21 Stoic Quotes For Green Wizards To Live By

  • Posted on: 24 November 2021
  • By: David Trammel

I had planned to post about a recent conversation I had about Green Wizards and the Prepper Community on Facebook but due to a few things going on in the background here, I'm going to wait until next week to post that article. Instead I wanted to post a list of quotes that I think everyone should take to heart and try to incorporate into both their Green Wizard practices and into their own lives.

This list of 20 quotes comes from Ryan Holiday and is posted in this video: "21 Stoic Quotes That Will Change You Into A Better Person". Its worth watching to get more of the flavor of what each quote means further. I am going to add a few thoughts of mine on how I think each relates to Green Wizardry.

I don't claim I'm following all of these as much as I should, not even a few but I'm trying. I think the wisdom in these quotes can help people face the problems and predicaments we will face in the Long Descent to come. Thinking critically and thinking beyond just your own narrow self is going to be important. Now and in the Future.


"We must all either wear out or rust out, every one of us. My choice is to wear out." - Theodore Roosevelt
You have a choice in how you live. You can prepare for the Collapse and the Long Descent, or you can sit at home and watch Netflix. You can make the changes in your life that will make it better or you can rest on what you have now and be unhappy. Getting prepared, learning the skills you'll need, making the changes you should, all of these are hard. Don't wait for the perfect time, do it now.

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." - Epictetus
You can control only one thing, what you do. You don't control the weather, the floods, the wild fires that happen in your life. You don't control the political situations of the country nor the big picture economics of society. You don't even control what the people around you do. Your family, your friends, your enemies. even the people who don't know you. They will all do what they will. You can only control YOU.

"The best revenge is not to be like that" - Marcus Aurelius
Just living in this life will set you up for disappointment. People may wrong you. People may take advantage of you, or advantage of the situation unfairly. It would be tempting to do the same to them but is that the kind of person you want to be?

"There is good in everything, if only we look for it." - Laura Ingalls Wilder
People focus on the negative more than the positive. You will stress out over the two tomato plants that die, and forget about the ten who don't. If your garden gives you lemons, don't just make lemon aid, make a lemon pie, make lemon sugar cookies. The Collapse of this global civilization will give Green Wizards plenty of bad. Focus on the good instead.

"Character is fate." - Heraclitus
The traits you nurture in yourself are what you are. Cultivate the positive mindset of Green Wizardry over the negative mindset of defeat. And more than that, the type of person you try and be, will be the type of person others see you as.

"If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud." - Nicholas Nassim Taleb
Standing silent in the face of injustice, means you are complicit in the injustice. Green Wizardry is not a practice for cowards. Make a difference, no matter how small.

"Every person I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn from them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one is an expert in all things. A Green Wizard, no matter how skilled, can always learn something from the beginner. Look for what you can learn from every person you meet.

"This is not your responsibility but it is your problem." - Cheryl Strayed
There are going to be huge problems and small problems facing each of us in the Long Descent. Almost all of them were put there by other people. That we did not cause the problems and predicaments before us, doesn't absolve us of trying to fix them. Don't point fingers, lend a hand.

"Waste no more time arguing what a good person should be. Be one." - Marcus Aurelius
Its easy to get distracted by the debate, at some point just act. Show, don't talk. Be what you want in the World, don't try and make others over into that.

"You are only entitled to the actions, never to its fruits." - Bhagavad Gita
You control what you do, you don't control what others do. You can put into the garden the effort to grow a plentiful harvest, but Nature doesn't owe you that harvest, no matter how hard you worked. The journey is the reward, not the finish. Focus on process, not outcome.

"Tell me to what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are." - Jose Ortega y Gasset
Said another way, "That which makes you angry, controls you". The things you give your focus to, are the things that run your life. Spend too much time seeking outrage on social media, then be outraged at everything. Be instead the Green Wizard who seeks out the single bumble bee sleeping in a flower, and be the bee.

"Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue" - Zeno
Perhaps my Achilles's Heel of these quotes. Said another way, "Better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it".

"Space I can recover. Time, never." - Napoleon Bonaparte
Be willing to take a step back. Be willing to make a change or take a pause on moving forward. You'll never get that time you spent back. Time is your most valuable resource, spend it wisely.

"You never know who's swimming naked until the tide goes out." - Warren Buffett
You are known not by who you are in the best of times, but of who you are in the worst. Don't compare yourself to others who are doing much better than you, compare yourself to who YOU were yesterday. That person is the only benchmark that matters.

"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." - Ben Franklin
Sais another way, "Be tolerant of others, and strict with yourself." Its the standards you hold yourself to that matter, let others hold themselves to theirs. Lead by example.

The world was not big enough for Alexander the Great, but a coffin was." - Juvenal
In the end, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and all the rest of the billionaires, will be put into the ground just like you and I. Perhaps with a bit more flash, and more people but still for us all, Death will come. Live your life like you could die tomorrow, and live today well.

