Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw 2
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Spurious)

This aphorism is frequently attributed to Shaw, but not found in his works and not attributed to him or in this form before around 1990. It may be a misattributed paraphrase from Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973): "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates."
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What pleases you in others will in general please them in you.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (9 Jul 1750)
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I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman and reformer
Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963)
    (Source)
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I acknowledge myself a unitarian — Believing that the Father alone, is the supreme God, and that Jesus Christ derived his Being, and all his powers and honors from the Father. […] There is not any reasoning which can convince me, contrary to my senses, that three is one, and one three.

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American writer, First Lady
Letter to John Quincy Adams (5 May 1816)
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The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try a thing.

Charles Kettering
Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
“Don’t Be Afraid to Stumble,” The Rotarian (Jan 1952)
    (Source)

This was a favorite phrase of Kettering's, and many versions exist or are attributed.
  • "The only time you mustn't fail is the last time you try." (The Rotarian (May 1953))
  • "The only time you don't want to fail is the last time you try."
  • "The only time you can't afford to fail is the last time you try."
  • "The only time you don't fail is the last time you try something, and it works."
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Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Vera; or, The Nihilists (1883)

Paraphrase of the actual line, "Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it." In Lady Windermere's Fan (1892), he recycled the line as "Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it." More information about this here.
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Philosophy easily triumphs over past ills and ills to come, but present ills triumph over philosophy.

François_de_La_Rochefoucauld
François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], # 22 (1665-1678) [tr. Tancock (1959)]
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Everyone is prejudiced in favor his own powers of discernment, and will always find an argument most convincing if it leads to the conclusion he has reached for himself; everyone must then be given something he can grasp and recognize as his own idea.

Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger (c. 61-c. 113) Roman politician, writer [Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus]
Letters, Book 1, Letter 20 [tr. Radice (1963)]
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We cannot safely confine government programs to our own domestic progress and our own military power. We could be the wealthiest and the most mighty nation and still lose the battle of the world if we do not help our world neighbors protect their freedom and advance their social and economic progress. It is not the goal of the American people that the United States should be the richest nation in the graveyard of history.

Dwight D Eisenhower
Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech to Congress on the Mutual Security Program (13 Mar 1959)
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Money can’t buy you friends, but you get a better class of enemy.

Spike Milligan
Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
(Attributed)
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One lesson the arts teach is that there can be more than one answer to a question and more than one solution to a problem; variability of outcome is okay. […] The arts teach children that their personal signature is important and that answers to questions and solutions to problems need not be identical. There is, in the arts, more than one interpretation to a musical score, more than one way to describe a painting or a sculpture, more than one appropriate form for a dance performance, more than one meaning for a poetic rendering of a person or a situation. In the arts diversity and variability are made central. That is one lesson that education can learn from the arts.

Elliot Eisner
Elliot Eisner (1933-2014) Academic, researcher, professor of art and education
The Arts and the Creation of Mind, ch. 8 (2002)
    (Source)

Variant: "The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution; questions can have more than one answer. If they do anything, the arts embrace diversity of outcome."
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Dripping water hollows a stone.

Titus Lucretius Carus
Lucretius (c. 100-c. 55 BC) Roman poet [Titus Luretius Carus]
De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things], 1.313 [tr. Latham (1951)]
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The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech, Buckinghamshire (1784)
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Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Lords and Ladies (1992)
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Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions “on the further shore,” pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There’s not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn’t be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the Spiritualists bait their hook! “Things on this side are not so different after all.” There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.

C S Lewis
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
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If we need fear to keep us safe, we also need to apply reason to fear to make sure it’s serving us, not the other way around.

~generic
Graham Ericsson (b. 1947) American writer, aphorist
What Have You Done To Me Lately?, ch. 5 (2014)
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One of the functions of intelligence is to take account of the dangers that come from trusting solely to intelligence.

Lewis Mumford
Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) American writer, philosopher, historian, architect
The Transformations of Man, 7.1 (1956)
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Individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer and politician
Democracy in America, 2.2.2 (1840) [tr. Reeve & Bowen (1862)]
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Mary, my sweet, carpe that old diem! — it’s the only game in town.

Robert Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
Methuselah’s Children [Lazarus Long] (1958)
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Lust of absolute power is more burning than all the passions.

[Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrante est.]

Marcus Claudius Tacitus
Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
Annals, 15.53 (AD 117)
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Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience. This is the ideal life.

Mark Twain
Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook (1935 ed.)
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Deeds are better things than words are,
Actions mightier than boastings.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
The Song of Hiawatha (1855)
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Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right. Both roles are critical, but they differ profoundly. I often observe people in top positions doing the wrong things well.

Warren Bennis
Warren Bennis (1925-2014) American scholar, business consultant, author
Why Leaders Can’t Lead, ch. 2 (1989)
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Most of the other shops were in fact impossible to identify. When a shop appeared to sell a mixture of ghetto blasters, socks, soap and chickens, it didn’t seem unreasonable to go in and ask if they’d got any paper or toothpaste stuck away in one of their shelves as well, but they looked at me as if I was completely mad. Couldn’t I see that this was a ghetto blaster, socks, soap and chicken shop?

Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Last Chance to See, ch. 3 (1990)
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There is nothing so despicable as a secret society that is based upon religious prejudice and that will attempt to defeat a man because of his religious beliefs. Such a society is like a cockroach — it thrives in the dark. So do those who combine for such an end.

William Taft
William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
Speech, Young Men’s Hebrew Association, New York (20 Dec 1914)
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We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary [Grace] (2003)
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If you mean to profit, learn to please.

Charles Churchill
Charles Churchill (1732-1764) English poet and satirist
Gotham, 2.1.8 (1764)
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Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result.

Abraham_Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Letter to James C. Conkling (26 Aug 1863)
    (Source)
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I begin to think that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point. Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe.

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American writer, First Lady
Letter to Mary Smith Cranch (1784)
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Whenever you look at a piece of work and you think the fellow was crazy, then you want to pay some attention to that. One of you is likely to be, and you had better find out which one it is. It makes an awful lot of difference.

Charles Kettering
Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
Comment (1930)
    (Source)

As attributed by Francis Davis, inventor of power steering.
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Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.

97n/24/huty/7252/10
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
(Attributed)
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Governments make of philosophy a means of serving their state interests, and scholars make of it a trade.

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
(Attributed)

Speaking of Hegel acting as an agent of the Prussian government.
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Some people are to be reasoned, some flattered, some intimidated, and some teased into a thing; but, in general, all are to be brought into it at last, if skillfully applied to, properly managed, and indefatigably attacked in their several weak places.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (22 May 1749)
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I believe that the United States as a government, if it is going to be true to its own founding documents, does have the job of working toward that time when there is no discrimination made on such inconsequential reason as race, color, or religion.

Dwight D Eisenhower
Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
News conference (13 May 1959)
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Money can’t buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan
Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
(Attributed)
Added on 23-Jul-15 | Last updated 23-Jul-15
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Life is dull without a challenge. If your try fails, what does that matter? All life is failure in the end. The thing is to get some sport out of trying.

Francis Chichester
Francis Chichester (1901-1972) English aviator and sailor
Comment (1967)

After single-handedly circumnavigating the globe.
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Drop upon drop collected will make a river. Rivers upon rivers collected will make a sea.

Moslih Eddin Saadi
Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
The Gulistan, ch. 8, Maxim 42 (1258) [tr. Rehatsek (1964)]
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A brave people will certainly prefer liberty, accompanied by virtuous poverty, to a depraved and wealthy servitude.

Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
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Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?”

Mort thought for a moment. “No,” he said eventually, “what?”

There was silence.

Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ’em right.”

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
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When a young man who has been going to church in a routine way honestly realises that he does not believe in Christianity and stops going — provided he does it for honesty’s sake and not just to annoy his parents — the spirit of Christ is probably nearer to him then than it ever was before.

C S Lewis
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, “Let’s Pretend” (1952)
    (Source)
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Dead battles, like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead grip.

Barbara Tuchman
Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
The Guns of August, ch. 2 (1962)
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Any damned fool can write a plan. It’s the execution that gets you all screwed up.

James Hollingsworth
James F. "Jim" Hollingsworth (1918-2010) American military commander
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Harry G. Summers, Jr., On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, ch. 4 (1982).
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Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.

James Madison
James Madison (1751-1836) American statesman, political theorist, US President (1809-17)
Letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
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Wants what he wants when he wants it — and thinks that constitutes a natural law.

Robert Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
Methuselah’s Children [Lazarus Long] (1958)
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The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.

[Nisi impunitatis cupido retinuisset, magnis semper conatibus adversa.]

Marcus Claudius Tacitus
Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
Annals, Book 15, 50 (AD 117)

Referring to Subrius Flavus’ thought of assassinating Nero while the emperor sang on stage. Alt. trans.: "But desire of escape, foe to all great enterprises, held him back."
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Let us never be betrayed into saying we have finished our education; because that would mean we had stopped growing.

~generic
Julia H. Gulliver (1856-1940) American philosopher, educator, academician
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Jul-15 | Last updated 20-Jul-15
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I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

John Locke
John Locke (1632-1704) English philosopher
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
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Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 3 (1895)
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The system by which Zaire works … is very simple. Every official you encounter will make life as unpleasant for you as he possibly can until you pay him to stop it. In US dollars. He then passes you on to the next official who will be unpleasant to you all over again.

Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Last Chance to See, ch. 3 (1990)
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The intoxication of power rapidly sobers off in the knowledge of its restrictions and under the prompt reminder of an ever-present and not always considerate press, as well as the kindly suggestions that not infrequently come from Congress.

William Taft
William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
Speech, Lotus Club (16 Nov 1912)
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Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

Mark Twain
Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 15, epigraph, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar” (1897)
    (Source)

More on this quotation and its variants here.
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 17-Jul-15
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To serve the Public faithfully, and at the same time please it entirely, is impracticable.

Ben Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Oct 1758)
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If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself.

Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (6 Feb 1939)
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Patriotism in the female sex is the most disinterested of all virtues. Excluded from honors and from offices, we cannot attach ourselves to the State or Government from having held a place of eminence. Even in the freest countries our property is subject to the control and disposal of our partners, to whom the laws have given a sovereign authority. Deprived of a voice in legislation, obliged to submit to those laws which are imposed upon us, is it not sufficient to make us indifferent to the public welfare? Yet all history and every age exhibit instances of patriotic virtue in the female sex; which considering our situation equals the most heroic of yours.

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American writer, First Lady
Letter to John Adams (17 June 1782)
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You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.

Charles Kettering
Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 17-Jul-15
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