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Epictetus Quotes

epictetus quotesAs did Seneca, Epictetus left us an exceptional legacy of quotes filled with wisdom and insight.

His Encheiridion or Manual for Living instructs us on how one can be a good person and live a happy and fulfilling life.

Moral progress for Epicteus is not the natural province of the highborn, nor is it achieved by accident or luck. Instead, it is achieved by working on yourself daily.

Although his works are less well known today because of the decline of classical education, they have had an enormous influence on leading thinkers on the art of living for over two millennia.

The Quotes

We are disturbed not by events, but by the views which we take of them.


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 you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.


Practice yourself, for heaven's sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.


When one maintains his proper attitude in life, he does not long after externals. What would you have, O man?


Difficulties are things that show what men are.


The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the will.


Shall I show you the muscular training of a philosopher? "What muscles are those?" - A will undisappointed; evils avoided; powers daily exercised; careful resolutions; unerring decisions.


Every habit and faculty is preserved and increased by correspondent actions - as the habit of walking, by walking; of running, by running.


Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but habituate yourself to something else.


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


All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.


All religions must be tolerated... for every man must get to heaven in his own way.


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.


Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.


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


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


God has entrusted me with myself.


If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.


If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.


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


Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.


Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.


No man is free who is not master of himself.


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


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


The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.


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


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