Since high school, I have collected quotations that inspired or especially spoke to me. My worldview has changed since some of these were written into my journals as favorites. It's interesting to look back and realize how my thinking has changed over time.
I recommend that everyone collect quotations that speak to them. These favorites of mine may help you get started.
Character | Charity | Choice | Circumstances | Cooperation | Courage | Death | Determination | Discouragement | Dreams | Education | Encouragement | Enthusiasm | Ethics | Failure | Follow-Through | Friendship | Happiness | Home | Imagination | Integrity | Knowledge | Leadership | Mistakes | Music | Purpose | Religion | Simplicity | Success | Truth | Weather | Writing
Good actions ennoble us, and we are the sons of our own deeds. —Cervantes
Habits change into character. —Ovid
Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way. —Aristotle
Well done is better than well said. —Benjamin Franklin
Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood is ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence—not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool—his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. If you ask him: "What is silence?" he will answer: "If is the Great Mystery! The holy silence is His voice!" If you ask, "What are the fruits of silence?" he will say: "They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character." —Ohiyesa, Native American
Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men. —Seneca, Epistles (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
Life is a long lesson in humility —J. M. Barrie in The Little Minister
In case you're worried about what's going to become of the younger generation, it's going to grow up and start worrying about the younger generation. —Roger Allen
The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive. —Albert Einstein
It is better to do something than to do nothing while waiting to do everything. —Sir Winston Churchill
No one can take from us the ability to choose our attitudes toward the circumstances in which we find ourselves. This is the last of human freedoms. —Dr. Victor Frankl
Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you will be able to see further. —Carlyle
What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him. —Louis L. Mann
Act as you would like to be and soon you will be the way you act. —William James
When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that itself is a choice. —William James
I find the great thing in the world is, not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. —Goethe
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds. —Francis Bacon
We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
Great minds must be ready not only to take opportunities, but to make them. —Colton
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
If everyone is moving forward together, then the success takes care of itself. —Henry Ford
Great discoveries and achievements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. —Alexander Graham Bell
A successful team beats with one heart.
Courage is bringing a child into the world, feeding him and clothing him, caring for him and worrying about him, disciplining him and educating him, preparing him to the best of your ability for the life he is going to lead. And then letting him live it. —D. L. Stewart
No noble thing can be done without risks. —Montaigne
All glory comes from daring to begin. —Eugene F. Ware
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time. —T. S. Eliot
Opportunities do not come to those who wait; they are captured by those who attack. —William H. Danforth
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. —Goethe
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. —Helen Keller
Go out on a limb! That's where the fruit is. —Will Rogers
Life is not all joy—not sorrow
'Tis like April, sun and rain.
Reddest rose must have its thorn-thrust;
Gladdest heart must know fierce pain.
Joyous summer rolls to winter,
Brightest day must wax and wane;
But the summer, and the day dawn,
If we wait, will come again.
—Maybelle Haynes Marston
The body of Ben Franklin, printer,
Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents worn out
And stripped of its lettering and gilding
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost
For it will, as he believed, appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Corrected and improved
By the Author.
It is better to arrive a little late in this world than a little early in the next. —Poster in FAA Office, Whitehorse, Yukon
Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. —Louis Pasteur
We will either find a way or make one. —Hannibal
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. —Knute Rockne
There is a better way for everything. Find it. —Thomas Edison
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have laid dormant. —Horace
I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forbode I shall not. —Abraham Lincoln
It takes a person who is wide awake to make his dreams come true. —Roger Babson
Nothing happens unless first a dream. —Carl Sandburg
Some men see things as they are and say "Why?" I dream things that never were and say "Why not?" —George Bernard Shaw
Hitch your wagon to a star. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. —H. D. Thoreau
Every noble work is at first impossible. —Thomas Carlyle
There is not a dream which may not come true, if we have the energy which makes, or chooses, our own fate.... It is only the dreams of those light sleepers who dream faintly that do not come true. —Arthur Symons
The surest way to make it hard for children is to make it easy for them. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. —Albert Einstein
I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come. —Abraham Lincoln
Chance favors the prepared mind. —Louis Pasteur
You cannot push anyone up the latter unless he is willing to climb himself. —Andrew Carnegie
What children need perhaps more than anything is discipline, and a sense of commitment to something larger than themselves. —Robert Coles
Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. —Vince Lombardi
What you are is God's gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.
