The concept of philosophy has been around for hundreds of years. While it’s evolved to fit modern times, the base teachings still somehow feel both timeless and current at the same time. And those who helped shape modern philosophy have also had the ability to transcend time and space. One of those people was Socrates. A Greek philosopher and teacher who strangely never actually wrote anything, his lessons on life and humanity ring just as true today as they did yesterday. Socrates quotes are said daily and many other famous people today have their own twist on these quotes.
Below we collected 10 of the best Socrates quotes to help you find your inner peace and live fully.
1. Socrates quote on starting by appreciating where you are right now
A lot of us tend to fall into the modern trap of wanting more in order to be happy. If I could only get that promotion, or if I could just save enough for that house then I’d be happy for sure. The funny thing is, that according to Socrates, this isn’t such a modern issue after all. Even hundreds of years ago in ancient Rome it looks like humans were still…well, human. The act of learning to appreciate what you have now, and not trying to look for happiness in material things you don’t yet have, is a life skill that you will use forever. If you’re unhappy in your entry-level engineering job now, really ask yourself if a promotion to management will fix that. Or if the ability to change your perception where you already are would be more helpful instead.
2. Socrates quote on learning to listen and not just hear
Socrates thinks there’s a valid reason as to which we have more body parts that help us listen than ones to help us speak. And we tend to agree. Anyone can hear you when you’re talking. If their ears have that function, then that’s all they need. But there’s few and far between that know how to truly listen. The good news is that it’s something you can learn to do. Start by focusing on what the other person is saying. Don’t use that time to think about your reply. Make eye contact, and truly try to process what they’re sharing with you. Then, take your time finding an appropriate reply. As a bonus tip, they’ll find you much more interesting if they know you’re actually paying attention to them!
3. Socrates quote on the value of self-work
Do you want to know the secret to life? Socrates figured it out. The secret to life is working on yourself every single day to make sure your thoughts, actions and words are in harmony. Yes – as simple (and complicated) as that. Many of us go through life without really stopping to think about how we’re living. How do the decisions we make affect others? How do the clothes we wear impact the lives of others? How do the things we decide to eat influence global supply chains?
This Socrates quote reminds us to start thinking about what goals we want to accomplish in life. Do we have a plan to achieve them?
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4. Socrates quote on learning to choose your friends wisely
Socrates quotes like these remind us of one of the greatest joys in life, friendship! People come in and out of our lives to share small or big moments with us, leave us with fond memories, and then go back to their own path. But once in a while, we’ll find someone who fits with us so well that they end up staying for years. These are important people. And we should choose them wisely. Take your time selecting your true friends, but once you have, don’t let them go. Those we surround ourselves with have the power to change the course of our lives – don’t let just anyone take that spot.
5. Socrates quote on taking the time to enjoy life along the way
Socrates quotes like this remind us that human life is both incredibly long, but also incredibly short. Spend some time every day enjoying being alive. No matter how old you are when you read this, Socrate’s quote will apply to you. It’s already later than you think, so don’t put off doing those things that make you happy because you’re expecting to have time to do them later in life. Go on that trip, eat out at the fancy restaurant, and take a fake sick day once in a while to go to the park with your dog.
6. Socrates quote on understanding that this too shall pass
This Socrates quote reminds us of the saying “This too shall pass”. Nature and life are everchanging, and human emotions and situations are no exception. No matter how stressful or complicated something might seem or feel, remember that it will pass since nothing is ever permanent. Glaciers melt into water, rock is eroded into sand, and that anxiety you feel will be gone soon too. On that same note, good moments also won’t last so be mindful of enjoying them while they’re there.
7. Socrates quote on remembering that every person is their own universe
Socrates quotes like this remind us to be kind to everyone that we meet. Sometimes it might feel like we’re the only ones struggling with something, but the truth is everyone is dealing with complicated things. Be kind to everyone you cross paths with. You never know what problems or feelings they might be dealing with that day. And the same way you’d want someone to be kind to you in a moment of need, we should all offer the same courtesy to those around us.
8. Socrates quote on why being busy isn’t always a sign of success
The act of constantly being busy prevents us from stopping to enjoy the fruits of all the effort we’ve put in. Those who are always on the go aren’t more successful or important than those who stop to rest. In fact, setting up periods of rest or of time to do nothing other than reading a book, taking a nap, or watching your favorite series is the best way to recharge. Once your batteries are at 100% again, then you can get back on the saddle and keep hustling towards your goals.
9. Socrates quote on the one thing you’ll never lose
There are various reasons why knowledge holds much more value than actual wealth, like money. To start off, while money is dependent on factors around you, knowledge and education are something that once you have it can never be taken away from you. Another point to keep into account is that wealth can breed jealousy because of the status it provides you within society. But knowledge doesn’t seem to have that same effect, even though you can rebuild wealth with knowledge, but not necessarily the other way around. Essentially, if you’re ever in a situation where you have to choose one or the other both Socrates and us would encourage you to go with knowledge, and build your wealth from that knowledge.
10. Socrates quote on how you’re in charge of your own reputation
The good news about being a person living in society nowadays is that you have full control over how you come across to other people. Wishing people saw you as kind and helpful, or smart and independent is not enough to make that happen. Act those things out, and soon enough, you’ll have designed the vision of you people have created.