Quotes Categories

William James Quotes

(1842-1910), American Psychologist, Professor, Author

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

Category: Fatigue

Individuality is founded in feeling; and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done.

Category: Feelings

Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is ''All striving is vain,'' will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him.

Category: Free Will

Only necessity understood, and bondage to the highest is identical with true freedom.

Category: Freedom

Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendship and intimacies, and soon their places will know them no more, 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 inertia.

Category: Friends And Friendship

Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an inhabitual way.

Category: Genius

Smitten as we are with the vision of social righteousness, a God indifferent to everything but adulation, and full of partiality for his individual favorites, lacks an essential element of largeness.

Category: God

The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.

Category: Growth

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor.

Category: Habit

We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can...in the acquisition of a new habit, we must take car to launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible. Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life.

Category: Habit

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. which give happiness. Thomas Jefferson We never enjoy perfect happiness; our most fortunate successes are mingled with sadness; some anxieties always perplex the reality of our satisfaction.

Category: Happiness

Mankind's common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life's supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever.

Category: Heroes And Heroism

Act in earnest and you will become earnest in all you do.

Category: Honesty

The further limits of our being plunge, it seems to me, into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely ''understandable'' world. Name it the mystical region, or the supernatural region, whichever you choose. So far as our ideal impulses originate in this region (and most of them do originate in it, for we find them possessing us in a way for which we cannot articulately account), we belong to it in a more intimate sense than that in which we belong to the visible world, for we belong in the most intimate sense wherever our ideals belong.

Category: Ideals And Idealism

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.

Category: Ideas