15 Stoic Quotes on Failure That’ll Change Your Perspective

What is stoicism?

According to Ryan Holiday of the Daily Stoic, Stoicism is ‘a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life, rather than some esoteric field of academic inquiry’. Personally, I find it to be the key to introspection on the deepest levels. During troubling times in my life, I would often look to Stoic principles to provide guidance. Here are 15 stoic quotes on failure that changed my perspective on failure.


”A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

”How does it help to make troubles heavier by bemoaning them.”

”We suffer more in our imagination than in reality”

“Think your way through difficulties: harsh conditions can be softened, restricted ones can be widened, and heavy ones can weigh less on those who know how to bear them.”

stoic quotes on failure


Seneca (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Lessons from Seneca. Who was Lucius AnnaTeus Seneca?

Ryan Holiday

”The obstacle is the way.”

”Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.”

“If you want momentum, you’ll have to create it yourself, right now, by getting up and getting started.”


Ryan Holiday Sells Stoicism as a Life Hack, Without Apology – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

About – RyanHoliday.net

stoic quotes on failure

How well do you cope with failure. I want you to give it some honest thought. Are you someone who dwells on the past, are you able to take constructive feedback?


”It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them”

”Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”

”It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”

stoic quotes on failure


Epictetus | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (utm.edu)

The Internet Classics Archive | The Enchiridion by Epictetus (mit.edu)

Marcus Aurelius

“Change: nothing inherently bad in the process, nothing inherently good in the result.” 

“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

”It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

“Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not “This is misfortune,” but “To bear this worthily is good fortune.”


Stoicism in a time of pandemic: how Marcus Aurelius can help | Classics | The Guardian

Marcus Aurelius | Biography, Meditations, & Facts | Britannica

What do you think? Do any of these stoic quotes on failure resonate with you? Did you recognize any of these stoic philosophers? Let me know in the comment below, I’m curious!

4 Replies to “15 Stoic Quotes on Failure That’ll Change Your Perspective”

  1. I didn’t know very much about stoicism – thank you for explaining it! There are all great quotes on how to address failure. There are so many of them throughout history that it makes me wonder why other people have a hard time admitting to failure. Lol – I’ll take your quiz 🙂

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