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90 Seneca Quotes On Life, Time, and Happiness



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Seneca, also known as Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger, was a prominent Roman philosopher, statesman, and dramatist who lived from around 4 BC to 65 AD. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the philosophy of Stoicism. His works have been responsible for the Renaissance revival of Stoic ideas, and he provides an approachable introduction to the philosophy for modern readers.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the best quotes from the Stoic philosopher. The quotes are categorized into different themes such as life, luck, time, suffering, anxiety, and death. We will delve into the wisdom of Stoicism and how it can help us live a meaningful and virtuous life.

For instance, Seneca believed that true happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. He also believed that putting things 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.

Here are 90 Seneca quotes about life to help you live a fulfilling and worthwhile life.

Seneca Quotes (Seneca the Younger Quotes)

1. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” – Seneca

2. “A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” – Seneca

3. “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” – Seneca

4. “It does not matter how many books you have, but how good the books are which you have.” – Seneca

5. “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Seneca

6. “A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.” – Seneca

7. “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” – Seneca

8. “Life, if well lived, is long enough.” – Seneca

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9. “Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands.” – Seneca

10. “Even after a bad harvest there must be sowing.” – Seneca

11. “A great mind becomes a great fortune.” – Seneca

12. “True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” – Seneca

13. “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Seneca

14. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca

15. “Life is like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.” – Seneca

16. “He who is brave is free.” – Seneca

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17. “The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” – Seneca

18. “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.” – Seneca

19. “He that does good to another does good also to himself.” – Seneca

20. “All cruelty springs from weakness.” – Seneca

21. “While we are postponing, life speeds by.” – Seneca

22. “Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.” – Seneca

23. “Fire tests gold and adversity tests the brave.” – Seneca

24. “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” – Seneca

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25. “If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich.” – Seneca

26. “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.” – Seneca

27. “If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.” – Seneca

28. “Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.” – Seneca

29. “Time heals what reason cannot.” – Seneca

30. “Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” – Seneca

31. “If you wished to be loved, love.” – Seneca

32. “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” – Seneca

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33. “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” – Seneca

34. “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.” – Seneca

35. “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.” – Seneca

36. “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca

37. “No man was ever wise by chance.” – Seneca

38. “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – Seneca

39. “Putting things 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

40. “It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” – Seneca

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41. “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Seneca

42. “Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war.” – Seneca

43. “You must live for another if you wish to live for yourself.” – Seneca

44. “The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.” – Seneca

45. “Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” – Seneca

46. “Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” – Seneca

47. “The things hardest to bear are sweetest to remember.” – Seneca

48. “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.” – Seneca

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49. “Time discovers truth.” – Seneca

50. “In war there is no prize for runner-up.” – Seneca

51. “We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.” – Seneca

52. “Every night before going to sleep, we must ask ourselves: what weakness did I overcome today? What virtue did I acquire?” – Seneca

53. “Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms – you’ll be able to use them better when you’re older.” – Seneca

54. “You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.” – Seneca

55. “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” – Seneca

56. “We learn not in the school, but in life.” – Seneca

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57. “Wealth is the slave of a wise man. The master of a fool.” – Seneca

58. “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.” – Seneca

59. “Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” – Seneca

60. “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” – Seneca

61. “While we wait for life, life passes.” – Seneca

62. “But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.” – Seneca

63. “I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.” – Seneca

64. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

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65. “The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable.” – Seneca

66. “No man’s good by accident. Virtue has to be learnt.” – Seneca

67. “There is no enjoying the possession of anything valuable unless one has someone to share it with.” – Seneca

68. “No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself.” – Seneca

69. “It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” – Seneca

70. “Let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life.” – Seneca

71. “The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what is in Fortune’s control and abandoning what lies in yours.” – Seneca

72. “Associate with people who are likely to improve you.” – Seneca

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73. “All this hurrying from place to place won’t bring you any relief, for you’re traveling in the company of your own emotions, followed by your troubles all the way.” – Seneca

74. “Just as with storytelling, so with life: it’s important how well it is done, not how long.” – Seneca

75. “There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.” – Seneca

76. “It’s not years nor days, but the mind, that determines that we’ve lived enough.” – Seneca

77. “It is not what you endure that matters, but how you endure it.” – Seneca

78. “Nothing is ours, except time.” – Seneca

79. “There are more things likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more in our imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

80. “The part of life we really live is small.’ For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.” – Seneca

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81. “I never spend a day in idleness; I appropriate even a part of the night for study. I do not allow time for sleep but yield to it when I must, and when my eyes are wearied with waking and ready to fall shut, I keep them at their task.” – Seneca

82. “However much you possess there’s someone else who has more, and you’ll be fancying yourself to be short of things you need to exact extent to which you lag behind him.” – Seneca

83. “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing.” – Seneca

84. “To wish to progress is the largest part of progress.” – Seneca

85. “Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.” – Seneca

86. “The good things of prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.” – Seneca

87. “Silence is a lesson learned through life’s many sufferings.” – Seneca

88. “They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.” – Seneca

89. “To be everywhere; is to be nowhere.” – Seneca

90. “A person’s fears are lighter when the danger is at hand.” – Seneca

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Conclusion: Seneca Quotes

These are just a few examples of the many insightful quotes that Seneca has left us with. I hope this introduction has piqued your interest in the philosophy of Stoicism and the works of Seneca. Stay tuned for more!.

What are your favorite Seneca quotes? Please share in the comment section below.

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