Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Initiative

"In building a firm foundation for Success, here are a few stones to remember: The wisdom of preparation. The value of confidence. The worth of honesty. The privilege of working. The discipline of struggle. The magnetism of character. The radiance of health. The forcefulness of simplicity. The winsomeness of courtesy. The attractiveness of modesty. The inspiration of cleanliness. The satisfaction of serving. The power of suggestion. The buoyancy of enthusiasm. The advantage of initiative. The virtue of patience. The rewards of co-operation. The fruitfulness of perseverance. The sportsmanship of losing. The joy of winning." - Rollo C. Hester

"I am unfaithful to my own possibilities when I await from a change of circumstances what I can do on my own initiative." -

"Often those who seek only license for their plundering, cry “liberty.” In the guise of this Old American ideal, men of vast economic domain would destroy what little liberty remains to those who toil. The liberty we seek is different. It is liberty fro common people - freedom from economic bondage, freedom from the oppressions of the vast bureaucracies of great corporations; freedom to regain again some human initiative, freedom that arises from economic security and human self-respect." - John L. Lewis, fully John Llewellyn Lewis

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - W. H. Murray, fully William Hutchinson Murray

"The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence." -

"The children who go to bed hungry in a Harlem slum or a West Virginia mining town are not being deprived because no food can be found to give them; they are going to bed hungry because, despite all our miracles of invention and production, we have not yet found a way to make necessities of life available to all of our citizens - including those whose failure is not lack of personal industry or initiative, but only an unwise choice of parents." - James William Fulbright

"Details often kill initiative, but there have been few successful men who weren't good at details. Don't ignore details. Lick them." - William B. Given, Jr.

"Even if governmental conduct of business could give us more efficiency instead of less efficiency, the fundamental objection to it would remain unaltered and unabated. It would destroy political equality. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption. It would stifle initiative and invention. It would undermine the development of leadership. It would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative the jolliest steamroller will not plant flowers." - Walter Lippmann

"This is what a father ought to be about: helping his son to form the habit of doing right on his own initiative, rather than because he's afraid of some serious consequence." - Terence, full Latin name Publius Terentius Afer NULL

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative [or creation] there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too... Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Social evolution is a resultant of the interaction of two wholly distinct factors: the individual… bearing all the power of initiative and origination in his hands; and, second, the social environment, with its power of adopting or rejecting both him and his gifts. Both factors are essential to change. The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community." - William James

"Thoroughly living life requires initiative, risk taking, sustained action against the odds, making sacrifices for ideals and for others, and leaps of faith. People who live such lives report being happy, hopeful, and exhilarated – even when they fail." -

"Prolonged ideas paralyzes initiative." - Author Unknown NULL

"The margin between that which men naturally do, and that which they can do, is so great that a system which urges men on to action and develops individual enterprise and initiative is preferable, in spite of the wastes that necessarily attend their process." - Louis D. Brandeis, fully Louis Dembitz Brandeis

"Freedom without responsibility is destructive, unity without individual initiative stifling, and equality that does not recognize differences is demoralizing." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

"A leader must give credit to a staffer for a job well done both personally and if possible publicly as well. The best rule: Be generous in sharing credit with subordinates when an initiative succeeds and be prepared to take the blame if it fails." -

"What this country needs is more people to inspire others with confidence, and fewer people to discourage any initiative in the right direction more to get into the thick of things, fewer to sit on the sidelines, merely finding fault more to point out what's right with the world, and fewer to keep harping on what's wrong with it and more who are interested in lighting candles, and fewer who blow them out. " - James Keller

