A chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He says, “I was beaten”. He does not say, “My men were beaten”. Thus speaks a real man.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
The foundations which we would dig about and find are within us, like the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than without.
He who has no opinion of his own, but depends upon the opinion and taste of others, is a slave.
—Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724–1803) German Poet
Whatever task you undertake, do it with all your heart and soul. Always be courteous, never be discouraged. Beware of him who promises something for nothing. Do not blame anybody for your mistakes and failures. Do not look for approval except the consciousness of doing your best.
—Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965) American Financier, Economic Consultant
Man must be arched and buttressed from within, else the temple will crumble to dust.
—Marcus Aurelius (121–180) Emperor of Rome, Stoic Philosopher
Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) French Theologian, Musician, Philosopher, Physician
There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence upon one’s self.
—John Gay (1685–1732) English Poet, Dramatist
We can be thankful to a friend for a few acres, or a little money; and yet for the freedom and command of the whole earth, and for the great benefits of our being, our life, health, and reason, we look upon ourselves as under no obligation.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
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
Time and I against any two.
Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures.—In the assurance of strength there is strength; and they are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their powers.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
I am my own heaven and hell.
—Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) German Poet, Dramatist
God helps them that help themselves.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depend upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
When I have been unhappy, I have heard an opera … and it seemed the shrieking of winds; when I am happy, a sparrow’s chirp is delicious to me. But it is not the chirp that makes me happy, but I that make it sweet.
—John Ruskin (1819–1900) English Writer, Art Critic
Pa, he always said a man had to look spry for himself, because nobody would do it for him; your opportunities didn’t come knocking around, you had to hunt them down and hog-tie them.
—Louis L’Amour (1908–88) American Novelist, Short-story Writer
If a man wants his dreams to come true, he must wake up.
No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.
—Demosthenes (384–322 BCE) Greek Statesman, Orator
Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
Bad times, hard times-this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.
—Augustine of Hippo (354–430) Roman-African Christian Philosopher
Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure are, by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral, and subject to chance.
—Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) German Philosopher
The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
—Carlos Castaneda (1925–98) Peruvian-born American Anthropologist, Author
One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Humanitarian
A secure individual … knows that the responsibility for anything concerning his life remains with himself—and he accepts that responsibility.
—Harry Browne (1933–2006) American Politician, Investor, Writer
He that has no resources of mind, is more to be pitied than he who is in want of necessaries for the body; to be obliged to beg our daily happiness from others, bespeaks a more lamentable poverty than that of him who begs his daily bread.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Felicity, felicity … is quaffed out of a golden cup … the flavour is with you alone, and you can make it as intoxicating as you please.
—Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) Polish-born British Novelist
Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.
—James A. Garfield (1831–81) American Head of State, Lawyer, Educator
Discontent is the want of self-reliance; it is infirmity of will.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
You are the handicap you must face. You are the one who must choose your place.
—James Lane Allen (1849–1925) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
The man who cannot enjoy his own natural gifts in silence, and find his reward in the exercise of them, will generally find himself badly off.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.
—Thomas Aquinas (1225–74) Italian Catholic Priest, Philosopher, Theologian
Heaven and hell is right now … You make it heaven or you make it hell by your actions.
—George Harrison (1943–2001) English Singer
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
Don’t ask of your friends what you yourself can do.
—Ennius (c.239–169 BCE) Roman Poet
The best bet is to bet on yourself.
—Arnold Glasow (1905–98) American Businessman
You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.
You will not find poetry anywhere unless you bring some of it with you.
—Joseph Joubert (1754–1824) French Writer, Moralist
Help yourself, and Heaven will help you.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
God loves to help him who strives to help himself.
—Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) Greek Poet
Great is the strength of an individual soul, true to its high trust; mighty is it, even to the redemption of a world.
—Lydia Maria Child (1802–80) American Abolitionist, Writer
No one can help you in holding a good job except Old Man You.
—E. W. Howe (1853–1937) American Novelist, Editor
Trust in God – but tie your camel tight.
A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.
—Rita Mae Brown (b.1944) American Writer, Feminist
There is no reality except the one contained within us.
—Hermann Hesse (1877–1962) German-born Swiss Novelist, Poet
Every time I start a picture … I feel the same fear, the same self-doubts … and I have only one source on which I can draw, because it comes from within me.
—Federico Fellini (1920–93) Italian Filmmaker
Happiness is not in our circumstances, but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.
—John B. Sheerin (1907–92) American Catholic Columnist
Help thyself, and God will help thee.
—George Herbert (1593–1633) Welsh Anglican Poet, Orator, Clergyman
Boyhood is a most complex and incomprehensible thing. Even when one has been through it, one does not understand what it was. A man can never quite understand a boy, even when he has been the boy.
—G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet