas

47. “Be so busy building your own life that other people’s bullshit is of no concern.” — Ed Latimore

48. “In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.” — Ryan Holiday

49. “Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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

More Stoic quotes and sayings

51. “Feeling too much is a hell of a lot better than feeling nothing.”― Nora Roberts

52. “In order to protect ourselves, we must live like doctors and be continually treating ourselves with reason.”― Musonius Rufus

53. “For those who follow nature, everything is easy and straightforward, whereas for those who fight against her life is just like rowing against the stream.” – Seneca

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

55. “All vices are at odds with nature.” – Seneca

56. “Many are the things that have caused terror during the night and been turned into matters of laughter with the coming of daylight.”― Seneca

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57. “The most common act of violence is the relentless mental violence we perpetrate upon ourselves with nothing other than our thoughts.” – Bill Madden

58. “Change: nothing inherently bad in the process, nothing inherently good in the result.”― Marcus Aurelius

59. “The most effective way to understand the dissonance between our thoughts about reality and reality itself is to consider how many times we’ve felt like our world is ending and how many times it actually has.”― Daniel V Chappell

60. “When pain comes, it must not derail you from your set virtues. If it does, you have failed to practice your virtues by going with the hype of pain.”― Tiisetso Maloma

Do these stoic quotes offer you a new perspective on life?

Stoicism is an honest review on the self and on our culture about how we can become better people. These stoic quotes offer a reflection on how to deal with the challenges life offers us so that we can grow to be happier and more mindful. 

Practicing mindfulness makes us stronger in the face of adversity. Practicing humility not only stifles our egos but keeps the world in perspective. Knowing that the gift of life is fleeting puts the world in perspective so that we may appreciate more of what we have. Knowing your emotions, but practicing restraint not only builds patience, but also strength in ourselves. 

Use these stoic quotes and sayings to reflect on the world around you and use the perspective you gain as an aid to living a better life. 

Did these stoic quotes motivate you? Which one was your favorite? Share with us in the comment section below.  

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    John Hay

    September 16, 2020 at 3:06 PM

    Excellent collection of stoic quotes. I am forwarding this to some friends.

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