Quotations about   ability

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Ability is a poor man’s wealth.

Matthew Wren (1585-1667) English clergyman, bishop, scholar
(Attributed)

First found in Day's Collacon (1884).
Added on 11-Sep-17 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
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The Abilities of Man must fall short on one side or other, like too scanty a Blanket when you are a-bed. If you pull it upon your Shoulders, you leave your Feet bare; if you thrust it down upon your Feet, your Shoulders are uncovered.

William Temple, 1st Baronet Temple (1628-1699) English statesman and essayist.
Miscellanea (1705)
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Added on 28-Aug-17 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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I believe that happiness consists in having a destiny in keeping with our abilities. Our desires are things of the moment, often harmful even to ourselves; but our abilities are permanent, and their demands never cease.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Reflections on Suicide (1813)
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Added on 21-Aug-17 | Last updated 21-Aug-17
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Ability is not something to be saved, like money, in the hope that you can draw interest on it. The interest comes from the spending. Unused ability, like unused muscles, will atrophy.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
Tomorrow Is Now (1963)
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Added on 14-Aug-17 | Last updated 14-Aug-17
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There is only one proof of ability — action.

[Für das Können gibt es nur einen Beweis: das Tun.]

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms [Aphorismen] [tr. Wister (1883)]
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Alt. trans.: "There is only one proof of ability: doing it."
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 7-Aug-17
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He is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight.

John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833) American politician, diplomat
(Attributed)

Comment on Edward Livingson, quoted in W. Cabell Bruce, John Randolph of Roanoke, Vol. 2 (1923). Sometimes incorrectly given as an attack on Henry Clay.
Added on 31-Jul-17 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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Native ability without education is like a tree which bears no fruit.

Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Edward Parsons Day, Day’s Collacon: An Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations (1884). Not found in original source material.
Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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Ability hits the mark where presumption overshoots and diffidence falls short.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
(Attributed)

Also attributed to Golda Meir.
Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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Would that my ability was equal to my inclination.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Quincy Adams (16 Feb 1786)
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Added on 3-Jul-17 | Last updated 3-Jul-17
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It is a very rare thing for a man of talent to succeed by his talent.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, Part 4, #88 (1886)
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Added on 4-Apr-16 | Last updated 4-Apr-16
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Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.

Brown - broken English - wist_info quote

H. Jackson "Jack" Brown, Jr. (b. 1940) American writer
Life’s Little Instruction Book, Vol. 3, #1427 (1993)
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Added on 12-Jan-16 | Last updated 12-Jan-16
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Back then I wanted to be right about my estimate of my abilities. Now I want to be wrong.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001)
Added on 20-Nov-15 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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As we can learn from every man or woman or child around us when, touched and moved, they tell of something they loved or hated this day, yesterday, or some other day long past. At a given moment, the fuse, after sputtering wetly, flares and the fireworks begin. Oh, it’s limping crude hard work for many, with language in their way. But I have heard farmers tell about their very first wheat crop on their first farm after moving from another state, and if it wasn’t Robert Frost talking, it was his cousin, five times removed. I have heard locomotive engineers talk about America in the tones of Thomas Wolfe who rode our country with his style as they ride it in their steel. I have heard mothers tell of the long night with their firstborn when they were afraid that they and the baby might die. And I have heard my grandmother speak of her first ball when she was seventeen. And they were all, when their souls grew warm, poets.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“How to Keep and Feed a Muse,” Zen in the Art of Writing (1989)
Added on 1-Oct-14 | Last updated 1-Oct-14
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There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Way of All Flesh, ch. 61 (1903)

Full text.
Added on 14-Nov-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.

Lawrence J. Peter (1919-1990) American educator, management theorist
The Peter Principle (1969)

See Richard Cumberland.
Added on 20-Dec-07 | Last updated 14-Jan-15
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O, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American clergyman, hymnist
“Going Up to Jerusalem,” Selected Sermons [ed. William Scarlett (1949)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Jul-16
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If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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