The 50 Most Thought Provoking Epictetus Quotes

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Epictetus was a brilliant Greek philosopher whose notable teachings became published by one of his pupils. A wise soul with much to share, Epictetus believed things happen for a reason and that we should accept them and go on about our daily lives. In fact, his writings form the foundation for philosophy that has inspired all of the popular self-help speakers and authors, ranging from Bob Proctor to The Secret to Tony Robbins and more.

In spite of his hardships suffered at the hands of his slave owner, Epictetus kept a clear mind and an open heart. Proving to humanity that the only obstacles we face are those we place upon ourselves. When you are faced with a struggle or a challenge, you can always turn to Epictetus for guidance and inspiration.

Epictetus Quotes

Throughout time Epictetus’s words of wisdom gained popularity and we’ve chosen these 50 Epictetus Quotes to reflect on.

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

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

3. “What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus

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

5. “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

6. “It is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.” — Epictetus

7. “A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope” — Epictetus

8. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” — Epictetus

9. “When you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done, never shun the being seen to do it, even though the world should make a wrong supposition about it; for, if you don’t act right, shun the action.” — Epictetus

10. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” — Epictetus

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

12. “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

13. “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.” — Epictetus

14. “The flourishing life cannot be achieved until we moderate our desires and see how superficial and fleeting they are.” — Epictetus

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

16. “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

17. “Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.” — Epictetus

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

19. “Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don’t lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried.” — Epictetus

20. “Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness” — Epictetus

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

22. “Wherever a man is against his will, that to him is a prison.” — Epictetus

23. “Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.” — Epictetus

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

25. “No thing great 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.” — Epictetus

26. “Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.” — Epictetus

27. “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

28. “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.” — Epictetus

29. “Caretake this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.” — Epictetus

30. “Only the educated are free.” — Epictetus

31. “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.” — Epictetus

32. “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. Where ever you find yourself and in whatever circumstances, give an impeccable performance.” — Epictetus

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

34. “It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay the blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is completed, neither to blame another, nor himself.” — Epictetus

35. “Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed, you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control.” — Epictetus

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

37. “Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words.” — Epictetus

38. “If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.” — Epictetus

39. “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.” — Epictetus

40. “Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.” — Epictetus

41. “God has entrusted me with myself. No man is free who is not master of himself. A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.” — Epictetus

42. “You are a little soul carrying around a corpse. — Epictetus

43. “A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.” — Epictetus

44. “He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” — Epictetus

45. “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.” — Epictetus

46. “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.” — Epictetus

47. “Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions.” — Epictetus

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

49. “It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.” — Epictetus

50. “When we blather about trivial things, we ourselves become trivial, for our attention gets taken up with trivialities. You become what you give your attention to.” — Epictetus

Epictetus Video – Life Changing Quotes

Here is an excellent, fairly short video that has some of the most inspiring and life changing quotes from Epictetus. Worth a short watch – enjoy!

Conclusion

Regardless of the situation, he was facing, Epictetus persevered and kept moving forward in life. Even in the eye of a hurricane, this man would seek inner refuge and reflect back on his positive teachings. Thus, overcoming fear to conquer the storms that life threw his way.

We could all lead by Epictetus’ example and go about our day with positive insight; which is what these 50 Epictetus quotes can do. So, the next time life throws you a curveball, go back through and find a quote that speaks to you from the heart. My own personal favorite is “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

 

 

 

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