You are a puppet, but in the hands of the infinite, which may be your own.
—Antonio Porchia (1885–1968) Italian Poet
To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.
—Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) English Novelist
About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you’re fighting temptation.
—Tom Wilson (1931–2011) American Cartoonist
To rule self and subdue our passions is the more praiseworthy because so few know how to do it.
—Francesco Guicciardini (1483–1540) Italian Historian, Political leader
There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterward, when you’ve worked on your own corner.
—Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) English Humanist, Pacifist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Satirist
Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch and you get up and make a triple-decker sandwich. It’s on the other side of that, when you don’t make the sandwich. It’s about sacrifice…. It’s about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling. That’s what I believe, anyway. I’m always asking, “What am I going to give up next?” Because I want to feel.
—Jim Carrey (b.1962) Canadian Actor, Comedian
I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself.
—Pietro Aretino (1492–1556) Italian Poet, Dramatist, Satirist
He who would govern others should first be master of himself.
—Philip Massinger (1583–1640) English Playwright
When we direct our thoughts properly, we can control our emotions…
—W. Clement Stone (1902–2002) American Self-help Guru, Entrepreneur
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Lies but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
—William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) English Poet, Critic, Editor
You can’t always control the wind, but you can control your sails.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.
—Charles Darwin (1809–82) English Naturalist
It is the man who is cool and collected, who is master of his countenance, his voice, his actions, his gestures, of every part, who can work upon others at his pleasure.
—Denis Diderot (1713–84) French Philosopher, Writer
Nothing makes it easier to resist temptation than a proper bringing-up, a sound set of values—and witnesses.
—Franklin P. Jones
Those who can command themselves command others.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself.
—Karen Horney (1885–1952) German-born American Psychoanalyst
We improve ourselves by victories over ourself. There must be contests, and you must win.
—Edward Gibbon (1737–94) English Historian, Politician
Not being able to govern events, I govern myself, and apply myself to them, if they will not apply themselves to me.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
He is strong who conquers others; He who conquers himself is mighty.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
The first attribute that characterizes the greater man from the moron is his thicker layer of inhibition.
—Martin H. Fischer
He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
What are numbers knit
By force or custom? Man who man would be,
Must rule the empire of himself; in it
Must be supreme, establishing his throne
On vanquished will, quelling the anarchy
Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) English Poet, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist
Control your destiny or somebody else will.
—Jack Welch (1935–2020) American Businessperson
Conscience whispers, but interest screams aloud.
—Jean Antoine Petit-Senn (1792–1870) Swiss Poet
The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence, but in the mastery, of his passions.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) British Poet
Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; the hardest victory is over self.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
When the fight begins within himself, a man’s worth something.
—Robert Browning (1812–89) English Poet
He that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Self-respect is the fruit of discipline, the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
—Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–72) American Jewish Rabbi
No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.
—Barbara De Angelis (b.1951) American Lecturer, Author, TV Personality, Motivational Speaker
But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright