30 Epictetus Quotes To Boost Up Your Morale

Perception is all that matters!

Jayashree R

10 months ago|12 min read


Epictetus was born to a slave lady in the Phrygian city of Hierapolis in Asia Minor, and he was a slave. 

People often think of philosophers as exceptional, legendary, and noteworthy individuals. They would not usually be assumed of as being owned by another person, abused and exploited for their abilities, while someone else reaped the advantages of their knowledge. 

Epictetus, who is famed for his interpretation of Stoicism, was, nevertheless, a slave.

Stoicism is a philosophical system that originated around the early 3rd century BC in ancient Greece and Rome. It's a way of living that emphasizes good emotions while significantly reducing negative ones and assisting people in shaping their character qualities.

What kind of influence did Epictetus have?

Epictetus' views have had an influence on individuals and society for more than a thousand years after his death, notwithstanding his tale. He had several beliefs that were revolutionary for the historical period in which he lived and are still relevant now. 

Whatever you're going through, these Epictetus quotes may help you adjust your attitude and actions in response to the challenges you're facing. If you're at a good place in your life right now, these Epictetus quotes may also help you stay on track.

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

Epictetus Quotes

 Whenever you are a part of any situation, the consequences always depend on you, that is, your response to the circumstances matters. The impact of any happenings is subject to you. 

You will be the cause for any aftermath as you carry them. If you take it optimistically, obviously, the result would also be positive.

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

When you have been put under an incident, there you come to know about yourself. Conditions don't end up creating someone, rather those that expose them to themselves.

3. “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. Wherever you find yourself and in whatever circumstances, give an impeccable performance.”

Epictetus Quotes

While we cannot regulate which roles are designated to us, it must be our job to do our best to play our responsibilities and not grumble about them. 

Give great results anywhere and under whatever situations. So, whatever you do, do it to the best.

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

An intellectual person does not lament for those kinds of stuff that he does not have in his life. Instead, he feels delighted for what he has in his life. 

Never waste your time thinking about what you do not have in life because life is about enjoying what you have.

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

 Stop focusing on things that are beyond your control or willpower, and you will find happiness. When you focus on things that are beyond your strength, then you will lose energy or enthusiasm for other works in which you are capable of accomplishing it. 

Also, this leads to time waste and losing happy moments. So, be focused on what you are capable of and execute it with happiness.

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

Epictetus Quotes

Don't look for goodness in things outside of yourself; look for it within yourself. Y

ou should never expect things that should go smoothly and well around you, but you should find it in yourself. If the external things are not alright, then you try to make it better by yourself.

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

The opinions and problems of others can be virulent. 

Don't ruin yourself by unintentionally developing bad, ineffective attitudes as a result of your social interactions. Whenever you interact with people, be yourself and do not fall prey to the contagious disease. 

8. “Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions.”

Epictetus Quotes

Genuine happiness is always self-contained and unaffected by external circumstances. You get repeatedly affected when you depend on extraneous factors. 

The meaningful pleasure in you is about promoting an optimistic attitude, carrying positive emotions ahead, deliberately enjoying experiences, recognizing your unique qualities, and following them.

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

When you keep rambling on inconsiderable matters, you become meaningless as well. And, this is because you pay attention to insignificant things. 

What you listen towards is what you become. 

10. “We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us.” 

What disturbs us is our thoughts about what occurs to us, not what appears to happen to us. For example, when you were in a competitive exam, and suddenly two of your friends were entering the room, and they seemed to be discussing among them. 

At that time, if you got diverted, then the situation cannot be blamed, since you got interrupted by yourself just by listening to them.

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

Epictetus Quotes

Imagine yourself as what you want to be, and then do what you need to accomplish. When you assume yourself as the person you want to be, then automatically you will take steps necessary to reach your goal. 

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

 People are troubled not by events but by their perceptions. 

So, you should be able to recognize external stimuli and take appropriate actions in response to them, and that response matters a lot as to how you respond to something is an outcome of your perception. 

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

Epictetus Quotes

A person can control you only with your allowance. Those that can enrage you become your boss. And you are the only reason to promote the person as your boss. 

14. “Be careful whom you associate with. It is human to imitate the habits of those with whom we interact. We inadvertently adopt their interests, their opinions, their values, and their habit of interpreting events.” 

You should be cautious about who you socialize with. It's natural for us to pick up on the habits of individuals with whom we engage. 

Knowingly or unknowingly, we embrace their hobbies, viewpoints, ideas, and way of understanding situations

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

Epictetus Quotes

You need to be conscious whenever you talk about something. Comprehend what you say, and then speak. Also, based on how you talk with people, the listener can predict about you. 

If you speak pointlessly, then that is of no use, and you may not be valued.

