Obstacles, adversity, suffering

Quotations: Obstacles, adversity, suffering

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
— T. S. Eliot, poet, dramatist, critic (1888-1965)

There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist (1880-1956) (From “The Divine Afflatus,” originally published in 1917.)

Freedom means choosing your burden.
— Hephzibah Menuhin, American pianist (1920-1981)

If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.
— Lucy Larcom, American poet (1826-1893)

If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.
— Paul Newman, American actor (b. 1925)

The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.
— Abigail van Buren (Pauline Esther Friedman), American newspaper advice columnist (1918-2002)

It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character.
— Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860)

If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)

The greatest and most important problems in life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
— Carl Jung, Swiss founder of analytical psychology (1875-1961)

Courage is being scared to death — and saddling up anyway.
— John Wayne (Marion Morrison), American actor (1907-1979)

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear—fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist (1880-1956)

The art of living lies not in eliminating but in growing with troubles.
— Bernard M. Baruch, American financier (1870-1965)

All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble.
— William S. Halsey

In times of stress, be bold and valiant.
— Horace, Roman poet (65-8 B.C.)

Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen.
— Pliny the Younger, Roman judge and man of letters (61-113 A.D.)

What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.
— Unknown

What worries you, masters you.
— Haddon W. Robinson, American preacher, author, professor and TV show host

Necessity makes even the timid brave.
— Sallust, Roman historian and politician (c. 86-c. 35 B.C.)

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike.
— Oscar Wilde, Anglo-Irish wit and author (1854-1900)

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
— Immanuel Kant, Prussian geographer and philosopher (1724-1804)

Morality begins at the point of a gun.
— Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary and national leader (1893-1976)

It is reasonable that everyone who asks justice should do justice.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and third U.S. president( 1743-1826), letter to George Hammond, 1792

A generous and noble spirit cannot be expected to dwell in the breasts of men who are struggling for their daily bread.
— Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Greek scholar (fl. c. 20 B.C.)

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
— Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)

Charity isn’t a good substitute for justice.
— Jonathan Kozol, American journalist and author (b. 1936)

I do get scared about the physical danger from drug dealers. But it’s not in the same league as the danger I feel eating an $80 lunch with my privileged friends to discuss hunger and poverty. That’s when my soul feels imperiled.
— Jonathan Kozol, American journalist and author (b. 1936), on his work chronicling the lives of the poor in the Bronx.

Never befriend the oppressed unless you are prepared to take on the oppressor.
— Ogden Nash, American poet (1902-1971)

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
— Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)

When a man hangs from a tree it doesn’t spell justice unless he helped write the law that hanged him.
— E. B. White, American essayist (1899-1985)

Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so that we will be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed.
— John Dewey, American philosopher and education reformer (1859-1952)

All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain, but it’s truer to say that complaining leads to people becoming unhappy.
— Dennis Prager, American radio host and author (b. 1948)

Be happy. Talk happiness. Happiness calls out responsive gladness in others. There is enough sadness in the world without yours…. never doubt the excellence and permanence of what is yet to be. Join the great company of those who make the barren places of life fruitful with kindness…. Your success and happiness lie in you…. The great enduring realities are love and service…. Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
— Helen Keller, American social activist, public speaker and author (1880-1968)

Nine requisites for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to move you to be useful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist and scientist (1749-1832)

If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances, it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give.
— Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher (1872-1970)

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances.
— Martha Washington, American First Lady (1731-1802)

To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1882)

What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.
— Jean-Paul Sartre, French existentialist writer (1905-1980)

I believe a man is born first unto himself — for the happy developing of himself, while the world is a nursery, and the pretty things are to be snatched for, and pleasant things tasted; some people seem to exist thus right to the end. But most are born again on entering manhood; then they are born to humanity, to a consciousness of all the laughing, and the never-ceasing murmur of pain and sorrow that comes from the terrible multitudes of brothers.
— D.H. Lawrence, British author (1885-1930)

