Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Alfred Adler

Austrian Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist and Founder of the School of Individual Psychology

"A person's behavior springs from his ideas."

"Exaggerated sensitiveness is an expression of the feeling of inferiority."

"The feeling of inferiority rules the mental life and can be clearly recognized as the sense of incompleteness and unfulfillment... both of individuals and of humanity."

"The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even to murder, for the truth."

"We must interpret a bad temper as a sign of inferiority."

"Man knows much more than he understands"

"A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view."

"The only worthwhile achievements of man are those which are socially useful."

"It is easy to believe that life is long and one's gifts are vast - easy at the beginning that is. But the limits of life grow more evident; it becomes clear the great work can be done rarely, if at all."

"There is a law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish."

"Striving for superiority is the fundamental law of human life, a something without which life would be unthinkable."

"The "truth" is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even to murder, for the truth."

"Do not forget the most important fact that neither heredity nor environment is a determining factor. Both are giving only the frame and the influences which are answered by the individual in regard to his styled creative power."

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."

"Not by the Creed but by the Deed."

"Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."

"The feeling of inferiority rules the mental life and can be clearly recognized as the sense of incompleteness and unfulfillment, and in the uninterrupted struggle both of individuals and of humanity."

"We only regard those unions as real examples of love and real marriages in which a fixed and unalterable decision has been taken. If men or women contemplate an escape, they do not collect all their powers for the task. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a "getaway." We cannot love and be limited."

"Everyone… has a feeling of inferiority. But the feeling of inferiority is not a disease; it is rather a stimulant to health, normal striving and development. It becomes a pathological condition only when the sense of inadequacy overwhelms the individual and, far from stimulating him to useful activity, makes him depressed and incapable of development."

"Reverence for superiors, respect for equals, regard for inferiors - these form the supreme trinity of virtues."

"To some degree or other, every neurotic restricts his sphere of action, his contacts with the whole situation. He tries to keep at a distance the real confronting problems of life and confines himself to circumstances in which he feels able to dominate. In this way he builds for himself a narrow stable, closes the door, and spends his life away from the wind, the sunlight, and the fresh air."

"All neurotic symptoms have as their object the task of safeguarding the patient’s self-esteem."