Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Greatness

"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

"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not that which he thinks and says and does." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"There is no greatness that does not rest on true morality." - Berthold Auerbach

"Truly great persons are more interested in controlling themselves than in controlling others... Greatness is modest; it avoids publicity." -

"Try to become as great as you can. Some people are afraid to accomplish because they might make mistakes and those mistakes will be more serious than if they remained simple. This is not valid reasoning. Each person is obligated to develop himself to the best of his ability. The smallest person has potential for greatness if he utilizes all that is within him." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"Your greatness is measured by your kindness - Your education and intellect by your modesty - Your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices - Your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others." - William J. H. Boetcker, fully William John Henry Boetcker

"Honesty is not only “the first step towards greatness” - it is greatness itself." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The greatness of a nation does not depend on the character of its blood or race... [but] consists of the values it produces." - Max Brod

"Contempt of all outward things that come in competition with duty fulfills the ideal of human greatness. It is sanctioned by conscience, that universal and eternal lawgiver, whose chief principle is, that everything must be yielded up for right." - William Ellery Channing

"The greatest man is he who chooses the right with invincible resolution, who resists the sorest temptations from within and without, who bears the heaviest burdens cheerfully, who is calmest in storms and most fearless under menace and frowns, whose reliance on truth, on virtue, on God, is most unfaltering. I believe this greatness to be most common among the multitude, whose names are never heard." - William Ellery Channing

"The price of greatness is responsibility." -

"It is not the greatness of a man's means that makes him independent, so much as the smallness of his wants." - William Cobbett

"Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown." - Charles de Gaulle, fully Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle

"How mysterious in this human life, with all its diversities of contrast and compensation; this web of checkered destinies,; this sphere of manifold allotment, where man lives in his greatness and grossness, a little lower than the angels, a little higher than the brutes." - Henry Giles

"Infidelity and faith look both through the perspective glass, but at contrary ends. Infidelity looks through the wrong end of the glass; and, therefore, sees those objects near which are afar off, and makes great things little - diminishing the greatest spiritual blessings, and removing far from us threatened evils. Faith looks at the right end, and brings the blessings that are far off in time close to our eye, and multiplies God’s mercies, which, in a distance, lost their greatness." - Robert Hall

"Our souls must become expanded by the contemplation of Nature’s grandeur, before we can fully comprehend the greatness of man." - Heinrich Heine

"Suffering is a great teacher. Suffering teaches you the limitations of your power; it reminds you of the frailty of your health, the instability of your possessions, and the inadequacy of your means which have only been lent to you and must be returned as soon as the Owner desires it. Suffering visits you and teaches you the nothingness of your false greatness. It teaches you modesty." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"A nation's greatness resides not in her material resources, but in her will, faith, intelligence, and moral forces." - James M. Hoppin

"The most illiterate man who is touched by devotion, and uses frequent exercises of it, contracts a certain greatness of mind, mingled with a noble simplicity, that raises him above others of the same condition." -

"The greatness of a popular character is less according to the ratio of his genius than the sympathy he shows with the prejudices and even the absurdities of his time. Fanatics do not select the cleverest, but the most fanatical leaders." -

"True greatness is sovereign wisdom. We are never deceived by our virtues." -

"Every desire for power, ability, wisdom, harmony, life, greatness will impress itself upon the subconscious and will cause the thing desired to be produced in the great within. What is produced in the within will come forth into expression in the personality; therefore, by knowing how to impress the subconscious, man may give his personal self any quality desired, in any quantity desired. What man may desire to become, that he can become, and the art of directing and impressing the subconscious is the secret. The perpetual awakening of the great within will produce a greatness, because to the powers and the possibilities of the great within there is no limit, neither is there any end." - Christian D. Larson

"The most agreeable of all companions is a simple, frank man, without any high pretensions to an oppressive greatness - one who loves life, and understands the use of it; obliging alike at all hours; above all, of a golden temper, and steadfast as an anchor." - Bruno Lessing, pseudonymn for Randolph Edgar Block

"The way to educate youngsters is to elevate them by pointing out the greatness that can be theirs if they utilize their potential." - Yechezkail Levenstein

"There is no right without parallel duty, no liberty without the supremacy of the law, no high destiny without earnest perseverance, no greatness without self-denial." - Francis Lieber

"One of the marks of true greatness is the ability to develop greatness in others." - J. C. Macaulay

"Greatness of soul is not so much mounting high and pressing forward, as knowing how to put oneself in order and circumscribe oneself. It regards as great all that is enough and shows its elevation by preferring moderate things to eminent ones. There is nothing so beautiful and just as to play the man well and fitly, nor any knowledge so arduous as to know how to live this life well and naturally; and of all our maladies the most barbarous is to despise our being." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The beginning of greatness is to be little, the increase of greatness is to be less, and the perfection of greatness is to be nothing." -

"Great men... have been characterized by the greatness of their mistakes as well as by the greatness of their achievements." - Abraham M Myerson

"Of what is great, one must either be silent, or speak with greatness - that means cynically and with innocence." -

"The genius - in his works, in his deeds - is necessarily a prodigal: his greatness lies in the fact that he expends himself." -

"The man of belief is necessarily a dependent man... He does not belong to himself, but to the author of the idea he believes... At every step, one has to wrestle for truth; one has to surrender to it almost everything to which the heart, to which our love, our trust in life clings otherwise. That requires greatness of soul: the service of truth is the hardest service...faith makes blessed: consequently, it lies." -

"Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are apt to overlook the greatness of little things in others." -

"A man's greatness can be measured by his enemies." - Donn Piatt

"A man's dreams are an index to his greatness." - Zadok ha-Kohen Rabinowitz of Lublin

"It is in the law of our humanity that man must know good through evil. No great principle ever triumphed but through much evil. No man ever progressed to greatness and goodness but through great mistakes." -

"Luxury is a remedy much worse than the disease it sets up to cure; or rather it is in itself the greatness of all evils; for every State, great or small: for, in order to maintain all the servants and vagabonds it creates, it brings oppression and ruin on the citizen and the laborer; it is like those scorching winds, which, covering the trees and plants with their devouring insects, deprive useful animals of their subsistence and spread famine and death wherever they blow." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"It is rascally to steal a purse, daring to steal a million, and proof of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"Guilt, though it may attain temporal splendor, can never confer real happiness; the evil consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor; while the paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace." -

"The paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace." -

"It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness." -

"There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it." -

"The worst fault a person can have is to forget his intrinsic greatness as a human being." -

"Immortality is the greatness of our being; the scene for attaining the fullness and perfection of our existence." - Charles Simmons

"Integrity is the first step to true greatness." - Charles Simmons

"Life is made up of little things. It is very rarely that an occasion is offered for doing a great deal at once. True greatness consists in being great in little things." - Charles Simmons

"True greatness consists in being great in little things." - Charles Simmons

"Greatness is a two-faced coin - and its reverse is humility." - Marguerite Steen

"Of all parts of wisdom, the practice is the best. Socrates was esteemed the wisest man of his time because he turned his acquired knowledge into morality and aimed at goodness more than greatness." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Greatness, generally speaking, is an unusual quantity of a usual quality grafted upon a common man." - William Allen White