Resilience is a word that most people would say is a positive trait, but few find easy to develop.

For me, resilience is simply the ability to endure and overcome, all while limiting the negative impact that hardship can have on your mind, overall suffering, and outlook.

Part of building this trait is perspective. It’s seeing opportunity in adversity, accepting situations as they are, and moving forward instead of wishing they were better. It’s also learning to be comfortable in the knowledge that you have the tools to endure.

To that end, here are 10 stoic quotes to provide small shifts in perspective towards resilience:

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10 Stoic Quotes For Resilience :

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

    Seneca raises a good point. Most of the things that we worry about are simply figments of our imagination. They’re not real, and it’s rare that they ever become real.

    We spend our time worrying about fictional arguments, situations, and risks that never materialise into anything in the real world. All they do is cause us suffering.

    Pay attention to what you’re worrying about, there’s a good chance your simply worrying about your own imagination.

  2. “It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them.” – Epictetus

    Whenever we experience something that causes us to suffer, there is a good chance that we’re not suffering because of the thing, but because of how we perceive it.

    For example; imagine you’re stuck in traffic. The traffic itself is not good or bad, it’s just a line of cars. However, your perception of the traffic makes it good or bad.

  3. “If you want something good, get it from yourself.” – Epictetus

    As the old saying goes; be the change you want to see in the world. Take responsibility for your thoughts and your actions, don’t expect anything from other people.

    If you’re stuck in a negative situation, be the person to add some good and make it better.

    If you find yourself complaining about something, think about what you can do to make the situation better.

    Rely on yourself to improve your life. Don’t expect good to come from the world or other people, you might be waiting a long time.

  4. “You can bind up my leg, but not even Zeus has the power to break my freedom of choice.” – Epictetus.

    Epictetus points out an important rule for life; we can’t always decide what happens to us, but we can always decide how we respond. We are responsible for how we act and how we react. No one can take this freedom of choice away from us.

  5. “How does it help…to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them?” – Seneca

    Life contains a fair amount of suffering, it’s hard sometimes. However people often increase their suffering by holding onto their troubles and amplifying them. This is done whenever you moan, complain, act the victim. The alternative is to look at your adversity, find out what you can learn from it, take responsibility for your growth, and move on.

    Very little can be gained by wallowing in self pity, or blaming the world for your misfortune. These things are anchors that hold you to the past and drag you down into the waters of your misery.

  6. “Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.” – EpicteTus

    Epictetus makes an observation here that is key to the development of resilience. We have to manage our expectations.

    If you hope for everything to behave as you want it to behave you are setting yourself up to suffer. Most things in life are outside the reach of your control, you have no say in how they will transpire.

    So, if you have placed an expectation on the world to act as you desire, what you have really done is pinned your well-being on events that you have no control over. Your well-being is now at the mercy of chance. It is fragile.

    Instead, accept that the world and it’s people will act in their nature. All you can do is decide how you respond to them.

  7. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.” – Epictetus

    The benefit of reading philosophy can be profound. There is a massive wealth of practical knowledge hidden in the pages of books, papers, and essays.

    There’s also benefits in discussing our philosophy, how we deal with different challenges and our opinions on some of life’s more difficult questions.

    However Epictetus points out that reading and discussion are only part of the puzzle. To see the full benefits of our frameworks, we need to embody them. We need to practice what we preach, walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.

  8. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

    This idea links back to Epictetus’ Dichotomy of Control. There are many things around us that we have the ability to change, however there are more things that are completely outside the realm of our influence.

    When we find that we have done all we can to influence our situation but we still suffer, we are then challenged to look within.

    We have the ability to lessen suffering by simply changing how we perceive our situation. Can we find something positive in it? Are there any opportunities for growth? Will this hardship make us more resilient in the future? Can we learn anything from this?

  9. “You have power over your mind—not outside events. REALISE this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

    The only things we really control are our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and actions. Everything else is outside the reach of our control.

    When we realise this, we are able to accept the world around us for what it is, and take responsibility for how we respond to it. This prevents us from needlessly suffering because we expect the world to behave in a certain way. As Marcus Aurelius wrote; it provides us with a certain strength.

  10. “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Seneca

    We are responsible for our actions. If we choose to act cruelly, we will do so. If we choose to act with compassion, we will.

    Everyone has this same responsibility. Wherever there are people there is the potential for both kindness and cruelty, it’s a choice that people have to make.

Amor Fati. Build resilience.

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