Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Attention

"Whoever sets out to persuade men to accept a new idea, or one which seems to be new, not just as an idea, but as a truth that is felt, should know beforehand that the human mind is not a blank sheet, on which one an write with ease, and should not therefore grieve or despair when he finds that people do not pay attention to him." - Ahad HaAm, pen name, born Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg

"Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another." - James Beattie

"To speak well supposes a habit of attention which shows itself in the thought; by language we learn to think and above all to develop thought." - Carl Victor de Bonstetten

"He is the wisest and happiest man who, by constant attention of thought discovers the greatest opportunity of doing good, and breaks through every opposition that he may improve these opportunities." - Philip Doddridge

"There are two principal points of attention necessary for the preservation of this constant spirit of prayer which unites us with God; we must continually seek to cherish it, and we must avoid everything that tends to make us lose it." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Habit has great power. We can become used to almost everything. We can become so used to a life of suffering that we are no longer aware that our suffering is not the way life should be lived. This tendency to lack a feeling of suffering is the biggest obstacle to becoming elevated through suffering. Since we do not feel the suffering, we do not pay attention to it and do not hear its message.. To overcome this, we must obtain an awareness that whenever things are not as they should be it is a message that we should improve ourselves in some area." - Avraham Grodzinski

"There are usually no benefits from becoming angry at others. Your anger does not help you and the subject of your anger usually pays less attention to what you are saying than if you would have said it tactfully and patiently. Becoming angry merely causes harm to your health and makes you feel miserable." - Avraham Grodzinski

"In the power of fixing the attention lies the most precious of the intellectual habits." - Robert Hall

"Genius is nothing but continued attention." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"The men of sense, the idols of the shallow, are very inferior to the men of passions. It is the strong passions which, rescuing us from sloth, impart to us that continuous and earnest attention necessary to great attention." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"When, in our pain, we turn our attention to life’s purpose, we take up pain as a thread through the labyrinth... But when we deny pain, we are denying life itself. When we flee from pain that we cannot escape, we are fleeing from an opportunity to grow." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"As you look at your youngsters, be sure that your standards of promptness, of attention, of quiet, of courtesy, are realistically geared to children, not idealistically geared to angels." - James L. Hymes, Jr.

"The mind is at every stage a theater of simultaneous possibilities. Consciousness consists in the comparison of these with each other, the selection of some, and the suppression of the rest by the reinforcing and inhibiting agency of attention. The highest and most elaborated mental products are filtered from the data chosen by the faculty next beneath, out of the mass offered by the faculty below that, which mass in turn was sifted from a still larger amount of yet simpler material, and so on." - William James

"If we fasten our attention on what we have, rather than on what we lack, a very little wealth is sufficient." -

"The true art of memory is the art of attention." -

"In every adult there lurks a child - an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"The Divine Mind communicates with the human mind through the imagination. A prayer, therefore, should be offered in the form of a mental image. Man must visualize the thing he desires, he must use his imaginative powers to form his petition in terms clearly outlined in his own mind. The profound concentration of attention and thought which this form of prayer requires fills also the heart with deep earnestness and devotion. Man must pray whole-heartedly as well as wholemindedly; he must believe in his heart that his well-being depends completely upon his prayer." - Morris Lichtenstein

"Too much attention has been paid to making education attractive by smoothing the path as compared with inducing strenuous voluntary effort." - Abbott Lawrence Lowell

"No one is safe from slander. The best way is to pay no attention to it, but live in innocence and let the world talk." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"By watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its captive energies. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence." - Nisargadatta Maharaj, fully Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli

"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

"Recreation is not being idle; it is easing the wearied part by change of occupation. To re-create strength, rest. To re-create mind, repose. To re-create cheerfulness, hope in God, or change the object of attention to one more elevated and worthy of thought." - Charles Simmons

"He who recognizes no higher logic than that of the shilling may become a very rich man, and yet remain a very poor creature, for riches are no proof of moral worth, and their glitter often serves only to draw attention to the worthlessness of their possessor, as the glowworm's light reveals the grub." - Samuel Smiles

"No one in our time finds it surprising if a man gives careful daily attention to his body, but people would be outraged if he gave the same attention to his soul." -

"Children should be surrounded with the things of nature which have their own educational value. Their minds should be allowed to stumble upon and be surprised at everything that happens in today’s life; the new tomorrow will stimulate their attention with new facts of life." -

"Grief is a wound that needs attention in order to heal. To work through and complete grief means to face our feelings openly and honestly, to express and release our feelings fully and to tolerate and accept our feeling for however long it takes for the wound to heal. We fear that once acknowledged grief will bowl us over. The truth is that grief experienced does dissolve. Grief unexpressed is grief that lasts indefinitely." - Judy Tatelbaum

"In democratic countries, however opulent a man is supposed to be, he is almost always discontented with his fortune because he finds that he is less rich than his father was, and he fears that his sons will be less rich than himself. Most rich men in democracies are therefore constantly haunted by the desire of obtaining wealth, and they naturally turn their attention to trade and manufactures, which appear to offer the readiest and most efficient means of success. In this respect they share the instincts of the poor without feeling the same necessities; say, rather, they feel the most imperious of all necessities, that of not sinking in the world." -

