These quotes resonate with me and shape the way I aim to think, act, and react, both in personal and professional pursuits. This is very much a reference for myself, but I hope it can be helpful to other people. Many of these are quotes by Stoic philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Others are well known dictums or quotes by scientists such as Einstein and Jonas Salk. Others still by famous businessmen such as Bill Gates and Andrew Carnegie or sportsmen such as Cus D’Amato. Exact attribution for each quote can be obtained by reverse quote search.
There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power. Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and, in one word, whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and, in one word, whatever are not properly our own affairs. Now the things within our power are by nature free, unrestricted, unhindered; but those beyond our power are weak, dependent, restricted, alien. Remember, then, that if you attribute freedom to things by nature dependent and take what belongs to others for your own, you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be disturbed, you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you take for your own only that which is your own and view what belongs to others just as it really is, then no one will ever compel you, no one will restrict you; you will find fault with no one, you will accuse no one, you will do nothing against your will; no one will hurt you, you will not have an enemy, nor will you suffer any harm.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
To whom much is given, much will be required.
Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives to be led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. How many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now—and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt. That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything.
People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passed from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.
When you have done a good act and another has received it, why do you still look for a third thing besides these, as fools do, either to have the reputation of having done a good act or to obtain a return?
The best way of avenging yourself is not to become like the wrong doer.
In the morning when you rise unwillingly, let this thought be present—I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bedclothes and keep myself warm?—But this is more pleasant.—Do you exist then to take your pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion?
Neither let your action be sluggish, nor in your conversations without method, nor wandering in your thoughts, nor let there be in your soul inward contention nor external effusion, nor in life be so busy as to have no leisure.
People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.
You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.
It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.
Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.
Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?
Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing: It was here first.
People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
Whatever your goal in life, unless you develop a great urgency, what could be near will be far away.
We must attack the passions by brute force and not by logic; that the enemy’s line must be turned by a strong attack and not by pinpricks; for vices have to be crushed rather than picked at.
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
The lowest form of self-worth is the one that derives from association.
Don’t compare yourself to your neighbors, compare yourself to your ideals.
It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.
If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality.
People will work every bit as hard to fool themselves as they will to fool others.
Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.
The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.
It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.
My best work is yet to come.
To see a man beaten not by a better opponent, but by himself is a tragedy.
I believe a man is a professional when he can do what needs to done no matter how he feels within. An amateur is an amateur in his ability emotionally. A professional is a professional in the way he thinks and feels and in his ability to execute under the most trying conditions.
Greatness is when you do the most difficult thing in the world and you do it the greatest of ease.
We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.
Optimize for your definition of success, not someone else’s.
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Respect your and other people’s time, for the hours you spend and make others spend cannot be recovered.
Imagine 99% of your thought process is protecting your self-conception, and 98% of that is wrong.