Quotes contain maxims: principles and insight for living.
At the right moment, a new aphorism can motivate, inspire, and remind us to return to what matters.
Stoics collected and memorized maxims, not as an academic exercise, but to apply them in life. By keeping our principles close, we can turn to them when making a difficult decision or dealing with an obstacle.
Many have found it useful to continue this practice during the pandemic, collecting maxims from ancient Stoics like Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca.
Here are ten of the most popular quotes in Stoa, ordered from least to most favorited:
It shows courage to remain dry and sober when the mob is drunk and vomiting; but it shows greater self-control to refuse to withdraw oneself and to do what the crowd does, but in a different way – thus neither making oneself conspicuous nor becoming one of the crowd. For one may keep holiday without extravagance.
Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
Only attend to yourself, and resolve to be a good man in every act that you do.
When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.
Philosophy teaches us to act, not to speak.
If you think that only which is your own to be your own, and if you think that what is another's, as it really is, belongs to another, no man will ever compel you, no man will hinder you, you will never blame any man, you will accuse no man, you will do nothing involuntarily (against your will), no man will harm you, you will have no enemy, for you will not suffer any harm.
Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.
Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now, at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.