"What I seem to be is just a certain quality of my attention to my Self." - Veda NULL

"Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory." - Richard Whately

"Whereas speaking distracts, silence and work collect the thoughts and strengthen the spirit. As soon therefore as a person understand what has been said to him for his good, there is no further need to hear or to discuss; but to set himself in earnest to practice what he has learnt with silence and attention, in humility, charity and contempt of self." -

"Communicate downwards to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors" - Loren B. Belker

"When one is happy there is no time to be fatigued; being happy engrosses the whole attention." - E. F. Benson, fully Edward Frederic "E.F." Benson

"I have never known a concern to make a decided success that did not do good, honest work, and even in these days of fiercest competition, when everything would seem to be a matter of price, there lies still at the root of great business success the very much more important factor of quality. The effect of attention to quality, upon every man in the service, from the president of the concern down to the humblest laborer, cannot be overestimated." - Andrew Carnegie

"Paradoxes are useful to attract attention to ideas." -

"Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no difficulty in understanding the character of Washington. He was no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural, and unaffected, his life lies before us - a fair and open manuscript. He disdained the arts which wrap power in mystery in order to magnify it. He practiced the profound diplomacy of truthful speech - the consummate tact of direct attention. Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied on that Providence which helps men by giving them high hearts and hopes to help themselves with the means which their Creator has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness from which purity averts her gaze; no dark recess of intrigue that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean passage to be trod in trembling, lest there be stirred the ghost of a buried crime." - John W. Daniel, fully John Warwick Daniel

"The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds." - Tyron Edwards

"One principal reason why men are so often useless is, that they divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits." - Nathanael Emmons, also Nathaniel Emmons

"His eloquent tongue so well seconds his fertile invention that no one speaks better when suddenly called forth. His attention never languishes; his mind is always before his words; his memory has all its stock so turned into ready money that, without hesitation or delay, it supplies whatever the occasion may require." -

"Paying attention to simple things that most men neglect makes a few men rich." - Henry Ford

"Politicians... rise predominantly from... the "lower middle class"; most are self-made men... ; most depend on their political jobs for their livelihood and most have little time, inclination, or opportunity for adult education; hence the dominating qualities of so many are greed, vulgarity, attention to special interest, avarice, and selfishness." - John Gunther

"It is one of the many paradoxes of psychology that the pursuit of happiness defeats its own purpose. We find happiness only when we do not directly seek it. An analogy will make this clear. In listening to music at a concert, we experience pleasurable feelings only so long as our attention is directed towards the music. But if in order to increase our happiness we give all our attention to our subjective feeling of happiness, it vanishes. Nature contrives to make it impossible for anyone to attain happiness by turning into himself." - James Hadfield, fully Captain James Arthur Hadfield

"We all know the impression of a heavy flash of lightning in the night. Within a second's time we see a broad landscape, not only in its general outlines but with every detail. Although we could never describe each single component of the picture [Sign-mind task], we feel that not even the smallest leaf of grass escapes our attention. We experience a view, immensely comprehensive and at the same time immensely detailed, that we could never have under normal daylight conditions, if our senses and nerves were not strained by the extraordinary suddenness of the event. Compositions must be conceived in the same way." - Paul Hindemith

"Among well-bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt of others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority." - David Hume

"It is certain that a serious attention to the sciences and liberal arts softens and humanizes the temper, and cherishes those fine emotions in which true virtue and honor consist. It very rarely happens that a man of taste and learning is not, at least, an honest man, whatever frailties may attend him." - David Hume

"It is in knowledge as in swimming; he who flounders and splashes on the surface, makes more noise, and attracts more attention than the pearl-diver who quietly dives in quest of treasures to the bottom." - Washington Irving

"No time exists other than now... So now is all you have and all you ever will have... Why not begin doing the best you can right where you are?... Trust the process of growth. Trust God. Pay attention to the details of your life, doing your very best with each challenge that presents itself... The past is the raw material of the present, but the past is not a blueprint for the present... Begin where you are. Do what you can. Even a small effort to change, to grow, to improve, will bring astonishing results... You can choose to build on what you were, but you are not what you were. You can focus on what you will be, but you are not what you will be. What you are is what you are right now - the inheritor of all of God’s gifts." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"He that recalls the attention of mankind to any part of learning which time has left behind it, may be truly said to advance the literature of his own age." -

"Dreams are like people: they respond to attention and retreat when neglected." - Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox

"The nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral, those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness, like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge. How pitiful they who cling strongly to concrete reality: turn your attention within, my heart friends." - Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche or Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje

"The Divine Mind communicates with the human mind through the imagination. A prayer, therefore, should be offered in the form of a mental image. Man must visualize the thing he desires, he must use his imaginative powers to form his petition in terms clearly outlined in his own mind. The profound concentration of attention and thought which this form of prayer requires fills also the heart with deep earnestness and devotion. Man must pray whole-heartedly as well as wholemindedly; he must believe in his heart that his well-being depends completely upon his prayer." - Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein