6 Quotes From Ancient Philosophers That Can Help You Live Better Today


Happiness resides not in possessions; happiness dwells in the soul. Democritus

More stuff does not equal more happiness. We buy mountains and mountains of material things, only to feel as empty as when we started. Stop falling into the trap. You know better. Happiness is not found in possessions. Happiness is found in laughter and sunshine and climbing mountains and watermelon slices and great conversations and kissing and getting lost in a good song and stargazing and running into the ocean and friends and family and sharing a pizza. Fill your life with moments, not things.

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. Epictetus

They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. That’s scary stuff. If you frequently hang around people who are manipulative, critical, jealous or close-minded, it’s probably going to rub off on you eventually. Even if it doesn’t, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to spend your limited time on earth with better people. Surround yourself with friends who support you, inspire you, make you a better person, and make you feel alive.

What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you. Seneca

Worrying about what other people think is a waste of energy. Let them think what they want. You can’t read their thoughts anyway. And if you could, you would see that they are completely pre-occupied with their own hang-ups and insecurities. There is a huge amount of freedom in letting go of the need for social approval. Judge yourself by your own standards. And go easy on yourself while you’re at it.

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life. Aristotle

Society teaches us that our purpose in life is to tick off the list of big milestones: go to college, graduate, get a stable job, buy a house, get married, raise children. The problem with this is that we put our happiness on hold until we reach the targets – and we don’t truly feel satisfied until we collect the whole set. This is a terrible way to live. Let’s see happiness itself as the purpose of our life, and then we will be more inclined to seek it out and to savor it every single day.

Waste not fresh tears over old griefs. Euripedes

Dwelling on the past won’t change the past, but it will rob you of today. When you are grasping onto something from long ago, you are not creating the space to let new things into your life — friends, lovers, experiences, memories. It may take a few weeks of consciously banning the thought from your mind. It may take a whole lot of extra self-love and indulgence. Do what it takes, because the present moment is too precious to waste lost in thoughts of the past.

Every man is the architect of his own future. Sallust

No one is going to make your dreams happen for you except you. There is little point blaming circumstances or other people or a shortage of time. You are the only thing holding you back. Take responsibility for where you are in life. Feeling restless? Unsatisfied? Like you are capable of more? Like you have barely scratched the surface of living? You need to spend some time working out what piece is missing from the puzzle of your life. Once you know, make a tangible plan to change things.