Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are the roads of genius.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker
The first step to improvement, whether mental, moral, or religious, is to know ourselves—our weakness, errors, deficiencies, and sins, that, by divine grace, we may overcome and turn from them all.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
Every man, however obscure, however far removed from the general recognition, is one of a group of men impressible for good, and impressible for evil, and it is in the nature of things that he cannot really improve himself without in some degree improving other men.
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.
—C. William Pollard (b.1938) American Businessman
Slumber not in the tents of your fathers. The world is advancing. Advance with it.
—Giuseppe Mazzini (1805–72) Italian Patriot, Political Leader
To hear always, to think always, to learn always, it is thus that we live truly; he who aspires to nothing, and learns nothing, is not worthy of living.
—Arthur Helps (1813–75) English Dramatist, Essayist
It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.
—Mignon McLaughlin (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
The biggest room in the world, is the room for improvement.
Our lives improve only when we take chances—and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.
Do not hold the delusion that your advancement is accomplished by crushing others.
—Cicero (106BCE–43BCE) Roman Philosopher, Orator, Politician, Lawyer
It is necessary to try to surpass one’s self always; this occupation ought to last as long as life.
—Christina, Queen of Sweden (1626–89) Swedish Monarch
Things will get better—despite our efforts to improve them.
—Will Rogers (1879–1935) American Actor, Rancher, Humorist
Much of the wisdom of one age is the folly of the next.
—Charles Simmons (1924–2017) American Editor, Novelist
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.
—Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945) American Novelist
Judge of thine improvement, not by what thou speakest or writest, but by the firmness of thy mind, and the government of thy passions and affections.
—Thomas Fuller (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
Improvement is nature.
—Leigh Hunt (1784–1859) British Poet, Essayist, Journalist
My friend, saying that you don’t have time to improve your thoughts and your life is like saying you don’t have time to stop for gas because you are too busy driving. Eventually it will catch up with you.
Undoubtedly a man is to labor to better his condition, but first to better himself.
—William Ellery Channing (1780–1842) American Unitarian Theologian, Poet
Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.
Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set. This is true of earthly as of heavenly things. Even the man whose object is to acquire wealth must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a strong and well-poised life.
—James Allen (1864–1912) British Philosophical Writer
It is not the rich man’s son that the young struggler for advancement has to fear in the race for life, nor his nephew, nor his cousin. Let him look out for the dark horse in the boy who begins by sweeping out the office.
—Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) Scottish-American Industrialist
Acorns were good till bread was found.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
There isn’t a plant or a business on earth that couldn’t stand a few improvements—and be better for them. Someone is going to think of them. Why not beat the other fellow to it?
—Roger Babson (1875–1967) American Economist
Infinite toil would not enable you to sweep away a mist; but by ascending a little you may often look over it altogether. So it is with our moral improvement; we wrestle fiercely with a vicious habit, which would have no hold upon us if we ascended into a higher moral atmosphere.
—Arthur Helps (1813–75) English Dramatist, Essayist
As long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open.
—Thomas Dewar, 1st Baron Dewar (1864–1930) Scottish Businessperson
Real improvement is of slow growth only.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
Where we cannot invent, we may at least improve; we may give somewhat of novelty to that which was old, condensation to that which was diffuse, perspicuity to that which was obscure, and currency to that which was recondite.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
All of us, who are worth anything, spend our manhood in unlearning the follies, or expiating the mistakes of our youth. – Shelley, Percy Bysshe
—Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) English Poet, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
—Winston Churchill (1874–1965) British Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Journalist, Author