Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.
—Jack London (1876–1916) American Novelist
If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances, it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give.
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
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
To see your drama clearly is to be liberated from it.
—Ken Keyes Jr. (1921–95) American Personal Growth Author
The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.
—Lou Holtz (1893–1980) American Stage Performer
It is our relation to circumstances that determines their influence over us. The same wind that carries one vessel into port may blow another off shore.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances.
—David Hume (1711–76) Scottish Philosopher, Historian
Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
Circumstances hell! I make circumstances!
—Bruce Lee (1940–73) American Martial Artist, Actor, Philosopher
No one is immune to pain, and it shouldn’t be denied when it exists. The key is to know that you can lead a productive and meaningful life no matter what the external circumstances are. What positive thinking does is offer a power boost to help you handle whatever life throws at you. Your “bad breaks” do not dominate your life; your indomitable strength does. And when you feel that indomitable strength, you really can handle any of your fears from a position of power—the kind of power that really can make good things happen.
—Susan Jeffers (1938–2012) American Psychologist, Self-Help Author
The circumstances of your life have uniquely qualified you to make a contribution. And if you don’t make that contribution, nobody else can make it.
—Harold Kushner (b.1935) American Jewish Religious Leader, Priest
In America nobody says you have to keep the circumstances somebody else gives you.
—Amy Tan (b.1952) Chinese-American Novelist
Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise.
—Samuel Lover (1797–1868) Anglo-Irish Writer, Artist, Songwriter
Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.
—Mario Andretti (b.1940) Italian-born American Sportsperson
You are where you are today because you’ve chosen to be there.
—Harry Browne (1933–2006) American Politician, Investor, Writer
We are no longer puppets being manipulated by outside powerful forces: we become the powerful force ourselves.
—Leo Buscaglia (1924–98) American Motivational Speaker
It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy,
in whatever situation I may be; for I have also
learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness
or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
—Martha Washington (1731–1802) American First Lady
Events of great consequence often spring from trifling circumstances.
—Livy (Titus Livius) (59 BCE–17 CE) Roman Historian
How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect thinking.
—David J. Schwartz (1927–87) American Self-help Author
No person is either as happy or as unhappy as they imagine. Things are never as good or as bad as they seem.
Men’s activities are occupied into ways—in grappling with external circumstances and in striving to set things at one in their own topsy-turvy mind.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
Men are the sport of circumstances, when the circumstances seem the sport of men.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.
—James Lane Allen (1849–1925) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own.
—Stephen Covey (1932–2012) American Self-help Author
Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
It is a fact that you project what you are.
—Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993) American Clergyman, Self-Help Author
How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us. Stay close to the heart of nature and forget this troubled world. Remember, there is nothing wrong with nature; the trouble is in ourselves.
I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.
—Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) English Novelist
We are exactly where we have chosen to be.
—Vernon Howard (1918–92) American Spiritual Teacher, Philosopher