Letters from a Stoic

Assorted quotes from Letters from a Stoic, by Seneca.

Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.

It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more.

You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.

Anyone thinking of his own interests and seeking out friendship with this in view is making a great mistake.

Making noble resolutions is not as important as keeping the resolutions you have made already. You have to preserve and fortify your pertinacity until the will to good becomes a disposition to good.

It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself to deal with difficult times.

A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness.

The men who pioneered the old routes are leaders, not our masters. Truth lies open to everyone. There has yet to be a monopoly of truth. And there is plenty of it left for future generations too.

Thinking of departed friends is to me something sweet and mellow. For when I had them with me it was the feeling that I was going to lose them, and now that I have lost them I keep the feeling that I have them with me still.

An ordinary journey will be incomplete if you come to a stop in the middle of it, or anywhere short of your destination, but life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one.

A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.

The geometrician teaches me how I may avoid losing any fraction of my estates, but what I really want to learn is how to lose the lot and still keep smiling.

For the only safe harbour in this life’s tossing, troubled sea is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring and to stand ready and confident, squaring the breast to take without skulking or flinching whatever fortune hurls at us.

Everyone faces up more bravely to a thing for which he has long prepared himself, sufferings, even, being withstood if they have been trained for in advance. Those who are unprepared, on the other hand, are panic-stricken by the most insignificant happenings. We must see to it that nothing takes us by surprise.