Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Do not measure yourself with anybody else’s yardstick. Your obligation is to accomplish with your own unique talents. you do not need anybody else’s approval to be a worthy person." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"A person lacking internal feelings of self-worth feels a need for honor from others. The greater the lack of self-esteem, the greater the need for the validation of one’s self-worth through the approval of others." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"For most Americans the sexual revolution was not a vast national orgy of swingers. There was never widespread approval of adultery or promiscuity. The revolution - evolution is a better word - appeared rather as a massive questioning of the double standard and the sexual constraints we grew up with." - Ellen Goodman

"An honor-seeker is not really interested in self-improvement. He is only interested in gaining approval from others. Hence, he will disregard any fault he has if he knows that others will not notice it. On the other hand, a person who is able to forego his honor is able to focus on truth. His only thought is to do the right thing and he is willing to sacrifice his honor for his principles. Such a person will eventually receive honor, for he will constantly work on improving himself." - Yosef Y. Hurwitz

"The earth we live on is so small that even if someone was honored by everyone on our planet it is still insignificant. Also, a person’s lifetime is so short that even if he received honor and approval his entire life, it is so short in comparison with eternity. This is the ultimate success an approval-seeker can hope for, but the reality is that even if you spend you entire life trying to win the approval of others, only a small number of people will know and approve of you. The approval you do gain lasts a very short time and is soon forgotten as if it never was." - Bachya Ibn Pekudah

"Regardless of how much honor he receives, an honor-seeker will feel upset if even one person does not show him the honor and approval he demands. There will never be an amount of honor that will satisfy him. Physical desires have a saturation point, but the desire for honor is based on falsehood and illusion and is really nothing in itself." - Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz

"The life of a person who demands and pursues approval is full of pain and suffering. Even if he does receive a large amount of approval, he will still demand more. We can say with certainty that not everyone will honor him as much as he would like and he will cause himself much self-imposed misery." - Menachem Taryash

"Seek approval only to the degree that it is necessary for practical purposes." - Ways of the Righteous, fully The Ways of Righteousness NULL

"Giving of yourself, learning to be tolerant, giving recognition and approval to others, remaining flexible enough to mature and learn - yields happiness, harmony, contentment and productivity. These are the qualities of a rich life, the bounteous harvest of getting along with people." - Jack C. Yewell

"The only way to do good deeds without being motivated by the need for approval from others is to reach the level of considering praise and insults equal." - Alexander Ziskind Maimon

"Whatever task you undertake, do it with all your heart and soul. Always be courteous, never be discouraged. Beware of him who promises something for nothing. Do not blame anybody for your mistakes and failures. Do not look for approval except the consciousness of doing your best." - Bernard Baruch, fully Bernard Mannes Baruch

"Describes the professional artist as a morally suspect, even socially dangerous, conman, who from a deliberately chosen position of spiritual alienation, yet offers the ambiguous, self-serving products of his art, in expectation not only of support and remuneration, but also of social approval and even adoration as genius. [Paraphrased]" - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"In religion fear and approval to some extent must always combine... In religion approval implies devotion, and devotion seems hardly possible, unless there is some fear, if only the fear of estrangement." - Francis Herbert Bradley

"It takes courage to experience the freedom that comes with autonomy, courage to accept intimacy and directly encounter other persons, courage to take a stand in an unpopular cause, courage to choose authenticity over approval and to choose it again and again, courage to accept the responsibility for your own choices, and, indeed, courage to be the unique person you really are." - Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward

"Men forget to ask: “What will God think?” And so they live in fear because they tend to seek social approval on the horizontal plane rather than spiritual devotion on the vertical plane." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. It’s the only path to serenity." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation." - Hans Seyle, fully Hans Hugo Bruno Seyle

"Ask your subordinates about matters you don’t understand or don’t know, and do not lightly express your approval or disapproval." - Mao Tse-tung, alternatively Zedong, Ze dong, aka Chairman Mao

"I'm the first to admit that I always prefer approval over disapproval. It feels better and it's certainly easier to deal with. The more content I've become, however, the less I depend on it for my sense of well-being." - Richard Carlson

"I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism." - Charles Schwab, fully Charles R. "Chuck" Schwab

"Assassination on the scaffold is the worst form of assassination, because there it is invested with the approval of society." - George Bernard Shaw

"When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller

"[Paraphrase] The professional artist is morally suspect, even socially dangerous, conman, who from a deliberately chosen position of spiritual alienation, yet offers the ambiguous, self-serving products of his art, in expectation not only of support and remuneration, but also of social approval and even adoration as genius." - Horace Mann

