After reading countless wise quotes, we have selected a few exceptionally wise ones for our readers that will give them the most important lessons for living life well.
This article contains wise quotes from some of the greatest and wisest minds in history, including Baltasar Gracian, Seneca, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Buddha, Confucius, Goethe, Benjamin Franklin, William James, Socrates, Aristotle, and many more.
The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it. — John Locke
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Wise Quotes and Words of Wisdom
There are so many ways we can be tested in life. We can get so much right and yet have disastrous consequences from getting a few things wrong. To give ourselves the best opportunity to live well, we don’t need to acquire a thorough knowledge of everything, but we must learn many, many important things. There is no secret to life, and we should not look for one.
The root of suffering is attachment. — Often attributed to Buddha
We should be careful about anchoring to any outcome that we cannot control—even when we will likely get what we want. Preferring one outcome over another is fine, but we should work to not be crushed by an outcome that is not our preference.
We should also apply these wise quotes and this line of thinking to what we already have in our lives. This could be our possessions, our jobs, our social status, friends, and loved ones—nearly anything.
If we become too attached to something, we set ourselves up to be crushed should we ever lose it, and even if we never lose it, the fear of losing it can be devastating. We should be grateful for the good things we have in our lives but not be overly attached to them.
This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wise Quotes and Sayings On Life
Forming good habits and discovering how to live well can make life easier but not effortless. There are many things that we can resolve to do, like reading wise quotes and practicing many times, and still be unable to do effortlessly. Such things will never become fully automatic, and we may need to renew our commitments to them frequently all our lives.
Even good habits that become nearly effortless for a time can later be disrupted by changing circumstances. We must be prepared for this and ready to reinitiate important habits that have been broken.
The following are some of the lifelong duties that we must continuously remind ourselves of and practice. We must remember to:
- Be grateful for the good we have in our lives and have had in the past.
- Appreciate the benefits of the struggles we are currently overcoming.
- Not be bothered much by little worries or troubles.
- Maintain a good attitude and good mood most of the time.
- Give others a reasonable benefit of the doubt.
- Remind ourselves how little we know, frequently.
- Enjoy life today, not letting the past or fears for the future prevent us from having joy now.
- Keep learning and keep improving, for life.
Wise venturing is the most commendable part of human prudence. — George Savile
Wise Quotes and Quotes About Life
Before making an important decision, we should ensure that we have put a reasonable effort into getting enough information to choose wisely. But no matter how much information we have, it is not possible to be completely sure about most things.
We have to take reasonable risks to live well. We must not demand absolute certainty before making decisions. Rather, we should seek sufficient certainty for what the situation demands.
Just as there are stupid bets that win, there are smart ones that lose. Bad decisions are not equivalent to decisions that turn out poorly. We can make good decisions and fail, and we can make bad decisions and succeed. We must beware of excessively judging our decisions by outcome alone.
And, we must differentiate between decisions that were smart but ended in bad results and decisions that were poor and ended in bad results. As the Roman philosopher and politician Marcus Cicero put it, “We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one.” Better yet, perhaps it is better to not think of smart bets that turn out poorly as “mistakes” at all.
You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. — Charles Buxton
We have a massive cognitive bias that makes most of us believe it will be much easier in the future to take the actions needed to improve ourselves. We readily believe we will have much more free time and energy to make needed changes. So, we must become very aware of and very intolerant of such beliefs.
We cannot foolishly assume that it will be much easier to take the actions we most need to in the future. It probably won’t be. If we want to be assured of a successful, happier future, we have to develop ourselves now and work toward important goals now, rather than depending on our doing so at some point down the road.
Wise Quotes and Quotes of The Day
- If you wish to live, you must first attend your funeral. — Katherine Mansfield
Living well requires that we accept our eventual death, and it requires us to accept that it could come much sooner than we would like. We may never be completely comfortable with this, but we must not avoid thinking about it. On the contrary, we would do well to remind ourselves frequently that we are mortal and that our time is quite limited.
