Epictetus Quotes

This is a compilation of my favorite Epictetus quotes.

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who is mostly known for his practice of Stoicism. The works and writings of Epictetus have inspired millions if not billions of people and also influenced great philosophers like Marcus Aurelius who would go on to have a great impact on the world.

Some of the popular books and writings of Epictetus are Enchiridion, Discourses of Epictetus, Discourses and selected writings, The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, A manual for living and so much more.

Here are some of the best Epictetus quotes on love, death, control, freedom, circumstances, soul, happiness and other interesting key areas of life:

Best Epictetus Quotes

Best Epictetus Quotes

1. Only the educated are free. -Epictetus

2. First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. -Epictetus

3. It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. -Epictetus

4. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid. -Epictetus

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

6. Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. -Epictetus

7. If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it. -Epictetus

8. Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly. -Epictetus

9. 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

10. We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.


11. Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it. -Epictetus

12. It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. -Epictetus

13. First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. -Epictetus

14. It is the nature of the wise to resist pleasures, but the foolish to be a slave to them. -Epictetus

15. The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. -Epictetus

16. The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. -Epictetus

17. Nothing 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

18. To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete. -Epictetus

19. 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

20. Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents. -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Love

Epictetus Quotes On Love

21. A man that seeks truth and loves it must be reckoned precious to any human society. -Epictetus

22. Remind thyself that he whom thou lovest is mortal that what thou lovest is not thine own; it is given thee for the present, not irrevocably nor for ever, but even as a fig or a bunch of grapes at the appointed season of the year.


23. 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

24. Never depend on the admiration of others. There is no strength in it. Personal merit cannot be derived from an external source. It is not to be found in your personal associations, nor can it be found in the regard of other people. It is a fact of life that other people, even people who love you, will not necessarily agree with your ideas, understand you, or share your enthusiasms. Grow up! Who cares what other people think about you! -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Death

Epictetus Quotes On Death

25. Death is not dreadful or else it would have appeared dreadful to Socrates. -Epictetus

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

27. Why, do you not know, then, that the origin of all human evils, and of baseness, and cowardice, is not death, but rather the fear of death? -Epictetus

28. I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment? -Epictetus

29. Against specious appearances we must set clear convictions, bright and ready for use. When death appears as an evil, we ought immediately to remember that evils are things to be avoided, but death is inevitable. -Epictetus

30. It is not death or pain that is to be dreaded, but the fear of pain or death.


31. Never say about anything, “I have lost it,” but only “I have given it back.” Is your child dead? It has been given back. Is your wife dead? She has been returned. -Epictetus

32. It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control. Nothing is by its own nature calamitous — even death is terrible only if we fear it. -Epictetus

33. In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles. -Epictetus

34. Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible be daily before your eyes, but chiefly death, and you win never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything. -Epictetus

35. Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things. Thus death is nothing terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death, that it is terrible. When, therefore, we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved let us never impute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own views. It is the action of an uninstructed person to reproach others for his own misfortunes; of one entering upon instruction, to reproach himself; and of one perfectly instructed, to reproach neither others or himself. -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Control

Epictetus Quotes On Control

36. 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

37. Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty of care to all fellow humans. The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness. -Epictetus

38. Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.


39. 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

40. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed. -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Freedom

Epictetus Quotes On Freedom

41. Freedom is not archived by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it. -Epictetus

42. Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else. -Epictetus

43. Freedom is the right to live as we wish.


44. And the way to be free is to let go of anything that is not within your control. -Epictetus

45. Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire. -Epictetus

46. Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control. -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Circumstances

Epictetus Quotes On Circumstances

47. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. -Epictetus

48. Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.


49. Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them. -Epictetus

Epictetus Quotes On Happiness

Epictetus Quotes On Happiness

50. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. -Epictetus

51. The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things. -Epictetus

52. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.


53. Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions. -Epictetus

54. If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these for to whatever point the perfection of anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it. -Epictetus

55. 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

Epictetus Quotes On Soul

Epictetus Quotes On Soul

56. No man is free who is not master of himself. -Epictetus

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

58. You are a little soul carrying around a corpse.


59. It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it. -Epictetus

60. When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. -Epictetus