If every man’s internal care Were written on his brow, How many would our pity share Who raise our envy now?
—Metastasio (1698–1782) Italian Poet, Librettist
No one wearies of benefits received.
—Marcus Aurelius (121–180) Emperor of Rome, Stoic Philosopher
People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.
—Sa’Di (Musharrif Od-Din Muslih Od-Din) (c.1213–91) Persian Poet
I think luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it. Everyone has bad breaks, but everyone also has opportunities. The man who can smile at his breaks and grab his chances gets on.
—Samuel Goldwyn (1879–1974) Polish-born American Film Producer, Businessperson
No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Comparison, more than reality, makes men happy or wretched.
—Thomas Fuller (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
Nobody’s problem is ideal. Nobody has things just as he would like them. The thing to do is to make a success with what material I have. It is a sheer waste of time and soul-power to imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different.
—Frank Hall Crane (1873–1948) American Stage and Film Actor, Director
None of us is ever satisfied with what we are.
—Terence (c.195–159 BCE) Roman Comic Dramatist
The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.
—Joan Collins (b.1933) English Actress
In all climates, under all skies, man’s happiness is always somewhere else.
—Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837) Italian Poet, Essayist, Philosopher
No man’s abilities are so remarkably shining as not to stand in need of a proper opportunity.
—Pliny the Elder (23–79CE) Roman Statesman, Scholar
In this world the one thing supremely worth having is the opportunity to do well and worthily a piece of work of vital consequence to the welfare of mankind.
—Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) American Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Explorer
All great work is preparing yourself for the accident to happen.
—Sidney Lumet (1924–2011) American Film Director
The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.
—John Burroughs (1837–1921) American Naturalist, Writer
Oh God, don’t envy me, I have my own pains.
—Barbra Streisand (b.1942) American Musician, Actor, Songwriter
Money is another pressure. I’m not complaining, I’m just Saying that there’s a certain luxury in having no money. I spent 10 years in New York not having it, not worrying about it. Suddenly you have it, then you worry, where is it going? Am I doing the right thing with it?
—Dustin Hoffman (b.1937) American Actor, Filmmaker
I don’t like my voice. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way I move. I don’t like the way I act. I mean, period. So you know, I don’t like myself.
—Elizabeth Taylor (1932–2011) British-born American Actress
When a man’s busy, leisure strikes him as a wonderful pleasure; and at leisure once is he? Straightway he wants to be busy.
—Robert Browning (1812–89) English Poet
Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity.
—Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916) Austrian Novelist
The man who works need never be a problem to anyone. Opportunities multiply as they are seized; they die when neglected. Life is a long line of opportunities. Wealth is not in making money, but in making the man while he is making money. Production, not destruction, leads to success.
The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.
—Hugh Miller (1802–56) Scottish Geologist, Writer
I never admired another’s fortune so much that I became dissatisfied with my own.
—Cicero (106BCE–43BCE) Roman Philosopher, Orator, Politician, Lawyer
There is no security on this earth. Only opportunity.
—Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) American Military Leader
Comparisons of one’s lot with others’ teaches us nothing and enfeebles the will.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
There is hook in every benefit, that sticks in his jaws that takes that benefit, and draws him whither the benefactor will.
—John Donne (1572–1631) English Poet, Cleric
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author
Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers.
Opportunity has hair in front; behind she is bald; if you seize her by the fore lock, you may hold her, but, if suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again.
The man with toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
It is common to overlook what is near by keeping the eye fixed on something remote. In the same manner present opportunities are neglected and attainable good is slighted by minds busied in extensive ranges, and intent upon future advantages. Life, however short, is made shorter by waste of time.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
The prizes go to those who meet emergencies successfully. And the way to meet emergencies is to do each daily task the best we can; to act as though the eye of opportunity were always upon us. In the hundred-yard race the winter doesn’t cross the tape line a dozen strides ahead of the field. He wins by inches. So we find it in ordinary business life. The big things that come our way are seldom the result of long thought or careful planning, but rather they are the fruit of seed planted in the daily routine of our work.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
There is no man in this world without some manner of tribulation or anguish, though he be king or pope.
—Thomas a Kempis (1379–1471) German Religious Priest, Writer
He who leaves his house in search of happiness pursues a shadow.
We all envy other people’s luck.
Success is not greedy, as people think, but insignificant. That’s why it satisfies nobody.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
As you seek new opportunity, keep in mind that the sun does not usually reappear on the horizon where last seen.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
—Milton Berle (1908–2002) American Comedian, Actor
Pale death with impartial tread beats at the poor man’s cottage door and at the palaces of kings.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss.
Injuries should be done all together, so that being, less tasted, they will give less offense. Benefits should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher
I want to be able to live without a crowded calendar. I want to be able to read a book without feeling guilty, or go to a concert when I like.
—Golda Meir (1898–1978) Israeli Head of State
Great and small suffer the same mishaps.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
He that is discontented in one place will seldom be happy in another.
—Aesop (620–564 BCE) Greek Fabulist
If you were to visit a certain rural section of Vermont, you would be shown two farms only a few miles apart, and you would be told that a lad raised on one of the farms today occupies the most responsible position in the whole world, the Presidency of the United States. From the other farm, you would be told, there went forth another lad who is today the head of one of the leading railroads in the U.S…. Whenever I hear wild denunciations of this country and its institutions I cannot but feel that … no other country on earth offers such advantages and opportunities for children born in humble circumstances.
—B. C. Forbes (1880–1954) Scottish-born American Journalist, Publisher
There is as much confusion in the world of the gods as in ours.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality
The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.
—Alfred Adler (1870–1937) Austrian Psychiatrist
We must dream of an aristocracy of achievement arising out of a democracy of opportunity.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases.
—Jeremy Collier (1650–1726) Anglican Church Historian, Clergyman