This is not to encourage recklessness. It is to help us to prioritize well and not be bothered excessively by little things. We should care much less about living a long life and much more about living life well. To a large degree, how long we live is out of our control. How well we live is much more controllable.
2. Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Innate ability, intelligence, and talent are much less responsible for success than we often think. Sustained effort and persistence are much more important than is commonly recognized. With enough determination, enough time, and enough effort, we can accomplish much.
The philosopher William James once noted that “Men habitually use only a small part of the powers they possess and which they might use under appropriate circumstances.” With enough persistence, most of us have the amazing capability. Recognizing this, even a little bit, makes us more likely to tap into some of this power.
As we work toward goals, we should be aware that initial failure in an endeavor often does not say much about our ability to accomplish it in the long run. However, as we are persistent in our efforts to accomplish a goal, we must remember to be willing to try many different methods to achieve it, as any single method may be ineffective.
Applying Wise Quotes to Living Well
- “What I believe” is a process rather than a finality. — Emma Goldman
- A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. — Seneca
- The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. — Theodore Roosevelt
- The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time. — Arthur Schopenhauer
- Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
- The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe. — Voltaire
- Because a human being is so malleable, whatever one cultivates is what one becomes. — Lao Tzu
- With self-discipline most anything is possible. — Theodore Roosevelt
- As long as you live, keep learning how to live. — Seneca
- Faultless to a fault. — Robert Browning
- Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of human misunderstanding. — Ambrose Bierce
- Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others? — Voltaire
- To improve the mind, we ought less to learn, than to contemplate. — René Descartes
- The laws of circumstance are abolished by new circumstances. — Napoleon Bonaparte
- There’s a way to do it better—find it. — Thomas Edison
- It is better to be good than to be original. — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
- Though men pride themselves on their great actions, often they are not the result of any great design, but chance. — Francois de La Rochefoucauld
- As long as a man stands in his way, everything seems to be in his way. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- We win half the battle when we make up our minds to take the world as we find it, including the thorns. — Orison Marden
- Ah! If you only knew the peace there is in an accepted sorrow. — Madame Jeanne Guyon
- Everyone needs a sense of shame, but no one needs to feel ashamed. — Friedrich Nietzsche
- Be not a slave of your past. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short. — Arthur Schopenhauer
- The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself. — Michel de Montaigne
- Stop competing with others and start competing with yourself. — Unknown
- Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness. —John Ruskin
- To do great work, a man must be very idle as well as very industrious. — Samuel Butler
- If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn. — Friedrich Nietzsche
- For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away The sky is filled with stars invisible by day. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Our life is what our thoughts make it. — Marcus Aurelius
- One resolution I have made, and try to always keep, is this: “to rise above the little things.” — John Burroughs
- The mind is like a river; upon its waters thoughts float through in a constant procession every conscious moment. It is a narrow river, however, and you stand on a bridge over it and can stop and turn back any thought that comes along, and they can only come single file, one at a time. The art of contentment is to let no thought pass that is going to disturb you. — Frank Crane
- If you scramble about in search of inner peace, you will lose your inner peace. — Lao Tzu
- Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others. — Marcus Cicero
- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though ’twere his own. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Whether happiness may come or not, one should try to prepare one’s self to do without it. — Mary Ann Evans (known by her pen name George Eliot)
- Be master of thy anger. — Periander of Corinth
- A man who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary. — Seneca
- The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. — Benjamin Franklin
- That gain should never be regarded highly which leadeth to loss. On the other hand, that loss even should be regarded highly which would bring on gain. — The Mahabharata (ancient Indian epic)
- Pride, the never-failing vice of fools. — Alexander Pope
- First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. — Epictetus
- Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak. Sometimes it means you are strong enough to let go. — Unknown
- It is a bad plan that admits to no modification. — Publilius Syrus
- In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail. — Cassius Longinus
- Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. — Robert Louis Stevenson
- Patience is the companion of wisdom. — Saint Augustine
- Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. — Robert Louis Stevenson
- For countless people, there is only one remedy: a catastrophe. — Christian Morgenstern
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1 thought on “Applying Wise Quotes to Living Well”
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