Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events,
have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t
I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
How do you want to live your life? How do you want to play the game? Do you want to play in the big leagues or in the little leagues, in the majors or the minors? Are you going to play big or play small? It’s your choice.
—T. Harv Eker (b.1954) American Motivational Speaker, Lecturer, Author
A man can’t be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
The experiences of camp life show that a man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even in the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to life.
—Viktor Frankl (1905–97) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist
The highest order of mind is accused of folly, as well as the lowest. Nothing is thoroughly approved but mediocrity. The majority has established this, and it fixes its fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
There is an election going on all the time… the Lord votes for you and Satan votes against you, and you must cast the deciding vote.
People are where they are because that is exactly where they really want to be—whether they will admit that or not.
—Earl Nightingale (1921–89) American Motivational Speaker, Author
The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
Refuse the evil, and choose the good.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
Suppose someone asserts of his lustful appetite that, when the desired object and the opportunity are present, it is quite irresistible. Ask him if a gallows were erected before the house where he finds this opportunity, in order that he should be hanged thereon immediately after the gratification of his lust, whether he could not then control his passion; we need not be long in doubt what he would reply. Ask him, however, if his sovereign ordered him, on the pain of the same immediate execution, to bear false witness against an honourable man, whom the prince might wish to destroy under a plausible pretext, would he consider it possible in that case to overcome his love of life, however great it may be. He would perhaps not venture to affirm whether he would do so or not, but he would unhesitatingly admit that it is possible to do so. He judges, therefore, that he can do a certain thing because he is conscious that he ought, and he recognizes that he is free—a fact which but for the moral law he would never have known.
—Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) Prussian German Philosopher, Logician
The first thing I do in the morning is to make my bed and while I am making up my bed I am making up my mind as to what kind of a day I am going to have.
—Robert Frost (1874–1963) American Poet
That which you call your soul or spirit is your conciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.
—Ayn Rand (1905–82) Russian-born American Novelist, Philosopher
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own.And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
—Theodor Seuss Geisel (‘Dr. Seuss’) (1904–91) American Children’s Books Writer, Writer, Cartoonist, Animator
Every moment of our lives we are either growing or dying—and it’s largely a choice, not fate. Throughout its life cycle, every one of the body’s trillions of cells is driven to grow and improve its ability to use more of its innate yet untapped capacity. Research biologist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who was twice awarded the Nobel Prize, called this syntropy, which he defined as the “innate drive in living matter to perfect itself”. It turns conventional thinking upside down…As living cells—or as people—there is no staying the same. If we aim for some middle ground or status quo, it’s an illusion—beneath the surface what’s actually happening is we’re dying, not growing. And the goal of a lifetime is continued growth, not adulthood. As Rene Dubos put it, “Genius is childhood recaptured”. For this to happen, studies show that we must recapture—or prevent the loss of—such child-like traits as the ability to learn, to love, to laugh about small things, to leap, to wonder, and to explore. It’s time to rescue ourselves from our grown-up ways before it’s too late.
—Robert Cooper (b.1947) British Diplomat
It is your own convictions which compels you; that is, choice compels choice.
—Epictetus (55–135) Ancient Greek Philosopher
He’d have given me rolling lands,
Houses of marble, and billowing farms,
Pearls, to trickle between my hands,
Smoldering rubies, to circle my arms.
You- you’d only a lilting song,
Only a melody, happy and high,
You were sudden and swift and strong-
Never a thought for another had I.
He’d have given me laces rare,
Dresses that glimmered with frosty sheen,
Shining ribbons to wrap my hair,
Horses to draw me, as fine as a queen.
You- you’d only to whistle low,
Gayly I followed wherever you led.
I took you, and I let him go-
Somebody ought to examine my head!
—Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) American Humorist, Journalist
There has never been another you. With no effort on your part you were born to be something very special and set apart. What you are going to do in appreciation of that gift is a decision only you can make.
Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.
—H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) American Journalist, Literary Critic
Man is made or unmade by himself. By the right choice he ascends. As a being of power, intelligence, and love, and the lord of his own thoughts, he holds the key to every situation.
—James Lane Allen (1849–1925) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.
—Leo Buscaglia (1924–98) American Motivational Speaker
As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
—Buddy Hackett (1924–2003) American Comedian, Actor
You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
Watch what you choose to do. For instance, someone might want you to smoke. Never forget that I told you—don’t do it. Say no. That can of beer that somebody wants you to try, don’t do it. Don’t you ever do it. That drug that someone might want you to use, don’t touch it. Stay away from it. It can destroy you.
—Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) American Mormon Religious Leader
We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.
—Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931) Lebanese-born American Philosopher, Poet, Painter, Theologian, Sculptor
That guy just cut right in front of me. But I’m not going to let it bother me. No. I’m on my way to work and I decided it doesn’t matter who wants to cut in front of my lane today. I’m not going to let it bother me one bit. Once I get to work, find myself a parking space, if somebody wants to jump ahead of me and take it, I’m going to let them.
—Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) American TV Personality
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not.
—Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) American TV Personality
You have the power to think what you want. No matter what the circumstance.
Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.
—Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717–97) English Art Historian, Man of Letters, Politician
Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.
—Stephen Covey (1932–2012) American Self-help Author
If you could do tomorrow over again, would you?
—Seth Godin (b.1960) American Entrepreneur