Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Excellence

"No student ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction." - Charles Kendall Adams

"The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous." - Shana Alexander, fully Shana Agar Alexander

"Fame has no necessary conjunction with praise; it may exist without the breath of a word: it is a recognition of excellence which must be felt, but need not be spoken. Even the envious must feel it, and hate in silence." -

"There is no surer mark of the absence of the highest moral and intellectual qualities than a cold reception of excellence." - Gamaliel Bailey

"The more we sympathize with excellence, the more we go out of self, the more we love, the broader and deeper is our personality." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"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

"A Whole combination of knowledge, insight, abilities and skills as well as moral virtue and spiritual excellence, make up the art of the wifely home-builder." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"Those who have arrived at any very eminent degree of excellence in the practice of an art or profession have commonly been actuated by a species of enthusiasm in their pursuit of it. They have kept one object in view amidst all the vicissitudes of time and fortune." - John Knox

"The fundamental experience which objective experience itself presumes is the fundamental experience of the Other... Moral consciousness is not an experience of values, but access to exterior Being: exterior being par excellence is the Other." - Emmanuel Lévinas , originally Emanuelis Lévinas

"Temperance is the excellence of the will in controlling the passion for pleasure." -

"Work is the true elixir of life. The busiest man is the happiest man. Excellence in any art or profession is attained only by hard and persistent work. Never believe that you are perfect. When a man imagines, even after years of striving, that he has attained perfection, his decline begins." - Theodore Martin, fully Sir Theodore Martin

"Help your children understand that excellence in education cannot be achieved without intellectual and moral integrity coupled by hard work and commitment." - National Commission on Excellence in Education NULL

"Education is, as a rule, the strongest force on the side of what exists and against fundamental change: threatened institutions, while they are still powerful, possess themselves of the educational machine, and instill a respect for their own excellence into the malleable minds of the young." -

"To attain excellence in society, an assemblage of qualification is requisite: disciplined intellect, to think clearly, and to clothe thought with propriety and elegance; knowledge of human nature, to suit subject to character; true politeness, to prevent giving pain; a deep sense of morality, to preserve the dignity of speech; and a spirit of benevolence, to neutralize its asperities, and sanctify its powers." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"The envious man is in pain upon all occasions which ought to give him pleasure. The relish of his life is inverted; and the objects which administer the highest satisfaction to those who are exempt from this passion give the quickest pangs to persons who are subject to it. All the perfections of their fellow creatures are odious. Youth, beauty, valor and wisdom are provocations of their displeasure. What a wretched and apostate state is this! to be offended with excellence, and to hate a man because we approve him!" - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"Next to excellence is the appreciation of it." - William Makepeace Thackeray

"Wisdom is of the soul, it is not susceptible of proof, it is its own proof, applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things; something there is in the flot of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines greatness." - Charles Kendall Adams

"Art is simply a right method of doing things. The test of the artist does not lie in the will with which he goes to work, but in the excellence of the work he produces." -

"By the one same act man both serves and worships God, for worship regards the excellence of God, to Whom reverence is due: while service regards the subjection of man who, by his condition, is under an obligation of showing reverence to God. To these two belong all acts ascribed to religion, because, by them all, man bears witness to the Divine excellence and to his own subjection to God, either by offering something to God, or by assuming something Divine." -

"Not being always able to follow others exactly, nor attain to the excellence of those he imitates, a prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it." -

"There is the laughter which is born out of the pure joy of living, the spontaneous expression of health and energy - the secret laughter of the child. This is a gift of God. There is the warm laughter of the kindly soul which heartens the discouraged, gives health to the sick and comfort to the dying... There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter that triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - J. E. Boodin

"I would rather be the author of one original thought than conqueror of a hundred battles. Yet moral excellence is so much superior to intellectual, that I ought to esteem one virtue more valuable than a hundred original thoughts." - William Benton Clulow

"God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. Life finds its noblest spring of excellence in this hidden impulse to do our best." - Robert Collyer

"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." - Charles de Saint-Évremond, fully Charles Marguetel de Saint-Denis, seigneur de Évremond

"True prayer is only another name for the love of God. Its excellence does not consist in the multitude of our words; for our Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask Him. The true prayer is that of the heart, and the heart prays only for what it desires. To pray, then, is to desire - but to desire what God would have us desire." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in few words." -

"Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labor. It argues, indeed, no small strength of mind to persevere in the habits of industry, without the pleasure of perceiving those advantages which, like the hands of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation." - Joshua Reynolds, fully Sir Joshua Reynolds

"The faculty of imagination is the great spring of human activity, and the principal source of human improvement. As it delights in presenting to the mind scenes and characters more perfect than those which we are acquainted with, it prevents us from ever being completely satisfied with our present condition, or with our past attainments, and engages us continually in the pursuit of some untried enjoyment, or of some ideal excellence. Destroy this faculty, and the condition of man will become as stationary as that of the brutes." - Dugald Stewart

"The golden thread in the mind of man is the light that leads towards excellence as a human objective. If perfection is a divine attribute, excellence is a human incentive and a healthy aim, even when we fall short of the target." - Aloysius Michael Sullivan

"Here is the test of wisdom, wisdom is not finally tested in schools, wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof, applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous." -

"There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter from triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - John Elof Boodin

"Remember every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence." - James A. Brewer

"As we go up the scale of spiritual excellence, temptation follows us all the way, becoming more refined as our lives are more refined, more subtle as our spiritual sensitiveness is keener." -

"Don't waste your time striving for perfection, instead, strive for excellence -- doing your best." - Laurence Olivier, fully Sir Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier

"Excellence is never an accident." - Jerold Panas

"The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value." - Charles Dudley Warner

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi, fully Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi

"There's no such thing as Perfection. But, in striving for perfection, we can achieve excellence." - Vince Lombardi, fully Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi

"I have often asked myself whether I am not more heavily obligated to the hardest years of my life than to any others. As my inmost nature teaches me, whatever is necessary as seen from the heights and in the sense of a great economy is also the useful par excellence: one should not only bear it, one should love it. Amor fati: that is my inmost nature. And as for my long sickness, do I not owe it indescribably more than I owe to my health? I owe it a higher health, one which is made stronger by whatever does not kill it. I also owe my philosophy to it. Only great pain is the ultimate liberator of the spirit... Only great pain, that long, slow pain in which we are burned with green wood, as it were - pain which takes its time - only this forces us philosophers to descend into our ultimate depths and to put away all trust, all good-naturedness, all that would veil, all mildness, all that is medium - things in which formerly we may have found our humanity. I doubt that such pain makes us "better," but I know that it makes us more profound." -

"Human life will never be understood unless its highest aspirations are taken into account. Growth, self-actualization, the striving toward health, the quest for identity and autonomy, the yearning for excellence (and other ways of striving "upward") must now be accepted beyond question as a widespread and perhaps universal tendency." - Abraham Harold Maslow

"If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead." - Adlai Ewing Stevenson

"If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead." -

"If our freedom means ease alone, if it means shirking the hard disciplines of learning, if it means evading the rigors and rewards of creative activity, if it means more expenditure on advertising than education, if it means in the schools the steady cult of the trivial and the mediocre, if it means - worst of all - indifference, or even contempt for all but athletic excellence, we may keep for a time the forms of free society, but its spirit will be dead." -

"It is not wide reading but useful reading that tends to excellence." - Aristippus NULL

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle NULL

"The human good turns out to be an activity of soul in conformity with excellence." - Aristotle NULL

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an art, but a habit." - Aristotle NULL

"We become what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a single act but a habit!”" - Aristotle NULL