Often we rush after the latest idea, the great new method or the solution no one has ever considered. But throughout history wise people have recorded timeless wisdom.
Time management, personal relationships, mindset, comfort zones and perseverance were not unknown to ancient leaders. In fact most of the principles of success we employ today have been understood for many centuries. What you will find below are quotes from philosophers, kings, emperors, poets, lawyers, mathematicians, teachers and more. Every quote has been preserved for more that 1,000 years and still applies to your life today.
Here are 17 Ancient Quotes That Can Fuel Your Success:
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome. Lived from 121-180 AD.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
Socrates, classical Greek philosopher. Born 470 or 469 BC, died 399 BC.
“Happiness and freedom begin with one principle. Some things are within your control and some are not.”
Epictetus – Stoic philosopher. Lived from 55-155 AD.
“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in few.”
Pythagoras, Ionian Greek mathematician and philosopher. Lived from 570-495 BC.
“Difficulties strengthen the mind as labor does the body.”
Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher. Lived from 4BC-66AD.
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher and lawyer. Lived 107-43 BC.
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind and has given up worrying once and for all.”
Ovid, Roman poet. Born 43 BC, died 17 or 18 AD.
“Whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.”
Solomon, second King of Israel. Lived 990-931 BC
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
Confucius, Chinese teacher and philosopher. Lived 551-479 BC.
“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”
Heraclitus of Ephesus, Greek philosopher. Lived 535-475 BC.
“If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading.”
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and poet. (Note that Lao Tzu may not have been an actual person, but the quote is still valid.)
“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”
Plato, Greek philosopher and mathematician. Lived approximately 428-347 BC.
“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.”
Homer, Greek author of the Illiad and the Odyssey. Dates of birth and death are unknown. Lived somewhere in the range of 1102-850 BC.
“They can conquer who believe they can.”
Virgil, Roman poet. Lived 70-19 BC.
“The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”
Tacitus, senator and historian of the Roman Empire. Lived 56-117 AD.
“So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
The quotes above demonstrate that the basic principles of success in life have never changed. Having the proper mindset, moving outside your comfort zone, developing and maintaining healthy relationships and keeping focus were recognized a thousand and more years ago. Human nature has not changed and the ways in which we succeed, by stepping out and helping others, remain as the foundation for personal progress.
Following the works of a contemporary author or speaker may match more with your perspective or outlook and there is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes looking back into antiquity shows you the long view. Technologies and methods may change, but what it takes to succeed in the world remains constant.
Let me close with a quote from the mid 20th century that shows the importance of learning from those who have gone before.
“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”
General George S. Patton, Lived 1885-1945 AD
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