Plato on Desire

I feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master. Unquestionably old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and other passions.

~ Plato

Seneca on Suffering

“Two elements must therefore be rooted out once for all — the fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering; since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.”
(Letters to Lucilius, LXXVIII.14)

~ Seneca

Seneca on Revenge

“The most contemptuous form of revenge is not to deem one’s adversary worth taking vengeance upon.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Wrongdoing

“Wrongdoing has no harsher penalty than this: one offends oneself, and also one’s family and friends.”

~ Seneca

Confucius on Focus

“He who chases two rabbits catches none.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Hatred

“If you hate a person, you are defeated by them.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Wisdom

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Thoughts

“Your life is what your thoughts make it.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Questions

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

~ Confucius

Marcus Aurelius on Attention

“The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

Epicurus on Contentment

“Any man who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world.”

~ Epicurus

Seneca on Misery

“A man is as miserable as he thinks he is.”

~ Seneca

Friedrich Nietzsche on Life

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different…”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Søren Kierkegaard on Truth

Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask?

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard on Interests

“It is perhaps the misfortune of my life that I am interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing…”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard on Walking

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Seneca on Leisure

“Leisure without study is death‚ a tomb for the living person.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Obstacles

Even if some obstacle comes on the scene, its appearance is only to be compared to that of clouds which drift in front of the sun without ever defeating its light.

~ Seneca

Cato on Speech

“Consider in silence whatever any one says: speech both conceals and reveals the inner soul of man.”

~ Cato

Hannah Arendt on Doing Nothing

“I will admit that there are other people who are primarily interested in doing something. I am not. I can very well live without doing anything. But I cannot live without at least trying to understand whatever happens.”

~ Hannah Arendt, 1972

Seneca on Calm

“To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Burdens

“If you want to escape the burdens that oppress you, you should not be somewhere else, but someone else.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Excellence

“Excellence withers without an adversary.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Revenge

“How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury.”

~ Seneca

Marcus Aurelius on Ambition

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do… sanity means tying it to your own actions.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius on Harm

“Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed, and you haven’t been.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

Seneca on Vices

“I am satisfied if each day I make some reduction in the number of my vices and find fault with my mistakes.”

~ Seneca

Epictetus on Anger

Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.

~ Epictetus