50 Philosophical Life Quotes From Famous Philosophers To Inspire And Motivate You

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The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less. Socrates
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Pastor Charles R. Swindoll once said that life is 10% action and 90% reaction. That’s always hit home for me because when you think about it, life really is all about perception.

Life can be tough, so you’ve got to be careful what you feed your mind and soul.

Daily inspiration and motivation can come from a lot of places, but what better place to look than to the words from some of the world's most famous philosophers?

In this digital age, we’re saturated with social media posts galore. Whether they're about getting over your ex, motivating yourself to get in the gym, motivating yourself to pursue your passions, separating your fake friends from your real ones, we see hundreds of quotes, memes and tweets each day, telling us each how to live our best life.

How can we know which pieces of advice are any good, and which we should probably just ignore?

In my opinion, a good place to start is by taking inspiration from people who devoted their lives to studying and understanding the human condition — philosophers.

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After all, some people believe that the quotes we see, read and hear on a regular basis may subconsciously affect the way we perceive our lives.

To help you find some much needed inspiration, we rounded up 50 of the best philosophical life quotes from famous philosophers.

We hope you find them as inspiring, motivating and hopeful as we do.

1. Never let someone tell you you’re loving too hard.

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” — Bertrand Russell

2. Being in control makes the average person happier.

“Happiness is the feeling that power increases — that resistance is being overcome.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

3. Instead of always indulging in your desires, you need limits on those desires to be truly happy.

“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” — John Stuart Mill

4. Appreciating the simpler things is a quicker route to happiness.

“The secret of happiness, you see is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” — Socrates

5. Good things typically come from positivity.

“The more man mediates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” — Confucius

6. Appreciating what you have helps you not think about the things you don’t have.

“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

7. Live in the present. It’ll save you some heartache.

“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” — Lao Tzu

8. Life isn’t perfect so don’t act like it is. Just live.

“Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” — Soren Kierkegaard

9. They say that when you stop looking for something in life, that’s when it comes to you.

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” — Henry David Thoreau

10. Never let hate consume you.

“If you hate a person, then you’re defeated by them.“ — Confucius

11. Speed doesn’t matter as much as direction.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius

12. Life is a learning experience; you might as well surround yourself with some good teachers.

“Never form a friendship with a man who is not better than you.” — Confucius

13. Ask yourself is it worth it.

“When anger arises, think of the consequences.” — Confucius

14. A change in a course of action can make all the difference.

“When it is obvious that goals can’t be reached, don’t adjust the goals, but adjust the action steps." — Confucius

15. Looking within often leads to you finding many treasures.

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” — Confucius

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16. Lead with heart.

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” —​ Confucius

17. Help those who are willing to help themselves.

“Give instructions only to those people who seek knowledge after they have discovered their ignorance.” — Confucius

18. Take pleasure in the small things.

“Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.” — Confucius

19. There’s a reason people talk behind your back. It’s because they’re behind you.

“If they spit at you behind your back it means you’re ahead of them.” — Confucius

20. All overthinking does is give you unwanted stress.

“No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.” — Alan Watts

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21. Getting caught up in the past is never good.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates

22. Sometimes the quickest way to depression is to compare how our lives are with how we think our lives should be.

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” — Alan Watts

23. Change is never easy but instead of overthinking it, just do it.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” — Alan Watts

24. You probably won’t be able to enjoy the future if you can’t even enjoy the present.

“No valid plans for the future can be made can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” — Alan Watts

25. Get to know people before you make assumptions.

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” — Francois Voltaire

26. Love is complicated but worth it.

“The madness of love the greatest of heaven’s blessings.” — Plato

27. They say it’s insane to take the same course of action and expect a different result.

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” — Confucius

28. Don’t let others disturb your tranquility.

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” — the Dalai Lama

29. Truly advanced minds are skeptical when pondering upon over viewpoints.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

30. Any action can be thoroughly analyzed when you take into account all factors.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

31. No matter what you do you’ll be criticized. Haters are going to hate.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” — Aristotle

32. Look beyond the surface.

“Eyes and ears are poor witnesses to people if they have uncultured souls.” — Heraclitus

33. Regardless of the size of the effort, all effort counts when accomplishing goals.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

34. It takes intelligence to admit you don’t know something.

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” — Aristotle

35. This type of talking to yourself is a good thing.

“Thinking. The talking of the soul with itself.” — Plato

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36. True art is beyond the physical.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” — Aristotle

37. Look within for true happiness.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” — Aristotle

38. Sometimes the most rational reason appears as irrational.

“Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.” — Karl Marx

39. Simplicity is key.

“It’s strange how simple things become, once you see them clearly.” — Ayn Rand

40. Use your own ideals. Don’t rely on others.

“Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own intelligence.” — Immanuel Kant

41. Temperament is more useful than sole intelligence.

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.” — René Descartes

42. You reap what you sow.

“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” — Albert Einstein

43. Actions always have and always will speak louder than words.

“To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do rather than what they say.” — René Descartes

44. Perception is everything.

“We do not describe the world we see. We see the world we can describe.” — René Descartes

45. Take things one step at a time and be optimistic.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius

46. Be strong enough to say no sometimes.

“A ‘no’ uttered from deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” — Mahatma Gandhi

47. With age should come wisdom.

“The more sand had escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

48. All or nothing.

“You only learn when you give your whole being to something.” — J. Krishnamurti

49. The power of the mind is not a joke.

“I think; therefore I am.” — René Descartes

50. Be heartfelt.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” — Aristotle

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Eric Webb is a writer living in New Jersey. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Penn State, and he's passionate about sports and encouraging people to be themselves.

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