"The best audience for the practice of virtue is the approval of one’s own conscience." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"A person who wants approval is disturbed and irritated if someone questions his attitudes and opinions. But a wise man seeks truth and therefore feels pleasure if someone raises objections since this helps him correct his mistakes." - Zelig Pliskin

"Many people consider the happiest days in their lives when they received the applause and acclaim of others. But the fact they needed someone else’s approval for their happiness makes them dependent on others. Someone who can find happiness even when he is insulted is assured of having a happy life. Once a person knows that he is able to experience positive feelings even when insulted, he is free from the fear of what people might say to him. This can give a persona feeling of liberation. If you believe someone else’s words cannot hurt you, they won’t." - Zelig Pliskin

"Reputation is favorable notoriety as distinguished from fame, which is permanent approval of great deeds and noble thoughts by the best intelligence of mankind. " - George William Curtis

"I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses." - Johannes Kepler

"The child, in fact, once he feels sure of himself, will no longer seek the approval of authority after every step." - Maria Montessori

"Those whose approval you seek most give you the least." - Maurice Chevalier, fully Maurice Auguste Chevalier

"But nobody’s approval can make anything real. Even if the whole world denies your enlightenment you will still be enlightened, there will be no difference. Or vice versa: even if the whole world approves your enlightenment and you are not enlightened, all that approval is not going to make you enlightened." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary. Like all judgment, approval encourages a constant striving. It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value. Approval cannot be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record has been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it." - Rachel Naomi Remen

"Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God's approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That's not morality, that's just sucking up, apple-polishing, looking over your shoulder at the great surveillance camera in the sky, or the still small wiretap inside your head, monitoring your every move, even your every base though." - Richard Dawkins

"Is it any wonder, why the approval ratings of the Congress go up every time we go into recess?" - Robert Byrd, fully Robert Carlyle Byrd

"Conscience is the authentic voice of God to you." - Rutherford B. Hayes, fully Rutherford Birchard Hayes

"I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature." - Sidney Hook

"Indeed, that is one of the most significant things about the power of love. There is no way under the sun to make a man worthy of love except by loving him. As soon as he realizes himself loved – if he is not so weak that he can no longer bear to be loved – he will feel himself instantly becoming worthy of love. He will respond by drawing a mysterious spiritual value out of his own depths, a new identity called into being by the love that is addressed to him." - Thomas Merton

"Positive thoughts emit different endorphins into the blood system than do negative thoughts." - Wayne Dyer, fully Wayne Walter Dyer

"Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery." - Wendell Berry

"Nothing is given that is not Taken, and nothing taken That was not first gift. The gift is balanced by its total loss, and yet, And yet the light breaks in, Heaven seizing its moments That are at once its own and yours." - Wendell Berry

"Some nights in the midst of this loneliness I swung among the scattered stars at the end of the thin thread of faith alone." - Wendell Berry

"And when we read the nature of these tortures, which were worthy of an oriental imagination when we remember that they were inflicted, for the most part, on old and feeble and half-doting women, it is difficult to repress a feeling of the deepest abhorrence for those men who caused and who encouraged them.... The contemplation of such scenes as these is one of the most painful duties that can devolve upon the historian; but it is one from which he must not shrink, if he would form a just estimate of the past. There are opinions that may be traced from age to age by footsteps of blood; and the intensity of the suffering they caused is a measure of the intensity with which they were realised. Scotch witchcraft was but the result of Scotch Puritanism, and it faithfully reflected the character of its parent." - W. E. H. Lecky, fully William Edward Hartpole Lecky

"Admiration is a terrible thing. It is division. The idea stands between you and the good life." - Vernon Howard, fully Vernon Linwood Howard

"This was the evening of the last day of Gordon Way's life ... The weather forecast hadn't mentioned that, of course, that wasn't the job of the weather forecast, but then his horoscope had been pretty misleading as well. It had mentioned an unusual amount of planetary activity in his sign and had urged him to differentiate between what he thought he wanted and what he actually needed, and suggested that he should tackle emotional or work problems with determination and complete honesty, but had inexplicably failed to mention that he would be dead before the day was out." - Douglas Adams, fully Douglas Noel Adams

"Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?" - Che Guevara, fully Ernesto “Che” Guevara

"I speak of honor-your honor to God-your honor to country-your honor to self. I sincerely believe it to be the cure to most of our ills, both on a national or individual basis." - Ezra Taft Benson