Epictetus Quote

EP 3: Epictetus Quote “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants”

In this episode of the Merkol Podcast, we analyzed the very intriguing Epictetus Quote, which goes:

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants”

Epictetus Quote
Epictetus Quote “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants”

Who Is Epictetus?

Epictetus was born 2000 years ago in Hierapolis, a small town in Turkey, which is now known as Pammukale. He was born as a slave to a wealthy family but soon got his freedom after Emperor Nero’s death. Epictetus had an interest in philosophy from a very young age and he started teaching it in Rome for nearly 25 years. Soon, Emperor Domitian banished all philosophers from his state. Epictetus fled to Greece where he opened a school and taught philosophy.

The astonishing thing here is that, the words and works of Epictetus was not recorded by himself but by his student, Arrian.

Let’s dive into Epictetus’s philosophy on wealth.

What does Epictetus Quote on Wealth mean?

Wealth means different things to different people, there is no constant level that is set which you must reach for people to call you wealthy. It’s an inner feeling. The definition of wealth uses the word ‘abundance’, which means different things to different people. For you, ₹50,000 could be an abundance of money, but for another person, it could be their basic monthly spend.

Similarly, if you have an iPhone X and see another guy with an iPhone 12, you want it so bad. Once you get it, you see another guy with something better and you want that as well. You will never get the feeling of being content and will never consider yourself to be wealthy.

This is a vicious cycle and one that will consume your whole life. You will end up playing zero-sum games, which is something you should always stay away from in life.

You satisfy one want, you would be content for a day or two and then another want creeps in and your consumerist mind will want to satisfy that as well. When does this end?

Epictetus says ‘Wealth consists not in having great possessions’ because I am 100% sure that anyone can find another person who has something more or better than you do. How would you ever feel content?

This is why Epictetus claims that being wealthy is a mindset.

According to the Epictetus Quote, Wealth is a mindset

The world we live in is a consumerist one and everywhere around us, there is always better stuff than what we have. We should not give in to this consumerist society because we will become a person who always wants more and more.

This is why the Epictetus mentions ‘Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants

If we can curb all the unnecessary wants which will only help us in a pissing contest, we will be able to look at what we have and truly appreciate it. If we do this, we will feel content, and then we will able to stop chasing mindless things and pursue our passions which will help us figure out our purpose.


Even I was a consumerist before, always wanting one thing after another. It led me nowhere until I changed. Train your mind to focus on what’s important and the beauty of this is that you will find out that you are already wealthy in your own sweet way.

Hope you enjoyed this article. If you did not agree with what I have mentioned or if you have anything extra to add to this article then please do share it in the comments section below. Let’s learn together.

You can follow the Merkol Podcast on Twitter as well.


I have recorded a podcast on the same quote. But it is in Tamil. If you know the language then please do listen to this. Do let me know if you like it. Here is the link:

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