16. “To know that you do not know and to be willing to admit that you do not know without sheepishly apologizing is real strength and sets the stage for learning and progress in any endeavor.” 

Realizing that you don't know something and being willing to say it without feeling sorry is a great strength that sets the foundation for learning and success in any endeavor. 

It is better to learn a new thing than pretending as if you know them, but you do not know. It gives you the prosperity of learning anything with clarity. 

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

Epictetus Quotes

 Nature has endowed us with one tongue but two ears, allowing us to hear doubly as much as we speak. 

One should listen more effectively than talking because you can respond only if you listen and comprehend what the opposite person meant.

18. “To accuse others of one's misfortune is a sign of want of education. To recuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete.”

Epictetus Quotes

 It is a sign of illiteracy to blame others for one's misfortune. 

Self-accusation indicates that one's education has begun. To not accuse oneself or others demonstrates that one's education is successful. 

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

The bigger the challenge, the greater the glory in mastering it. Storms and tornadoes give expert pilots their brand value. 

If you want to be a renowned person in a particular aspect, then you should also be ready to put the same level of effort into it.

20. “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.”

Regardless of what others think or do, align yourself with what is spiritually preferred. No matter what is going on around you, stay true to your actual desires.

What matters is that you connect yourself with what is spiritually preferable, regardless of what others think or do. Stay faithful to your desires regardless of what is going on elsewhere.

21. “If evil is said of thee, and if it is true, correct thyself; if it is a lie, laugh at it.”

Epictetus Quotes

If someone says something negative about you, correct yourself if it's true; if it's a falsehood, laugh it off. 

Whenever you hear something nasty about yourself, you might not be ready to accept it, but if you try to explore it and resolve it once you find it is your fault, then that is noteworthy.

22. “Do not try to seem wise to others.”

Not attempt to appear knowledgeable in the eyes of others. Never strive to impress others by appearing intelligent. 

Do not try to impress people by seeming informed. Do not waste your efforts to appear well-informed to impress others.

23. “Who is the rich man? Epictetus replied, He who is content.”

Epictetus Quotes

Once, someone asked Epictetus who the rich man is. He replied to the man who was in a state of peaceful happiness. 

A person can seem to be a rich man if he is delighted with what he has in his life.

24. “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. ”

When things appear to have attained that point, just declare, "I'm not going to play any longer," and walk away. But if you stay, don't moan. 

When things look to have reached that stage, indicate clearly that you no longer be a part of it. You must, however, abstain from whining if you wish to stay.

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

Epictetus Quotes

Living a short span with someone completely involved in all parts of your life, being aware of the world around you, and achieving excellence in whatever you do, is better, rather than the one that is longer but less significant. 

Live your life full of satisfaction, completeness even if you are short-lived.

26. “ 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.”

 Hardly any good item, like a cluster of grapes or a fig, appears out of nowhere. Epictetus added, ‘If you tell me you want a fig, I tell you there's always time. 

Allow it to bloom first, then yield fruit, and finally ripen.’ Learn to wait for things that come on time.

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

Epictetus Quotes

If someone is displeased, remind him that he is sad only because of himself, because God has created all men to enjoy happiness and the consistency of pleasure. 

Whenever you feel sad about something, think that God had created all men to experience happiness and pleasure regularly.

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

The virtue of individuals who live in a city, not exterior objects, is what makes it beautiful. 

What makes a city attractive is the virtue of the people who live there, not the beauty of its surroundings.

29. “Deliberate much before saying or doing anything, for you will not have the power of recalling what is said or done.”

Epictetus Quotes

Consider what you're about to say or do before you say or do it because you won't be able to remember what you've said or done later.

Before you speak or do something, think about what you're about to say or do, since you won't remember what you said or did later. 

30. “Difficulty shows what men are. Therefore when a difficulty falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man.”

Epictetus Quotes

Obstacles reveal the true nature of men. When adversity strikes, realize that God has matched you with a tough young man, much like a wrestler's coach. Challenge exposes a man's real personality. 

When you face difficulty, remember that God has paired you with a tough young man, similar to a wrestler's coach.

Even though life is always changing, Epictetus believed that humans are ultimately accountable for how they understand and respond to those changes. 

Accepting responsibility for one's perspective on the world and how that perspective influences one's conduct frees oneself from the chains of external circumstances and allows one to become the master of one's own life. 

Stoicism appealed to the Roman character because of its focus on the individual's triumph over circumstance.

We learned a lot from Epictetus and Epictetus quotes. Also, you should not leave off once you perceive them, instead apply Epictetus quotes in your life, improve them and enjoy the result!!

Slavery to the World's Most Wished Philosopher…

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Jayashree R

Hi, I'm Jayashree. Learn, Capture, Understand, Apply. Have a pleasant learning experience!!!



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