Usefulness

How often do we sigh for opportunities of doing good, whist we neglect the openings of Providence in little things, which would frequently lead to the accomplishment of most important usefulness!... Good is done by degrees. However small in proportion the benefits which follow individual attempts to do good, a great deal may thus be accomplished by perseverance, even in the midst of discouragements and disappointments.

The search for static security - in the law and elsewhere - is misguided. The fact is security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts.

Be unselfish. That is the first and final commandment for those who would be useful, and happy in their usefulness. If you think of yourself only, you cannot develop because you are choking the source of development, which is spiritual expansion through thought for others.

The usefulness of historical knowledge in philosophy, here as elsewhere, is that the prejudices of our own period may lose their grip on us if we imaginatively enter into another period, when people’s prejudices were different.

[Suicide note] - Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or 'broken heart' is excuse for cutting off one's life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one.

Success can corrupt; usefulness can only exalt.

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved.

Just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.

Esteem is the harvest of a whole life spent in usefulness; but reputation is often bestowed upon a chance action, and depends most on success.

Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.

Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend. 

We pierce doors and windows to make a house; and it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends. Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.

Young men have strong passions, and tend to gratify them indiscriminately... They have as yet met with few disappointments. Their lives are mainly spent not in memory but in expectation; for expectation refers to the future, memory to the past, and youth has a long future before it and a short past behind it: on the first day of one’s life one has nothing at all to remember, and can only look forward... They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning; and whereas reasoning leads us to choose what is useful, moral goodness leads us to choose what is noble. They are fonder of their friends, intimates, and companions than older men are, because they like spending their days in the company of others, and have not yet come to value either their friends or anything else by their usefulness to themselves. All their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They disobey Chilon’s precept by overdoing everything; they love too much and hate too much, and the same thing with everything else. They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.

A happy marriage is a new beginning of life, a new starting-point for happiness and usefulness.

The purest pleasures lie within the circle of useful occupation. Mere pleasure, sought outside of usefulness, is fraught with poison.

The purest pleasures lie within the circle of useful occupation. Mere pleasure, sought outside of usefulness, is fraught with poison.

Those who are completely satisfied with their accomplishments have outlived their usefulness.

Consider the postage stamp my son: Its usefulness consists in its ability to stick to one thing until it gets there

We are a spectacular manifestation of life. We have language... We have affection. We have genes for usefulness, and usefulness is about as close to a "common goal" of nature as I can guess at. And finally, and perhaps best of all, we have music.

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner; neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify men for usefulness and happiness.