Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Effort

"Upon every hand we meet with those who have some secret resentment that is ever being nurtured within their hearts. They resent the success, or happiness of some one whom they think is less deserving than they are. They resent the just recognition that comes to others from work and long effort to excel. Or, they may resent being born poor - or resent the fact that they were even born!... Strive to excel, strive to achieve, where others have failed, and you will find no space within your mind to lodge resentment. Resentment is the child of selfishness, foolish envy, and inactivity... Our life upon this earth is too valuable for resentment of any kind. There is so much to do, so much to learn - so little time in which to live and work it all out." - George Matthew Adams

"The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are rather the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the "easy life of the gods" would be a lifeless life." -

"Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius." - Honoré de Balzac

"It is boorish to give with a bad grace. If the act of giving entails an effort, what matters the additional cost of a smile?" - Jean de La Bruyère

"Art is the effort of man to express the ideas which nature suggests to him of a power above nature, whether that power be within the recesses of his own being, or in the Great First Cause of which nature, like himself, is but the effect." -

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Liane Cardes

"An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves." -

"No man succeeds in everything he undertakes. In that sense we are all failures. The great point is not to fail in ordering and sustaining the effort of our life." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"If you make an effort to help everyone you meet, you will feel close to everyone. A stranger is someone you have not yet helped. Doing acts of kindness for everyone you can fills your world with friends and loved ones." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"Everywhere in these days men have, in their mockery, ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"Without some goal and some effort to reach it, no man can live." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"Faults will turn to good, provided we use them to our own humiliation, without slackening in the effort to correct ourselves. Discouragement serves no possible purpose; it is simply the despair of wounded self-love. The real way of profiting by the humiliation of one’s own faults is to face them in their true hideousness, without ceasing to hope in God, while hoping nothing from self." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction." -

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality." -

"Most people tend to perform the actions that require least effort, to think the thoughts that are easiest, to feel the emotions that are most vulgarly commonplace, to give the rein to desires that are most nearly animal." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"No man should think that peace comes easily. Peace does not come by merely wanting it, or shouting for it, or marching down Main Street for it. Peace is built brick by brick, mortared by the stubborn effort and the total energy and imagination of able and dedicated men. And it is built in the living faith that, in the end, man can and will master his own destiny." - Lyndon Johnson, fully Lyndon Baines Johnson, aka LBJ

"We are constantly repeating messages in our minds. If they are negative: “I’m a failure,” “The world is an awful place,” “Nothing ever goes right,” we make our lives miserable. We have the ability to consciously make an effort to repeat to our selves positive messages: “I have the ability to keep improving,” “The world contains many wonderful opportunities,” “Everything that happens to me can be used for growth”... Little by little they will have a positive effect on your personality and emotions." - Ya’akov Dov "Katzele" Katz

"Act without doing; work without effort." -

"It is not the truth which a man possesses, or believes he possesses, but the earnest effort which he puts forth to reach the truth, which constitutes the worth of a man. For it is not by the possession, by the search after truth that he enlarges his power, wherein alone consists his ever-increasing perfection. Possession makes one content, indolent, proud." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them." - Joshua L. Liebman, fully Joshua Loth Liebman

"Success makes men rigid and they tend to exalt stability over all the other virtues; tired of the effort of willing they become fanatics about conservatism." - Walter Lippmann

"There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral... The whole speculation about morality is an effort to find a way of living which men who live it will instinctively feel is good." - Walter Lippmann

"Freedom rests, and always will, on individual responsibility, individual integrity, individual effort, individual courage, and individual religious faith. It does not rest in Washington. It rests with you and me." - Ed Lipscomb

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

"We cannot think two thoughts at the same time. Consequently, when negative thoughts arise, you do not need to fight them. Make an effort to think positive thoughts, and the negative thoughts will disappear." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"The most intelligent men, like the strongest, find their happiness where others would find only disaster: in the labyrinth, in being hard with themselves and with others, in effort; their delight is self-mastery; in them asceticism becomes second nature, a necessity, an instinct." -

"Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy." - Gretta Palmer

"For centuries and centuries the world has been struggling to divide up economic scarcity, and for the first time we have the tools of abundance with which to meet mankind's basic economic and material needs. If we will use these tools intelligently, with a sense of social and moral responsibility, they will enable us to solve mankind's basic material needs. Then we can devote greater time and energy and effort to the facilitation of man's growth as a social and cultural and spiritual being, which is the real meaning of life on this earth." -

"The great highroad of human welfare lies along the old highway of steadfast well-doing; and they who are the most persistent, and the work in the truest spirit, will invariably be the most successful; success treads on the heels of every right effort." - Samuel Smiles

"When a men is happy, every effort to express his happiness mars its completeness." - Alexander Smith

"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

"Whatever your work is, dignify it with your best thought and effort." - Esther Baldwin York

"Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now." - Yukteswar, fully Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, born Priyanath Karar NULL

"Every man, woman and child holds the possibility of physical perfection: it rests with each of us to attain it by personal understanding and effort." - Matthias Alexander, fully Frederick Matthias Alexander

"What is the grossest form of neglect? If a man does not... devote every effort toward the education of his children." - Apocrypha NULL

"Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks." - Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl of Bewdley

"All life, animal and vegetable, seems in its essence like an effort to accumulate energy and then to let it flow into flexible channels, changeable in shape, at the end of which it will accomplish infinitely varied kinds of work. That is what the vital impetus, passing through matter, would fain do all at once. It would succeed, no doubt, if its power were unlimited, or if some reinforcement could come to it from without. But the impetus is finite, and it has been given once for all. It cannot overcome all obstacles. The movement it starts is sometimes turned aside, sometimes divided, always opposed; and the evolution of the organized world is the unrolling of this conflict." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Wit must be without effort. Wit is play, not work; a nimbleness of the fancy, not a laborious effort of the will; a license, a holiday, a carnival of thought and feeling, not a trifling with speech, a constraint upon language, a duress upon words." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"It is the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance, sweeps away all obstacles." - Claude M. Bristol

"To say, "well done" to any bit of good work is to take hold of the powers which have made the effort and strengthen them beyond our knowledge." - Phillips Brooks

"Art is the effort of man to express the ideas which nature suggests to him of a power above nature, whether that power be within the recesses of his own being, or in the Great First Cause of which nature, like himself, is but the effect." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Freedom is not free. Shaping and preserving society necessarily involves personal commitment, costly risk and constant effort; the cultivation of civil liberty can be no more passive than the cultivation of a farm. A man can inherit the land on which he lives, he can even inherit the first crop of produce after he takes over from those who came before him. But then if he stops, everything stops, and begins to crumble. Nothing grows, nothing ripe and rewarding comes to him, unless he plows, plants and tends the soil and unless he keeps it fertile year after year with the chemistry of effort and forethought." - Edmond Cahn, fully Edmond Nathaniel Cahn

"All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. Work is not a curse; it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"The happy gift of being agreeable seems to consist not in one, but in an assemblage of talents tending to communicate delight; and how many are there, who, by easy manners, sweetness of temper, and a variety of other undefinable qualities, possess the power of pleasing without any visible effort, without the aids of wit, wisdom, or learning, nay, as it should seem in their defiance; and this without appearing even to know that they possess it." - Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough

"Every serious-minded person knows that a large part of the effort required in moral discipline consists in the courage needed to acknowledge the unpleasant consequences of one's past and present acts." - John Dewey

"A new philosophy, a way of life, is not given for nothing. It has to be paid dearly for and only acquired with much patience and great effort." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"O Youth: Do you know that yours is not the first generation to yearn for a life of beauty and freedom? Do you know that all your ancestors felt as you do - and fell victim to trouble and hatred? Do you know, also, that your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love and understanding of men, and animals, and plants, and stars, so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain? Open your eyes, your heart, your hands, and avoid the poison your forebears so greedily sucked in from History. Then will all the earth be your fatherland, and all your work and effort spread forth blessings." - Albert Einstein

"Nothing will give permanent success in any enterprise of life, except native capacity cultivated by honest and persevering effort. Genius is often but the capacity for receiving and improving by discipline." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Much effort, much prosperity." - Euripedes NULL