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
I look at what I have not and think myself unhappy; others look at what I have and think me happy.
—Philibert Joseph Roux (1780–1854) French Surgeon
Ability is of little account without opportunity.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
A wise man will make more opportunities, than he finds.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
Ambition, having reached the summit, longs to descend.
—Pierre Corneille (1606–84) French Poet, Dramatist
He who leaves his house in search of happiness pursues a shadow.
There is as much confusion in the world of the gods as in ours.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone.
—Jerome K. Jerome (1859–1927) English Humorous Writer, Novelist, Playwright
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
Great and small suffer the same mishaps.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
When blocked or defeated in an enterprise I had much at heart, I always turned immediately to another field of work where progress looked possible, biding my time for a chance to resume the obstructed road.
—Charles William Eliot (1834–1926) American Educationalist
Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases.
—Jeremy Collier (1650–1726) Anglican Church Historian, Clergyman
None think the great unhappy but the great.
—Edward Young (1683–1765) English Poet
Beggars do not envy millionaires, though of course they will envy other beggars who are more successful.
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
What makes us discontented with our condition is the absurdly exaggerated idea we have of the happiness of others.
Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.
—Hugh Miller (1802–56) Scottish Geologist, Writer
I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect, either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him.
—Max Beerbohm (1872–1956) British Essayist, Caricaturist, Novelist
Man’s heart is never satisfied; the snake would swallow the elephant.
Before we set our hearts too much on anything, let us examine how happy are those who already possess it.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
To most of us the real life is the life we do not lead.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
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
We must dream of an aristocracy of achievement arising out of a democracy of opportunity.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
He that is discontented in one place will seldom be happy in another.
—Aesop (620–564 BCE) Greek Fabulist
What is opportunity to the man who can’t use it? An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
There are three wants which can never be satisfied: that of the rich, who want something more; that of the sick, who want something different; and that of the traveler, who says, “Anywhere but here”.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.
—Joan Collins (b.1933) English Actress
Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
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
Opportunity is the best captain of all endeavor.
—Sophocles (495–405 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
—Milton Berle (1908–2002) American Comedian, Actor