100+ Epictetus Quotes that makes him the Best Stoic Philosopher

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Epictetus popular Quotes (2)

Epictetus Quotes that makes him the best stoic phiosopher. There are so many Epictetus quotes that can help you when you are tired of being in the same old rut, and all you need is a little push, a little inspiration, a smile on the face, change of mood, bring you out of the banality of life, make you laugh a little, or may even make you cry a bit, and these Epictetus quotes exists just do that.

Born around 55AD in Hierapolis, Phrygia Epictetus was an Ancient Greek Philosopher who lived his youth as a slave. Epictetus was born with another name, which is not yet known to mankind. But the current name means ‘acquired’ in Greek. Enslaved for the Epaphroditus in Rome, Epictetus had a terrific youth.  Considered as the most influenced stoic philosopher he was into stoicism while he served as a slave. With the consent of his master, he acquired knowledge in stoic philosophy from the Roman philosopher Gaius Musonius Rufus. Throughout education, his teacher gave him more responsibilities. However, Epictetus was said to be tortured by his master as a result of whom he was explained in many texts as lame.

After the death of his master, he has acquired freedom and started to enlighten the people of Rome with his philosophy. When Domitian, the Emperor of the city dislodged all the philosophies, Epictetus migrated to Nicopolis and started a philosophy school there. He had many pupils who under Epictetus acquired vast knowledge about philosophy. Arrian was one of his jewels who after the death of Epictetus circulated his teachings worldwide. Arrian is said to have written the ‘Discourses of Epictetus’ dictated by Epictetus himself. According to Arrian, Epictetus was an admired speaker who could easily make people feels like the way he wants.

No text is presently known as written by Epictetus. Information about Epictetus is gained only through the texts written by his pupil Arrian. He believed in what is called fate and thought that whatever happens to us is far beyond our control. He led a simple life with no personal possessions. The philosophies of Epictetus had an influence on many great men down the centuries. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius quotes Epictetus in his work ‘Meditation’. Bernard Stiegler and, the Neo-Platonist philosopher, also mention about Epictetus.

In his old age, he is said to have adopted a friend’s child. He also managed to protect her with the help of a woman. It is not known whether Epictetus married this woman or not. Around 135 AD Epictetus passed away, leaving his teachings behind.

We have dug up these Epictetus quotes from the depths of the internet and brought together best of these sayings in a single article. This post is probably the biggest database of Epictetus Sayings in a single place. These famous Epictetus quotes have the power to change your life by giving a novel outlook about the way you observe different aspects of your life. Hence, these popular Epictetus quotes should be read with caution and proper understanding of the context. Here are tons of Epictetus quotes that will open a treasure chest of Wisdom and experiences: –

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

Epictetus beat Quotes (4)

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

Epictetus famous Quotes (5)

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

Epictetus popular Quotes (2)

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

Epictetus Quotes

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”

Epictetus Saying

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

“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.”

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

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“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? You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
From now on, then, resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.”

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

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

“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.”

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

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

“Only the educated are free.”

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

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

“(First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.)”

“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.”

“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.”

“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.”

“You are a little soul carrying around a corpse”

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

“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.”

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

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

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

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

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to.”

“These reasonings are unconnected: “I am richer than you, therefore I am better”; “I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better.” The connection is rather this: “I am richer than you, therefore my property is greater than yours;” “I am more eloquent than you, therefore my style is better than yours.” But you, after all, are neither property nor style.”

“Even as the Sun doth not wait for prayers and incantations to
rise, but shines forth and is welcomed by all: so thou also wait
not for clapping of hands and shouts and praise to do thy duty;
nay, do good of thine own accord, and thou wilt be loved like the
Sun.”

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“Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, nor can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you!”

“No great thing is created suddenly.”

“It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control. Nothing is by its own nature calamitous — even death is terrible only if we fear it.”

“-….when things seem to have reached that stage, merely say “I won’t play any longer”, and take your departure; but if you stay, stop lamenting.”

“So you wish to conquer in the Olympic Games, my friend? And I, too… But first mark the conditions and the consequences. You will have to put yourself under discipline; to eat by rule, to avoid cakes and sweetmeats; to take exercise at the appointed hour whether you like it or not, in cold and heat; to abstain from cold drinks and wine at your will. Then, in the conflict itself you are likely enough to dislocate your wrist or twist your ankle, to swallow a great deal of dust, to be severely thrashed, and after all of these things, to be defeated.”

“Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one
that is longer but of less account!”

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

“Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast…and one day you will build something that endures: something worthy of your potential.”

“What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.”

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death, that it is terrible. When, therefore, we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved let us never impute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own views. It is the action of an uninstructed person to reproach others for his own misfortunes; of one entering upon instruction, to reproach himself; and of one perfectly instructed, to reproach neither others or himself.”

“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may
hear from others twice as much as we speak.”

