Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Tom Butler-Bowdon

Australian-born English Non-Fiction Author of the 50 Self-Help Classics Series

"Always seek out interesting people."

"Clarity about goals saves a huge amount of energy that can be productively in other areas."

"Always challenge conventional wisdom."

"Create a noble aim for your life, then make use of every moment to achieve it…. “tiny brushstrokes”, those moments of productivity that seem like nothing at the time but build up to something big."

"Don’t wait until conditions are perfect before starting something. They never will be. Act now."

"Doubt attracts “reasons” for not succeeding, whereas belief finds the means to do the job. Do not see yourself merely in terms of how you appear now. Absorbing the blows is a quality of greatness. Every big success is created one step at a time."

"Few people do know what they want. Humans may be a bundle of wishes and wants, but unless we hone these hankerings to a sharp point we will forever drift in a sea of unfulfillment."

"Everyone hungers for appreciation and acceptance."

"Integrity means having a changeless core inside."

"If you have a single powerful purpose, you will have the courage to act on your ideas."

"Misfortune is a point of view. Successful people see things less in terms of good or bad, but as results. The result is the fact, not your emotional response to it. Your response is your choice."

"Measuring your life daily against written goals is a fundamental of success. Fewer than 3 percent of people have written goals, and fewer than 1 percent regularly review them."

"Most people accept life scripts from the environment (family, society) into which they have grown. However, there is always the opportunity to write a new script."

"Once you have given an emotional meaning to an event, you are less able to be fully aware of the next moment because you are caught up in emotion. You will not be able to see your play clearly, only through the mists of fury… negative statements become self-fulfilling prophecies."

"Only those willing to see things from new perspectives can have regular access to truth."

"Optimists perform better statistically. Optimism is power."

"Risk taking only makes sense when you have a core set of values that do not change."

"Success is not primarily a matter of circumstances or native talent or even intelligence – it is a choice."

"Refining your ability to think should be your investment priority; it always provides the best returns."

"Personal growth is often the result not of doing something new, but of seeing the same things in a new light. We all have mental maps of our world that we mistake for the actual territory. By clinging on to old maps we fail to see the true lie of the land and get lost."

"Technology by itself is never a primary cause of either greatness or decline."

"The clarity of expectation produces Whitmore’s twin performance pillars of greater responsibility and awareness."

"The journey is often greater than the destination, and the camaraderie of fellow travelers is always more satisfying than prizes."

"The seven traits of successful people: passion, belief, strategy, clarity of values, energy, bonding power, and mastery of communication."

"While good habits are hard to acquire, they become easy to live with; in contrast, bad habits come slowly and easily abut are hard to live with. You acquire bad habits by choices – choose good habits and they make you. Choose bad habits and they break you."

"Your experiences matter only because of how you perceive them, and become the master of your own thoughts, you can control what filters into your subconscious. It becomes a better reflection of what you actually desire and “broadcasts” to the infinite realm clear messages of those desires."

"The first step on the road to success is good character. The second is openness to new perspectives. The third is ensuring that daily action is shaped by higher aims, with the knowledge that you always reap what you sow."

"To lead, you have to make a declaration of independence against the estimation of others, the culture, the age. You have to decide to live in the world, but outside existing conceptions of it. Leaders do not merely do well by the terms of their culture they create new contexts, new things, new ways of doing and being."

"To keep life fresh you must avoid “hardening of the attitudes.”"

"A rule of life is that we never seem to progress until we have first fully lived out the possibilities in the situation we are in now."

"Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will and selfishness—all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow-creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading."

"Circumstances do not make a person, they reveal him."

"Anyone can get a job, but do you have a purpose?"

"Did I live; did I love; did I matter?"

"It is the feeling of inferiority, inadequacy and insecurity that determines the goal of an individual’s existence. One motive is common to all forms of vanity. The vain individual has created a goal that cannot be attained in this life. He wants to be more important and successful than anyone else in the world, and this goal is the direct result of his feeling of inadequacy."

"Freud tried to show that dreams are not simply meaningless hallucinations, but a window into the unconscious that can reveal suppressed wishes."

"More than ninety-nine percent of male and female genetic coding is exactly the same. Out of the 30,000 genes in the human genome, the variation between the sexes is small. But those few differences influence every single cell in our bodies—from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to the neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings and emotions."

"Life may sometimes feel short at a philosophical level, and there is always the chance we may die young. But for most people in well-off countries today, life is not, as the 17th-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously put it, 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'."

"Most of us cherish freedom, but when we actually get the opportunity to make our own way it can be terrifying."

"The wealth creator has a moral obligation to enrich the lives of others in whatever way they can."

"The more choices we have, the greater the need for focus."

"You can rest assured that if you devote your time and attention to the highest advantage of others, the Universe will support you, always and in the nick of time."

"Perhaps it's obvious, but it's also so easy to forget: never get too discouraged by the apparent gap between what you believe you are capable of, and what it seems you are right now."

"We learn how to close the gap between what we are and what we could become. But what if we are yet to identify what we could become? Frankl noted that the modern person has almost too much freedom to deal with. We no longer live through instinct, but tradition is no guide either. This is the existential vacuum, in which the frustrated will to meaning is compensated for in the urge for money, sex, entertainment, even violence. We are not open to the various sources of meaning, which according to Frankl are: 1 Creating a work or doing a deed. 2 Experiencing something or encountering someone (love). 3. The attitude we take to unavoidable suffering."