Quotations about   difficulty

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



To cut out every negative root would simultaneously mean choking off positive elements that might arise from it further up the stem of the plant. We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 6 “Consolation for Difficulties” (2000)
    (Source)

Discussing Nietzsche.
Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

Disgraceful ’tis to treat small things as difficult;
‘Tis silly to waste time on foolish trifles.

[Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,
Et stultus labor est ineptiarum.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, #86
    (Source)

As quoted in the Thomas Benfield Harbottle, Dictionary of Quotations (Classical) (1906). Alt. trans.: "It is absurd to make one's amusements difficult; and labor expended on follies is childish." [tr. Bohn (1871)]
Added on 18-Oct-17 | Last updated 18-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

The fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler #150 (24 Aug 1751)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Apr-17 | Last updated 11-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

Difficulties are things that show what men are.

epictetus-difficulties-show-what-men-are-wist_info-quote

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
The Discourses, Book 1, ch. 24
Added on 17-Jan-17 | Last updated 17-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Epictetus

We come to know best what men are, in their worse jeopardies.

Samuel Daniel (1562-1619) English poet, dramatist, historian
To Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton (1605)
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Daniel, Samuel

Everyone thinks his sack heaviest.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Outlandish Proverbs, #748 (1640)
Added on 3-Dec-15 | Last updated 3-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Herbert, George

These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Quincy Adams (19 Jan 1780)

Probable source of the similar "Great necessities call forth great leaders," usually cited (but not found) as a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
Added on 7-Aug-15 | Last updated 7-Aug-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Abigail

The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible is that which takes a little longer.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
(Attributed)

Quoted in Reader's Digest (Nov 1939), but without citation. The sentiment has a number of antecedents (see discussion here).
Added on 18-Jun-15 | Last updated 18-Jun-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Santayana, George

We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 [CEB]

Alt. trans:
  • "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." [NRSV]
  • "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." [KJV]
  • "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." [NIV]
  • "We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed." [GNT]
Added on 7-Apr-15 | Last updated 7-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bible

If thy Business be perplexed, divide it, and look upon all its Parts and sides.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #583 (1731)
Added on 6-Apr-15 | Last updated 6-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.

Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967) American industrialist
(Attributed)
Added on 16-Mar-15 | Last updated 16-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kaiser, Henry J.

EDDIE: Kid, life’s hard. But it’s a lot harder if you’re stupid.

Paul Monash (1917-2003) American producer and screenwriter
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (movie) (1973)

Screenplay based on the novel by George V. Higgins (though the line is not in the book). Played in the movie by Robert Mitchum, to whom the quote is often attributed.
Added on 22-Jan-15 | Last updated 22-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Monash, Paul

If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Dec-14 | Last updated 18-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Burgh, James

If Afflictions refine some, they consume others.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2666 (1732)
Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fuller, Thomas (1654)

There are bad things in the world. There’s no getting away from that. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about them. You can’t abandon life just because it’s scary, and just because sometimes you get hurt.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
Added on 8-Apr-14 | Last updated 8-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Butcher, Jim

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 2, sc. 1 (1599)
Added on 20-May-13 | Last updated 26-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) American writer
(Attributed)

Also attributed to others, including Ernest Hemingway. The reference to Hawthorne can be dated back to Maya Angelou in "The Art of Fiction," Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990):

Nathaniel Hawthorne says, "Easy reading means damn hard writing."

Per Wikiquote, Angelou put it differently previously, in Conversations With Maya Angelou (1989) [ed. Jeffrey M. Elliot]:

I think it's Alexander Pope who says, "Easy writing is damn hard reading," and vice versa, easy reading is damn hard writing.

Which first clause may refer in turn not to Pope but Richard Brinsley, Clio's Protest, or the Picture Varnished (1771, pub. 1819):

You write with ease, to show your breeding, But easy writing's curst hard reading.
Added on 3-Jul-12 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Hawthorne, Nathaniel

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Henley - master of my fate - wist_info quote

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) English poet, critic, editor
“Invictus” (1875)
Added on 15-Jul-09 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Henley, William Ernest

O, how full of briers is this working-day world!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 11 (1599)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William

He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Morals, 11.3 (1929)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lippmann, Walter