Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Circumstances

"One of the great arts in living is to learn the art of accurately appraising values. Everything that we think, that we earn, that we have given to us, that in any way touches our consciousness, has its own value. These values are apt to change with the mood, with time, or because of circumstances. We cannot safely tie to any material value. The values of all material possessions change continually, sometimes over night. The real values are those that stay by you, give you happiness and enrich you. They are the human values." - George Matthew Adams

"What is philosophy? To deliberate well in reference to any question that emerges, never to be carried away by impulses, but to ponder over the injuries that result from the passions, and to act rightly as the circumstances demand, practicing moderation." - Apocrypha NULL

"The wise man learns to meet the changing circumstances of life with an equitable spirit, being neither elated by success nor depressed by failure. Thus one realizes the truth of non-duality." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Envy lies between two beings equal in nature, though unequal in circumstances." - Jeremy Collier

"It could be written, for most of us: due to circumstances within our control." - Marcelene Cox

"The height of human wisdom is to bring our tempers down to our circumstances, and to make a calm within, under the weight of the greatest storm without." - Daniel Defoe, born Daniel Foe

"How many a knot of mystery and misunderstanding would be untied by one word spoken in simple and confiding truth of heart! How many a solitary place would be made glad if love were there, and how many a dark dwelling would be filled with light!" - Orville Dewey

"Regardless of circumstances, each man lives in a world of his own making." - Nathanael Emmons, also Nathaniel Emmons

"In all our reasonings concerning men we must lay it down as a maxim that the greater part are moulded by circumstances." - Robert Hall

"I endeavor to subdue circumstances to myself, and not myself to circumstances." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Misfortunes display the skill of a general, prosperous circumstances conceal his weakness." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Set about doing good to somebody. Put on your hat, and go and visit the sick and poor of your neighborhood; inquire into their circumstances, and minister to their wants. Seek out the desolate, and afflicted, and oppressed, and tell them of the consolations of religion. I have often tried this method, and have always found it the best medicine for a heavy heart." - Sidney Howard, fully Sidney Coe Howard

"He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances." - David Hume

"If we compare all these circumstances, we shall not doubt, that sympathy is the chief source of moral distinctions." - David Hume

"It is our daily duty to consider that in all circumstances of life, pleasurable, painful, or otherwise, the conduct of every human being affects, more or less, the happiness of others, especially of those in the same house; and that, as life is made up, for the most part, not of great occasions, but of small everyday moments, it is the giving to those moments their greatest amount of peace, pleasantness, and security, that contributes most to the sum of human good. Be peaceable. Be cheerful. Be true." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"If you had been looking for happiness in people and events, you discovered that it is not there. If you look to outer circumstances for your satisfaction cues, you will stay on an emotion seesaw... True joy is actually part of your nature... Events merely give us an excuse to feel it." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"Many people are willing to rearrange the outer things in their lives, but few are willing to rearrange the priorities of their inner worlds. If your consciousness doesn’t change, you will continually re-create the same old circumstances." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"Men habitually use only a small part of the power they possess and which they might use under appropriate circumstances." - William James

"I am unfaithful to my own possibilities when I await from a change of circumstances what I can do on my own initiative." -

"Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances." - Thomas Jefferson

"The policy of adapting one’s self to circumstances makes all ways smooth." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Character is built out of circumstances. From exactly the same materials one man builds palaces, while another builds hovels." - George Henry Lewes

"Instead of saying that man is the creature of circumstances, it would be nearer the mark to say man is the architect of circumstance. It is character which builds an existence out of circumstance." - George Henry Lewes

"Events of great consequence often spring from trifling circumstances." -

"Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise." - Samuel Lover

"Happiness has little to do with age, circumstances, health, wealth, learning or status. It follows as you become a part of life's solution rather than its problem." - Roy C. McLain

"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"Learning, if rightly applied, makes a young man thinking, attentive, industrious, confident and wary; and an old man cheerful and useful. It is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, an entertainment at all times; it cheers in solitude, and gives moderation and wisdom in all circumstances." - Thomas W. Palmer

"Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances." - Saint Vincent de Paul

"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good actions; try to use ordinary situations." -

"‘Rehearse death.’ To say this is to tell a person to rehearse his freedom. A person who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave. He is above, or at any rate beyond the reach of, all political powers. What are prisons, warders, bars to him? He has an open door. There is but one chain holding us in fetters, and that is our love of life. There is no need to cast this love out altogether, but it does need to be lessened somewhat so that, in the event of circumstances ever demanding this, nothing may stand in the way of our being prepared to do at once what we must do at some time or other." -

"Growth is a never-ending process that can be accomplished under the most adverse circumstances. Growth can be achieved from one's attempts to... "Go for the perfect try."" - Sarah Smeltzer and Joe Petriccione

"How people think, relate and react to their circumstances, not what the circumstances are, is what determines their realities." - Alan William Smolowe

"It is not easy to surround life with any circumstances in which youth will not be delightful; and I am afraid that, whether married or unmarried, we shall find the vesture of terrestrial existence more heavy and cumbrous the longer it is worn." - 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

"No man was ever endowed with a judgment so correct and judicious, in regulating his life, but that circumstances, time and experience would teach him something new, and apprise him that of those things with which he knew nothing; and that those ideas which in theory appeared the most advantageous were found, when brought into practice, to be altogether inapplicable." -

"Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the large term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in education." - Daniel Webster

"Look at our present life circumstances, whatever they may be, as the raw material of our learning... We must stop regarding ourselves as victims of circumstances, and start to acknowledge that we are not here purely by accident. The master within is trying to help us wake up by confronting us with our current life situation, which contains all the lessons we need to learn in order to grow into more fully developed human beings." - John Welwood

"To say that people have a moral sense is not the same thing as saying that they are innately good. A moral sense must compete with other senses that are natural to humans - the desire to survive, acquire possessions, indulge in sex, or accumulate power - in short, with self-interest narrowly defined. How that struggle is resolved will differ depending on our character, our circumstances, and the cultural and political tendencies of the day. But saying that a moral sense exists is the same thing as saying that humans, by their nature, are potentially good." - James Q. Wilson

"Laws are not invented; they grow out of circumstances." - Elazar ben Azariah, alt. spelling Eleazar

"There is neither vice nor virtue, there are only circumstances." - Honoré de Balzac

"There is no man in any rank who is always at liberty to act as he would incline. In some quarter or other he is limited by circumstances." - Hugh Blair

"It is our relation to circumstances that determines their influence over us. The same wind that carries one vessel into port may blow another off shore." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Save a part of your income and begin now, for the man with a surplus controls circumstances and the man without a surplus is controlled by circumstances." - Henry H. Buckley

"All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it - and they do enjoy it as much as man and other circumstances will allow." - Samuel Butler

"To keep from gravitating toward genocidal conflict, we must stop demanding perpetual progress. For quiet nonpolitical reasons, governments and politicians cannot achieve the paradise they habitually promise. Political leaders who continue to dangle before their constituents enticing carrots that are becoming unattainable hasten the erosion of faith in political processes. Circumstances have ceased to be what they were when the once-New World’s myth of limitlessness made sense." - William R. Catton, Jr.

"The happiness of every man depends on the harmony between the development of his various faculties and the entire system of circumstances which govern his life." - Auguste Comte, formally Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte

"Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. It is given to formulating its beliefs in terms of Either-Ors, between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities. When forced to recognize that the extremes cannot be acted upon, it is still inclined to hold that they are all right in theory but that when it comes to practical matters circumstances compel us to compromise." - John Dewey

"The dead carry our thoughts to another and a nobler existence. They teach us, and especially buy all the strange and seemingly untoward circumstances of their departure from this life, that they and we shall live in a future state forever." - Orville Dewey

"I never allow myself to become discouraged under any circumstances. The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-tiveness; third, common sense." -