Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

M. Scott Peck, fully Morgan Scott Peck

American Psychiatrist and best-selling Author, known for The Road Less Traveled

"If we seek to be loved - if we expect to be loved - this cannot be accomplished; we will be dependent and grasping, not genuinely loving."

"Learning from their children is the best opportunity most people have to assure themselves of meaningful old age."

"Simply seek happiness, and you are not likely to find it. Seek to create and love without regard to your happiness, and you will likely be happy much of the time."

"The life of wisdom must be a life of contemplation combined with action."

"All human interactions are opportunities either to learn or to teach."

"It is not so much what our parents say that determines our world view as it is the unique world they create for us by their behavior."

"As soon as we think with integrity we will realize that we are all properly stewards and that we cannot with integrity deny our responsibility for stewardship of every part of the whole."

"By attempting to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we are giving away our power to some other individual or organization. In this way, millions daily attempt to escape from freedom."

"By their openness, people dedicated to the truth live in the open, and through the exercise of their courage to live in the open, they become free from fear."

"Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom."

"Going into the unknown is invariably frightening, but we learn what is significantly new only through adventures."

"Most of us believe that the freedom and power of adulthood is our due, but we have little taste for adult responsibility and self-discipline."

"If we overcome laziness, all the other impediments to spiritual growth will be overcome. If we do not, none of the others will be hurdled."

"Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, it no longer matters."

"The act of loving is an act of self-evolution even when the purpose of the act is someone else's growth."

"Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call for our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom."

"The entirety of one's adult life is a series of personal choices, decisions. If we can accept this totally, then we become free people. To the extent that we do not accept this we will forever feel ourselves victims."

"The degree to which we can develop world community and thereby save our skins is going to depend primarily on the degree to which we human beings can learn to empty ourselves."

"The feeling of being valuable is a cornerstone of self-discipline because when you consider yourself valuable you will take care of yourself - including things like using your time well. In this way, self-discipline is self-caring."

"The only real security in life lies in relishing life's insecurity."

"The time and the quality of the time that their parents devote to them indicate to children the degree to which they are valued by their parents."

"There can be no vulnerability without risk; and there can be no community without vulnerability; and there can be no peace - ultimately no life - without community."

"There is a force that somehow pushes us to choose the more difficult path whereby we can transcend the mire and muck into which we are son often born. Despite all that resists the process, we do become better human beings."

"To be organized and efficiently, to live wisely, we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the future; yet to live joyously we must also possess the capacity, when it is not destructive, to live in the present and act spontaneously."

"To be free people we must assume total responsibility for ourselves, but in doing so we must possess the capacity to reject responsibility that is not truly ours."

"Wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems because it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning."

"When we cling, often forever, to our old patterns of thinking and behaving, we fall to negotiate any crisis, to truly grow up, and to experience the joyful sense of rebirth that accompanies the successful transition into greater maturity."

"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time."

"A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully, or not to live at all."

"Discipline is the tool required to solve life's problems. What are these tools, these techniques of suffering, these means of experiencing the pain of problems directly? Delaying gratification, accepting responsibility, dedication to truth, and balance."

"Allowing yourself to be dependent on another person is the worst possible thing you can do for yourself. You would be better off being dependent on heroin. As long as it's there, it will never let you down. It will always make you happy. But if you expect another person to make you happy, you'll be endlessly disappointed."

"A hundred years ago, paradox meant error to the scientific mind; but now it is widely recognized that at a certain level, reality is paradoxical."

"Attention is an act of will, of work against the inertia of our own minds."

"Look solely for happiness, and I doubt you'll find it. Forget about happiness, seek wisdom and goodness, and happiness will probably find you."

"If your goal is to avoid pain and escape suffering, I would not advise you to seek higher levels of consciousness or spiritual evolution."

"Love is not effortless; to the contrary, love is effortful."

"Love provides the motive, the energy for discipline. It is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own, or another's, spiritual growth."

"Mental health is an ongoing dedication to reality at all costs."

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

"The best decision makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain the ability to be decisive."

"When we shy away from death, and the ever-changing nature of things, we inevitably shy away from life."

"Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."

"It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually."

"Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience. "

"Share our similarities, celebrate our differences. "

"The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior."

"The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual - for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost."

"The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one."

"There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community."