Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Keep your focus on what you do have. Only then can you be truly happy." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"At times you might become angry at someone because he refuses to accept your help. This is especially true if you wen tout of your way to help him. The way to overcome this anger is to keep your focus on helping others for their benefit and not because you personally wish to accomplish." - Michael Braver

"Pleasure comes from obtaining what we feel we are lacking. We have the ability to choose our answer to the question, “What am I lacking right now?” Some people answer materialistically. It is wiser to choose to focus on your lack of spiritual accomplishments and then you can derive pleasure from meeting those needs." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"The past is only memories; the future is but illusory hopes; focus on the present; for that is where your life really is; and it consists only of tests." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"An honor-seeker is not really interested in self-improvement. He is only interested in gaining approval from others. Hence, he will disregard any fault he has if he knows that others will not notice it. On the other hand, a person who is able to forego his honor is able to focus on truth. His only thought is to do the right thing and he is willing to sacrifice his honor for his principles. Such a person will eventually receive honor, for he will constantly work on improving himself." - Yosef Y. Hurwitz

"To know and to serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth that like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard... Even in time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. If we had no other purpose in life, it would be good enough to simply take care of them and goose them once in a while." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"One satisfied with what he has is richer than everyone else in the world who has ore but is not satisfied with his lot. Keep your focus on what you have and not on what someone else has." - Yehuda Leib of Ofina

"A small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it fills the whole world and puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper viewing distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more tiny bump on the pathway to eternity." - Celia Luce

"The self is the metaphoric construct of identity and agency, the hypothetical piece of turf on which we construct our strategies for survival, the notion around which we focus our instincts for self-preservation, our needs for self-approval, and the boundaries of our self-interest." - Joanna Macy, fully Joanna Rogers Macy

"You possess the ability to control your thoughts. Even if your thoughts wander, you can bring them back and focus on what you wish." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"Every occurrence and situation in our lives can be utilized for elevation and growth. When a person’s main focus is growth, he will be able to have peace of mind regardless of what the specific situation is." - Yaakov Neiman

"Approval-seeking destroys one’s good deeds. Instead of doing the proper thing for its own sake, an approval-seeker will always focus on how others will react to what he is doing... Flattering wrongdoers is the root of much harm. It can lead to others emulating their misdeeds." - Ways of the Righteous, fully The Ways of Righteousness NULL

"When a person focuses on the goals of his life, he is able to overcome the difficulties involved. When one’s focus is on olam haboh [world-to-come], he lives in a state of happiness even though he experiences many inconveniences along his relatively short trip." - Simcha Zissel of Kelm, fully Rabbi imcha Zissel Ziv Broida, aka the Elder of Kelm

"Your imagination has much to do with your life. It pictures beauty, success, desired results. One the other hand, it brings into focus ugliness, distress, and failure. It is for you to decide how you want your imagination to serve you." - Philip Conley, fully Philip Mallory "Phil" Conley

"False beliefs tend to undermine the identification of the subject matter; to undermine, therefore, the validity of a description of the belief as being about that subject... The more things a believer is right about, the sharper his errors are. To much mistake simply blurs the focus." - Donald Davidson

"For many children, the start of formal musical instruction marks the beginning of the end of musical development. The atomistic focus in most musical instruction - the individual pitch, its name, its notation -- and the measure-by-measure method of instruction and analysis run counter to the holistic way most children have come to think of, react to, and live with music." - Howard Gardner, fully Howard Earl Gardner

"Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor." - John Haggai, fully John Edmund Haggai

"No time exists other than now... So now is all you have and all you ever will have... Why not begin doing the best you can right where you are?... Trust the process of growth. Trust God. Pay attention to the details of your life, doing your very best with each challenge that presents itself... The past is the raw material of the present, but the past is not a blueprint for the present... Begin where you are. Do what you can. Even a small effort to change, to grow, to improve, will bring astonishing results... You can choose to build on what you were, but you are not what you were. You can focus on what you will be, but you are not what you will be. What you are is what you are right now - the inheritor of all of God’s gifts." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always with this hard gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." -

"The current cultural split lies not between scientists and everyone else but between those who innovate or create and those who do not. Innovators and the process of innovation must become the focus of study. Innovation is the lifeblood of cultural change." - Robert Root-Bernstein

"Thoughts are behavior. The mind is like a muscle which can be improved with practice. Many 'habits' are a result of poor thinking skills. We play thoughts over and over which keep us distracted from effective problem solving. When out-of-control thoughts run around inside our heads they cause anxiety. We then focus on unproductive thoughts and ideas." - Richard Smolowe, fully Richard Edward Smolowe

"A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted." - Robert Louis Stevenson, fully Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

"A highly evolved use of intuition is being able to find meaning in symbols and synchronicities. The more we focus on finding meaning for ourselves in “chance occurrences,” the more we increase our intuitive power. Deepening our connection to our current surrounding increases our ability to follow the guidance of our inner purpose." - Carol Adrienne

"Focus on being grateful… Whatever you focus on with true appreciation and gratitude – you are generating a higher frequency of energy. By living and taking action in a higher frequency (which is also a deeper and richer frequency) you are more aligned with your purpose." - Carol Adrienne

"Leaders are people who focus attention on a vision. They know what they want and are very results-oriented. It’s their intense focus on worthwhile outcomes that draws others to them and to their cause." - Warren Bennis, fully Warren Gamaliel Bennis

"The possibilities of our future are actually determined by collective choices in the present. The evidence simply states that the choice of many people, focused in a specific manner, has a direct and measurable effect on our quality of life. Quantum physics suggests that by redirecting our focus – where we place our attention – we bring a new course of events into focus while at the same time releasing an existing course of events that may no longer serve us." - Gregg Braden

"The way that we attune to our possible outcomes is through our viewpoint of life. From this perspective, every life-threatening condition of each body is already healed, peace is already present, and every child, woman, and man of our world is already fed. Now we are invited to choose the quality of thought, feeling, and emotion that allows us to “bend” the waves of time and bring these conditions into the focus of the present." - Gregg Braden

"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction." -

"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction." - Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

"The most fateful choices are made in tragic loneliness. In the valley of decision, we stand alone, accompanied by our haunting fears and our stubborn hopes, by dread despair or gritty faith. Yet, though we appear to stand solitary, in truth we are accompanied by the tall and brave spirits who have stood where we stand and who, when torn between “No” and “Yes” to life and its infinite possibilities; by those who have had the wisdom to focus not on what they had lost but on what they had left; by those who understood that fate is what life gives us and that destiny is what we do with what’s given; and by those who, therefore, grasped the liberating truth that while we have no control over our fate, we do have an astonishing amount of control over our destiny." - Sidney Greenberg

"When it is said and done, life’s journey isn’t about humanity in general, or even the person next door. It’s about you and me. Our individual lives are the focus, a picture framed by our birth and death. Our personal goals and principles are under scrutiny; our personal success or failure is in the balance." - Os Guiness

"Those who labor on the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth." - Thomas Jefferson

"The focus on themes in the lives of the elderly allows us to conceive of aging as continual creation of the self through the ongoing interpretation of past experience, structural factors, values, and current context…. Identity is built around themes, without regard to time, as past experiences are symbolically connected with one another to have meaning for a particular individual." - Sharon R. Kaufman

"Religion floods our darkness with a divine light… Religion brings into the focus of attention the two supreme values - God and the human soul." - John A. O’Brien

"Precisely what we need are good theories to focus our attention, a good set of ideals to guide our action, and good visions of the future to mobilize our energies." - Paul H. Ray

"In business, the chief focus is on profitability. Government, by contrast, has no simple bottom line but rather a vast array of interests and priorities, many of which exist in a state of tension or conflict. For that reason, decision making in government is vastly more complex." - Robert Edward Rubin, aka Eddy Rubin

"[Someone said] a man is in fact three men – what he thinks he is – what others think he is – and what he really is. There is, I think, still a fourth identity – what he tries to be. My hunch is that what he tries to be fuses all the others and brings the true portrait of the man into focus." - Isadore "Dore" Schary

"It is wise to direct your anger towards problems not people; to focus your energies on answers not excuses." -

"The world asks that we focus less on how we can coerce something to make it conform to our designs and focus more on how we can engage with one another, how we can enter into the experience and then notice what comes forth. It asks that we participate more than plan." - Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers

"Creativity isn't about brilliance. It's about exuberance, focus, and fearlessness." - David Bohm, fully David Joseph Bohm

"Focus is a matter of deciding what things you're not going to do." - John Carmack, fully John D. Carmack II

"Questions focus our thinking. Ask empowering questions like: What's good about this? What's not perfect about it yet? What am I going to do next time? How can I do this and have fun doing it?" - Charles Connolly

"The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand - without growing weary. Because such thinking is often difficult, there seems to be no limit to which some people will go to avoid the effort and labor that is associated with it." - Thomas Edison, fully Thomas Alva Edison

"As long as our leaders believe they can’t win votes by working to reduce poverty, the media will continue to focus on politician’s efforts to increase safety by fighting terrorism." - Jurriaan Kamp

"The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence." - Robert J. Shiller, fully Robert James "Bob" Shiller

"We know what we need to do. We may not know all the answers, but we know enough of them that we have no excuse not to act. Too many focus on the difficulty of the problem merely as a means of evading responsibility." - Paul Wellstone, fully Paul David Wellstone

"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun ray's do not burn until brought to a focus." - Alexander Graham Bell

"It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny." - Anthony "Tony" Robbins

"The blind are more understanding than the deaf because hearing exerts a direct influence on the formation of moral character, which is not immediately true of what is seen. The human soul can also become diffused by way of the eye whereas what is heard results in focus and concentration." - Aristotle NULL

"If you pursue happiness, it may elude you, but if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you." - Author Unknown NULL