The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.
—Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) English Novelist
Overachievement is aimed at people who want to maximize their potential. And to do that, I insist you throw caution to the wind, ignore the pleas of parents, coaches, spouses, and bosses to be “realistic”. Realistic people do not accomplish extraordinary things because the odds against success stymie them. The best performers ignore the odds. I will show you that instead of limiting themselves to what’s probable, the best will pursue the heart-pounding, exciting, really big, difference-making dreams—so long as catching them might be possible.
—John Eliot (b.1971) American Psychologist, Academic
Stick with your own perception of yourself—living in your own world—and letting your reality, not the reality presented by other people or particular situations, control your performance.
—John Eliot (b.1971) American Psychologist, Academic
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.
—Anne Frank (1929–45) Holocaust Victim
Pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people.
An average man is too concerned with liking people or with being liked himself. A warrior likes, that’s all. He likes whatever or whomever he wants, for the hell of it.
—Carlos Castaneda (1925–98) Peruvian-born American Anthropologist, Author
His voice was as intimate as the rustle of sheets.
—Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) American Humorist, Journalist
[Roark to Keating:] If you want my advice, Peter,” he said at last, “you’ve made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?”
—Ayn Rand (1905–82) Russian-born American Novelist, Philosopher
Towns are full of people, houses full of tenants, hotels full of guests, trains full of travelers, cafes full of customers, parks full of promenaders, consulting-rooms of famous doctors full of patients, theatres full of spectators, and beaches full of bathers. What previously was, in general, no problem, now begins to be an everyday one, namely, to find room.
—Jose Ortega y. Gasset (1883–1955) Spanish Critic, Journalist, Philosopher
With people with only modest ability, modesty is mere honesty; but with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy.
—Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) German Philosopher
I’ve always been interested in people, but I’ve never liked them.
—W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) British Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright
In general, of course, a stranger who tries to get you into an automobile is anything but noble, and in general a person who quotes great American novelists is anything but treacherous, and in general a man who says you needn’t worry about money, or a man who smokes cigarettes, is somewhere in between.
—Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) (b.1970) American Novelist
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) Irish-born British Academic, Author, Literary Scholar
When you inhabit any of these three roles, you’re reacting to fear of victimhood, loss of control, or loss of purpose. You’re always looking outside yourself, to the people and circumstances of life, for a sense of safety, security, and sanity.
I don’t want an epitaph on my gravestone that says, ‘He would have pursued some big dreams in his life, but other people wouldn’t let him.
—Tom Peters (b.1942) American Management Consultant, Author
It is against the law to permit weak people to steal your strength. Never permit it.
—Vernon Howard (1918–92) American Spiritual Teacher, Philosopher
But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
—Jack Kerouac (1922–1969) American Novelist, Poet
Most people judge others either by the company they keep, or by their fortune.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
Sad people dislike the happy, and the happy the sad; the quick thinking the sedate, and the careless the busy and industrious.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
Rich people think long-term. They balance their spending on enjoyment today with investing for freedom tomorrow.
—T. Harv Eker (b.1954) American Motivational Speaker, Lecturer, Author
People say that what we’re all seeking in life is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experience on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually fee the rapture of being alive.
—Joseph Campbell (1904–87) American Mythologist, Writer, Lecturer
If you live according to the dictates of nature, you will never be poor; if according to the notions of man, you will never be rich.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
You might believe that it’s only for their own good, but how does it feel when you try to manipulate the people you love? Are you teaching them that your love is conditional? Maybe through inquiry we can find another way.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, “There you are” and those who say, “Here I am.”
—Pauline Phillips (Abigail van Buren) (b.1918) American Columnist
People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them—in effect, they approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. The do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning.
—Peter Senge (b.1947) American Management Consultant, Author, Scientist
Those who are quite satisfied sit still and do nothing; those who are not quite satisfied are the sole benefactors of the world.
—Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864) English Writer, Poet
What holds most people back isn’t the quality of their ideas, but their lack of faith in themselves.
—Russell Simmons (b.1957) American Music Promoter
Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.
—Groucho Marx (1890–1977) American Actor, Comedian, Singer
That you may please others you must be forgetful of yourself.
—Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (c.43 BCE–c.18 CE) Roman Poet