William James Quotes

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
― William James

 

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”
― William James

 

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
― William James

 

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
― William James

 

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
― William James

 

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
― William James

 

“To change one’s life:
1. Start immediately.
2. Do it flamboyantly.
3. No exceptions.”
― William James

 

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
― William James

 

“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”
― William James

 

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
― William James

 

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
― William James

 

“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
― William James

 

“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
― William James

 

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
― William James

 

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”
― William James

 

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
― William James

 

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”
― William James

 

“To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds,”
― William James

 

“Anything you may hold firmly in your imagination can be yours.”
― William James

 

“Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.”
― William James

 

“Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”
― William James

 

“Begin to be now what you will be hereafter. ”
― William James

 

“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.”
― William James

 

 

“Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world.”
― William James

 

“We may be in the Universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversation, but having no inkling of the
meaning of it all.”
― William James

 

“There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.”
― William James

 

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
― William James

 

“Beyond the very extremity of fatigue distress, amounts of ease and power that we never dreamed ourselves to own, sources of strength habitually not taxed at all, because habitually we never push through the obstruction”
― William James

 

“Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies … and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to “keep” by force of mere inertia.”
― William James

 

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”
― William James

 

“Procrastination is attitude’s natural assassin. There’s nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task”
― William James

 

 

“A great nation is not saved by wars, it is saved by acts without external picturesqueness; by speaking, writing, voting reasonably; by smiting corruption swiftly; by good temper between parties; by the people knowing true men when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to rabid partisans and empty quacks.”
― William James

 

“Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.”
― William James

 

“If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.”
― William James

 

“Actions seems to follow feeling, but really actions and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.”
― William James

 

“If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.”
― William James

 

“…do every day or two something for no other reason that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.”
― William James

 

“Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.”
― William James

 

“We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition”
― William James

 

“We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone until those smiling possibilities are dead… By neglecting the necessary concrete labor, by sparing ourselves the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities.”
― William James

 

“Science, like life, feeds on its own decay. New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law.”
― William James

 

“The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That – with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word ‘success’ – is our national disease.

― William James

 

“The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.”
― William James

 

“Philosophy is “an unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly.”
― William James

 

 

“Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn’t submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don’t want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what’s the matter with our self.”
― William James

 

“Why should we think upon things that are lovely Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings.”
― William James

 

“Belief creates the actual fact.”
― William James

 

“When a thing is new, people say: ‘It is not true.’ Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: ‘It is not important.’ Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say: ‘Anyway, it is not new.”
― William James

 

 

“There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.”
― William James

 

 

“I am no lover of disorder and doubt as such. Rather I fear to lose truth by the pretension to possess it already wholly.”
― William James

 

 

“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.”
― William James

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