Meaningful Messages

These quotes have been gathered over the course of nearly 30 years, since my early grade school years. I’ve added to them over the years but found that there were just too many to remember and keep track off. I collected them as part of life’s guideposts and guiding light. They’ve served me pretty well. The quotes here, one could say, represent the beginning of an unfinished journey to ….


Big baby galaxies from a new universe (Courtesy of Hubble)

However inspirational words may be, music is one’s soul. If I had to go down it would be with the Immortal Beethoven.

That Man is a Success
Who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men
and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche
and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by improved poppy, a perfect poem,
or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty
or failed to express it.
Who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had.
– Bessie Stanley

Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.
– Rabbi Julius Gordon

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
– The Little Prince

Le baiser rajeunit le couer et efface les annees.
(A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.)

Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.
– Coach Bobby Knight

Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure.
Thomas A. Edison

The secret of success is consistency of purpose.
– Benjamin Disraeli

Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration.
Evan Esar

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
– Booker T. Washington

Give what you have. To some one, it may be better than you dare to think.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The contemplative life is often miserable. One must act more, think less, and not watch oneself life.
Nicolas Chamfort

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.
– John Erskine

It is not what he has, nor even what he does, which directly expresses the worth of a man, but what he is.
Henri Frederic Amiel

Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought.
– Fortune Cookie

The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.
-> Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.
-> Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.
-> Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within.
-> Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away.
-> Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year.
-> Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.
-> Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak.
-> A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.
-> Reputation makes you rich or poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
-> Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
– William Hersey Davis

What Jesus Christ would say to us if he should speak to us in audible voice now would be something like this: Be a person. Be a real person. Stand on your own feet. Do not be pushed about by passing fads. Live by an inward light. Be true to an inward loyalty. If skepticism divides the church, vulgarity discolors social living, the profit motive makes industry often cruel, and nationalism blockades the way to peace, do not yes, yes the situation. Have a conscience of your own and, when in private life the clamor of public custom grows very loud, do you grow quiet, quiet enough to hear the beat and catch the rhythm of that inward drum.
Harry Emerson Fosdick

The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he would never be found out.
– Thomas Macaulay

There are two freedoms, the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought.
– Charles Kingsley

We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.
– Thomas Merton

We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.
– Jim Rohn

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
– Thomas Jefferson

The tragedy of the world is that men have given first class loyalty to second class causes and these causes have betrayed them.
– Lynn Harold Hough

The farther a man knows himself to be from perfection, the nearer he is to it.
– Gerard Groote

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.
– Winston Churchill

Freedom lies in being bold.
– Robert Frost

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.
Ralph W. Sockman

The hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The question is not what a man can scorn, or disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love, and value, and appreciate.
John Ruskin

I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human action, but to understand them.
Baruch Spinoza

How seldom we weight our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves.
– Thomas A Kempis

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
– William James

O Lord, thou givest us everything, at the price of an effort.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Weak men are the slaves of what happens. Strong men are masters of what happens. Weak men are victims of their environment. Strong men are victors in any environment. Strong men may not change the circumstances, but they will use them, compel them to serve, and bend them to their purposes. They may not be able to change the direction of the wind, but somehow they will coerce the wind to fill their sales while they drive the tiller over to keep their course.
– George Craig Stewart

The entire object of true education is to make people not merely to do the right things, but enjoy them; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely justice, but to hunger and thirst after justice.
– John Ruskin

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
– Will Durant

Every man has three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.
– Alphonse Karr

The trouble with most of us is we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.
-Norman Vincent Peale

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
– Abraham Lincoln

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. This is the first lesson to be learned.
– Thomas Henry Huxley

The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.
– George Santayana

What is a friend? –> “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
– Walter Winchell

The first general rule for friendship is to be a friend, to be open, natural, interested; the second rule is to take time for friendship. Friendship, after all, is what life is finally about. Everything material and professional exists in the end for persons.
– Nels F. S. Ferre

A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeable.
– William Penn

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
– Joseph Fort Newton

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.
– Elizabeth Bibesco

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.
– Thomas Carlyle

A little thought will show you how vastly your own happiness depends on the way other people bear themselves toward you. The looks and tones at our breakfast table, the conduct of your fellow-workers or employers, the faithful or unreliable men you deal with, what people say to you on the street, the letters you get, the friends or foes you meet — these things make up very much of the pleasure or misery of your day. Turn the idea around, and remember that just so much are you adding to the pleasure or misery of other people’s days. And this is the half of the matter which you can control. Whether any particular day shall bring to you more of happiness or of suffering is largely beyond your power to determine. Whether each day of your life shall give happiness or suffering rests with yourself.
– George S. Merriam

A smile costs nothing but gives so much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. no one is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and no one is so poor but that he can be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give a smile. Give them one of yours, as no one needs a smile so much as he who has none to give.

They might not need me; but they might.
I’ll let my head be just in sight;
A smile as small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.
– Emily Dickinson (#1391)

If I had known what troubles you were bearing;
what griefs were in the silence of your face;
I would have been more gentle, and more caring,
And tried to give you gladness for a space.
I would have brought more warmth into the place,
If I had known.
if I had known what thoughts despairing drew you;
(Why do we never try to understand?)
I would have lent a little friendship to you,
And slipped my hand within your hand,
And made your stay more pleasant in the land,
If I had known.
– Mary Carolyn Davies

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
– Charles Dickens

Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.
– Wilfred T. Grenfell

Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy–a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the ‘joy’ of escaping from your mind but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the ‘joy’ of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the ‘joy’ of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.
– John Galt

unless you love someone nothing else makes any sense.
– e.e. cummings

The passions and desires, like two twists of a rope, mutually mix one with the other, and twine inextricably round the heart; producing good if moderately indulged; but certain destruction, if suffered to become inordinate.
– Burton

Life is a series of surprises, and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
– Voltaire

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.
– Dr. Albert Schweitzer

The reason people blame things on previous generations is that there’s only one other choice.
– Doug Larsen

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
– Samuel Butler

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.
– Soren Kierkegaard

The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.
– William James

Be a life long or short, its completeness depends on what is was lived for.
– David Starr Jordan

A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those that are worth committing.
– Samuel Butler

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That is hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
– Edward Wallis Hoch

Life is just one damned thing after another.
– Elbert Hubbard

Chaotic action is better than ordered inactivity.
– Weick

Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves.
– Maltbie D. Babcock

Conformity may give you a quiet life.
It may bring you a University Chair,
but all change in history, all advance comes from non-conformity.
If there had been no trouble-makers, no dissenters, we would have still been living in caves.
– Unknown

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
– Alfred Tennyson

What we call “Progress” is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance.
– Henry Havelock Ellis

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We like someone because. We love someone although.
– Henri de Montherlant

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist, the opportunity in every difficulty.
– L.P. Jacks

What life means to us is determined not so much by what life brings to us as by the attitude we bring to life; not so much by what happens to us as by our reaction to what happens.
– Lewis L. Dunnington

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
– Lao-Tse

Perseverances is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
– Walter Elliott

The differences in human life depend, for the most part, not on what men do, but upon the meaning and purpose of their acts.
– Elton Trueblood

Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more.
– William Cowper

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.
– Oscar Wilde

Education consists in being afraid at the right time.
– Angelo Patri

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
– Lin Yutang

No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.
– Charles P Steinmetz

I often marvel how it is that though each man loves himself beyond all else, he should yet value his own opinion of himself less than that of others.
– Marcus Aurelius

Never underestimate the power of human stupidty.

The way the human mind ordinarily works, in apparent contempt of the logicians, is conclusion first, premise afterwards.
– Joseph Rickaby

Life’s a bitch, and you keep on living.
– Rose Berardelli

Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth. Socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
– George Bernard Shaw.

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will is to prevent harm to others … over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
– John Stuart Mill (“On Liberty” 1859)

Men, once accustomed to obedience, never think of departing from that path in which they and their ancestors trod and to which they are confined by so many urgent and visible motives.
– David Hume

True democracy stems from grassroots participation: It is the responsibility of a democratic society to educate and involve the masses.

Men always want to be a woman’s first love. But women have a much more sensible goal: they want to be a man’s last romance.
– Oscar Wilde

Love is an irresistable desire to be irresistibly desired.
– Robert Frost

Judge not by the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.
– Unknown circa 100 A.D

It is better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not.
– Andre Gide

It is more important to do the right thing that to do things right.
– Peter Drucker

“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.”
– Charles F. Kettering

Experience is not what happens to a man; it’s what a man does with what happens to him.
– Aldous Huxley

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
– Edmund Burke (attrib)

The unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the impossible for the ungrateful.
– Anonymous

The World Needs More Men and Women:

  • Who do not have a price at which they can be bought
    Who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency
    Whose handshake is an ironclad contract
    Who are not afraid of a risk
    Who have opinions instead of prejudices
    Who are as honest in small matters as they are in large ones
    Whose ambitions are big enough to include others
    Who know how to win with grace and lose with dignit
    Who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning and ruthlessness are the three keys to success
    Who will have friends they made twenty years ago
    Who are not afraid to go against the grain of popular opinion and do not believe in “consensus”
    Who are occasionally wrong and always willing to admit it.

– Anonymous

All our dignity consists of thinking…thus, we must take care to think well.
– Blaise Pascal

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.
– Wernher von Braun

Ducharm’s Axiom:
If you view your problem closely enough, you will recognize yourself as part of the problem.

Liberty means responsibility, that is why men dread it.
– George Bernard Shaw

We preserve our freedoms using four boxes: soap, ballot, jury and cartridge.
– Myron A. Calhoun

Dum loquimur, fugerit invida Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum postero.
(While we’re talking, time will have meanly run on; pick today’s fruits, not relying on the future in the slightest. – Horac, Odes, I.xi.7 from Dead Poets Society movie)

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.
– William Penn

It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition to stand up for it.
– A.A. Hodge

Everyone wishes to have truth on his side, but it is not everyone who sincerely wishes to be on the side of truth.
– Richard Whately

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.
– George Bernard Shaw

Japanese Proverb – “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

Be alive, be purposeful, be passionate, be inspired, and above all be a blessing for God has wonderful plans for us.

There was a time, when men were kind
And their voices were soft
And their words were inviting
There was a time, when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they turn your hope apart
As they turn your dreams to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my dreams with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he’d come to me
That we would live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from the hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

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  1. September 2, 2008 at 5:56 AM
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