Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"To think of learning as a preparation for something beyond learning is a defeat of the process. The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning." - Daniel Bell

"There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no insurmountable barrier except our own inherent weakness of purpose." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"There is no defeat except from within." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"To expect defeat is nine-tenths of defeat itself." - Francis Marion Crawford

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything." - George Lois

"When a man argues for victory and not for truth, he is sure of just one ally, that is the devil. Not the defeat of intellect, but the acceptance of the heart is the only true object in fighting with the sword of spirit." - George MacDonald

"The loss of certainty of truth has ended in a new, entirely unprecedented zeal for truthfulness - as though man could afford to be a liar only so long as he was certain of the unchallengable existence of truth and objective reality, which surely would survive and defeat all his lies." - Hannah Arendt

"Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has not other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller

"When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Not in the clamor of a crowded street nor in the shouts and plaudits of the throng but in ourselves are triumph and defeat." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves are triumph and defeat." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Do not be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause." - Henry Ward Beecher

"It is defeat that turns bone to flint, and gristle to muscle, and makes men invincible, and formed those heroic natures that are now in ascendancy in the world. Do not then be afraid of defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a good cause." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Defeat is a school in which Truth always grows strong." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Human nature is the same everywhere: it defies success, it has nothing but scorn for defeat." -

"The love of liberty is simply the instinct in man for expansion. Not only to find oneself tyrannized over and outraged is a defeat to this instinct, but in general, to feel oneself over-tutored, over-governed, sate upon (as the popular phrase is) by authority, is a defeat to it." - Matthew Arnold

"To be human is to be challenged to be more divine. Not even to try to meet such a challenge is the biggest defeat imaginable." - Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

"He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"Before success in any man's life he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do." - Napoleon Hill

"Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat." - Napoleon Hill

"Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses... on your powers, instead of your problems." - Paul J. Meyer

"You've got to learn to survive a defeat; that's when you develop character." -

"The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart." - Robert Ingersoll, fully Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll

"Defeat should never be a source of discouragement, but rather a fresh stimulus." -

"Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time." - Sun Tzu or Sunzi

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done 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 and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and 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 last fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better." - Wendell Phillips

"Crisis is creative... Out of crises flow new ideas, new approaches, new patterns, new inventions, new discoveries, new leadership... Crisis is challenge. It can challenge you to create a new life. Out of disappointment and defeat, out of illness and despair you can find victory." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, fully Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

"The ego does not want to teach everyone all it has learned, because that would defeat its purpose." - Helen Schucman, born Helen Cohn

"But there is only one avenue of access to that higher life. It is through a radical purging of inner unreality and the full and final surrender of one's whole self, all that one is and all that one possesses, to the imperious command of the Living God. From that surrender, when complete and unreserved, will follow release from defeat or ennui and the gift of utterly new joy and strength. The old life will be cast away; the old harrowing problems will dissolve; one will stand free from the shackles of temptation, self-consciousness, selfishness; for the first time in one's life, one will know the meaning of spiritual freedom. All that one has heard with the hearing of the ears about the life of religion, all that one has dismissed as the familiar exaggeration of religious propagandists or naïve faith no longer possible for intelligent moderns — all this will come vividly alive within one's own soul. One now knows, with a certainty for which there is no parallel, the truth of religion's claims — the absolutely unique character of the dedicated life, the vivid and continuous awareness of God's presence, the priceless worth of complete fellowship with Him, the service which is perfect freedom." - Henry P. Van Dusen

"The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality. " - James A. Michener, fully James Albert Michener

"When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it." -

"When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it. " - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit - for gallantry in defeat - for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"If everything is coming your way, you are probably in the wrong lane. Adversity and defeat are more conducive to spiritual growth than prosperity and victory." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"Death may be a supreme spiritual act, turning oneself over to eternity: The moment of death, a moment of ecstasy. A moment of no return to vanity. Thus afterlife is felt to be a reunion and all life a preparation for it… Death is not sensed as a defeat but as a summation, an arrival, a conclusion." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. " - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"To consider the world in its length and breadth, its various history, the many races of man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual alienation, their conflicts; and then their ways, habits, governments, forms of worship; their enterprises, their aimless courses, their random achievements, and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long-standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not toward final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race, so fearfully yet exactly described in the Apostle's words, "having no hope and without God in the world," - all this is a vision to dizzy and appall; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution." - John Henry Newman

"The progress of the world is the history of men who would not permit defeat to speak the final word." - Joseph R. Sizoo

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." - William O. Douglas, fully Judge William Orville Douglas

"There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose." - Kin Hubbard, pen name for Frank McKinney Hubbard

"No country without a revolution or a military defeat and subsequent occupation has ever experienced such a sharp a shift in the distribution of earnings as America has in the last generation. At no other time have median wages of American men fallen for more than two decades. Never before have a majority of American workers suffered real wage reductions while the per capita domestic product was advancing. " - Lester Thurow, fully Lester Carl Thurow, aka L.C. Thurow

"Religion is man's way of accepting life as an inevitable defeat. That it is not an inevitable defeat is a claim that cannot be defended in good faith. One can, of course, disperse one's life over the contingencies of every day, but even then it is only a ceaseless and desperate desire to live, and finally a regret that one has not lived. One can accept life, and accept it, at the same time, as a defeat only if one accepts that there is a sense beyond that which is inherent in human history -- if, in other words, one accepts the order of the sacred. A hypothetical world from which the sacred had been swept away would admit of only two possibilities: vain fantasy that recognizes itself as such, or immediate satisfaction which exhausts itself. It would leave only the choice proposed by Baudelaire, between lovers of prostitutes and lovers of clouds: those who know only the satisfactions of the moment and are therefore contemptible, and those who lose themselves in otiose imaginings , and are therefore contemptible. Everything is contemptible, and there is no more to be said. The conscience liberated from the sacred knows this, even if it conceals it from itself." - Leszek Kolakowski

"Successful men usually snatch success from seeming failure. If they know there is such a word as defeat they will not admit it. They may be whipped, but they are not aware of it. That is why they succeed." - Adolph P. Gouthey

"Most actions do not aim at anybodys defeat or loss. They aim at an improvement in conditions." - Ludwig von Mises, fully Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises