Lao Tzu (604 - 531 BC)

  • The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

  • Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

  • When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

  • Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.

  • When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

  • He whose desires are few gets them. He whose desires are many goes astray.

Socrates (470 - 399 BC)

  • Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

  • Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers.

  • Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.

  • There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend.

Plato (428 - 424 BC)

  • No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern.

  • Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.

  • Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)

  • There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

  • Well begun is half done.

Menander (342 - 290 BC)

  • That on which you so pride yourself will be your ruin, you who think yourself to be someone.

Epicurus (341 - 270 BC)

  • Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.

  • Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you have was once among the things you only hoped for.

  • Of all the means to insure happiness throughout the whole life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.

Cleanthes (330 - 230 BC)

  • The willing are led by fate, the reluctant dragged.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BC)

  • Non caret is qui non desiderat. (He does not lack who does not desire.)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC - 65 AD)

  • There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

  • Your good fortune consists in not needing good fortune.

  • There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!

  • Life is long if you know how to use it.

  • Hecato says, "Cease to hope and you will cease to fear." The primary cause of both these ills is that instead of adapting ourselves to present circumstances we send our thoughts too far ahead.

  • If you set a high value on liberty, you must set a low value on everything else.

  • Excellence withers without an adversary.

Plutarch (46 - 119)

  • To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.

Epictetus (50 - 135)

  • It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

  • Freedom is not achieved by satisfying desire, but by eliminating it.

  • If anyone is unhappy, remember that his unhappiness is his own fault. Nothing else is the cause of anxiety or loss of tranquility except our own opinion.

  • The gods do not exists, and even if they exist they do not trouble themselves about people, and we have nothing in common with them. The piety and devotion to the gods that the majority of people invoke is a lie devised by swindlers and con men and, if you can believe it, by legislators, to keep criminals in line by putting the fear of God into them.

  • If you are ever tempted to look for outside approval, realize that you have compromised your integrity. If you need a witness, be your own.

  • Throw out your conceited opinions, for it is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows.

  • A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope.

  • If someone was going to put your body into the hands of anyone who happened to come along you would be vexed. But that you entrust your mind to whoever you happen to meet, so that if he insults you, you mind is disturbed and confounded – aren't you ashamed of that?

  • For what else is tragedy than the portrayal in tragic verse of the sufferings of men who have attached high value to external things?

Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180)

  • Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

  • Have principles be the source of desire and action. What principles? Those to do with good and evil, indeed in the belief that there is no good for a human being except what creates justice, self-control, courage and freedom, and nothing evil except what destroys these things.

  • Don't let your reflection on the whole sweep of life crush you. Don't fill your mind with all the bad things that might still happen. Stay focused on the present situation and ask yourself why it's so unbearable and can't be survived.

  • When you first rise in the morning tell yourself: I will encounter busybodies, ingrates, egomaniacs, liars, the jealous and cranks. They are all stricken with these afflictions because they don't know the difference between good and evil. Because I have understood the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil, I know that these wrongdoers are still akin to me and that none can do me harm, or implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I be angry at my relatives or hate them. For we are made for cooperation.

  • When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it. Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.

  • It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own. How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks. Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.

  • It is unfortunate that this has happened. No. It's fortunate that this has happened and I've remained unharmed by it – not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it.

  • The mind turns around every hindrance to its activity and converts it to further its purpose. The impediment to action becomes part of the action; the obstacle in our way becomes the way forward.

  • If anyone can refute me – show me I'm making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective – I'll gladly change. It's the truth I'm after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.

  • Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. Willing acceptance – now, at this very moment – of all external events. That's all you need.

  • The next thing to do – consider carefully the task at hand for what it is, while remembering that your purpose is to be a good human being.

Wang Yang-Ming (1472 - 1529)

  • The sages do not consider that making no mistakes is a blessing. They believe, rather, that the great virtue of man lies in his ability to correct his mistakes and continually make a new man of himself.

Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592)

  • There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.

  • I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.

  • He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.

Cervantes (1547 - 1616)

  • The journey is better than the inn.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

  • … there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. (Hamlet, II, ii, 253)

René Descartes (1596 - 1650)

  • Always to seek to conquer myself rather than fortune, to change my desires rather than the established order, and generally to believe that nothing except our thoughts is wholly under our control, so that after we have done our best in external matters, what remains to be done is absolutely impossible, at least as far as we are concerned.

Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

  • Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

  • Men succeed when they realize that their failures are the preparation for their victories.

  • A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

  • Rings and jewels are not gifts but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

  • Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much, are the three pillars of learning.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.

