Stoicism Series 2-5: 30 Quotes By Marcus Aurelius For Traders

The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. ~ Marcus Aurelius

Stoicism is a philosophy that was developed in the times of ancient Greece, and it was practiced by many people, both powerful and not.

If you are not familiar with the philosophy and missed the previous article (Part 1 of this 5 part series of articles on Stoicism), check it out: What Is Stoicism, And How Can It Help You Become A Better Trader.

In today’s article, I want to share 30 quotes by Marcus Aurelius. This is part 2 of the Stoicism Series.


The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.


Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.


Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.


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


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.


The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, insofar as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall.


If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.


I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.


Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.


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.


Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.


Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.


Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.


Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.


Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.


A man must stand erect, not be kept erect by others.


Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.


You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.


Receive without conceit, release without struggle.


Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear.


Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.


Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.


Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.


Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.


Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming—in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you—means a loss of opportunity for some other task.


Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.


If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.


Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of those applauding hands. The people who praise us; how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region it takes place. The whole earth a point in space – and most of it uninhabited.


Confine yourself to the present.


Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.



One must not think deeply in order to see how stoic philosophy applies to trading. The relevance is obvious. In the next article, we’ll see some other quotes, this time from Seneca.

These quotes (and many others) can be found in The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday.

There are many books out there that attempt to recount the work of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca, and other stoic leaders. As is often the case when reading old literary works as such, the wordings can be difficult to decode. Some translations are also often inaccurate and the meaning is lost.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living sorts through the noise and gathers the essential. This book will simply make you think more deeply about your life; about the circumstances, you find yourself in, and it will help you extract wisdom and meaning, one page at a time, so that you can live a better life… more peaceful and at ease with everything.

And since any change starts with practice, if you feel you might need some guidance as you begin to implement stoic ethics and principles in your life; as you begin to live them and make some real change in your trading, check out the offer below.

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I've been trading for a living since 2006. By merging mindfulness (an in-depth study of the mind and its tendencies in the present moment), a good trading process, and an efficient business practice, I went from being a losing trader to a consistently profitable one. Through my work here at Trading Composure, I aim at helping you do the same.
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