"Religion is more than a creed or a doctrine, more than faith or piety; it is an everlasting fact in the universe, something that exists outside knowledge and experience, an order of being, the holy dimension of existence. It does not emanate from the affections and moods, aspirations and visions of the soul. It is not a divine force in us, a mere possibility, left to the initiative of man, something that may or may not take place, but an actuality, the inner constitution of the universe, the system of divine values involved in every being and exposed to the activity of man, the ultimate in our reality. As an absolute implication of being, as an ontological entity, not as an adorning veneer for a psychical wish or for a material want, religion cannot be totally described in psychological or sociological terms." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Education spending will be most effective if it relies on parental choice & private initiative -- the building blocks of success throughout our society." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"Six Declines of Modern Youth: Decline of Fitness due to modern methods of locomotion [moving about];Decline of Initiative and Enterprise due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis; Decline of Memory and Imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life; Decline of Skill and Care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship; Decline of Self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquilizers; And worst of all: Decline of Compassion due to the unseemly haste with which modern life is conducted or as William Temple called "spiritual death"." - Kurt Hahn, fully Kurt Martin "the rod" Hahn

"The American cultural ideal of the self-made man, of everyone standing on his own feet, is as tragic a picture as the initiative – destroying dependence on a benevolent despot. We all need each other. This type of interdependence is the greatest challenge to the maturity of individual and group functioning." - Kurt Lewin

"The People with AIDS Coalition (PWAC) was founded in New York City in 1985 by a group of nine people who had contracted AIDS. The founders were inspired by the Denver Principles, a manifesto adopted in 1983 by PWAs at the National Lesbian and Gay Health Conference held in Denver. The Denver Principles proclaimed the need for self-empowerment and self-reliance by PWAs as well as the necessity of their taking an active role in the formulation of decisions affecting their lives. During thealmost eight years of its corporate existence PWAC became the largest self-help organization of people living with AIDS/HIV in America. Projects developed by PWAC include the Community Research Initiative (CRI), a network of medical doctors and patients who undertook their own drug studies; the People With AIDS Health Group, a not-for-profit buyer's club set up to provide easier access to drugs and other therapeutic substances difficult to obtain; a national telephone hotline; and a newsletter." - People with AIDS Coalition NULL

"What saved me from moral and emotional paralysis in this pseudo-philosophy was, I think, a deep-seated interest in humanity. I could not reason myself into believing that men are only machines; I could not smother in logic the sense of mystery that broods upon the world, not find any place in the network of blind chance and fate for the human will. What is the nature of this thing we call life, this irrational power which by its own initiative expands into endless activities, and finally creates for itself a conscious soul of suffering and joy?" - Paul Elmer More

"Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellspring of initiative and creativity. " - Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, aka Saint John Paul the Great NULL

"Competing visions of the role of government and the rights of individuals exist all along the political spectrum. Most of us hold a point of view that exists somewhere between the extremes. We may grumble about taxes, but we generally support programs like veterans' benefits, Social Security, and Medicare, along with public education, environmental protection, and some sort of social safety net for the poor. We are wary of government interference with private initiative or personal belief and the excessive influence of special interests on the political system. We respect the unique power of government to meet certain social needs and acknowledge the need to limit its powers." - Hillary Rodham Clinton

"Some critics of public schools urge greater competition among schools as a way of returning control from bureaucrats to parents and teachers. I find their argument persuasive and I favor promoting choice among public schools, much as the President's Charter Schools Initiative encourages. Charter schools are public schools created and operated under a charter. They may be organized by parents, teachers, or others. The idea is that they should be freed from regulations that stifle innovation, so they can focus on getting results. By 1995, 19 states had enacted charter school laws about 200 schools have been granted charters. The Improving America's Schools Act, passed in October 1994 with the President's support, provided federal funds for a wide range of reforms, including launching charter schools. Federal funding is needed to break through bureaucratic attitudes that block change and frustrate students and parents, driving some to leave public schools." - Hillary Rodham Clinton

"The standards and accountability movement has grown dramatically over the last decade. The No Child Left Behind Act became law, and it has laid bare the problems in many of our poorest, worst-performing schools. We can no longer say that we didn't know that these schools were failing some of our most vulnerable kids. To improve the quality of education, we need to improve instruction in the classroom. Nationwide, two million teachers will leave teaching over the next decade. NYC already loses 30% more math teachers and 22% more science teachers than it certifies every year. IN 2001, I proposed the National Teacher Corps, which brings teachers into the classroom, and a new initiative that would provide more schools with strong principals. Both became law." - Hillary Rodham Clinton

