Seneca the Younger (in full Lucius Annaeus Seneca) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, orator, and tragedian. Known as one of Rome’s leading intellectual figures, Seneca was also a tutor and advisor to emperor Nero.

As a boy, Seneca was taken to Rome by an aunt, where he was trained as an orator and educated in philosophy. He grew up to be a successful senator and orator. In fact, emperor Caligula became so jealous of Seneca’s remarkable gift for oratory that he ordered his execution. Seneca only escaped because of his poor health and Caligula was told that he doesn’t have many days to live anyway.

Although he survived Caligula’s reign, Seneca was forced to live in exile, as the next emperor’s wife accused him of committing adultery. It was then that he wrote the Consolations, which contain the essence of his Stoic teachings.

The philosopher was later recalled to Rome by Agrippina, to tutor her son, Nero – the future emperor that would later order Seneca to kill himself. All of this due to a misunderstanding.

Seneca’s work inspired playwrights such as Shakespeare, and his masterpiece Oedipus, was held in high esteem in Elizabethan England, as the standard for tragedies.

Here are 30 Seneca quotes to help you live a fulfilling and worthwhile life.

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so, wants nothing. 

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

All cruelty springs from weakness.

Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.


Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.

Every night before going to sleep, we must ask ourselves: what weakness did I overcome today? What virtue did I acquire?

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

Associate with people who are likely to improve you.

Man is affected not by events but by the view he takes of them.


We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

You want to live but do you know how to live? You are scared of dying and tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?

Time heals what reason cannot.

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.

Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms — you’ll be able to use them better when you’re older.

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. 

It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.

The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.

It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.

If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you’re needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person.

He suffers more than necessary, who suffers before it is necessary.

Wealth is the slave of the wise. The master of the fool.

Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.

Life is never incomplete if it is an honorable one. At whatever point you leave life, if you leave it in the right way, it is whole.