jeff goodin - my quote collection

jeffly's recent activities

I haven't bookmarked any quotes at the moment.

jeffly's bookmarks

They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.

The pleasure we derive from doing favors is partly in the feeling it gives us that we are not altogether worthless. It is a pleasant surprise to ourselves.
Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.
Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence.
We find it hard to apply the knowledge of ourselves to our judgment of others. The fact that we are never of one kind, that we never love without reservations and never hate with all our being cannot prevent us from seeing others as wholly black or white.
We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
It is remarkable by how much a pinch of malice enhances the penetrating power of an idea or an opinion. Our ears, it seems, are wonderfully attuned to sneers and evil reports about our fellow men.
It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites --opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity --where energies flow smoothly in one direction --there will be much doing but no music.
The necessary has never been man's top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness. Unlike other forms of life, man's greatest exertions are made in the pursuit not of necessities but of superfluities.
It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.
The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.
Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also something to give meaning to our suffering. We need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.
To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem.
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments. We need people to bear witness against our inner judge, who keeps book on our shortcomings and transgressions. We need people to convince us that we are not as bad as we think we are.
Many of the insights of the saint stem from their experience as sinners.
Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story -- a story that is basically without meaning or pattern.
An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.
When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.
To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.
There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
We never say so much as when we do not quite know what we want to say. We need few words when we have something to say, but all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice when we have nothing to say and want desperately to say it.
Perhaps a modern society can remain stable only by eliminating adolescence, by giving its young, from the age of ten, the skills, responsibilities, and rewards of grownups, and opportunities for action in all spheres of life. Adolescence should be a time of useful action, while book learning and scholarship should be a preoccupation of adults.
Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny.
How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.
We can remember minutely and precisely only the things which never really happened to us.
Life is action and passion; therefore, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of the time, at peril of being judged not to have lived.
For I say unto you in all sadness of conviction that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone -- when you have felt around you are a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and despair have trusted to your own unshaken will -- then only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten men who have never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought -- the subtle rapture of postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army. And if this joy should not be yours, still it is only thus you can know that you have done what lay in you to do -- can say that you have lived, and be ready for the end.
The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.
But curb thou the high spirit in thy breast, for gentle ways are best, and keep aloof from sharp contentions.
The persuasion of a friend is a strong thing.
Persuasive speech, and more persuasive sighs, Silence that spoke and eloquence of eyes.
When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things -- not the great occasions -- that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness.
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.
Whatever advice you give, be short.
A good scare is worth more than good advice.
If you would have me weep, you must first of all feel grief yourself.
Who then is free? The one who wisely is lord of themselves, who neither poverty, death or captivity terrify, who is strong to resist his appetites and shun honors, and is complete in themselves smooth and round like a globe.
Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself.
He gains everyone's approval who mixes the pleasant with the useful.
Help a man against his will and you do the same as murder him.
Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.
You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man. A contented mind confers it on all.
A jest often decides matters of importance more effectual and happily than seriousness.
Life gives nothing to man without labor.
You must avoid sloth, that wicked siren.
Anger is a brief lunacy.
Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.
Subdue your passion or it will subdue you.
He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little.
Usually the modest person passes for someone reserved, the silent for a sullen person
You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet she'll be constantly running back.
Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor's house is in flames.
Why harass with eternal purposes a mind to weak to grasp them?
One wanders to the left, another to the right. Both are equally in error, but, are seduced by different delusions.
How does it happen, Maecenas, that no one is content with that lot of which he has chosen or which chance has thrown his way, but praises those who follow a different course?
Seize the day.
Tear thyself from delay.
Be ever on your guard what you say of anybody and to whom.
He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin.
If a better system is thine, impart it; if not, make use of mine.
When you introduce a moral lesson, let it be brief.
If you wish me to weep, you must first show grief yourself.
Make a good use of the present.
It is of no consequence of what parents a man is born, as long as he be a man of merit.
Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.
You who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities and think long and hard on what your powers are equal to and what they are unable to perform.
You must often make erasures if you mean to write what is worthy of being read a second time; and don't labor for the admiration of the crowd, but be content with a few choice readers.
One gains universal applause who mingles the useful with the agreeable, at once delighting and instructing the reader.
Youth is unduly busy with pampering the outer person.
Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.
The way of the world is, to praise dead saints, and persecute living ones.
Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.
He who opens a school door, closes a prison.
In this world, which is so plainly the antechamber of another, there are no happy men. The true division of humanity is between those who live in light and those who live in darkness. Our aim must be to diminish the number of the latter and increase the number of the former. That is why we demand education and knowledge.
It is the essence of truth that it is never excessive. Why should it exaggerate? There is that which should be destroyed and that which should be simply illuminated and studied. How great is the force of benevolent and searching examination! We must not resort to the flame where only light is required.
There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.
Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.
