This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!


“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Woman of Character and Strength

Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international author, speaker, politician, and activist for the New Deal coalition. She worked to enhance the status of working women, although she opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because she believed it would adversely affect women.

In the 1940s, Roosevelt supported the formation of the United Nations was a delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 and 1952. During her time at the United Nations she chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Truman called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements.

Active in politics for the rest of her life, she was ranked in the top ten of Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

Here are some of Eleanor's great quotes:

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.

Anyone who thinks must think of the next war as they would of suicide.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.

I cannot believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

I'm so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!
If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

My experience has been that work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth.

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.

Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

The giving of love is an education in itself.

The only things one can admire at length are those one admires without knowing why.

Understanding is a two-way street.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.

What one has to do usually can be done.

What you don't do can be a destructive force.

When life is too easy for us, we must beware or we may not be ready to meet the blows which sooner or later come to everyone, rich or poor.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!

You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quotes by Thomas S. Monson

Revered by many to be an earthly mouthpiece for God, Thomas S. Monson has long offered the world many sage words of advice. Serving today as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many of Thomas S. Monson's quotes are specific to his faith in Jesus Christ, while others are general words to living a good life.

Here are some of his quotes that can benefit any reader
:

Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.

Choose your friends with caution; plan your future with purpose, and frame your life with faith.

Choose your love, Love your choice.

Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval.

Each heartfelt prayer, each church meeting attended, each worthy friend, each righteous decision, each act of service performed all precede that goal of eternal life.

Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith.

I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it.

I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith.

I hope that you will learn to take responsibility for your decisions. Don't take counsel of your fears.

I urge you to hold fast to your standards. I plead with you not to waver.

In reality, we are all travelers - even explorers of mortality.

On occasion we need to make a second effort - and a third effort, and a fourth effort, and as many degrees of effort as may be required to accomplish what we strive to achieve.

Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect.

Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts, I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people.

The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.

The reward of eternal life requires effort.

Though we may not necessarily forfeit our lives in service to our God, we can certainly demonstrate our love for Him by how well we serve Him.

We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.

We tend to become like those whom we admire.

Work will win when wishy washy wishing won't.

The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.

Remember who you are and what God expects you to become.

Don't save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.

May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality... First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love.

Never let a problem to be solved, become more important than a person to be loved.

Reading is one of the true pleasures of life. In our age of mass culture, when so much that we encounter is abridged, adapted, adulterated, shredded, and boiled down, it is mind-easing and mind-inspiring to sit down privately with a congenial book.

One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is important.

He who gives money gives some, he who gives time gives more, and he who gives of himself gives all.

Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.

Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.

When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.

Youth need less critics and more models.

Don't forget: one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent.

There will be occasions in each of our lives when we will be called upon to explain or to defend our beliefs. When the time for performance arrives, the time for preparation is past.

Find joy in the journey.

Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present.

To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.

The good you have done, the kind words you have spoken, the love you have shown to others, can never be fully measured.

There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most.

Everyone can be discontented if he ignores his blessings and looks only at his burdens.

Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.

Our task is to become our best selves. One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.

Like the vital rudder of a ship, we have been provided a way to determine the direction we travel. The lighthouse of the Lord beckons to all as we sail the seas of life. Our home port is the celestial kingdom of God. Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course in that direction. A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder—never likely to reach home port. To us comes the signal: Chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed.

Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future…If you are still in the process of raising children be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled, will disappear all too soon, and that you will, to your surprise, miss them, profoundly.

The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.

Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.

Glance backward, look heavenward, reach outward, press onward.

Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.

Ideals are like the stars - you can't touch them with your hands, but by following them you reach your destination.

The most constant thing is change.

Whatever our calling, regardless of our fears or anxieties, let us pray and then go and do.

When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

You have a heritage - honor it. You have posses a testimony - share it. You will face temptation - withstand it. You know the truth - live it.

Your mind is a cupboard and you stock the shelves.

Remember that ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.

May each of us remember this truth; 'one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God.' Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.
Any excuse, no matter how valid, only weakens the character.

Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Watch your step.

Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.

We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

Faith precedes the miracle. It has ever been so and shall ever be.

Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.


See also:
Quotes by Gordon B. Hinckley
Quotes by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ancient Chinese Wisdom: Quotes by Lao-tzu

Lao-tzu, which means "Old Philosopher", is the name given to the founder of Taoism, a religion or philosophy in China. Lao-tzu was born with the name Li Er, in 604 BC. Though he may have been keeper of the royal archives at Loyang, few details are known of his life. Lao-tzu was ‘a hidden wise man’, reluctant to found a school and gather a following.

According to legend, Lao-tzu simply decided to leave society. He would have vanished without trace had not the customs official on the western border asked him to write a book before he retired from the world. So the sage wrote about the proper way to live in the book Tao Te Ching, the most widely translated Chinese work of all time and the classic book of Taoism. Scholars disagree whether Lao-tzu was a real person or a pen name for the writers of Tao Te Ching, which is often called "the Lao-tzu." After writing the book, he went on his western journey. No one knows where he died.

A general history of China from the first century B.C. describes Lao-tzu as an older contemporary and teacher of Confucius. Compared to Confucius, who focuses on right relations in human society, Lao-tzu takes a more mystical approach to tuning into the natural order of things as a way of achieving personal and social harmony.

Many great words of wisdom, used often in today's vernacular, have come from this ancient Chinese man and his book. Here are some highlights in quotes:

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.

Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.

An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

Because of a great love, one is courageous.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.

From caring comes courage.

From wonder into wonder existence opens.

Great acts are made up of small deeds.

He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.

He who is contented is rich.

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.

He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.

How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.

If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.

It is better to do one's own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.

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

Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.

One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.

One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.

People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.

Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.

Silence is a source of great strength.

The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covet praise; yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.

The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.

The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.

To lead people walk behind them.

To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.

To see things in the seed, that is genius.

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.

Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.

When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.

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

When the best leader's work is done the people say, "We did it ourselves."

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

Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven. The further one goes The less one knows.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happiness is a Journey

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time and remember that time waits for no one, so stop waiting...

•until you finish school
•until you go back to school
•until you lose ten pounds
•until you gain ten pounds
•until you have kids
•until your kids leave the house
•until you start work
•until you retire
•until you get married
•until you get divorced
•until Friday night
•until Sunday morning
•until you get a new car or home
•until your car or home is paid off
•until spring
•until summer
•until fall
•until winter
•until you are off welfare
•until the first or fifteenth
•until your song comes on
•until you've had a drink
•until you've sobered up
•until you die
•until you are born again

Decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

by Alfred D. Souza

See also:
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"

The Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer / contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Author Unknown