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  • Writer's pictureReuven Sherwin

Quotes worth reading by Epictetus

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

(Lots of credit to Max Cordova and Everyday Power)

During a course in Behavioral Decision Making, I ran into the following quote:

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

I really liked it, so I tracked down its source, and it seems it's attributed to Epictetus (50-135 AD), a "...Greek Stoic philosopher... (who) was born into slavery at Hierapolis... (and who) taught that philosophy is a way of life and not simply a theoretical discipline." (Wikipedia)

I liked it so much, that I went on to track more of his quotes, and selected some of the best (of those I found) below his picture. Scroll to enjoy. (Or browse to to see the complete list...)

Epictetus the Slave
(c) 2013 Impulse Nine Media under the Creative Commons Attribution License
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will.
Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions.
We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us.
It is not so much what happens to you as how you think about what happens.
People are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.
It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
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.
Be careful whom you associate with. It is human to imitate the habits of those with whom we interact. We inadvertently adopt their interests, their opinions, their values, and their habit of interpreting events.
Small-minded people blame others. Average people blame themselves. The wise see all blame as foolishness
To accuse others for one’s own misfortune 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.
Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.

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