Difficulty

It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue.

There is no one in the world who cannot arrive without difficulty at the most eminent perfection by fulfilling with love obscure and common duties.

Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on.

The man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities.

Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Some people carry their hearts in their heads; very many carry their heads in their hearts. The difficulty is to keep them apart, yet both actively working together.

The grand difficulty is to feel the reality of both worlds, so as to give each its due place in our thoughts and feelings, to keep our mind’s eye and our heart’s eye ever fixed on the land of promise, without looking away from the road along which we are to travel toward it.

The great difficulty is first to win a reputation; the next to keep it while you live; and the next to preserve it after you die, when affection and interest are over, and nothing but sterling excellence can preserve your name.

Jealousy is a painful passion; yet without some share of it, the agreeable affection of love has difficulty to subsist in its full force and violence.

Your success and happiness lie in you. External conditions are the accidents of life. The great enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Resolve to keep happy and your joy in you shall form an invincible host against difficulty.

It is easy to look down on others; to look down on others is the difficulty.

You will be able to overcome desires without excessive difficulty when you become aware of their illusory nature. The pleasure of eating, for example, is really of very short duration. You feel the pleasure for only the short amount of time the food is in your mouth. As soon as you have swallowed the food, it is already forgotten... All physical pleasures are similar. Give the matter sufficient thought and you will realize that even the illusory good lasts only a short time. On the other hand, the negative consequences of physical pleasures can be severe and long lasting. A thinking person will definitely not want to place himself in a situation fraught with dangers for momentary pleasures. By habitually thinking about this truth, one will gradually be able to free himself from the prison of foolishly pursuing physical pleasures.

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind.

It is easy to look down on others; to look down on ourselves is the difficulty.

Five minutes, just before going to sleep, given to a bit of directed imagination regarding achievement possibilities of the morrow, will steadily and increasingly bear fruit, particularly if all ideas of difficulty, worry or fear are resolutely ruled out and replace by those of accomplishment and smiling courage.

True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste.

Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce. What it should produce is a belief that knowledge is attainable in a measure, though with difficulty; that much of what passes for knowledge at any given time is likely to be more or less mistaken, but that the mistakes can be rectified by care and industry... Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility. Both are mistaken, and their errors, when widespread, produce social disaster.

Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power of men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words.

One who anticipates difficulty is told not to cross the bridge until he gets to it.