Quotations about   caution

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



Don’t play for safety.
It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.

Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) English novelist
Fortitude, ch. 2, sec. 2 (1913)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jun-21 | Last updated 7-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Walpole, Hugh

Combining rational intelligence with all the imagination we can command, let us project ourselves forcefully into the future. In doing so, let us not fear occasional error — the imagination is only free when fear of error is temporarily laid aside. Moreover, in thinking about the future, it is better to err on the side of daring, than the side of caution.

Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) American writer and futurist
Future Shock (1970)
    (Source)
Added on 24-May-21 | Last updated 24-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Toffler, Alvin

No matter how daring or cautious you may choose to be, in the course of your life you are bound to come into direct physical contact with what’s known as Evil. I mean here not a property of the gothic novel but, to say the least, a palpable social reality that you in no way can control. No amount of good nature or cunning calculations will prevent this encounter. In fact, the more calculating, the more cautious you are, the greater is the likelihood of this rendezvous, the harder its impact. Such is the structure of life that what we regard as Evil is capable of a fairly ubiquitous presence if only because it tends to appear in the guise of good. You never see it crossing your threshold announcing itself: “Hi, I’m Evil!” That, of course, indicates its secondary nature, but the comfort one may derive from this observation gets dulled by its frequency.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) Russian-American poet, essayist, Nobel laureate, US Poet Laureate [Iosif Aleksandrovič Brodskij]
Commencement Address, Williams College (24 May 1984)
    (Source)
Added on 18-May-21 | Last updated 18-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Brodsky, Joseph

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
The Conquest of Happiness, ch. 12 (1930)
    (Source)
Added on 17-May-21 | Last updated 17-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.

Joanne "Jo" Rowling (b. 1965) British novelist [writes as J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith]
“The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination,” Commencement Address, Harvard (5 Jun 2008)
    (Source)
Added on 10-May-21 | Last updated 10-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Rowling, Jo

I see only one danger about all this — that you might be led to take too many precautions. To take precautions, that, I find, is really dangerous. Courage is the only precaution a human being needs!

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychologist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Comment to a patient who chronically overworked herself. In Phyllis Bottome, Alfred Adler: A Biography, ch. 4 (1939). Often paraphrased, "The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions."
Added on 26-Apr-21 | Last updated 26-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Adler, Alfred

If the hive be disturbed by rash and stupid hands, instead of honey, it will yield us bees.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Prudence,” Essays: First Series, Essay 7 (1841)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Sep-20 | Last updated 23-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

And as she looked about, she did behold
How over that same door was likewise writ,
Be bold, be bold, and everywhere Be bold,
That much she mused, yet could not construe it
By any riddling skill or common wit.
At last she spied at that room’s upper end
Another iron door, on which was writ,
Be not too bold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queen, Book 3, Canto 11, st. 54 (1590-96)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Apr-20 | Last updated 14-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Spenser, Edmund

EPOPS: You’re mistaken: men of sense often learn from their enemies. Prudence is the best safeguard. This principle cannot be learned from a friend, but an enemy extorts it immediately. It is from their foes, not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building high walls and ships of war. And this lesson saves their children, their homes, and their properties.

CHORUS [LEADER]: It appears then that it will be better for us to hear what they have to say first; for one may learn something at times even from one’s enemies.

Aristophanes (c.450-c.388 BC) Athenian comedic playwright
The Birds, l. 375ff (414 BC) [tr. Anon. (1812), Ramage (1864)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans. [Hickie (1853)]:
EPOPS: Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.
CHORUS [LEADER]: It is useful, as it appears to me, to hear their arguments first; for one might learn some wisdom even from one's foes.

Alt. trans. [O'Neill (1938)]:
EPOPS: The wise can often profit by the lessons of a foe, for caution is the mother of safety. It is just such a thing as one will not learn from a friend and which an enemy compels you to know. To begin with, it's the foe and not the friend that taught cities to build high walls, to equip long vessels of war; and it's this knowledge that protects our children, our slaves and our wealth.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS: Well then, I agree, let us first hear them, for that is best; one can even learn something in an enemy's school.
Added on 1-Apr-20 | Last updated 1-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristophanes

“We canna just rush in, ye ken.”

A big bearded Feegle raised his hand. “Point ‘o order, Big Man. Ye can just rush in. We always just rush in.”

“Aye, Big Yan, point well made. But ye gotta know where ye’re just gonna rush in. Ye cannae just rush in anywhere. It looks bad, havin’ to rush oout again straight awa’.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Wee Free Men, ch. 5 (2003)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Feb-20 | Last updated 7-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

A wise Man will keep his Suspicions muzzled, but he will keep them awake.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Caution and Suspicion,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Dec-16 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Halifax, George Savile, Marquis of

The better part of valour is discretion.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 4, sc. 4 (1598)
Added on 12-Jul-16 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

He that is overcautious will accomplish nothing.

