20 Inspiring Lessons on Life and Happiness from Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (121- 180) was one of the most respected emperors in Roman history. His book Meditations (originally titled “To Himself”) is considered a landmark of Stoic philosophy.

Meditations is a collection of notes that Marcus wrote to himself during the last ten years of his life while he was on military campaigns. They are private and personal notes on what it means to live a happy and honourable life  and were never meant for publication.

Marcus explains that you always have control over your own mind, regardless of what may be going on around you. He reminds us to do good, to stay calm, to focus on what’s important and under our control, not wasting thoughts let alone time on what we can’t control and most of all to appreciate the gift of being alive. Enjoy!


Life lessons from Marcus Aurelius

  1. Give yourself a gift: the present moment. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.  – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …   – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.   – Marcus Aurelius


  1. My true self is free, it cannot be contained. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. The best revenge is not to be like your enemy. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Our life is what our thoughts make it. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.  – Marcus Aurelius


  1. The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Each day provides its own gifts. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Confine yourself to the present. We live only now. Everything else is either passed or is unknown. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears. – Marcus Aurelius


  1. That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees. – Marcus Aurelius