John W. Gardner, fully John William Gardner

John W.
Gardner, fully John William Gardner
1912
2002

American Secretary of Health and Welfare, Author, Founder of Common Cause and Independent Sector, Founder of The White House Fellowship and The Gardner Fellowship, Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom and Public Welfare Medal

Author Quotes

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality

If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.

The cynic says, One man can't do anything. I say, Only one man can do anything.

We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.

Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities - brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.

True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.

The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life.

Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them... achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don't stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.

Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all.

Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser._w_gardner.html#ixzz1aUmty9DZ

I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive.

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

All laws are an attempt to domesticate the natural ferocity of the species.

To sensible men, every day is a day of reckoning.

The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept.

Most human societies have been beautifully organized to keep good men down.

Freedom without moral commitments is aimless and promptly self-destructive.

If you have respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.

When people are serving, life is no longer meaningless.

Once it was the skeptic, the critic of the status quo, who had to make a great effort. Today the skeptic is the status quo. The one who must make the effort is the man who seeks to create a new moral order.

If our society continues at its present rate to become less livable as it becomes more affluent, we promise all to end up in sumptuous misery.

[Leaders] can express the values that hold the society together. Most important, they can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations, carry them above the conflicts that tear a society apart, and unite them in the pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.

When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps some day we shall know ho to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.

Author Picture
First Name
John W.
Last Name
Gardner, fully John William Gardner
Birth Date
1912
Death Date
2002
Bio

American Secretary of Health and Welfare, Author, Founder of Common Cause and Independent Sector, Founder of The White House Fellowship and The Gardner Fellowship, Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom and Public Welfare Medal