Epictetus quotes

30 Life-Changing Epictetus Quotes

Who Is Epictetus?

“A Greek philosopher of 1st and early 2nd centuries C.E., and an exponent of Stoic ethics notable for the consistency and power of his ethical thought and for effective methods of teaching. Epictetus’s chief concerns are with integrity, self-management, and personal freedom, which he advocates by demanding of his students a thorough examination of two central ideas, the capacity he terms ‘volition’ (prohairesis) and the correct use of impressions (chrēsis tōn phantasiōn). Heartfelt and satirical by turns, Epictetus has had significant influence on the popular moralistic tradition, but he is more than a moralizer; his lucid resystematization and challenging application of Stoic ethics qualify him as an important philosopher in his own right. “

Read more about him in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in which the above quotation was taken. Also, perhaps my personal favorite Stoic resource and one that is worth the time investment is The Daily Stoic. You could do far worse than subscribing to their 7 Day Dive Into Stoicism.

Epictetus Quotations


the best Epictetus quotes

I am not Eternity, but a human being—a part of the whole, as an hour is part of the day. I must come like the hour, and like the hour must pass! -Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

 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

the best Epictetus quotes

Be not swept off your feet by the vividness of the impression, but say, “Impression, wait for me a little. Let me see what you are and what you represent. Let me try you.” – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

If you have assumed a character beyond your strength, you have both played a poor figure in that, and neglected one that is within your powers. – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

To you, all you have seems small: to me, all I have seems great. Your desire is insatiable, mine is satisfied. See children thrusting their hands into a narrow-necked jar, and striving to pull out the nuts and figs it contains: if they fill the hand, they cannot pull it out again, and then they fall to tears.— ‘Let go a few of them, and then you can draw out the rest!’—You, too, let your desire go! covet not many things, and you will obtain. – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words. – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

Appearances to the mind are of four kinds. Things either are what they appear to be; or they neither are, nor appear to be; or they are, and do not appear to be; or they are not, and yet appear to be. Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man’s task. – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope. – Epictetus


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

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


the best Epictetus quotes

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


epictetus complete works

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