Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Difficulty

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"There is no one in the world who cannot arrive without difficulty at the most eminent perfection by fulfilling with love obscure and common duties." -

"Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on." - Frédéric Chopin, fully Frédéric François Chopin, born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin

"The man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities." - Charles de Gaulle, fully Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle

"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

"Some people carry their hearts in their heads; very many carry their heads in their hearts. The difficulty is to keep them apart, yet both actively working together." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"The grand difficulty is to feel the reality of both worlds, so as to give each its due place in our thoughts and feelings, to keep our mind’s eye and our heart’s eye ever fixed on the land of promise, without looking away from the road along which we are to travel toward it." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"The great difficulty is first to win a reputation; the next to keep it while you live; and the next to preserve it after you die, when affection and interest are over, and nothing but sterling excellence can preserve your name." - Benjamin R. Haydon

"Jealousy is a painful passion; yet without some share of it, the agreeable affection of love has difficulty to subsist in its full force and violence." - David Hume

"Your success and happiness lie in you. External conditions are the accidents of life. The great enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Resolve to keep happy and your joy in you shall form an invincible host against difficulty." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"It is easy to look down on others; to look down on others is the difficulty." - Walter Savage Landor

"You will be able to overcome desires without excessive difficulty when you become aware of their illusory nature. The pleasure of eating, for example, is really of very short duration. You feel the pleasure for only the short amount of time the food is in your mouth. As soon as you have swallowed the food, it is already forgotten... All physical pleasures are similar. Give the matter sufficient thought and you will realize that even the illusory good lasts only a short time. On the other hand, the negative consequences of physical pleasures can be severe and long lasting. A thinking person will definitely not want to place himself in a situation fraught with dangers for momentary pleasures. By habitually thinking about this truth, one will gradually be able to free himself from the prison of foolishly pursuing physical pleasures." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"It is easy to look down on others; to look down on ourselves is the difficulty." - Lord Peterborough, Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough and 2st Earl of Monmouth

"Five minutes, just before going to sleep, given to a bit of directed imagination regarding achievement possibilities of the morrow, will steadily and increasingly bear fruit, particularly if all ideas of difficulty, worry or fear are resolutely ruled out and replace by those of accomplishment and smiling courage." -

"True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste." - Pierre Louis Roederer

"Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce. What it should produce is a belief that knowledge is attainable in a measure, though with difficulty; that much of what passes for knowledge at any given time is likely to be more or less mistaken, but that the mistakes can be rectified by care and industry... Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility. Both are mistaken, and their errors, when widespread, produce social disaster." -

"Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power of men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words." -

"One who anticipates difficulty is told not to cross the bridge until he gets to it." -

"Time is but the measure of the difficulty of a conception. Pure thought has scarcely any need of time, since it perceives the two ends of an idea almost at the same moment." -

"Bad company is like a nail driven into a post, which, after the first and second blow, may be drawn out with little difficulty; but being once driven up to the head, the pincers cannot take hold to draw it out, but which can only be done by the destruction of the wood." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"There is a theory that since the child will be obliged in later life to do many things that he does not want to do, he might as well learn how while he is young. The difficulty here seems to be that learning to do one kind of a thing that you do not want to do does not guarantee your readiness to do other kinds of unpleasant things. That art cannot be taught. Each situation of compulsion, unless the spirit is completely broken, will have its own peculiar quality of bitterness, and no guarantee against it can be inculcated." -

"Much has been said of the wisdom of old age. Old age is wise, I grant, for itself, but not wise for the community. It is wise in declining new enterprises, for it has not the power nor the time to execute them; wise in shrinking from difficulty, for it has not the strength to overcome it; wise in avoiding danger, for it lacks the faculty of ready and swift action, by which dangers are parried and converted into advantages. But this is not wisdom for mankind at large, by whom new enterprises must be undertaken, dangers met, and difficulties surmounted." - William Cullen Bryant

"The imagination acquires by custom a certain involuntary, unconscious power of observation and comparison, correcting its own mistakes and arriving at precision of judgment, just as the outward eye is disciplined to compare, adjust, estimate, measure, the objects reflected on the back of its retina. The imagination is but the faculty of glassing images; and it is with exceeding difficulty, and by the imperative will of the reasoning faculty resolved to mislead it, that it glasses images which have no prototype in truth and nature." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"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

