6 More Life-Changing Stoic Quotes (Only if Applied)
“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” — Marcus Aurelius
We often look at these stoic leaders as any other historical figure, not as the people they were but something more, something mystical, much like a main character from a movie. Once you realize everyone who’s been before you is nothing more and nothing less than what you are, things start to change. Depending on your definition of what a human being is, some people say we’re a mass of energy floating around in a meat bag, it’s all open to interpretation from your own viewpoint.
How were they so wise beyond their time?
Maybe they weren’t beyond their time, maybe we’re behind in our time. This next quote is not from a stoic philosopher but it resembles my point very well.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
That is true for todays time much more than it was about a hundred years ago when this quote came to be. With social media and all other time-wasting, attention-sucking & people-manipulating things we have now.
Stoic philosophers understood something rarely anyone does today, and they have a saying for it: Memento Mori
Memento Mori. Remembering that you must die. This isn’t a topic we’d have over a beer. If anything it’s an area of life most people avoid thinking about. Stoicism tells us that reminding ourselves of this reality can hugely improve our quality of thoughts and quality of life. The constant reminder of death makes everything you do worth doing. It’s one of life’s guarantees. No matter where you are born, how rich you are, or what you do during your life, you will die. Death is simply change, and change is life. Humour me for a moment and imagine that you only have one week left to live. I imagine that you have a list of things that you would do, people that you would spend time with, and places you’d go.
Memento Mori uses the same same principle but instead of one week, we have 80 years. Looking honestly at our mortality helps us clarify what’s important.
“This is our big mistake: to think we look forward to death. Most of death is already gone. Whatever time has passed is owned by death.” –Seneca
Of course, it goes both ways, being aware of the limitations of life and looking forward to death are two different things. Stoics preach to be aware of the fact that our time is limited, and live in such a way to honor the present moment as much as possible. Whatever time has passed is already owned by death. All we have is the present.
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius again explaining how everything is happening in our mind. The way we perceive the world may not be the way the world really looks. Still, we perceive it the way we do, in our minds. Therefor, whenever you feel harmed mentally in one of your many social interactions, remember that it is your own mind which has chosen to feel harmed.
“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” — Seneca
“If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” —Seneca
He who doesn’t have a goal in mind is much like a ship which floats on the water not knowing which port to sail to. Imagine this: two ships, one is young, ambitious, wanting to sail the world. The other one is old, used up, can barely stay afloat. The young ship doesn’t know where it wants to go, it just wants to go sail. While the old ship has a clear course and a clear end destination in mind. Which one will first reach it’s goal? I think you understand my point.
Stoicism can come across as brutal at times, but so is life! As long as you can keep looking at things from this realistic point of view, it’s the most liberating feeling there is.
Check out 6 other stoic quotes by clicking HERE
Thanks for reading!