Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ability

"The most feared event in a person’s life is death. But we have the ability to transform our death into the greatest act we will perform in our entire life. We can perceive death as our total submission to the will of the Almighty and find tremendous spiritual elevation." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"The ability to find fault is believed, by some people, to be a sure sign of great wisdom, when, in most cases, it only indicates narrowness of mind and ill nature." - Arthur Aughey

"To succeed, one must possess an effective combination of ability, ambition, courage, drive, hard work, integrity and loyalty." - Harry F. Banks, real name possibly Harry Band

"Try to become as great as you can. Some people are afraid to accomplish because they might make mistakes and those mistakes will be more serious than if they remained simple. This is not valid reasoning. Each person is obligated to develop himself to the best of his ability. The smallest person has potential for greatness if he utilizes all that is within him." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"The ability to make love frivolously is the thing which distinguishes human beings from the beasts." - Heywood Broun, fully Matthew Heywood Campbell Broun

"Courage is always greatest when blended with meekness; intellectual ability is most admirable when it sparkles in the setting of a modest self-distrust; and never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"It is impossible to remove all desires. But we have the ability to channel our desires from physical and material pleasures to spiritual endeavors... Someone who finds fulfillment in spiritual matters is not being deprived of pleasure. Rather he is gaining more pleasure than is possible in material matters." - Yehuda Leib Chasman

"The ability to laugh at life is right at the top, with love and communication in the hierarchy of our needs. Humor has much to do with pain; it exaggerates the anxieties and absurdities we feel, so that we gain distance and through laughter, relief." - Sara Davidson

"Pleasure comes from obtaining what we feel we are lacking. We have the ability to choose our answer to the question, “What am I lacking right now?” Some people answer materialistically. It is wiser to choose to focus on your lack of spiritual accomplishments and then you can derive pleasure from meeting those needs." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for a difficult or dangerous service, and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: “Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor.”" - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"People are always ready to admit a man's ability after he gets there." - Bob Edwards, fully Robert Alan "Bob" Edwards

"The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness." - Martin Esslin, fully Martin Julius Esslin

"We can help raise our standard by praising the good whenever and wherever we find it. As we praise the good at hand we grow in our ability to find more good." - Lowell Fillmore

"Fear thoughts have a tendency to diminish our ability, but praiseful thoughts lift us up and give us power." - Lowell Fillmore

"If there is any great secret of success in life, it lies in the ability to put yourself in the other person's place and to see things from his point of view - as well as your own." - Henry Ford

"Great ability without discretion comes almost invariably to a tragic end." -

"Wisdom is the ability to do good and abandon sin." - Yonah ben Abraham Gerondi, known as Yonah of Gerona and Rabbenu Yonah

"What a man accomplishes in a day depends upon the way in which he approaches his tasks. When we accept tough jobs as a challenge to our ability and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm miracles can happen. When we do our work with a dynamic conquering spirit we get things done." - Arland Gilbert

"Any person who thinks rationally will not feel discouraged in the area of personal growth and obtaining wisdom. He realizes that perfection is impossible and not required of him. Constant improvement is what is required and everyone has the ability to improve." - Avraham Grodzinski

"Suffering has the ability to weaken one’s desires. It can separate a person from cleaving to material matters. When one is in the midst of suffering, he can see it is possible for him to live without gratifying his desires, and without honor and approval. Little by little, he becomes free from those things he was previously bound to. His suffering can help him open his eyes to see his true self and internal wealth." - Avraham Grodzinski

"Ninety percent of all human wisdom is the ability to mind your own business." - Robert A. Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." - Hans Hoffman

"Kindness is the inability to remain at ease in the presence of another person who is ill at ease, the inability to remain comfortable in the presence of another who is uncomfortable, the ability to have peace of mind when one's neighbor is troubled." - Samuel H. Holdenson

"We are here for communion with God who is Love, the One in whose image and likeness each one of us is made. We find this communion by loving as God loves us... The miracle of all miracles is the ability to transform through love the smallest, seemingly insignificant detail of the routine drudgery of everyday existence into paradise; the ability to become ourselves, at each moment, a fresh paradise to those around us, thereby becoming “gods by grace” for those who are “gods” to us. Each person accepts or rejects communion with God in his or her own unique manner... The act of communion comes always as grace. For those who know it, it is not life’s meaning, purpose or goal. It is life itself: God with us making us what God is." - Thomas Hopko

"I found death to be a simple shift in consciousness. It was painless, instantaneous and nothing to be feared. In fact, it felt more natural not to breath than to breathe. It was wonderful not to 'wear' a body. I had complete mobility, perfect memory and knowledge. I was free! I found no fear in dying. The fear came for me when I realized that I was still alive, and I didn't 'stay dead'.You don't lose your cravings or addictions in dying, but I found that you do lose your ability to satisfy them. The opportunities that existed before are no more. Whatever are your attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, feelings, expectations or apprehensions...that's what you'll wear and that's what you'll be. They become your body and your world. No more games. No more secrets. No more cover-up. You become what you really are! We are in a condition of our own creation. When we die we reap our own harvest." - Phyllis Huffman

"Responsibility means, "the ability to respond." In any of life's challenges, opportunities or disasters, we can respond in whatever way we choose. Our response dictates what life hands us next." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"We are constantly repeating messages in our minds. If they are negative: “I’m a failure,” “The world is an awful place,” “Nothing ever goes right,” we make our lives miserable. We have the ability to consciously make an effort to repeat to our selves positive messages: “I have the ability to keep improving,” “The world contains many wonderful opportunities,” “Everything that happens to me can be used for growth”... Little by little they will have a positive effect on your personality and emotions." - Ya’akov Dov "Katzele" Katz

