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Famous Stoic Quotes

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

We've all had to adopt a degree of Stoicism over the last year or so, but who started it and when, and what is Stoicism? And lots of inspiring quotes...

The name derives from the porch (stoa poikile) in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. As pictured above in the painting by Raphael.

Stoicism was founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early third century BC (and originally called Zenonism, after its founder) and is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. For the Stoic, virtue alone is sufficient for human happiness.

It's a philosophy of life where the individual maximizes positive emotions, reduces negative emotions and helps himself or herself hone their virtues of character. According to Stoicism, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) is embracing and accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or by the fear of pain.

The Stoic must use his or her mind to understand the world and to do one’s part in nature’s plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly. The Stoics are especially known for the teaching “virtue is the only good” and that people must lead a virtuous life to be accomplished and complete human beings.

Famous stoic quotes:

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.”

“Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.”

“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

“It is not because things are difficult that we don’t dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”

“Man is affected not by events, but by the view he takes of them.”

“If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.”

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”

“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

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

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

“It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.”

“Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source.”

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