"I am convinced that human continuance depends entirely upon: the intuitive wisdom of each and every individual . . . the individual's integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual's own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative . . . the individual's never joining action with others as motivated only by crowd-engendered-emotionalism, or a sense of the crowd's power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one's own intellectual convictions." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"Only the free-wheeling artist-explorer, non-academic, scientist-philosopher, mechanic, economist-poet who has never waited for patron-starting and accrediting of his co-ordinate capabilities holds the prime initiative today. " - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all." - Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus NULL

"I had never expected that the China initiative would come to fruition in the form of a Ping-Pong team. (On first friendly overture by People's Republic of China)" - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"Let us face it; to lead is to live dangerously. While leadership is often depicted as an exciting and glamorous endeavor, one in which you inspire others to follow you through good times and bad, such a portrayal ignores the dark side of leadership: the inevitable attempts to take you out of the game. Those attempts are sometimes justified. People in top positions must often pay the price for a flawed strategy or a series of bad decisions." - Ronald A. Heifetz

"Art is the conveyance of spirit by means of matter." - Salvador de Madariaga, fully Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo

"The human soul has need of security and also of risk. The fear of violence or of hunger or of any other evil is a sickness of the soul. The boredom produced by a complete absence of risk is also a sickness of the soul." - Simone Weil

"It is not merely that we want to see the game played fairly. We also want to see the rules changed, so that there shall be both less opportunity and less temptation to cheat, and less chance for some few people to gain a pro?t to which either they are not entitled at all, or else which is so enormous as to be greatly in excess of what they deserve, even though their services have been great. We wish to do away with the pro?t that comes from the illegitimate exercise of cunning and craft. We also wish to secure a measurable equality of opportunity, a measurable equality of reward for services of similar value. To do all this, two, mutually supplementary movements are necessary. On the one hand, there must be - I think there now is - a genuine and permanent moral awakening, without which no wisdom of legislation or administration really means anything; and, on the other hand, we must try to secure the social and economic legislation without which any improvement due to purely moral agitation is necessarily evanescent." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"We must set the end in view as the goal; and then, instead of making a fetish of some particular kind of means, we should adopt whatever honorable means will best accomplish the end. In so far as unrestricted individual liberty brings the best results, we should encourage it. But when a point is reached where this complete lack of restriction on individual liberty fails to achieve the best results, then, on behalf of the whole people, we should exercise the collective power of the people, through the State Legislatures in matters of purely local concern, and through the National Legislature when the purpose is so big that only National action can achieve it." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The more the soul knows, the more she loves, and loving much, she tastes much." - W. H. Murray, fully William Hutchinson Murray

"The Lord of Sinai intends that all economies should be renovated for the common good:" - Walter Brueggemann

"From the standpoint of theory, this idea disregards the elementary propositions of Marxism concerning the inevitability of capitalist development where commodity production exists. Marxism teaches that a society which is based on commodity production, and which has commercial intercourse with civilised capitalist nations, at a certain stage of its development, itself, inevitably takes the road of capitalism." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of Marxists, not unity between Marxists, and opponents and distorters of Marxism." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"We need only in cold blood to act as if the thing in question were real and it will infallibly end by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real." - William James

"Media will ask survivors some of the most deplorable questions such as How do you feel right now? Has this changed your life? and Do you think you’ll be able to recover and move on? For most people following these events, the answers are always Like sh*t, Yes, and Hell no." - Drew Curtis

"Woman, essentially a purist, is naturally bigoted and relentless in her effort to make others as good as she thinks they ought to be." - Emma Goldman

"In recognizing God as the source of their rights, the Founding Fathers declared Him to be the ultimate authority for their basis of law. This led them to the conviction that people do not make law but merely acknowledge preexisting law, giving it specific application. The Constitution was conceived to be such an expression of higher law. And when their work was done, James Madison wrote: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution” (The Federalist, no. 37)." - Ezra Taft Benson