Philosophers / Thinkers

Top 59 Epictetus Quotes (THE ART OF LIVING)

18 Inspirational Epictetus Quotes on Life and Happiness (CONTROL)

“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 not have mentioned these alone.'”

Epictetus
No man is free who is not master of himself.
No man is free who is not master of himself.
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.
Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.
Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.
It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
The essence of philosophy is that a man should live so that his happiness depends as little as possible from external causes.
The essence of philosophy is that a man should live so that his happiness depends as little as possible from external causes.
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.
People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.
Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it.
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.
It takes more than just a good looking body. You've got to have the heart and soul to go with it.
It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.
When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.
When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

“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
Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.
Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.
He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.
Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.
Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.

41 Wise Epictetus Quotes on Death, Love, and Circumstances (STOIC PHILOSOPHER)

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.
You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.
It is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.
It is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.
Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.
Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself.
Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.
Who is your master? Anyone who has control over things upon which you’ve set your heart, or over things which you seek to avoid.
Who is your master? Anyone who has control over things upon which you’ve set your heart, or over things which you seek to avoid.

“When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?”

Epictetus
You are not your body and hair-style, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.
You are not your body and hair-style, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.
Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words.
Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words.
Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.

“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
In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend; but in adversity it is the most difficult of all things.
In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend; but in adversity it is the most difficult of all things.
All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.
All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.
Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.
Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.
If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.
If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.
Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort.
Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort.

“Remember that you ought to behave in life as you would at a banquet. As something is being passed around it comes to you; stretch out your hand, take a portion of it politely. It passes on; do not detain it. Or it has not come to you yet; do not project your desire to meet it, but wait until it comes in front of you. So act toward children, so toward a wife, so toward office, so toward wealth.”

Epictetus
It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.
It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.
The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.
The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.
Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.
Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.
Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
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.
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.

“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. Whereever you find yourself and in whatever circumstances, give an impeccable performance.”

Epictetus
It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.
It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them.
Practice yourself, for heaven's sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.
Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.
Do not tie a ship to a single anchor, nor life to a single hope.
Do not tie a ship to a single anchor, nor life to a single hope.
If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.
If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.
If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.
If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.
It is difficulties that show what men are.
It is difficulties that show what men are.
If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.
If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.

“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
We tell lies, yet it is easy to show that lying is immoral.
We tell lies, yet it is easy to show that lying is immoral.
Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world.
Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth, is unhappy, though he be master of the world.
If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.
If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.
If you seek Truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated.
If you seek Truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated.
Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!
Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!
The flourishing life cannot be achieved until we moderate our desires and see how superficial and fleeting they are.
The flourishing life cannot be achieved until we moderate our desires and see how superficial and fleeting they are.
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.

Epictetus Short Biography

Born on 55 A.D., in Hierapolis, Phrygia (now modern-day Pamukkale), Turkey, Epictetus was a philosopher and teacher.

Epictetus was born a slave but was allowed by his owner to attend lectures by the philosopher Musonius Rufus.

He became a cripple and in 68 A.D. he earned his freedom, he moved to Rome afterward and began teaching philosophy.

In 93 A.D. all philosophers were banished from Rome, Epictetus moved to Greece, established a school and started giving lectures.

Epictetus never wrote anything, but his student Arrian had compiled his notes on Epictetus’ lectures and transcribed them into what is known as the Discourses. Arrian recounted that Epictetus was a powerful speaker.

Epictetus is credited for founding a practical philosophy, with the aim being to find a better way to live.

His philosophy is the belief that humans must find what they can control in their lives, and disregard the rest.

Epictetus’ teachings made him a great influence on cognitive psychology.

Further Reading:

Here are the best Epictetus quotes so you can improve your way of life and welcome new teachings to help you improve and create an abundance lifestyle. 

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