66 Epic quotes (excuse the pun) from Epictetus

A Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus had some epic things to say. He was born as a slave in Turkey, and then later in his life moved to Rome. He was then banished to north west Greece, where he spent the rest of his life. It was there, together with his pupils he wrote down his thoughts and teachings. 

His most famous works are Enchiridion and Discourses. Below is a collection of his most wise and outstanding quotes. Enjoy reading.

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It is not death or pain that is to be feared, but the fear of pain or death.
Epictetus
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
When you do anything from a clear judgement that it ought to be done, never shun the being seen to do it, even though the world should make a wrong supposition about it; for, if you don’t act right, shun the action itself; but, if you do, why are you afraid of those who censure you wrongly?
Epictetus
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
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
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
Epictetus
If you seek Truth, you will not seek to gain a victory by every possible means; and when you have found Truth, you need not fear being defeated.
Epictetus
What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.
Epictetus
A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.
Epictetus
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
In theory there is nothing to hinder our following what we are taught; but in life there are many things to draw us aside.
Epictetus
Thou shalt not blame or flatter any.
Epictetus
When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?
Epictetus
Wherever a man is against his will, that to him is a prison.
Epictetus
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
Only the educated are free.
Epictetus
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
It is difficulties that show what men are.
Epictetus
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
These reasoning’s are unconnected: “I am richer than you, therefore I am better”; “I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better.” The connection is rather this: “I am richer than you, therefore my property is greater than yours;” “I am more eloquent than you, therefore my style is better than yours.” But you, after all, are neither property nor style.
Epictetus
It is difficulties that show what men are.
Epictetus
Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.
Epictetus
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
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
It is better to die of hunger having lived without grief and fear, than to live with a troubled spirit, amid abundance.
Epictetus
It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay the blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is completed,
Epictetus
The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.
Epictetus
Let silence be your general rule; or say only what is necessary and in few words.
Epictetus
Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake, in little things; and thence proceed to greater.
Epictetus
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
Concerning the Gods, there are those who deny the very existence of the Godhead; others say that it exists, but neither bestirs nor concerns itself not has forethought far anything. A third party attribute to it existence and forethought, but only for great and heavenly matters, not for anything that is on earth. A fourth party admit things on earth as well as in heaven, but only in general, and not with respect to each individual. A fifth, of whom were Ulysses and Socrates, are those that cry: I move not without Thy knowledge!
Epictetus
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
Epictetus
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
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.
Epictetus
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
Epictetus
If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself: ‘I used to be angry every day; then every other day; now only every third or fourth day.’ When you reach thirty days offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods.
Epictetus
A man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.
Epictetus
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.
Epictetus
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 internalised their contents.
Epictetus
Give me by all means the shorter and nobler life, instead of one that is longer but of less account!
Epictetus
Resolve to live as a grown-up who is making progress, and make whatever you think best a law that you never set aside. And whenever you encounter anything that is difficult or pleasurable, or highly or lowly regarded, remember that the contest is now: you are at the Olympic Games, you cannot wait any longer, and that your progress is wrecked or preserved by a single day and a single event. That is how Socrates fulfilled himself by attending to nothing except reason in everything he encountered. And you, although you are not yet a Socrates, should live as someone who at least wants to be a Socrates.
Epictetus
Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.
Epictetus
If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself; if it be a lie, laugh at it.
Epictetus
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.
Epictetus
Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.
Epictetus
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
Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.
Epictetus
The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. 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
Of pleasures, those which occur most rarely give the most delight.
Epictetus
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Epictetus
Does anyone bathe in a mighty little time? Don’t say that he does it ill, but in a mighty little time. Does anyone drink a great quantity of wine? Don’t say that he does ill, but that he drinks a great quantity. For, unless you perfectly understand the principle from which anyone acts, how should you know if he acts ill? Thus you will not run the hazard of assenting to any appearances but such as you fully comprehend.
Epictetus
He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.
Epictetus
Freedom is the name of virtue: Slavery, of vice…. None is a slave whose acts are free.
Epictetus
Care take this moment. Immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed. Quit evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble. It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
Epictetus
There is but one way to tranquillity of mind and happiness, and that is to account no external things thine own, but to commit all to God.
Epictetus
Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.
Epictetus
Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.
Epictetus
All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.
Epictetus
The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.
Epictetus
Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.
Epictetus
No man is free who is not master of himself.
Epictetus
It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.
Epictetus
God gave man two ears, but only one mouth, that he might hear twice as much as he speaks.
Epictetus
Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.
Epictetus
Events do not just happen, but arrive by appointment.
Epictetus
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Epictetus

If you enjoyed these Epictetus quotes we recommend you read 46 Powerful Quotes From Marcus Aurelius

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