"Duty is above all consequences, and often, at a crisis of difficulty, commands us to throw them overboard. It commands us to look neither to the right, nor to the left, but straight onward. Hence every act of duty is an act of faith. It is performed in the assurance that God will take care of the consequences, and will so order the course of the world, that, whatever the immediate results may be, His word shall not return to Him void." -

"Everybody had talent at twenty-five. The difficulty is to have it at fifty." - Edgar Degas, born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas

"Enthusiasm is the element of success in everything. It is the light that leads and the strength that lifts men on and up in the great struggles of scientific pursuits and of professional labor. It robs endurance of difficulty, and makes a pleasure of duty." - William Croswell Doane

"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no disease that enough love will not heal, no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world." -

"One must remember that practically all of us have a number of significant learning disabilities. For example, I am grossly unmusical and cannot carry a tune. We happen to live in a society in which the child who has trouble learning to read is in difficulty. Yet we have all seen dyslexic children who have either superior visual-perception or visual-motor skills. My suspicion would be that in an illiterate society such a child would be in little difficulty and might in fact do better because of his superior visual-perception talents, while many of us who function here might do poorly in a society in which a quite different array of talents was needed in order to be successful. As the demands of society change will we acquire a new group of "minimally brain damaged?"" - Norman Geschwind

"As what we call genius arises out of the disproportionate power and size of a certain faculty, so the great difficulty lies in harmonizing with it the rest of the character." - Anna Jameson

"Thought is not sacred, thought is a material process. This is where our difficulty lies. Thought is a movement in time." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"In a discussion the difficulty lies, not in being able to defend your opinion, but to know it." - F. D. Maurice, fully John Frederick Denison "F.D." Maurice

"All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence, in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song - but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny." - Pablo Neruda, pen name for Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto

"Charms, which, like flowers, lie on the surface and always glitter, easily produce vanity; hence women, wits, players, soldiers, are vain, owing to their presence, figure and dress. On the contrary, other excellences, which lie down like gold and are discovered with difficulty - strength, profoundness of intellect, morality - leave their possessors modest and proud." -

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." -

"The basic significance of all difficulty is that it reorients us from the external to the spiritual. the meaning and purpose of the world remain to a large extent inexplicable. but one thing is clear: the purpose of all events is spiritual." - Albert Schweitzer

"It is not ease but effort, not facility, but difficulty, that makes men. There is, perhaps, no station in life in which difficulties have not to be encountered and overcome before any decided measure of success can be achieved." - Samuel Smiles

"Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more than their words." -

"Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power of men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues, and can moderate their desires more easily than their words." -

"What is difficulty? Only a word indicating the degree of strength requisite for accomplishing particular objects; a mere notice of the necessity for exertion; a bug-bear to children and fools; only a mere stimulus to men." - Samuel Warren

"Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought under the domination of the intelligence, and therefore is not susceptible to any arguments whosoever." - James Baldwin, fully James Arthur Baldwin

"There is no one in the world who cannot arrive without difficulty at the most eminent perfection by fulfilling with love obscure and common duties." - John-Pierre de Cassaude

"Now whether the difficulty is real or whether it is imaginary, the results are the same, you become whatever you think. If God is with you, how can you possibly feel inferior to anyone? You have equal access to all the good that comes from God. You can demonstrate your faith in His ability to give it to you by living His life. So change your thought patterns right now. Make up your mind to beat this feeling by faith in God, and you will. He can who thinks he can!" - Albert E Cliffe

"Every condition in your life is the out-picturing of a belief in the subconscious. Every ailment, every difficulty that you have, is but the embodiment of a negative idea somewhere in your subconscious, which is actuated by a charge of fear. Prayer wipes out these negative thoughts and then their embodiment must disappear too. The healing must come." - Emmet Fox

"Much marriage difficulty and unhappiness are due to the failure of the partners to accept the fact of their finiteness and its meaning. Instead, they hold themselves up to ideals of performance possible only to God." - Reuel Howe, fully Reuel Lanphier Howe

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves." - Abraham Lincoln

"This is the essence of humanism: we have the privilege and responsibility to consider deep questions and to courageously bear the answers and the difficulty in finding solid answers. In doing so, one can aspire to one’s chosen values, and hopefully find fulfillment in the process." - Jason A. Merchey

"The only idea man can affix to the name of God is that of a first cause, the cause of all things. Incomprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first cause is, he arrives at the belief of it from the tenfold greater difficulty of disbelieving it." - Thomas Paine