65 Insightful Socrates Quotes Full of Wisdom


Life is a precious gift. It has been given to you, me, and everyone else. Sadly, not all people truly understand how miraculous their lives are. Similarly, only a few are truly happy. One reason for this is that it is in our hands to discover how valuable life is and to make the most of it. Being appreciative of life in itself wouldn’t be that much of a problem – if it wasn’t for the challenging ups and downs. It’s mainly because of these tough times in life that it is so difficult to find meaning in our existence. Even more so, the trials and tribulations we are confronted with make it really difficult to examine one’s life and to live the good life. In these situations, it can be tremendously helpful to have a couple of insightful and wise quotes at hand that help you to get back up whenever life drags you down. For this reason, we’ve created a collection of the very best Socrates quotes that are full of inspiring wisdom and come with many profound lessons for life.

Socrates is, among Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, one of the most well-known Greek philosophers. He is not only regarded as an enigmatic genius but also elevated Western philosophy to new heights. Many go so far as to consider Socrates as one of the founding fathers of Western philosophy. What can be safely said about Socrates, however, is that he profoundly changed philosophy forever.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Socrates’ teachings and views on life have captured the imaginations of philosophically-minded people throughout the ages. His work continues to inspire millions of people from all kinds of different backgrounds even today.

Socrates quotes

Let’s have a look at some of the most powerful quotes by Socrates.

The Greek philosopher was particularly famous for his habit to question everything, which didn’t make him particularly popular with the state.

Luckily, his profound wisdom and his unique perspective on ethics, virtue, and life have been delivered to posterity by Plato and Xenophon. It is mainly because of Plato’s account that the heritage of one of the most popular Greek philosophers has been kept alive to this present day and age.

Insightful Socrates Quotes Full of Wisdom

Reading Socrates’ thoughts on ethics and his study of right and wrong can help you not only to become a good person but also to live a virtuous life. In fact, it was Socrates’ firm belief that the striving for excellence leads to success in life.

Another important aspect of his teaching was that wisdom leads to happiness. The philosopher argued that wise people profoundly understand the difference between right and wrong, which is why they avoid engaging in wrong actions. As a result of this, wise individuals are more likely to do what is right and good. Consequently, these are the people who are truly happy and who are truly living the good life.

Enjoy the following collection of Socrates quotes that will inspire you to do what is right and help you in resisting wrong actions. Here are some of Socrates’ greatest gifts to humanity.

1. What matters most

“It is not living that matters, but living rightly.”

2. Being content with what you have

“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”

3. How mental strength influences our actions

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

4. An important realization

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”

5. The souls of the righteous

“All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.”

6. The importance of examining your life

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

7. The best way to gain an excellent reputation

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”

8. Trying to resist the laws of life

“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.”

9. Praying for blessings

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.”

10. Changing yourself first

“Let him that would move the world first move himself.”

11. Realizing how little we know

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”

12. The importance of finding yourself

“To find yourself, think for yourself.”

13. The value of reading

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”

14. Being an honest person

“An honest man is always a child.”

15. Judging people by their actions

“If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.”

16. The great danger of always being busy

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

17. What it is that motivates us to grow

“Beauty is the bait which with delight allures man to enlarge his kind.”

18. What true knowledge is

“To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”

19. The link between contentment and wealth

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”

20. Following God

“The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.”

21. Aligning your self-portrayal with your actions

“Be as you wish to seem.”

22. The inspiration of the poets

“I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean.”

23. Living to eat and drink

“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.”

24. Death

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

25. The importance of not running away from your fears

“He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.”

26. Choosing between celibacy and marriage

“As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.”

27. Being committed to your friendships

“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.”

28. Fear and reverence

“Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence.”

29. The consequences of your actions

“Every action has its pleasures and its price.”

30. Why knowledge is more valuable than wealth

“Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.”

31. A person’s heritage

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

32. Equality between the genders

“Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.”

33. Treating others as you would like to be treated

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

34. Differentiating between good and evil

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

35. The evil of false words

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”

36. Knowing nothing

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.”

37. Final words

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.”

38. Where wisdom begins

“Wisdom begins in wonder.”

39. About poets

“The poets are only the interpreters of the gods.”

40. Discovering true knowledge

“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”

41. The importance of knowing who you are

“Know thyself.”

42. Living the good life

“Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.”

43. The secret to true happiness

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

44. What wisdom is

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

45. The importance of physical exercise

“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

46. About teaching

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.

47. Living with honor

“The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

48. The importance of kindness

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

49. The capacity for doing good

“I only wish that ordinary people had an unlimited capacity for doing harm; then they might have an unlimited power for doing good.”

50. Putting walls up around yourself

“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

51. Selfishness

“If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.”

52. The spoiled youth

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

53. Losing a debate

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

54. Understanding what education is

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

55. Being afraid of the light

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

56. Abstaining from revenge

“One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.”

57. No right to return injuries

“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.”

58. Facing the biggest obstacles

“If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all.”

59. Being fearful of death

“To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.”

60. The illusion of relative emotional values

“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.”

61. Desire and hate

“From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.”

62. The finitude of beauty

“Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.”

63. The application of philosophical knowledge

“Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.”

64. Being too honest

“I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.”

65. Marriage and philosophy

“By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

I hope you enjoyed reading this list of insightful Socrates quotes. What are your favorite quotes of the popular philosopher?

Stay victorious!


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!


  1. This is the best selection of quotes from Socrates I have ever come across.
    My only suggestion to improve the list is to cite the references – where to find the context in Plato or the other sources for Socrates.
    Thanks very much, Rod Eley
    P.S. Did Socrates say that “The person who invented beer made a lot of people happy”, or is that yet another urban legend along with the oft-quoted ‘dictum from Albert Einstein’, that ‘The extinction bees will be followed by the extinction of humanity within four years’?

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