If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Socrates is you can’t teach people anything. No matter how hard you try, you’re never going to teach them anything. You can only make people think. You help open their eyes and realize what they are capable of.
Here are 17 of the best quotes and life changing lessons we can take from Socrates. Did we miss your favorite Socrates quotes? Share it in the comments below!
1. You have to be as you want to seem. No faking!
“The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.”
2. Virtue does not come from money.
“I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.”
3. Read the writings of other men and women to improve yourself.
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”
4. Wisdom is knowing how little you know.
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
“To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”
“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”
“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”
5. If you want to change the world, change yourself.
“Let him that would move the world first move himself.” ~ Socrates
“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”
6. You’ll be rich when you realize you have enough.
“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”
“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”
7. Eat healthy to live.
“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”
8. Live a good life, not a life chosen for you by someone else.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles.”
9. Nothing in life is ever truly stationary. Everything is in a constant state of change.
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
10. Don’t simply be busy, but be busy doing things that matter to you.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”
11. Explore the entire world.
“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
12. Think for yourself. Don’t let others do the thinking.
“To find yourself, think for yourself.”
13. Don’t rush head first into a friendship.
“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.”
14. Choose your words wisely.
“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
15. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Confront evil with good intentions.
“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”
16. Your soul is immortal.
“All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.”