“Control thy passions lest they take vengence on thee. ~ Epictetus”

“If you want to make progress, put up with being perceived as ignorant or naive in worldly matters, don’t aspire to a reputation for sagacity. If you do impress others as somebody, don’t altogether believe it. You have to realize, it isn’t easy to keep your will in agreement with nature, as well as externals. Caring about the one inevitably means you are going to shortchange the other.”

“If someone speaks badly of you, do not defend yourself against the accusations, but reply; “you obviously don’t know about my other vices, otherwise you would have mentioned these as well”

“You may fetter my leg, but Zeus himself cannot get the better of my free will.”

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself.”

“You become what you give your attention to.”

“An ignorant person is inclined to blame others for his own misfortune. To blame oneself is proof of progress. But the wise man never has to blame another or himself.”

“A guide, on finding a man who has lost his way, brings him back to the right path—he does not mock and jeer at him and then take himself off. You also must show the unlearned man the truth, and you will see that he will follow. But so long as you do not show it him, you should not mock, but rather feel your own incapacity.”

“No person is free who is not master of himself.”

“Difficulty shows what men are.”

“Whoever is going to listen to the philosophers needs a considerable practice in listening.”

“Your happiness depends on three things, all of which are within your power: your will, your ideas concerning the events in which you are involved, and the use you make of your ideas.”

“If any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone. For God hath made all men to enjoy felicity and constancy of good.”

“-Who are those people by whom you wish to be admired? Are they not these whom you are in the habit of saying that they are mad? What then? Do you wish to be admired by the mad?”

“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.”

“When any person harms you, or speaks badly of you, remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty. Now, it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you, but what appears so to himself. Therefore, if he judges from a wrong appearance, he is the person hurt, since he too is the person deceived. For if anyone should suppose a true proposition to be false, the proposition is not hurt, but he who is deceived about it. Setting out, then, from these principles, you will meekly bear a person who reviles you, for you will say upon every occasion, “It seemed so to him.”
….”

“There is but one way to tranquility of mind and happiness, and that is to account no external things thine own, but to commit all to God.”

“When a youth was giving himself airs in the Theatre and saying, ‘I am wise, for I have conversed with many wise men,’ Epictetus replied, ‘I too have conversed with many rich men, yet I am not rich!’.”

“Do not afflict others with anything that you yourself would not wish to suffer. if you would not like to be a slave, make sure no one is your slave. If you have slaves, you yourself are the greatest slave, for just as freedom is incompatible with slavery, so goodness is incompatible with hypocrisy.”

“On the occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use.”

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

“Remember to act always as if you were at a symposium. When the food or drink comes around, reach out and take some politely; if it passes you by don’t try pulling it back. And if it has not reached you yet, don’t let your desire run ahead of you, be patient until your turn comes. Adopt a similar attitude with regard to children, wife, wealth and status, and in time, you will be entitled to dine with the gods. Go further and decline these goods even when they are on offer and you will have a share in the gods’ power as well as their company. That is how Diogenes, Heraclitus and philosophers like them came to be called, and considered, divine.”

“Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen.”

“It is more necessary for the soul to be cured than the body; for it is better to die than to live badly.”

“It is better to do wrong seldom and to own it, and to act right for the most part, than seldom to admit that you have done wrong and to do wrong often.”

“The first and most important field of philosophy is the application of principles such as “Do not lie.” Next come the proofs, such as why we should not lie. The third field supports and articulates the proofs, by asking, for example, “How does this prove it? What exactly is a proof, what is logical inference, what is contradiction, what is truth, what is falsehood?” Thus, the third field is necessary because of the second, and the second because of the first. The most important, though, the one that should occupy most of our time, is the first. But we do just the opposite. We are preoccupied with the third field and give that all our attention, passing the first by altogether. The result is that we lie – but have no difficulty proving why we shouldn’t.”
? Epictetus, The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness
tags: ethics, morality, philosophy, proof, stoic, stoicism 20 likes Like
“It is unrealistc to expect people to see you as you see yourself.”

“Don’t live by your own rules, but in harmony with nature”

“Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public.”

“These reasonings do not cohere: I am richer than you, therefore I am better than you; I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better than you. On the contrary these rather cohere, I am richer than you, therefore my possessions are greater than yours: I am more eloquent than you, therefore my speech is superior to yours. But you are neither possession nor speech.”

“What concerns me is not the way things are, but the way people think things are.”

“Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.”

“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.”

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”

“To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty of care to all fellow humans. The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness.”

“God save me from fools with a little philosophy—no one is more difficult to reach.”

“Those who are well constituted in the body endure both heat and cold: and so those who are well constituted in the soul endure both anger and grief and excessive joy and the other affects.”

“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 wish to be good, first believe that you are bad.”

“Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinion about the things.”

“Concerning the Gods, there are those who deny the very existence of the Godhead; others say that it exists, but neither bestirs nor concerns itself not has forethought far anything. A third party attribute to it existence and forethought, but only for great and heavenly matters, not for anything that is on earth. A fourth party admit things on earth as well as in heaven, but only in general, and not with respect to each individual. A fifth, of whom were Ulysses and Socrates, are those that cry: —
I move not without Thy knowledge!”

“In banquets remember that you entertain two guests, body and soul: and whatever you shall have given to the body you soon eject: but what you shall have given to the soul, you keep always.”

“What then, is it not possible to be free from faults? It is not possible; but this is possible: to direct your efforts incessantly to being faultess. For we must be content if by never remitting this attention we shall escape at least a few errors. When you have said “Tomorrow I will begin to attend,” you must be told that you are saying this: “Today I will be shameless, disregardful of time and place, mean;it will be in the power of others to give me pain, today I will be passionate and envious.

See how many evil things you are permitting yourself to do. If it is good to use attention tomorrow, how much better is it to do so today? If tomorrow it is in your interest to attend, much more is it today, that you may be able to do so tomorrow also, and may not defer it again to the third day.”

“Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put out your hand, and take a moderate share. Does it pass you? Do not stop it. Is it not come yet? Do not yearn in desire towards it, but wait till it reaches you. So with regard to children , wife, office, riches; and you will some time or other be worthy to feast with the gods. And if you do not so much as take the things which are set before you, but are able even to forego them, then you will not only be worthy to feast with the gods, but to rule with them also. For, by thus doing, Diogenes and Heraclitus, and others like them, deservedly became divine, and were so recognized.”

“If you want to improve, you must be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

“A city is not adorned by external things, but by the virtue of those who dwell in it.”

“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them”

“For it is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.”

“Don’t put your purpose in one place and expect to see progress made somewhere else.”

“What are we to do, then? To make the best of what lies within our power, and deal with everything else as it comes. ‘How does it come, then?’ As God wills.”

“It is a universal law — have no illusion — that every creature alive is attached to nothing so much as to its own self-interest.”

“First say to yourself what you would be, and then do what you have to do.”

“Take care not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. If you were to guard against this in every action, you should enter upon those actions more safely.”

“There is no shame in making an honest effort.”

“No one is ever unhappy because of someone else.”

“Wherever I go it will be well with me, for it was well with me here, not on account of the place, but of my judgments which I shall carry away with me, for no one can deprive me of these; on the contrary, they alone are my property, and cannot be taken away, and to possess them suffices me wherever I am or whatever I do.”

“Philosophy does not promise to secure anything external for man, otherwise it would be admitting something that lies beyond its proper subject-matter. For as the material of the carpenter is wood, and that of statuary bronze, so the subject-matter of the art of living is each person’s own life.”

“An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself.”

“We are at the mercy of whoever wields authority over the things we either desire or detest. If you would be free, then, do not wish to have, or avoid, things that other people control, because then you must serve as their slave.”

“Keep the prospect of death, exile and all such apparent tragedies before you every day – especially death – and you will never have an abject thought, or desire anything to excess.”

“As for us, we behave like a herd of deer. When they flee from the huntsman’s feathers in affright, which way do they turn? What haven of safety do they make for? Why, they rush upon the nets! And thus they perish by confounding what they should fear with that wherein no danger lies. . . . Not death or pain is to be feared, but the fear of death or pain. Well said the poet therefore:—

Death has no terror; only a Death of shame!”

“These reasonings have no logical connection: “I am richer than you; therefore I am your superior.” “I am more eloquent than you; therefore I am your superior.” The true logical connection is rather this: “I am richer than you; therefore my possessions must exceed yours.” “I am more eloquent than you; therefore my style must surpass yours.” But you, after all, consist in neither property nor in style.”

“If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, for the pleasure of any one, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything, with being a philosopher; and if you with to seem so likewise to any one, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you.”

“If they are wise, do not quarrel with them; if they are fools, ignore them.”

“Freedom is not archived by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it.”

“Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy.”

“Remember from now on whenever something tends to make you unhappy, draw on this principle: ‘This is no misfortune; but bearing with it bravely is a blessing.”

“Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.”

“Whenever anyone criticizes or wrongs you, remember that they are only doing or saying what they think is right. They cannot be guided by your views, only their own; so if their views are wrong, they are the ones who suffer insofar as they are misguided.”

“Nothing great comes into being all at once, for that is not the case even with a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me now, ‘I want a fig,’ I’ll reply, ‘That takes time.”

“For even sheep do not vomit up their grass and show to the shepherds how much they have eaten; but when they have internally digested the pasture, they produce externally wool and milk. Do you also show not your theorems to the uninstructed, but show the acts which come from their digestion.”

“Fortify yourself with contentment for this is an impregnable fortress.”

“Here are thieves and robbers and tribunals: and they that are called tyrants, who deem that they have after a fashion power over us, because of the miserable body and what appertains to it. Let us show them that they have power over none.”

“What saith Antisthenes? Hast thou never heard?— It is a kingly thing, O Cyrus, to do well and to be evil spoken of.”

“He who exercises wisdom, exercises the knowledge which is about God.”

“Circumstances do not rise to meet our expectations. Events happen as they do. People behave as they are. Embrace what you actually get.”

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