Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Chance

"Paganism attributes the creation of the world to blind chance." - Richard Baxter

"In politeness, as in many other things connected with the formation of character, people in general begin outside, when they should begin inside; instead of beginning with the heart, and trusting that to form the manners, they begin with the manners, and trust the heart to chance influences." -

"Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends." - Jacques Delille

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best." -

"There is nothing in life so irrational, that good sense and chance may not set it to rights; nothing so rational, that folly and chance may not utterly confound it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"God gave every man individuality of constitution, and a chance for achieving individuality of character. He puts special instruments into every man’s hands by which to make himself and achieve his mission." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"He who every morning plans the transactions of the day and follows out the plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. The orderly arrangement of his time is like a ray of life which darts itself through all his occupations. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incident, chaos will soon reign." - Victor Hugo

"It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, and means not any real power which has anywhere a being in nature. But it is pretended that some causes are necessary, some not necessary." - David Hume

"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits." - Thomas Jefferson

"He seldom lives frugally who lives by chance. Hope is always liberal, and they that trust her promises make little scruple of reveling today on the profits of to-morrow." -

"Friendliness is contagious. The trouble is, many of us wait to catch it from someone else, when we might better be giving them a chance to catch it from us." - Donald Anderson Laird

"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person." -

"Dreamers and doers - the world, generally divides men into those two general classifications, but the world is often wrong. There are men who win the admiration and respect of their fellowmen. They are the men worth while. Dreaming is just another name for thinking, planning, devising - another way of saying that a man exercises his soul. A steadfast soul, holding steadily to a dream ideal, plus a sturdy will determined to succeed in any venture, can make any dream come true. Use your mind and your will. They work together for you beautifully if you'll only give them a chance." - B. N. Mills

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - W. H. Murray, fully William Hutchinson Murray

"What is man’s life compared to the life of the whole Universe? If man’s life is nothing but a minute part of the life of the whole world if he inserted into the cycle of all the Universe so that his appearance and reappearance is dependent upon the gigantic cosmic processes that belong to the Universe, what chance has he of altering anything in his destiny?" - Maurice Nicoll

"Many people wait throughout their whole lives for the chance to be good in their own fashion." -

"Gestalt Prayer - I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped." - Fritz Perls, fully Friedrich "Fritz" (Frederick) Salomon Perls

"No man ever became wise by chance." -

"The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go of the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty." -

"Wherever there is a human being there is a chance for kindness." -

"Remove the chance to fail and we shall miss one of the best means of developing character." - Harold Stomer

"Sectarianism is a perverse form of worldliness in the disguise of religion; it breeds a narrowness of heart in a greater measure than the cult of the world based upon material interest can ever do. For undisguised pursuit of self has its safety in openness, like filth exposed to the sun and air. But the self-magnification with its consequent lessening of God that goes on unchecked under the cover of sectarianism loses its chance of salvation because it defiles the very source of purity." -

"Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he took an acorn out of his pocket and popped it in, so deal with your compliments through life. An acorn costs nothing; but it may sprout into a prodigious bit of timber." - William Makepeace Thackeray

"The vicious man lives at random, and acts by chance, for he that walks by no rule can carry on no settled or steady design." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Magic is the total delight in chance." -

"The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"Intellectuals cannot tolerate the chance event, the unintelligible; they have a nostalgia for the absolute, for a universally comprehensive scheme." -

"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong - but time and chance happen to them all." - Bible or The Bible or Holy Bible NULL

"If chance is defined as an event produced by random motion without any causal nexus, I would say there is no such thing as chance." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Time was invented by Almighty God in order to give ideas a chance." - Nicholas Murray Butler

"The best men are not those who have waited for chances but who have taken them; besieged the chance; conquered the chance; and made chance the servitor." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"It is strictly and philosophically true in Nature and reason that there is no such thing as chance or accident; it being evident that these words do not signify anything really existing, anything that is truly an agent ore the cause of any event; but they signify merely men’s ignorance of the real and immediate cause." - Adam Clarke

"Luck relies on chance. Labor on character." - Richard Cobden

"Those who trust to chance must abide by the results of chance." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends." - Abbé Jacques Delille

"Discouragement seizes us only when we can no longer count on chance." -

"The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different - to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses." - John Fischer

"Give me a chance, says Stupid, and I will show you. Ten to one he has had his chance already, and neglected it." - Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

"It is the individual who knows how little he knows about himself who stands a chance of finding something about himself before he dies." - S. I. Hayakawa, fully Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa

"One of the most valuable habits a parent can have is that of explaining. Many parents think their children are too young to understand explanations, yet it is surprising how much a child will absorb if he is given a chance. And even if he does not understand completely, he will at least sense that someone cares enough to explain" - Elizabeth R. Hogan

"It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, and means not any real power which has anywhere a being in nature." - David Hume

"It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in disappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear dullness to maturity; and to glory in the vigor and luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius to the winds, and though some may perish among the stony places of the world, and some may be choked by the thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birthplace all the beauties of vegetation." - Washington Irving

"Many useful and valuable books lie buried in shops and libraries unknown and unexamined, unless some lucky compiler opens them by chance, and finds an easy spoil of wit and learning." -

"The medical profession tells us that there are four conditions which must be met if we are to have any chance of leading a happy life: physical security, social recognition, adventure, emotional security. In today's highly technical and scientific life, these four considerations become increasingly important, but we should add one vital ingredient: love. Love of our fellow man, love for our work, and the conviction that this love insures the future for all of us." - Archibald Quincy Jones

"You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere." - Charles F. Kettering, fully Charles Franklin Kettering

"Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere." - Jacques Monod

"Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne