The wise don’t expect to find life worth living; they make it that way.
It isn’t important to come out on top, what matters is to be the one who comes out alive.
—Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) German Poet, Playwright, Theater Personality
The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
He who inherits a penny is expected to spend a dollar.
Expect poison from standing water.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker
Life is largely a matter of expectation.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
What a pleasure life would be to live if everybody would try to do only half of what he expects others to do.
—William J. H. Boetcker (1873–1962) American Presbyterian Minister
He who awaits much can expect little.
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927–2014) Colombian Novelist, Short-Story Writer
May God … let me strive for attainable things.
—Pindar (c.518–c.438 BCE) Greek Lyric Poet
Of all the young men in America only a few hundred can get into major league baseball, and of these only a handful in a decade can get into the Hall of Fame. So it goes in all human activity … Some become multimillionaires and chairmen of the board, and some of us must be content to play baseball at company picnics or manage a credit union without pay.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
We expect more of ourselves than we have any right to, in virtue of our endowments
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
We tend to get what we expect.
—Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993) American Clergyman, Self-Help Author
When you have an ass for a friend, expect nothing but kicks.
We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
There is nothing more miserable and foolish than anticipation.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
Here is the simple but powerful rule… always give people more than they expect to get.
That is a good book which is opened with expectation, and closed with delight and profit.
—Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) American Teacher, Writer, Philosopher
Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.
—Jean Vanier (1928–2019) French-Canadian Philosopher, Theologian, Humanitarian
We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
The chief duty I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author
I hope to work, support my children and die quietly without pain.
—Sean Connery (1930–2020) Scottish Actor, Film Producer
Don’t expect from others what you can’t promise them yourself.
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.
—Francis de Sales (1567–1622) French Catholic Saint
We expect everything and are prepared for nothing.
—Sophie Swetchine (1782–1857) Russian Mystic, Writer
Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.
—Alfred A. Montapert (1906–97) American Engineer, Philosopher
At thirty a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities … And above all, accept these things.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
Be what you are and become what you are capable of becoming.
Take charge of your life – become the person you would like to be.
We would have to settle for the elegant goal of becoming ourselves.
—William Styron (1925–2006) American Novelist, Essayist, Writer
Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.
—Alice Walker (b.1944) American Novelist, Activist
The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.
—Margot Fonteyn (1919–91) English Classical Ballet Dancer
Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies, and not be the biggest pygmy that he can?
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Presumption is our natural and original malady. When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves.
—Brian Tracy (b.1944) American Author, Motivational Speaker
You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.
I can’t write a book commensurate with Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me.
—Walter Raleigh (1552–1618) English Courtier, Navigator, Poet
Don’t expect. Inspect.
No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character.
—John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn (1838–1923) British Political Leader, Writer, Editor, Journalist
It is enough that I am of value to somebody today.
—Hugh Prather (b.1938) American Christian Author, Minister, Counselor
It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, that the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher
You must not expect old heads upon young shoulders.
Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don’t be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.
—Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) American Head of State, Lawyer
Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, through the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.
—William Congreve (1670–1729) English Playwright, Poet
High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.
—Charles F. Kettering (1876–1958) American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Businessperson
Learn to … be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Moral Philosopher, Poet, Critic
It is only fools who keep straining at high C all their lives.
—Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) American Essayist, Novelist
Sometimes it is more important to discover what one cannot do, than what one can.
—Lin Yutang (1895–1976) Chinese Author, Philologist
Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.
—Charlotte Bronte (1816–1855) English Novelist, Poet
I have done what I could do in life, and if I could not do better, I did not deserve it. In vain have I tried to step beyond what bound me. Despite my years, I am still trying.
—Maurice Maeterlinck (1862–1949) Belgian Poet, Playwright, Essayist
We must expect everything and fear everything from time to time.
—Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues (1715–47) French Moralist, Essayist, Writer