It is not enough to have a good mind. The important thing is to use it well. —Rene Descarte
Most men are unwilling to be taught. —Samuel Johnson
Personally, I am always willing to learn, although I do not always like being taught. —Winston Churchill
The carefully fostered theory that schoolwork can be made easy and enjoyable breaks down as soon as anything, however trivial, has to be learned. —Agnes Repplier
A great teacher is not simply one who imparts knowledge to his students, but one who awakens their interest in it and makes them eager to pursue it for themselves. He is a spark plug, not a fuel pipe. —N. J. Berrill
The teacher who attempts to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. —Horace Mann
I'm not young enough to know everything. —James M. Barrie
The curriculum should not clutter the air. It should clear it for creativity. —Applegate in Easy in English
In education, we are striving not to teach youth to make a living, but to make a life. —William Allen White
He is educated who knows where to find out what he doesn't know. —Georg Simmel
Effective learning means arriving at new power, and the consciousness of new power is one of the most stimulating things in life. —Janet Erskine Stuart
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself. —Chinese proverb
An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know, and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it. —William Feather
It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows. —Epictetus, Discourses (A.D. 55 – A.D. 135)
The mind is slow to unlearn what it learnt early. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. —Voltaire
The important thing is not to stop questioning. —Albert Einstein
It is better to ask a few questions than to know all the answers. —Thurber
Don't listen to the person who has the answers; listen to the person who has the questions. —Albert Einstein
Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. —Will Durant
Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done whether you like it or not. —Thomas Huxley
The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth. —John F. Kennedy
Education is teaching our children to find pleasure in the right things. —Plato
The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher. —Elbert Hubbard
In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. —Phil Collins
Praise loudly and condemn softly.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. —John Holmes
Do not call yourself old. A man is as old as the creative force within him. —Irving Stone
Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world is the triumph of some enthusiasm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enthusiasm is the powerful engine of success. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
The worst bankrupt in the world is the person who has lost his enthusiasm. —H. W. Arnold
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. —Omar Bradley
To the rulers of the state then, if to any, it belongs of right to use falsehood to deceive either enemies or their own citizens for the good of the state: and no one else may meddle with this privilege. —Plato
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. —Albert Einstein
He who spares the wicked injures the good. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Remove the colours from our sight
Red is grey and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.
—From The Moody Blues Nights in White Satin
From our best qualities come our worst. From our urge to pull together comes our tendency to tear each other apart. From our devotion to a higher good comes our propensity to the foulest atrocities. From our commitment to ideals comes our excuse to hate. Since the beginning of history, we have been blinded by evil's ability to don a selfless disguise. We have failed to see that our finest qualities often lead us to the actions we most abhor, murder, torture, genocide and war. —Howard Bloom in The Lucifer Principle
I have not failed anything 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that don't work. —Thomas Edison
In great attempts it is glorious to fail. —Cassius
Not failure, but low aim is a crime. —James Russell Lowell
The only time you can fail is the last time you try. —Charles Kettering
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. —George Washington Carver
The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed. —Sheridan
Notice the difference between what happens to a man who says to himself, "I have failed three times," and what happens when he says, "I am a failure." —S. I. Hayakawa
The world judges you by what you have done, not by what you have started to do; by what you have completed, not by what you have begun. —Baltasar Gradain
Even if you are on the right track, you'll get fun over if you just sit there. —Will Rogers
Nothing adds to a person's leisure time like doing things when they are supposed to be done. —O. A. Battista
The single biggest time waster in the world is not completing what you start. —John Garner
While we are postponing, life speeds by. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
It is better to do something than to do nothing while waiting to do everything. —Winston Churchill
There is no man that imparteth his joys to his friends, but he joyeth the more; and no man that imparteth his griefs to his friends but he grieveth the less. —Francis Bacon
The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
The Golden Rule of friendship is to listen to others as you would have them listen to you. —David Augsburger
No distance or place of lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth. —Robert Southey
The only way to have a friend is to be one. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Without confidence, there is no friendship. —Epicurus
Oh the comfort—the inexpressible comfort
of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words—but pouring them
All right out—just as they are—
Chaff and grain together—
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take them and sift them—
Keep what is worth keeping—
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.
—Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
One pardons in the degree that one loves. —La Fouchefoucauld
One does not make friends. One recognizes them. —Garth Henrichs
The flowers, the gorgeous, mystic, multi-colored flowers are not the flowers of life, but people, yes people are the true flowers of life; and it has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily strolled in your garden. —Lord Buckley
Friends are never earned, they're a gift from the loving God and they're precious beyond human valuation, but you dare not take them for granted or they'll drift away like smoke and the warmth of their caring will vanish like the chill of the endless night. Most of my friends are unknown, and they probably won't rate an obituary unless they live and die in small towns where nothing much ever happens; but a few of my friends are big people, they've made the world ring with laughter down to its deep, burning core--they're famous, sensitive, talented, and their names are household words; yet they are no more precious in God's eyes or in mine than those wonderful nobodies who live and die in small towns. Who is your friend? He's someone who warms you with a nod, or with the unspoken words in hard times when you're hurting beyond words. Who is your friend? She's someone who holds you to her breast and signs softly into your hair when no other medicine can stop the pain. A friend is someone who clinks his glass against yours or answers the phone at three in the morning when you're lost and with a few words of encouragement and concern makes you realize you aren't really lost at all. Friends come in both sexes and in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing they have in common is the ability to share with you your most sky-splitting joys or your deepest, most awesome sorrows. For they are your friends. —Glen Campbell
A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. —Abraham Lincoln
Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile. —Sir Wilfred Grenfell, British medical missionary
Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. —Helen Keller
We deem those happy who, from the experience of life, have learned to bear its ills without being overcome by them. —Juvenal
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. —Sir James Barrie
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued is just beyond your grasp...but if you will sit down quietly, may alight on you. —Nathaniel Hawthorne
The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance; the wise person grows it under his feet. —James Oppenheim
Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any conditions. It defies environment. It comes from within; it is the revelation of the depths of the inner life as light and heat proclaim the sun from which they radiate. Happiness consists not of having but of being; not of possessing but of enjoying. A martyr at the stake may have happiness that a king on his throne might envy. Man is the creator of his own happiness; it is the aroma of a life lived in harmony with high ideals. For what a man has, he may depend on others; what he is rests on him alone. Happiness is the soul's joy in possession of the intangible. It is the warm glow of a heart at peace with itself. —William George Jordan
I have always delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. —J. B. Priestly
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like falling leaves. —John Muir
Home is where you can be silent and still be heard, where you can ask and find out who you are, where people laugh with you about yourself, where sorrow is divided and joy is multiplied, where we share and love and grow.
Imagination rules the world. —Napoleon Bonaparte
Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we know and understand while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. —Albert Einstein
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. —Marcel Proust
Ideas are like seeds, apparently insignificant when first held in the hand. Once firmly planted, they can grow and flower into almost anything at all, a cornstalk, or a giant redwood, or a flight across the ocean. Whatever a man imagines, he can achieve. —Charles Lindbergh
If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it.
If you break it, repair it.
If you can't fix it, call in someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you use it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to somebody else and you want to use it, get permission.
If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it doesn't concern you, don't mess with it.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be. —Thomas Jefferson
It is what you learn after you know it all that counts. —John Wooden
There is no one who would not rather appear to know than to be taught. —Quintillian
The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on. —Francis Bacon
The bigger a person is and the bigger you allow him to be, the more mistakes he'll make.
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything. —Bishop W. C. Magee
No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes. —Gladstone
There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life. —Thomas Huxley
A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing. —George Bernard Shaw
To sing is to praise God and the daffodils, and to praise God is to thank Him, in every note within my small range, and every color in the tones of my voice, with every look into the eyes of my audience, to thank Him. Thank you, God, for letting me be born, for giving me eyes to see the daffodils lean in the wind, all my brothers, all my sisters, for giving me ears to hear crying, legs to come running, hands to smooth damp hair, a voice to laugh with and to sing with...to sing to you and the daffodils.... —Joan Baez
Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them. —Washington Irving
Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity; and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking. —Theodore Roosevelt
The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. —James Allen
Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. —Thomas Carlyle
If I were to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the best I know how—the very best I can: and I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference. —Abraham Lincoln
Everywhere there is apathy. Nobody cares whether that which is preached is true or false. A sermon is a sermon, whatever the subject; only the shorter it is, the better. —Charles H. Spurgeon
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. —C. S. Lewis
Our life is frittered away by detail.... Simplify, simplify. —H. D. Thoreau
We can always live on less when we have more to live for. —Stephen McKenney
He that is rich need not live sparingly, and he that can live sparingly need not be rich. —Benjamin Franklin
The amount of a man's wealth consists in the number of things he can do without. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
He does not possess it. It possesses him. —Benjamin Franklin
The urgent is seldom important and the important is seldom urgent. —Dwight Eisenhower
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
The superior person makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest. Success comes only later. —Confucius
There has never been devised, and there never will be devised, any law which will enable a man to succeed save by the exercise of those qualities which have always been the prerequisite of success—hard work, keen intelligence, and unflinching will. —Theodore Roosevelt
Success is a journey, not a destination. —Ben Sweetland
The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for its opportunity when it comes. —Benjamin Disraeli
If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. —Henry Ford
The secret of success is constancy to purpose. —Benjamin Disraeli
Have success, and there will always be fools to say you have no talent. —Eduard Pailleron
The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being a success. —Irving Berlin
As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the better information. —Benjamin Disraeli
The greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time. —Thomas Edison
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. —Seneca (5 B.C. – A.D. 65)
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. —John F. Kennedy
Half a truth is often a great lie. —Benjamin Franklin
Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong. —Thomas Jefferson
I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts. —Abraham Lincoln
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. —Winston Churchill
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. —Winston Churchill
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. —Mark Twain
It is worse for a liar to tell the truth than for a lover of truth to lie.... There is a truth which is of Satan. Its essence is that under the semblance of truth it denies everything that is real. It lives upon hatred of the real world which is created and loved by God. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer
When we lie to ourselves, and believe our own lies, we become unable to recognize truth, either in ourselves or in anyone else, and we end up losing respect for ourselves and for others. When we have no respect for anyone, we can no longer love, and in order to divert ourselves, having no love in us, we yield to our impulses, indulge in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behave i the end like an animal, in satisfying our vices. And it all comes from lying—lying to others and ourselves. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Honesty
And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger. —C. S. Lewis in The Last Battle
If falsehood, like truth, had only one face, we would be in better shape. For we would take as certain the opposite of what the liar said. But the reverse of truth has a hundred thousand shapes and a limitless field. —Montaigne in Essays
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair. —C. S. Lewis
There is no scientific proof that only scientific proofs are good proofs; no way to prove by the scientific method that the scientific method is the only valid method. —Peter Kreeft
Lying is a deliberate choice to mislead a target without giving any notification of the intent to do so. There are two major forms of lying: concealment, leaving out true information; and falsification, or presenting false information as if it were true. —Paul Ekman, Telling Lies
Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. —Robert Heinlein
Whether the weather is sunny,
Whether it's cold or hot,
Whether it's raining, snowing or blowing,
It's the only weather we've got.
So we've just got to weather the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
There is all the difference in the world between having something to say and having to say something. —John Dewey
You can write anytime people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. —Ernest Hemingway
Good books are not written; they are rewritten. —Phyllis Whitney
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. —Thomas Jefferson
Words, once they're printed, have a life of their own. —Carol Burnett
Why write? All men ask, and seek in the thoughts and experiences of other men some faint echo of a chord which they have heard, to resolve at last the dissonance of their own experiences. —John Anthony
This is the kind of English up with which I shall not put. —Winston Churchill
Never fear big words.
Big long words name little things.
All big things have little names
Such as life and death, peace and war,
Or dawn, day, night, hope, love, home.
Learn to use little words in a big way.
It is hard to do.
But they say what you mean.
When you don't know what you mean—
Use big words.
They often fool little people.
—Arthur Kodner to his son
Short of throwing away all television sets, I really don't know what we can do about writing. —Phyllis Whitney
You just don't know anything unless you can write it. Sure you can argue things out in your own head and bring them out at parties, but in order to argue anything thoroughly, you must be able to put it down on paper. —S. I. Hayakawa
The written word is the link between the past and the future. —Lincoln Barnett
Words can explode into bombs that destroy the world or into friendships that bring it together. Words have ever been superior to gunpowder as a weapon and a tool. A simple, "Where have you been?" turns from peace to powder with a change of inflection. —From Easy in English
Keep cheerfully at the task of teaching children the writing disciplines, and rejoice greatly at each new inch of progress achieved, but don't break your heart over your failures. —From Easy in English
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony