These quotes of Seneca can help turn you into a better human being.
They can help you become a stronger person, a more
Before we look at the best stoicism quotes of Seneca, we should quickly look at the main himself. His trials and adversity. And his choices, which were not always the best.
Who Was Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Seneca is a sort of igima. And – for many reasons – the most interesting Stoic.
To explain the complexity and contradictions of Seneca’s life would take a book, or a dedicated, very long blog post.
But it is more space than when having on our list of Stoic Quotes.
One reason Seneca is so interesting is that unlike other stoics craved fame, loved his wealth and desired to be remembered for generations. All things that many other revered stoics often talked against. And wrote the worthlessness of them.
And Seneca agreed with them. But that didn’t stop him from waiting for them.
He wrote, “some few great men will raise their heads above it, but most will depart into the same realms of silence, into battle against oblivion.”
Seneca also said, “our lives like jewels of a great price be noteworthy not because of their width, but because of their weight. Let us measure them by their performance, not of their duration.”
And that is how Seneca lived until his last breath.
But Seneca is one of the most well-known stoics. But he wasn’t always the shining example of Stoicism.
Quick History of Seneca
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman philosopher, statesman, orator, and dramatist. He was born in Spain in the late B. C, around the same time as Jesus.
Seneca fell in love with philosophy at an early age. And while his father would have never wanted him to become a Roman Stoic Philosopher, he encouraged his studies.
Seneca’s father was a wealthy man. But wanted Seneca to become a lawyer. And this is the path that Seneca was headed down. Until someone diagnosed him with an illness, most likely tuberculous, right as his legal career was taking off. This forced Seneca to travel to Egypt for the dry climate, where he spent the next 10 years of his life.
After coming back, he quickly started making a name for himself as a lawyer in the Roman Empire. But drew the anger, or most likely jealousy, of the mad Emperor Caligula. Who orders his death? But then changes his mind, because someone close to Caligula convinced him that because of his illness, he would die soon, anyway. Instead of being killed, Seneca is forced into exile and forced to leave Rome again. Another enormous setback for his career. And his life.
Seneca does not take this exile well.
After Caligula’s death, by his guard. Seneca is called back to Rome to become the tutor to a young boy named Nero. Yes, the infamous Nero, who was around 16 years old.
He tutors Nero and becomes part of his court once Nero becomes Roman Emperor.
He witnessed some of Nero’s biggest crimes. And as Nero become more insane, and killed more and more people, including his mother, Seneca stayed by his side. And this begs the question, why? When this goes against his Stoic Philosophy. Was he trying to be the adult in the room? Well, yes. He was trying to steer Nero towards a better path. But that meant he was betraying his philosophy.
And during this time, he becomes rich. One of the richest men in the empire. Another contradiction. And Seneca addresses this in his writings. Saying that, “Wealth acquired without harm to any man, without base dealing, is no less honorable, and it should make no man groan expect the spiteful.” You can see the problem here, right? His wealth was not gained without harm. It was given to him by Nero. And he was harming many people. His main point was if you are indifferent to wealth, then it is okay for a philosopher to be rich. And this is true for Seneca.
At some point, Seneca found his way back to his stoic roots. He had a falling out with Nero. Gave up his wealth and moved away from the empire. This is when he seems the happiest and does his most important work and writings. He goes back to his stoic roots. He finds happiness with friends and family. He starts only eating bread, water, and wild fruit.
Eventually, Emperor Nero has Seneca killed. And Seneca makes good on his stoic wisdom. Seneca, who has written so much, and thought so much about it, meets his death bravely. Many call it his greatest moment. It meets become an inspiration to resist tyrants everywhere.
Seneca is a fascinating character in stoicism. And these quotes of Seneca can still inspire us today.
The Best Stoic Quotes of Seneca
Top 10 Seneca Quotes
If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you are needing is not to be in a different place, but to be a different person
Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them, but because we had them.
He suffers more than necessary. Who suffers before it is necessary. (This is a great quote to think about during meditation.)
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that things are difficult. (This might be my favorite quote of Seneca).
It is not the man who has too little. But the man who craves more. That is poor.
We often complain of the shortness of time and yet have much more than we know what to do with our lives. Either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end to them.
A jem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man affected without trials. The bravest saint in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is whole.
You want to live. Do you know how to live? You are scared of dying. But tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different to being dead?
Seneca Quotes Shortness of Life
“You will find that you are most alive when you are in movement, not at rest.”
While we are postponing, life speeds by.
True happiness is to enjoy the present without anxious dependence upon the future. Not to amuse ourselves. We are the either hopes and our fears. But the rest satisfied with what we have. Which is sufficient. (A great quote to help you live a happy life.)
Count each separate day as a separate life.
While we wait for life, life passes.
Life is long if you know how to use it.
Hurry up and live.
It is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
As is a tale. So is life. Not how long it is, but how good it is what matters.
Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.
What really ruins our character is the fact that none of us looks back over his life. (Love quotes like this by Seneca).
“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.”- Seneca
“Putting a thing off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow, and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” -Seneca
Seneca Quotes on Learning
“To do the same things, whether well or ill, is a slavery that no one can be strong enough to endure.”
Hang on to your useful enthusiasms. You’ll be able to use them better when you are older.
Cease to hope and you will cease to fear.
Is a man knows not to which port he sails. No wind is favorable
The difficulty comes from our lack of confidence.
“To reduce your worry, you must assume that what you fear may happen is certainly going to happen.” – Seneca
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.
It does not matter how many books you have, but how good are the books which you have.
Every night before going to sleep, we must ask ourselves, what weakness did I overcome today? What virtue did I inquire?
“I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.”- seneca
“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.” – Seneca
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
Seneca Adversity Quote
‘To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.” -SENECA
Only time can heal what reason cannot.
The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be. Without wishing for what he has not.
He who is brave is free.
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
Throw me to the wolves? And I will return. Leading the pack.
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. (A great quote to inspire some motivation).
Never pity a good man; though he may be called unhappy, he can never be unhappy. -Seneca
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.”
Seneca The Younger Quotes on Wealth
“Money talks more eloquently than words. It is a kind of poetry without words.”
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
Wealth is the slave of a wise man and the master of a fool.
For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.
“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” -Seneca
“What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
More Stoic Quotes of Seneca
Ignorance is the cause of fear.
Man is affected not by events, but by the view he takes of them.
When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
“If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich.” Nature’s wants are slight; the demands of opinion are boundless.”
“Wild animals run from the dangers they actually see, and once they have escaped them, worry no more. We, however, are tormented alike by past memories and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.” – Seneca
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light to a thing which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them… Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come when the memory of us will have been effaced.”
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short, but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” –Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“If you live in harmony with nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to what others think, you will never be rich.” – Seneca
“Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.”
“Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness”.
“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”
“Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.”
“Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms — you’ll be able to use them better when you’re older.”
“All cruelty springs from weakness.”
Seneca Quotes Latin
“Non est ad astra mollis e terris via” – “There is no easy way from the earth to the stars”
“Timendi causa est nescire –
Ignorance is the cause of fear.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Final Thoughts on these Quotes of Seneca
These Seneca quotes are fantastic for any time or place. They can help you become a better person. Better traveler, or even better husband.
These quotes of Seneca can help you get through a hard day. Or inspire you to become better. These stoic quotes have inspired some of Marcus Aurelius’ quotes, in meditations.
So apply these quotes. Because as Seneca said, “We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application-not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech-and learn them so well that words become works.”