"To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often." - Winston Churchill
You can not fear change, for without change you'll never get better.

"Judge not, lest you be judged." - Jesus
Be understanding of the faults and mistakes of others, because we all have made them too. Focus on the one thing you can change, yourself.

"Time and patience are the strongest warriors." - Leo Tolstoy
The strongest allies a Green Wizard has is time and patience. The Collapse will take centuries, and our response to it the same.

"No one saves us but ourselves / No one can and no one may." - Buddha
You have to get active in your own rescue. No one else is responsible for your life. We can support friends and family, we can teach children, but in the end its up to each of us to own our time here on Earth and use it well. When it runs, blow your own nose.

And finally, perhaps the most Green Wizard of quotes to live by...

"Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth." - Epicurus
An over abundance of stuff is meaningless if they do not meet your true needs. The craving for more and more is real poverty, which has lead us to the terrible situation we are in now. The World has the wealth to take care of people, but instead we allow a select few to hoard beyond their need. Green Wizardry imagines a world where people accept their responsibility to care for others, instead of the freedom to think only of ourselves.


Those are some thoughts for the coming week. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday if you are in America.


Thank you David. These are indeed useful quotes. I have heard all of them before, unattributed mainly, but it is very useful to have them gathered together. I have had 'Judge not lest you be judged' on my daily to do list for a couple of weeks now. I'm finding it very difficult but worth pursuing.

David Trammel's picture

Thank you Yvonne. I agree.

I've been visiting a lot of prepper/survivalist FB groups and websites these past couple of months, and the one thing that has stood out for me is that too many people who are into being self sufficient, neglect any discussion of the mental component of being prepared. To me that is more important than loads of stuff or a nifty off grid home. The stress level is sky high now a days with everything that's happening. Its way too easy to let that drown you is despair.

We'll talk again on the mental side of Green Wizards as time goes by, but next week I'm going to get back to the dirty finger nails stuff and talk about my work in the basement with wall framing, insulation and electrical.

Ken's picture

I second the notion that far too many folks get fixated on the high dollar 'tools': generators, solar panels, 4x4 vehicles, assault rifles, pre-packaged food supplies, etc. (not coincidentally the very things advertised on prepper sites). Actual wilderness survival experiences show that ATTITUDE is the single greatest 'tool' in anyone's kit and it's freely available to everyone; though not necessarily without effort! I am fond of the pithy phrase: "Mind set. Skill set. Tool set."

Justin Patrick Moore's picture

Thanks for these David! Revisiting the Stoics is always beneficial!

A few years ago I was going through a difficult time personally and I found a copy of the sayings of Epictetus and it really helped me get through the dark period.

As you mentioned in your comment, a lot of the prepper sites neglect the mental side of things, and as you also said, stress and cognitive dissonance are sky high these days.

Having a philosophy to use as a guide is essential.

I did a bit of reading on the Stoics too after finding Epictetus. Ryan Holiday's books are a pretty good starting place. I also found this book "A guide to the good life :the ancient art of Stoic joy" by William Braxton Irvine to be a nice intro and it also gave some tips for putting the Stoics maxims into practice.

A list of the contents is below in case someone wants to get it from their local library or pick up a used copy online for building their personal library. (Books such as these will also be good to have alongside your JMG, Kunstler, Orlov, survivalist type books, and ample fantasy novels ;)

Acknowledgments -- Introduction : a plan for living -- pt. 1. The rise of stoicism -- 1. Philosophy takes an interest in life -- 2. The first stoics -- 3. Roman stoicism -- pt. 2. Stoic psychological techniques -- 4. Negative visualization : what's the worst that can happen? -- 5. The dichotomy of control : on becoming invincible -- 6. Fatalism : letting go of the past...and the present -- 7. Self-denial : on dealing with the dark side of pleasure -- 8. Meditation : watching ourselves practice stoicism -- pt. 3. Stoic advice -- 9. Duty : on loving mankind -- 10. Social relations : on dealing with other people -- 11. Insults : on putting up with put-downs -- 12. Grief : on vanquishing tears with reason -- 13. Anger : on overcoming anti-joy -- 14. Personal values : on seeking fame -- 15. Personal values : on luxurious living -- 16. Exile : on surviving a change of place -- 17. Old age : on being banished to a nursing home -- 18. Dying : on a good end to a good life -- 19. On becoming a stoic : start now and prepare to be mocked -- pt. 4. Stoicism for modern lives -- 20. The decline of stoicism -- 21. Stoicism reconsidered -- 22. Practicing stoicism -- A stoic reading program

David Trammel's picture

Too often people associate the philosophy of Stoicism with men, when that is far from the truth. Women have been at the front of promoting critical thinking through out history.

"5 Powerful Insights From Stoic Women"

I recommend all the non-women here watch it. Women though will just spend the entire time nodding their heads in agreement, lol.