"I am here in order to fulfill the designs of my Creator as I understand them and to the best of my ability... Each one of us creates his own picture of the world, tortuously building an ideal in order to try to live in accordance with it. In that sense, there is no difference between a believer and an agnostic, since an ideal is something that, once raised, transcends man. Thus, we are here in order to “hoist our spirit without anchoring it upon anything,” as one of the ancient Chinese philosophers said. We must admit that that foundations are indeed shaky." - Sergei Kovalyov, also spelled Kovalev

"One sign of maturity is the ability to be comfortable with people who are not like us." - Virgil A. Kraft

"Every desire for power, ability, wisdom, harmony, life, greatness will impress itself upon the subconscious and will cause the thing desired to be produced in the great within. What is produced in the within will come forth into expression in the personality; therefore, by knowing how to impress the subconscious, man may give his personal self any quality desired, in any quantity desired. What man may desire to become, that he can become, and the art of directing and impressing the subconscious is the secret. The perpetual awakening of the great within will produce a greatness, because to the powers and the possibilities of the great within there is no limit, neither is there any end." - Christian D. Larson

"One of the marks of true greatness is the ability to develop greatness in others." - J. C. Macaulay

"Ability involves responsibility. Power to its last particle is duty." - Alexander Maclaren

"A great deal of the joy of life consists in doing perfectly, or at least to the best of one's ability, everything which one attempts to do... The smallest thing well done, becomes artistic." -

"You possess the ability to control your thoughts. Even if your thoughts wander, you can bring them back and focus on what you wish." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"One of the chief reasons for success in life is the ability to maintain a daily interest in one's work, to have a chronic enthusiasm, to regard each day as important." - William Lyon Phelps

"If there be anything that can be called genius, it consists chiefly in ability to give that attention to a subject which keeps it steadily in the mind, till we have surveyed it accurately on all sides." - Thomas Reid

"A person who appreciates that the Almighty created everything in the world for his benefit is aware of the multitude of good things he has in the world. With this appreciation, no one considers himself poor in comparison to anyone else just because the other person has a little more than him. Even the poorest person in the world has many things for which to be thankful. Everyone has the ability to be in a state of happiness. Do not allow another person’s having more than you rob you of your happiness." - Moshe Rosenstein, fully Moshe ben Chaim Rosenstein

"The technical progress of industry has been a reflection of our ability to apply increasingly accurate methods of measurement to material things. The art of measuring psychological human dimensions is relatively undeveloped. To all of the complexities of management we must bring to bear infinite patience and persistence, consistency and complete sincerity." - Louis Ruthenburg

"Whatever you have received more than others - in health, in talents, in ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of home life - all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. In gratitude for your good fortune, you must render in return some sacrifice of your own life for another life." - Albert Schweitzer

"The primary sign of a well-ordered mind is man's ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company." -

"A person easily becomes a slave to his habits. The most difficult habits to break are the habits of thinking in a certain manner. You can have a large amount of control over yourself by working to obtain positive habits. Even with habits of thoughts, we have the ability to utilize the power of habit to form the habit of thinking rationally and productively, and to elevate our thoughts to such a degree that we will have changed our entire thought patterns for the better." - Yitzchok Isaac Sher

"The development of values, morals and ethics expands a person's ability to express freedom." - Alan William Smolowe

"At times a person might feel so embarrassed and discouraged over the wrongs he has committed that he will give up trying to improve. Despair is wrong. You always have the ability to improve yourself and should never become discouraged." - Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, aka Beis Halevi

"To have good sense and ability to express it are the most essential and necessary qualities in companions. When thoughts rise in us fit to utter among familiar friends, there needs but very little care in clothing them." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"Maturity is a quality of personality made up of a number of elements. It is stick-to-itiveness, the ability to stick to a job, to work on it and to struggle through it until it is finished, or until one has given all one has in the endeavor. It is the quality or capacity of giving more than is asked or required in a given situation. It is this characteristic that enables others to count on one; thus it is reliability. Persistence is an aspect of maturity; persistence to carry out a a goal in the face of difficulties. Endurance enters into the concept of maturity; the endurance of difficulties, unpleasantness, discomfort, frustration, hardship. The ability to size things up, make one's own decisions, is a characteristic of maturity. This implies a considerable amount of independence. A mature person is not dependent unless ill. Maturity includes a determination, a will to succeed and achieve, a will to live. Of course, maturity represents the capacity to cooperate; to work with others; to work in an organization and under authority. The mature person is flexible, can defer to time, persons, circumstances. He can show tolerance. He can be patient, and, above all, he has qualities of adaptability and compromise. Basically, maturity represents a wholesome amalgamation of two things: 1) Dissatisfaction with the status quo, which calls forth aggressive, constructive effort, and 2) Social concern and devotion. Emotional maturity is the morale of the individual." - Edward A. Strecker

"The diminution of the reality of class, however socially desirable, in many respects seems to have the practical effect of diminishing our ability to see people in their differences and specialness." - Lionel Trilling

"There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it." -

"In our thinking we must preserve an open and enquiring mind, an ability to see things through the eyes of our opponents, a skill for understanding the motives and thoughts of those whom we oppose. Yet we must act in the light of the best knowledge and reason available to us at the moment." - Carleton Washburne

"The reward of the souls in the world beyond is their ability to attain the true concept of God which is a source of the most wonderful felicity, an attainment impossible for man in this early life because of the disturbances on the part of matter." - Isaac Abravanel, fully Don Itshak ben Yehouda Abravanel

"We can accomplish almost anything within our ability if we but think we can! Every great achievement in this world was first carefully thought out... Think - but to a purpose. Think constructively. Think as you read. Think as you listen. Think as you travel and eyes reveal new situations. Think as you work daily at your place in life. There can be no advancement or success without serious thought." - George Matthew Adams