James Buckham Kennedy (1844 - 1930)

  • Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fibre of a character, but strengthen it. Every conquered temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before.

Friedrich Nietsche (1844 - 1900)

  • That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

  • It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

  • You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

  • Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.

  • There are no facts, only interpretations.

  • He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

  • The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

  • The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.

  • In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  • Faith: not wanting to know what the truth is.

  • All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.

  • Amor Fati — “love your fate”, which is in fact your life.

  • My formula for greatness in man is amor fati: the fact that a man wishes nothing to be different, either in front of him or behind him, or for all eternity. Not only must the necessary be borne, and on no account concealed – all idealism is falsehood in the face of necessity – but it must also be loved.

Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)

  • The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one.

Henry Ford (1863 - 1947)

  • Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

  • Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

  • It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.

Ernest Shackleton (1874 - 1922)

  • Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.

  • Through endurance we conquer.

Thomas J. Watson (1874 - 1956)

  • Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.

Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

  • A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

  • Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

  • A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. (Quoted in Mathematical Circles Adieu by Howard Eves, Boston 1977)

Coleman Cox (1880? - 1930?)

  • I'm a big believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.

Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881 - 1958)

  • The strongest man is the one who forgets the most.

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

  • Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

  • Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962)

  • An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.

Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1937)

  • Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967)

  • The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise man grows it under his feet.

Victor Frankl (1905 - 1997)

  • What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.

  • Between stillness and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

  • Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.

  • When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989)

  • All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. (from Worstward Ho)

John Wooden (1910 - 2010)

  • Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.

  • Don't worry about being better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be. You have control over that, not the other.

  • Trophies are not success, nor does possessing them necessarily mean you are a success. Success is measured by the quality of effort you put forth to do your best. And only you know if you have accomplished that. Then if everything goes well, you may get a trophy; often you don't. You're still a success in my way of thinking. The score cannot make you a loser when you have given it your best effort.

Orson Welles (1915 - 1985)

  • I can think of nothing that an audience won't understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested, they understand anything in the world.

William H. Whyte (1917 - 1999)

  • The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it. We have talked enough; but we have not listened. And by not listening we have failed to concede the immense complexity of our society–and thus the great gaps between ourselves and those with whom we seek understanding.

Malcolm X (1925 - 1965)

  • There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.

Miles Davis (1926 -1991)

  • Don’t worry about mistakes. There are none.

Ingvar Kamprad (1926 - 2018)

  • Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.

Bill Walsh (1931 - 2007)

  • Almost always, your road to victory goes through a place called “failure.” That reality was present throughout my career. There is no guarantee, no ultimate formula for success. However, a resolute and resourceful leader understands that there are a multitude of means to increase the probability of success. And that’s what it all comes down to, namely, intelligently and relentlessly seeking solutions that will increase your chance of prevailing in a competitive environment.

Derek Robinson (1932 - )

  • Teaching is a fraudulent word that should be abolished. There is no teaching, there is only learning. One encourages learning. At least, that is the theory. (from Piece of Cake)

Gian-Carlo Rota (1932 - 1999)

  • A good teacher does not teach facts, he or she teaches enthusiasm, open-mindedness and values.

Joan Didion (1934 - )

  • Character, the willingness to accept responsibilities for one's own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.

Dalai Lama (1940 - )

  • Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Joseph Goldstein (1944 - )

  • Don’t be bothered by your thoughts. Let them come and let them go.

Frank Wilczek (1951 - )

  • If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.

Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001)

  • I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

  • Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Savas Dimopoulos (1952 - )

  • Jumping from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm is the big secret to success.

Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011)

  • The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

Scott Adams (1957 - )

  • Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Wynton Marsalis (1961 - )

  • Humility engenders learning because it beats back the arrogance that puts blinders on. It leaves you open for truths to reveal themselves. You don’t stand in your own way. Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there’s one simple test – because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.’

David Foster Wallace (1962 - 2008)

  • Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.

Chuck Palahniuk (1962 - )

  • You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world. (from Fight Club)

Michael Jordan (1963 - )

  • I can accept failure. Everybody fails sometimes. But I can’t accept not trying.

  • I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot – and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life ... And that is why I succeed.

Joanne K. Rowling (1965 - )

  • Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.


  • There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

  • Nihil sine magno labore vita mortalibus dat. (Life gives nothing to mortals without hard work.)

  • Ego quoque nescio quid viderim. (I, too, do not know what it means.)

  • Más sabe El Diablo por viejo que por Diablo. (The Devil is not wise because he’s the Devil. The Devil is wise because he’s old.)