One cannot be a good historian of the outward, visible world without giving some thought to the hidden, private life of ordinary people; and on the other hand one cannot be a good historian of this inner life without taking into account outward events where these are relevant. They are two orders of fact which reflect each other, which are always linked and which sometimes provoke each other.
There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.
Those who live are those who fight.
Life is a flower of which love is the honey.
Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
From the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are to be found in men and each of them exists in some man, sometimes several at the time. Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. God displays them to us to give us food for thought.
When a woman is speaking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather in spite of ourselves.
The greatest blunders, like the thickest ropes, are often compounded of a multitude of strands. Take the rope apart, separate it into the small threads that compose it, and you can break them one by one. You think, That is all there was! But twist them all together and you have something tremendous.
Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent
In each age men of genius undertake the ascent. From below, the world follows them with their eyes. These men go up the mountain, enter the clouds, disappear, reappear, People watch them, mark them. They walk by the side of precipices. They daringly pursue their road. See them aloft, see them in the distance; they are but black specks. On they go. The road is uneven, its difficulties constant. At each step a wall, at each step a trap. As they rise the cold increases. They must make their ladder, cut the ice and walk on it., hewing the steps in haste. A storm is raging. Nevertheless they go forward in their madness. The air becomes difficult to breath. The abyss yawns below them. Some fall. Others stop and retrace their steps; there is a sad weariness. The bold ones continue. They are eyed by the eagles; the lightning plays about them: the hurricane is furious. No matter, they persevere.
He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.
Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.
Such is the remorseless progression of human society, shedding lives and souls as it goes on its way. It is an ocean into which men sink who have been cast out by the law and consigned, with help most cruelly withheld, to moral death. The sea is the pitiless social darkness into which the penal system casts those it has condemned, an unfathomable waste of misery. The human soul, lost in those depths, may become a corpse. Who shall revive it?
Let us have compassion for those under chastisement. Alas, who are we ourselves? Who am I and who are you? Whence do we come and is it quite certain that we did nothing before we were born? This earth is not without some resemblance to a gaol. Who knows but that man is a victim of divine justice? Look closely at life. It is so constituted that one senses punishment everywhere.
We are on the side of religion as opposed to religions, and we are among those who believe in the wretched inadequacy of sermons and the sublimity of prayer.
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves.
Our acts make or mar us, we are the children of our own deeds.
Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed.
My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.
Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie is its pleasure.
Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.
People do not lack strength; they lack will.
Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education.
Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. When you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
He does not weep who does not see.
Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.
be as a bird perched on a frail branch
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions.
Nobody knows what you want except you. And nobody will be as sorry as you if you don't get it. Wanting some other way to live is proof enough of deserving it. Having it is hard work, but not having it is sheer hell.
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger at the broken places.
It's enough for you to do it once for a few men to remember you. But if you do it year after year, then many people remember you and they tell it to their children, and their children and grandchildren remember and, if it concerns books, they can read them. And if it's good enough, it will last as long as there are human beings.
In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well oiled in the closet, but unused.
There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man's life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.
Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
You know lots of criticism is written by characters who are very academic and think it is a sign you are worthless if you make jokes or kid or even clown. I wouldn't kid Our Lord if he was on the cross. But I would attempt a joke with him if I ran into him chasing the money changers out of the temple.
How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.
The hardest thing to do is to write straight honest prose on human beings. First you have to know the subject; then you have to know how to write. Both take a lifetime to learn, and anybody is cheating who takes politics as a way out. All the outs are too easy, and the thing itself is too hard to do.
In moderating, not satisfying desires, lies peace.
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
If you load responsibility on a man unworthy of it he will always betray himself.
We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.
Public opinion contains all kinds of falsity and truth, but it takes a great man to find the truth in it. The great man of the age is the one who can put into words the will of his age, tell his age what its will is, and accomplish it. What he does is the heart and the essence of his age, he actualizes his age. The man who lacks sense enough to despise public opinion expressed in gossip will never do anything great.
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.
A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.
Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.
The best part of our lives we pass in counting on what is to come.
It is well that there is no one without a fault; for he would not have a friend in the world.
There are persons who cannot make friends. Who are they? Those who cannot be friends. It is not the want of understanding or good nature, of entertaining or useful qualities, that you complain of: on the contrary, they have probably many points of attraction; but they have one that neutralizes all these --they care nothing about you, and are neither the better nor worse for what you think of them. They manifest no joy at your approach; and when you leave them, it is with a feeling that they can do just as well without you. This is not sullenness, nor indifference, nor absence of mind; but they are intent solely on their own thoughts, and you are merely one of the subjects they exercise them upon. They live in society as in a solitude.
No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.
We can scarcely hate anyone that we know.
There are many who talk on from ignorance rather than from knowledge, and who find the former an inexhaustible fund of conversation.
Man is a make-believe animal -- he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part.
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they might of been.
Those who can command themselves command others.
First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not infrequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.
Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality.

But wait... my book has more:

  • «
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • »
  • jeffly's authors/films

    I haven't favorited any authors at the moment.

    jeffly's tags

    I haven't favorited any tags at the moment.

    jeffly's friends

    I haven't follow any friends at the moment.

    jeffly's feelings

    I haven't rated any quotes at the moment.