Quotations about   aspiration

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) German-American psychologist, writer
Man’s Search for Meaning, Part 2 (1946)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Apr-19 | Last updated 16-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Frankl, Viktor

I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Mary Oliver (b. 1935) American poet
“Starlings in Winter”
    (Source)
Added on 16-Apr-19 | Last updated 16-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Oliver, Mary

It was better, he thought, to fail in attempting exquisite things than to succeed in the department of the utterly contemptible.

Arthur Machen (1863-1947) Welsh author and mystic
The Hill of Dreams, ch. 5 (1907)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Jan-19 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Machen, Arthur

I’m working at trying to be a good Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy — it’s serious business. It’s not something where you think, Oh, I’ve got it done. I did it all day, hotdiggety. The truth is, all day long you try to do it, try to be it, and then in the evening if you’re honest and have a little courage you look at yourself and say, Hmm. I only blew it eighty-six times. Not bad.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Angelou, Maya

Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or bicycle.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, ch. 4 (2009)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

A virtuous, ordinary life, striving for wisdom but never far from folly, is achievement enough.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 4 “Consolation for Inadequacy” (2000)
    (Source)

Summarizing Montaigne.
Added on 5-Apr-18 | Last updated 5-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Commencement Address, Knox College, Galesburg, IL (4 Jun 2005)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Sep-17 | Last updated 6-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Obama, Barack

Ambition hath one heel nailed in hell, though she stretch her finger to touch the heavens.

John Lyly (c. 1553-1606) was an English writer [also Lilly or Lylie]
Midas: A Comedy, Act 2, sc. 1 [Sophronia] (1592)
    (Source)

Sometimes misquoted as "nailed in well." Sometimes misattributed to Lao-tzu.
Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 5-Sep-17
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Lyly, John

Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.” We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Dust Tracks on a Road, ch. 2 “My Folks” (1942)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 23-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hurston, Zora Neale

… a noble aim,
Faithfully kept, is as a noble deed,
In whose pure sight all virtue doth succeed.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet
“Brave Schill! By Death Delivered, Take Thy Flight” (1809; pub. 1815)
    (Source)

Sometimes misquoted "is a noble deed".
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wordsworth, William

The greatest evil which fortune can inflict on men is to endow them with small talents and great ambition.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes], #562 [tr. Stevens] (1746)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Vauvenargues, Luc de

A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
    (Source)

Sometimes misattributed to Marcus Aurelius.
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Beecher, Henry Ward

It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) South African revolutionary, politician, statesman
Long Walk to Freedom (1995)
Added on 12-Sep-16 | Last updated 12-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Mandela, Nelson

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.

Lombardi - we can catch excellence - wist_info quote

Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American football coach
(Attributed)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Lombardi, Vince

Dreadful will be the day when the world becomes contented, when one great universal satisfaction spreads itself over the world. Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.

Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American clergyman, hymnist
Daily Thoughts from Phillips Brooks (1893)
Added on 10-Aug-16 | Last updated 10-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brooks, Phillips

Do you remember the ’60s and ’70s? You didn’t have to go more than a week before there was an article in Life magazine — “The Home of Tomorrow,” “The City of Tomorrow,” “Transportation of Tomorrow.” All that ended. In the 1970s, after we stopped going to the Moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming. And so I worry that decisions that Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. Tomorrow’s gone. They’re playing for the quarterly report, they’re playing for the next election cycle, and that is mortgaging the actual future of this nation, and the rest of the world is going to pass us by.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (b. 1958) American astrophysicist, author, orator
Real Time with Bill Maher, Ep. 223 (5 Aug 2011)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Feb-16 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tyson, Neil deGrasse

I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consultin’ with the rain;
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’,
If I only had a brain.

E. Y. "Yip" Harburg (1896-1981) American lyricist [Edgar Yipsel Harburg, b. Isidore Hochberg]
“If I Only Had a Brain,” The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Harburg, E. Y.

It’s a sad fact of modern life that sooner or later you will end up on YouTube doing something stupid. The trick, according to my dad, is to make a fool of yourself to the best of your ability.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Broken Homes (2013)
Added on 27-Jan-16 | Last updated 27-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aaronovitch, Ben

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
Time Enough for Love [Lazarus Long] (1973)
Added on 20-Oct-15 | Last updated 20-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Heinlein, Robert A.

To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
(Attributed)
Added on 14-May-15 | Last updated 14-May-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Gibran, Kahlil

[Ambition] is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses (1517)
Added on 22-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Machiavelli, Niccolo

Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge — broad, deep knowledge — is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man’s progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
The Story of My Life, pt. 1, ch. 20 (1903)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Keller, Helen

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.

Anatole France (1844-1924) French poet, journalist, novelist, Nobel Laureate [pseud. of Jaques-Anatole-François Thibault]
Speech, Académie Française (24 Dec 1896)
Added on 26-Mar-15 | Last updated 26-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by France, Anatole

If this is a dream, then perhaps our dreaming
Can touch life’s height to a finer fire:
Who knows but the heavens and all their seeming
Were made by the heart’s desire?

Edwin Markham (1852-1940) American poet
“The Crowning Hour” (2), The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems (1913)
Added on 20-Mar-15 | Last updated 20-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Markham, Edwin

Doubtless he had an ideal, but it was the ideal of a practical statesman, — to aim at the best, and to take the next best, if he is lucky enough to get even that.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln, 1864-1865” (1869)
    (Source)

Printed in The North American Review, #222 (Jan 1869) under the title "Before and After." Sometimes given as "The idea of a practical statesman is to aim ...."
Added on 2-Jul-14 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lowell, James Russell

All things […] are best to those who know no better.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Prose Observations, “Ignorance” [ed. de Quehen (1979)]
Added on 10-Dec-12 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, National Industrial Conference Board (13 Feb 1961)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Apr-12 | Last updated 2-Jan-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, John F.

‘What do you fear, lady?’ he asked.
‘A cage,’ she said. ‘To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.’

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Book 5, ch. 2 “The Passing of the Grey Company” [Aragorn and Eowyn] (1954)
Added on 16-Aug-11 | Last updated 3-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Tolkien, J.R.R.

Man will do many things to get himself loved; he will do all things to get himself envied.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 21, epigraph (1897)
Added on 19-Jan-10 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Elegiac Verse,” In the Harbor (1882)

See Emerson.
Added on 15-Dec-08 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

You might have been enough the man you are
With striving less to be so.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 2, l. 19 (1609)
Added on 14-Oct-05 | Last updated 26-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Thoreau, Henry David

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Eliot - too far - wist_info quote

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
Preface to Transit of Venus: Poems by Harry Crosby (1931)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Dec-15
Link to this post | 3 comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Eliot, T. S.

We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Nature,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo