Some of my favorite quotes from Stoic philosophers

I've always been partial to the Stoic philosophers. Something about their approach to life has always resonated with me:

"The Stoic virtues of Courage, Temperance, Justice, and Wisdom offer a timeless roadmap to living a life of purpose and integrity. These virtues are not mere abstract ideals but practical principles that guide our actions, decisions, and character. By embodying these virtues, we can navigate life's challenges with resilience, balance, moral clarity, and wisdom." — Gary Williams

No brainer, right? Here's some pithy quotes that really capture the Stoic mindset:

  • "We are often more frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality." — Seneca
  • "Our life is what our thoughts make it." — Marcus Aurelius
  • "If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it." — Marcus Aurelius
  • "You become what you give your attention to…If you yourself don't choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will." — Epictetus
  • "Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself." — Marcus Aurelius
  • "You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone." — Marcus Aurelius
  • "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
  • "It isn't events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgements about them." — Epictetus
  • "Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One." — Marcus Aurelius
  • "Receive without pride, let go without attachment." — Marcus Aurelius

Yes and yes!  But. Intellectually I totally get at a cellular level that my life would be better, happier and more successful if I could adhere to these tenets all the time. Knowing this, why is it so goddamn hard? Why is it so challenging for humans to do the thing they know is best for them? Emotion rules over reason? Runs against human nature? Just plain lazy? 

Ryan Holiday, @dailystoic on TikTok, is a master of distilling big Stoic ideas to bite-sized, actionable daily practice. Lots more quotes and info at his Daily Stoic website.  Despite being penned two millennia ago, these ideas are amazingly timeless.

I'll leave you with one of his (and my) favorite quotes: 

"Don't be overheard complaining… Not even to yourself."  — Marcus Aurelius