[Wer gar zu viel bedenkt, wird wenig leisten.]

Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) German poet, playwright, critic [Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller]
Wilhelm Tell (1804)
Added on 5-Jul-16 | Last updated 5-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Schiller, Friedrich

It is a good thing to learn caution by the misfortunes of others.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
(Attributed)

Cited by Sir Richard Steele, The Guardian, #147 (29 Aug 1713).
Added on 21-Jun-16 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Publilius Syrus

When a rogue kisses you, count your teeth.

[Ven a ganef kusht, darf men zikh di tseyn ibertseyln.]

[װען אַ גנבֿ קושט, דאַרף מען זיך די צײן איבערצײלן.]

Other Authors and Sources
Yiddish proverb
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "When a thief kisses you, count your teeth."
Added on 17-Jun-16 | Last updated 17-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Jun-16 | Last updated 14-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Hugo, Victor

Distrust and caution are the parents of security.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Jul 1733)
Added on 7-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Franklin, Benjamin

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, sc.3 (1595-96)
Added on 3-Jun-16 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

When young, we trust ourselves too much, and we trust others too little when old. Rashness is the error of youth, timid caution of age.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #363 (1820)
Added on 24-May-16 | Last updated 24-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

He is free from danger who, even when safe, is on his guard.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]
Added on 20-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Publilius Syrus

Chance generally favors the prudent.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées, # 147 (1838) [tr. Atwell]

Variant: "Chance generally favors the prudent man."
Added on 13-May-16 | Last updated 13-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Joubert, Joseph

I think perhaps we want a more conscious life. We’re tired of drudging and sleeping and dying. We’re tired of seeing just a few people able to be individualists. We’re tired of always deferring hope till the next generation. We’re tired of hearing politicians and priests and cautious reformers (and the husbands!) coax us, “Be calm! Be patient! Wait! We have the plans for a Utopia already made; just wiser than you.” For ten thousand years they’ve said that. We want our Utopia now — and we’re going to try our hands at it.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Main Street, ch. 16 [Carol] (1920)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Sep-15 | Last updated 8-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, Sinclair

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.

Graham Ericsson (b. 1947) American writer, aphorist
What Have You Done To Me Lately?, ch. 5 (2014)
Added on 28-Jul-15 | Last updated 28-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Ericsson, Graham

It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) Swedish diplomat, author, UN Secretary-General (1953-61)
Speech, 180th Anniversary of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Williamsburg (15 May 1956)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Jul-14 | Last updated 22-Jul-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Hammarskjold, Dag

Respectfulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes laborious bustle; carefulness, without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity; boldness, without the rules of propriety, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the rules of propriety, becomes rudeness.

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 8.2 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse, tr. Legge (1930)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Without ritual, courtesy is tiresome; without ritual, prudence is timid; without ritual, bravery is quarrelsome; without ritual, frankness is hurtful." [tr. Leys (1997)]
  • "Unless a man acts according to the spirit of the rites, in being respectful, he will tire himself out; in being cautious, he will become timid; in being brave, he will become unruly; in being forthright, he will become derisive." [tr. Chin (2014)]
  • "Respectfulness without the rituals becomes laboriousness; discretion without the rituals becomes apprehensiveness; courage without the rituals becomes rebelliousness; straightforwardness without the rituals becomes impetuosity." [tr. Huang (1997)]
  • "Courtesy uncontrolled by the laws of good taste becomes labored effort, caution uncontrolled becomes timidity, boldness uncontrolled becomes recklessness, and frankness uncontrolled become effrontery." [tr. Soothill (1910)]
Added on 13-Mar-12 | Last updated 22-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Confucius

Any manifest error on the part of an enemy should make us suspect some stratagem.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 48 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1882)]
Added on 22-Apr-11 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Machiavelli, Niccolo

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) American reformer, aboltionist, sufferagist
“On the Campaign for Divorce Law Reform” (1860)
Added on 8-Jul-09 | Last updated 3-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Anthony, Susan B.

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

Tom Robbins (b. 1936) American novelist
Still Life with Woodpecker, ch. 12 (1980)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jul-08 | Last updated 10-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Robbins, Tom

And, to conclude, he that leaveth nothing to Chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Caution and Suspicion,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
    (Source)

Sometimes incorrectly attributed to Edward Wood, Earl of Halifax (1881-1959).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Halifax, George Savile, Marquis of

When you want to test the depths of a stream, don’t use both feet.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

He that will not sail till all Dangers are over, must never put out to Sea.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2353 (1732)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)