Stoic Quotes On Self-Improvement: Wisdom to Inspire Personal Growth

Tim Bergman

1/11/2024

A Stoic philosopher writing a journal with his thoughts and quotes on self-improvement
A Stoic philosopher writing a journal with his thoughts and quotes on self-improvement

Best Stoic Quotes On Self-Improvement

Stoic philosophers considered self-improvement as a pivotal trait a man can have. Marcus Aurelius was constantly writing to be a good and honest person, pay attention to your actions and be the best version of yourself. Also, integrity played a crucial role in Stoicism. These Stoic quotes have enormous power when reading them regularly as they will embed into your subconscious mind, and appear when you need them at the right time. Explore the best books on Stoicism.

Marcus Aurelius Quotes On Self-Improvement

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor and a Stoic philosopher, penned his reflections and thoughts in a collection famously known as "Meditations." This work is not only a remarkable record of his journey towards self-improvement but also serves as a timeless guide for wisdom, resilience, and virtue. The text, written during various military campaigns, offers profound insights into dealing with life's challenges and emphasizes the importance of self-discipline, ethical action, and the understanding of one's place in the natural order.

Aurelius' meditations delve into the nature of human experience, providing guidance on how to navigate life with grace, strength, and tranquility, making it a seminal work in the field of Stoic philosophy.

  • "Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered irritable. Y

  • ou see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life?."​

  • "Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do. Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions."​​

  • "Epithets for yourself: Upright. Modest. Straightforward. Sane. Cooperative. Disinterested. Try not to exchange them for others. And if you should forfeit them set about getting them back."​​

  • "In doing what human nature requires. Through first principles. Which should govern your intentions and your actions. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness and self-control and courage and free will."​

  • "It’s good to keep this in mind. You accept the limits placed on your body. Accept those placed on your time. Do your best to convince them. But act on your own if justice requires it. If met with force then fall back on acceptance and peaceability."

  • "If at some point in your life you should come across anything better than justice, honesty, self-control, courage—than a mind satisfied that it has succeeded in enabling you to act rationally and satisfied to accept what’s beyond its control—if you find anything better than that embrace it without reservations—it must be an extraordinary thing indeed—and enjoy it to the full."​​

Epictetus Quotes On Self-Improvement

Epictetus, a stoic philosopher, offers profound insights on self-improvement through these quotes. They emphasize the importance of focusing on what is within our control and letting go of attachments to external things. He teaches that our reactions and emotions are ours to command, not dictated by external circumstances. The essence of his teachings is about internal freedom and mental fortitude, encouraging us to rise above petty annoyances and to see the bigger picture in life. Epictetus' wisdom resonates across centuries, reminding us that true power lies in self-awareness and the mastery of our responses to the world.

  • "It is circumstances (difficulties) that show 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. For what purpose? you may say. Why that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but it is not accomplished without sweat." - Discourses of Epictetus​​.

  • "Remembering this whom will you still flatter or fear?" - Discourses of Epictetus​​.

  • "But much before this law is the law of life that we must act conformably to nature." - Discourses of Epictetus​​.

  • "Keep by every means what is your own; do not desire what belongs to others. Fidelity (integrity) is your own virtuous shame is your own; who then can take these things from you?" - Discourses of Epictetus​​.

  • "Friend lay hold with a desperate grasp ere it is too late on Freedom, on Tranquility, on Greatness of soul! Lift up thy head, as one escaped from slavery; dare to look up to God and say:—'Deal with me henceforth as Thou wilt; Thou and I are of one mind. I am Thine: I refuse nothing that seemeth good to Thee; lead on whither Thou wilt; clothe me in what garb Thou pleasest; wilt Thou have me a ruler or a subject—at home or in exile—poor or rich? All these things will I justify unto men for Thee. I will show the true nature of each….'" - Golden Sayings of Epictetus​​.

  • "Who would Hercules have been had he loitered at home? no Hercules, but Eurystheus. And in his wanderings through the world how many friends and comrades did he find? but nothing dearer to him than God. Wherefore he was believed to be God’s son, as indeed he was. So then in obedience to Him, he went about delivering the earth from injustice and lawlessness." - Golden Sayings of Epictetus​​.

  • "Nevertheless a man should also be prepared to be sufficient unto himself—to dwell with himself alone, even as God dwells with Himself alone, shares His repose with none and considers the nature of His own administration, intent upon such thoughts as are meet unto Himself. So should we also be able to converse with ourselves, to need none else beside, to sigh for no distraction, to bend our thoughts upon the Divine Administration and how we stand related to all else; to observe how human accidents touched us of old and how they touch us now; what things they are that still have power to hurt us, and how they may be cured or removed; to perfect what needs perfecting as Reason would direct." - Golden Sayings of Epictetus​​.

Seneca Quotes On Self-Improvement

The quotes provided are from the works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a renowned Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and playwright who lived from approximately 4 BC to AD 65. These excerpts are taken from two of his significant works: "Moral Letters to Lucilius" and "On the Shortness of Life".

In "Moral Letters to Lucilius", Seneca penned a series of letters to his friend Lucilius Junior, where he shares his wisdom on various aspects of life, offering guidance on how to live a more fulfilling, ethical, and rational life. These letters cover a wide range of topics, from friendship and freedom to the nature of philosophy and the importance of self-improvement.

"On the Shortness of Life" is a moral essay where Seneca articulates his Stoic beliefs about the nature of time and the human experience. He emphasizes the value of time, the shortness of human life, and the importance of living a meaningful and purposeful life. According to Seneca, time is not inherently short but often wasted by people on unimportant matters. He urges his readers to focus on self-improvement, philosophical study, and the pursuit of wisdom. His book Discourses can teach you a lot.

  • "Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time which till lately has been forced from you or filched away or has merely slipped from your hands... The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness." (From "Moral Letters to Lucilius")​​.

  • "What man can you show me who places any value on his time, who reckons the worth of each day, who understands that he is dying daily? For we are mistaken when we look forward to death; the major portion of death has already passed." (From "Moral Letters to Lucilius")​​.

  • "You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers and digest their works if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere... Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes as well." (From "Moral Letters to Lucilius")​​.

  • "Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul. Speak as boldly with him as with yourself." (From "Moral Letters to Lucilius")​​.

  • "It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested." (From "On the Shortness of Life")​​.

  • "Men set very great store by pensions and doles, and for these they hire out their labor or service or effort. But no one sets a value on time; all use it lavishly as if it cost nothing." (From "On the Shortness of Life")​​.

  • "Of all men, they alone are at leisure who take time for philosophy; they alone really live; for they are not content to be good guardians of their own lifetime only." (From "On the Shortness of Life")​​.

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