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
— James Madison, American Founding Father, U.S. president (1751-1836)

People, like water, will run downhill, seeking their lowest level unless something interdicts them.
— Cal Thomas, American journalist (b. 1942)

In general, men are ungrateful and fickle, dissemblers, avoiders of danger and greedy of gain.
— Niccolo Machiavelli, Florentine dramatist, political analyst and adviser (1469-1527)

It is silly to go on pretending that under the skin we are brothers. The truth is more likely that under the skin we are all cannibals, assassins, traitors, liars and hypocrites.
— Henry Miller, American novelist (1891-1980)

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis.
— Dante Alighieri, Italian poet (1265-1321), from the Divine Comedy

Necessity is an interpretation, not a fact.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)

To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
— E. E. Cummings, Poet, artist, playwright and novelist (1894-1962)

Any man will usually get from other men just what he is expecting of them. If he is looking for friendship he will likely receive it. If his attitude is that of indifference, it will beget indifference. And if a man is looking for a fight, he will in all likelihood be accommodated in that.
— John Richelsen

Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back upon himself.
— Charles DeGaulle, French general and president, founder of the Fifth Republic (1890-1970)

Politics ruins the character.
— Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, founder of the German nation state (1815-1898)

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a mans character, give him power.
— Abraham Lincoln, 16th American president (1809-1865)

He is poor who does not feel content
— Japanese proverb

Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
— Unknown

Nothing is too much trouble.
— Edward Kirby Bonds

To perceive is to suffer.
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.
— Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), French author, wit and philosopher (1694-1778)

The gem cannot be polished without friction.
— Chinese proverb

Adversity introduces a man to himself.
— Unknown

We cannot learn without pain.
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time in the midst of wretchedness.
— Dante Alighieri, Italian poet (1265-1321)

You should not suffer the past. You should be able to wear it like a loose garment, take it off and let it drop.
— Eva Jessye, American musician and author (1895-1992)

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)

What a man accomplishes in a day depends upon the way in which he approaches his tasks. When we accept tough jobs as a challenge…and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen. When we do our work with a dynamic conquering spirit, we get things done.
— Arland Gilbert

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches people by example. If the government becomes the law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law and invites every man to become a law unto himself.
— Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)

A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sin and suffering.
— Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

[T]he tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream…It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is sin.
— Benjamin Elijah Mays, American educator and president of Morehouse College (1895-1984

The only way to find the limits of the possible is by going beyond them to the impossible.
— Arthur C. Clarke, English science fiction writer (b. 1917)

Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities.
— Terry Josephson, 20th/21st-century motivational author

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
— Helen Keller, American social activist, public speaker and author (1880-1968)

The will must be stronger than the skill.
— Muhammed Ali, boxer

More dangers have deceived men than forced them.
— Francis Bacon, English philosopher and essayist (1561-1626)

After hunger, a human’s most important need is to know what is virtuous.
— Jerome Kagan, Harvard psychology professor and author (b. 1929)

Life is one long struggle between conclusions based on abstract ways of conceiving cases, and opposite conclusions prompted by our instinctive perception of them.
— William James, American philosopher and psychologist (1842-1910)

Not a day passes over this earth, but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words and suffer noble sorrows.
— Charles Reed

A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts are the results of sudden impulses and accident than of that reason of which we so much boast.
— Peter Cooper, American manufacturer and philanthropist (1791-1883)

If you want a rose, you must respect the thorns.
— Persian proverb

God save me from a bad neighbor and a beginner on the fiddle.
— Italian proverb

Once the ‘what’ is decided, the ‘how’ always follows. We must not make the ‘how’ an excuse for not facing and accepting the ‘what.’
— Pearl S. Buck, American writer (1892-1973)

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
— Samuel Butler, English writer (1735-1902)

Beginning is easy – to keep going is hard.
— Japanese proverb

A good guitarist will play even if he has only one string.
— South American proverb

A slave shows his true character, not while he is enslaved, but when he becomes a master.
— Jewish proverb