Below are 66 must-read life lessons from Aristole:

  • Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.
  • Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.
  • Bashfulness is an ornament to youth, but a reproach to old age.
  • The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
  • The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.
  • A friend to all is a friend to none.
  • Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
  • The energy of the mind is the essence of life.
  • Education is the best provision for old age.
  • The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.
  • Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
  • The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.
  • The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
  • Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered.
  • The law is reason, free from passion.
  • Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.
  • The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.
  • The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.
  • The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.
  • The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
  • The secret to humor is surprise.
  • The soul never thinks without a picture.
  • The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.
  • The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.
  • The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
  • The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life – knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.
  • There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.
  • Excellence, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean, relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.
  • For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.
  • For though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honor the truth first.
  • Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.
  • Friendship is essentially a partnership.
  • Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.
  • Happiness depends upon ourselves.
  • He who can be, and therefore is, another’s, and he who participates in reason enough to apprehend, but not to have, is a slave by nature.
  • Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.
  • A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.
  • Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.
  • Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.
  • Those who excel in virtue have the best right of all to rebel, but then they are of all men the least inclined to do so.
  • For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.
  • Thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.
  • To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.
  • We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.
  • We make war that we may live in peace.
  • We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.
  • We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.
  • Well begun is half done.
  • What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.
  • Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.
  • Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.
  • Wit is educated insolence.
  • Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
  • A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.
  • A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.
  • All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.
  • All men by nature desire knowledge.
  • All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
  • All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.
  • Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
  • At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.
  • Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.
  • Courage is a mean with regard to fear and confidence.
  • Bad men are full of repentance.
  • Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.
  • Change in all things is sweet.

Thank you for reading, please pass this article along!