I believe that quotes in general have a powerful way of saying a ‘statement of wisdom’ in a concise way. Every now a then I come along a new quote that I feel is superb and in some way shaped me into a better person. Here are some I have come across in the past. Quotes that permanently changed the way I look at things. I love collecting quotes and a track of them. I hope the list will help you as well.
In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as below.
- Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry: Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- Tranquillity: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I try to practice them as much as I can. I feel like it makes me a better person.
‘That mountain you’ve been carrying, you were only suppose to climb!’
Anonymous - Really helped me overcome a lot of traumatic experiences and difficult chapters in my life. I hope it helps someone else out there.
An anonymous response to a writer thinking of going back to school but worried that she will be 40 by the time she got her degree -
How old will you be in four years if you don’t get your degree? You are going to be 40 anyway? with or without your degree.
It reminded me that letting age stop me from my plans was just silly. Also, working at a community college and seeing so many people going back to school in their 30s, 40s, 50s and thriving, the quote really spoke to me.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” -Maryann Radmacher
I came across this a long time ago, at a point in life that I really needed this lesson. It's okay if I feel sad and resigned, if my depression beat me for today and I wasn't able to function. I didn't fail, I'm not weak, I will try again tomorrow.
“Graveyards are full of irreplaceable people”.
That quote helped me stop going down the path of working myself to death because “my job needs me”.
“It’s easy to fool someone, it’s hard to convince them that they’ve been fooled”
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” - Carl Sagan
“The axe forgets; the tree remembers.” — Zimbabwean proverb.
People don’t forget how they were treated; that’s why it’s so important to be kind.
Anonymous user - I saw this one time under a post about parenting and it stuck with me. As a mother of two stubborn toddlers, some days are rough and filled with thin patience and frustration. I use this quote to remind myself that how I am with them will be what helps to shape them. My husband and I set the example for them, and both of us had crappy childhoods. I don’t want them traumatized like I was as a child. I want them to be molded with love, not negativity.
Never be so kind you forget to be clever, and never be so clever you forget to be kind.
“Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.”
“It’s no use wasting time worrying what other people think about you. No one is thinking about you.”
“Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
User notes - Been living up to those ideals recently and I feel I have just started living
(Paraphrased) “When people act crazy, they’re either actually crazy, which is unlikely, or there’s a good reason for their behavior that you just haven’t figured out.” Dr. David Burns in his book “Feeling Good Together.”
Excellent book about getting along with people and trying to understand them.
It’s worth mentioning that, in my quote, “crazy” really refers to surprising or unreasonable behavior (not genuine me at illness), and “good reason” refers more to an explanation for the behavior. The point of the quote is to not write people off because you don’t understand them.
“Assume whoever you’re listening to knows something you don’t.”
“Honey, I hope it’s the worst thing that ever happens to you.”
From my dad when I was complaining about something. He probably didn’t intend for it to be deep or anything but it puts things in perspective. I think of it all the time.
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity” - Hanlon’s Razor.
Not everyone’s out to get you, there are a lot of stupid people in the world.
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
This beautiful quote helped me realize that belittling or looking down upon others (even if it seems justified or warranted) never helps any of us to grow and become better.
You train people how to treat you, unconsciously or not.
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” - Terry Pratchett
Anonymous user - I'm not sure why this quote struck me so hard, but it completely changed the way I approach writing. Just get your ideas down in run-on sentences and asides to yourself and loads of [???] at parts you haven't figured out yet. It took me more than 30 years to realize that a first draft isn't just a rough version of the final draft. It's a map for yourself, and no one else.
My favorite Terry Pratchett quote is:
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
“If you’re trying to break a habit, don’t say ‘this is the last time I’m doing it’ to yourself. Instead, say ‘this is the first time I’m not doing it’.”
“Be afraid, but do it anyway.” - Carrie Fisher
“Use what talents you possess - the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” - Henry van Dyke
“You don’t notice your progress in life because you are always raising the bar.”
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” - Frodo from ‘The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
That quote never fails to make me tear up. I also really love, and I know its not in the books, but when Galadriel asks Gandalf why he chose Bilbo in The Hobbit he says:
“I do not know, Saruman seems to think it takes great power to defeat a great evil. But that’s not what I’ve found. It is simple acts of kindness and love that keep the darkness at bay. Why Bilbo? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage”
People fail to realize that Gandalf is not a “wizard” he is a Maiar. In short an angelic being on the same level as Sauron who finds a small Hobbit’s courage inspiring. Its beautiful to me. Tolkien fought in WWI. He saw the horrors of that war, and in spite of it all, had the wisdom to know that it wasn’t the generals, politicians, or great leaders that ended the war. It was the young men fighting, the mothers back at home sewing uniforms, the young children that gave the men something to fight for. It’s absolutely beautiful.
“If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” - Thomas Paine in The American Crisis.
- Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography