Quotations about:
    humility


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We never get anywhere in this world without the forces of history and individual persons in the background helping us to get there.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Conquering Self-Centeredness,” sermon, Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, Montgomery, Ala. (11 Aug 1957)
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Added on 13-Jan-23 | Last updated 13-Jan-23
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A person in love is humble. A person who loves has, so to speak, forfeited a part of his narcissism.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Austrian psychoanalyst and neurologist
“On Narcissism: An Introduction [Zur Einführung des Narzißmus],” ch. 3 (1914) [tr. Strachey]
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Alternate translations:

The lover is humble. He who loves has, so to speak, forfeited a part of his narcissism.
[tr. Baines/Riviere]

Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.
[Source]

 
Added on 4-Nov-22 | Last updated 7-Nov-22
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The gifts and the lessons my father left me will last forever: Never take yourself too seriously, never miss a chance to laugh long and hard, speak out about political and social issues you believe in, use the written word as often as you can to make yourself and the world a better place, and love your children with all you’ve got.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Paraphrase of Rod Serling in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, Epilogue (2013)
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Added on 16-Aug-22 | Last updated 16-Aug-22
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Democracy is based on a profound insight into human nature, the realization that all men are sinful, all are imperfect, all are prejudiced, and none knows the whole truth. That is why we need liberty and why we have an obligation to hear all men. Liberty gives us a chance to learn from other people, to become aware of our own limitations, and to correct our bias. Even when we disagree with other people we like to think that they speak from good motives, and while we realize that all men are limited, we do not let ourselves imagine that any man is bad. Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure that they are right.

E E Schattschneider
E. E. Schattschneider (1892-1971) American political scientist [Elmer Eric Schattschneider]
Two Hundred Million Americans in Search of a Government (1969)
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Added on 9-Aug-22 | Last updated 9-Aug-22
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The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.

[君子義以為質,禮以行之,孫以出之,信以成之,君子哉]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 15, verse 18 (15.18) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Legge (1861), 15.17]
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(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations, noting where Legge's numbering is used:

When the "superior man" regards righteousness as the thing material, gives operation to it according to the rules of propriety, lets it issue in humility, and become complete in sincerity, -- there indeed is your superior man!
[tr. Jennings (1895), 15.17]

A wise and good man makes Right the substance of his being; he cries it out with judgment and good sense; he speaks it with modesty; and he attains it with sincerity: -- such a man is a really good and wise man!
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 15.17]

The noble man takes the Right as his foundation principle, reduces it to practice with all courtesy, carries it out with modesty, and renders it perfect with sincerity, -- such is the noble man.
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17]

When a princely man makes the Right his fundamental principle, makes Courtesy his rule in evolving it, Modesty his rule for exhibiting it, and Sincerity his rule for effectuating it perfectly, -- what a princely man he is!
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17, alternate]

The proper man gives substance to his acts by equity. He proceeds according to the rites, puts them forth modestly, and makes them perfect by sticking to his word. That's the proper man (in whom's the voice of his forebears).
[tr. Pound (1933), 15.17]

The gentleman who takes the right as his material to work upon and ritual as the guide in putting what is right into practice, who is modest in setting out his projects and faithful in carrying them to their conclusions, he indeed is a true gentleman.
[tr. Waley (1938), 15.17]

The gentleman has morality as his basic stuff and by observing the rites puts it into practice, by being modest gives it expression, and by being trustworthy in word brings it to completion. Such is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Lau (1979)]

Righteousness the gentleman regards as the essential stuff and the rites are his means of putting it into effect. If modesty is the quality with which he reveals it and good faith is his method of bringing it to completion, he is indeed a gentleman.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

A gentleman takes justice as his basis, enacts it in conformity with the ritual, expounds it with modesty, and through good faith, brings it to fruition. That is how a gentleman proceeds.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

A gentleman takes the righteousness as his essence, practices with the rituals, words with modesty, and gets achievement with honesty. It is the gentleman.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), v. 402]

Having a sense of appropriate conduct [yi] as one's basic disposition [zhi], developing it in observing ritual propriety [li], expressing it with modesty, and consummating it in making good on one's word [xin]; this then is an exemplary person [junzi].
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

If a gentleman has right as his substance, and puts it in practice with propriety, promulgates it with lineality, and brings it to a conclusion with fidelity, he is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), LY17 c0270 addition]

The noble-minded make Duty their very nature. They put it into practice through Ritual; they make it shine through humility; and standing by their words, they perfect it. Then they are noble-minded indeed!
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

The gentleman takes rightness as his substance, puts it into practice by means of ritual, gives it expression through modesty, and perfects it by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance, practices it through ritual, displays it with humility, brings it to completion with trustworthiness. That’s the gentleman.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance. He works at it through ritual propriety; he expresses it with modesty; he brings it to completion by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

A Jun Zi regards righteousness and honor as fundamental bases, acts in line with Li, shows humility, delivers promises, and completes contracts with sincerity and trust. If so, he is indeed a Jun Zi.
[tr. Li (2020)]

A leader takes rightness as their essence, puts it into practice through ritual, manifests it through humility, and brings it to fruition through trustworthiness. This is how a leader behaves.
[tr. Brown (2021)]

 
Added on 19-Jul-22 | Last updated 1-Aug-22
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Humility makes us charitable toward our neighbor. Nothing will make us so generous and merciful to the faults of others as seeing our own faults.

François Fénelon (1651-1715) French theologian, poet, writer [François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon]
Letter, Undated [tr. Edmonson / Helms]
    (Source)

In Robert J. Edmonson, Hal M. Helms (eds.), The Complete Fénelon, Part 2, ch. 8 (2008). Alternate translations:

Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others as by self-examination thoroughly to know our own.
[Source (1895)]

Humility renders us charitable towards our neighbor; nothing will make us so tender and indulgent to the faults of others as a view of our own.
[tr. Metcalf (1853)]

 
Added on 20-May-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.

[Que el aviso haga antes viso de recuerdo de lo que olvidava que de luz de lo que no alcanzó.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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Alternate translation: Princes will allow a man to help them, but not surpass them, and will have any advice tendered them appear like a recollection of something they have forgotten rather than as a guide to something they cannot find. [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
Added on 8-Nov-21 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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Travelers learn not just foreign customs and curious cuisines and unfamiliar beliefs and novel forms of government. They learn, if they are lucky, humility. Experiencing on their senses a world different from their own, they realize their provincialism and recognize their ignorance.

Paul Fussell (1924-2012) American cultural and literary historian, author, academic
The Norton Book of Travel, Introduction (1987)
 
Added on 28-Oct-21 | Last updated 28-Oct-21
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I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.

Donald J. Trump (b. 1946) American businessman, media personality, US President (2017-21)
Interview by Leslie Stahl, 60 Minutes (18 Jul 2016)
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Added on 20-May-21 | Last updated 20-May-21
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A candid admission of a blunder is refreshing and not often heard in human affairs. It is the saint alone who is large-minded enough to think and speak in this way. This is part of his authenticity.

Thomas Dubay (1921-2020) American Catholic priest, author, spiritual director
Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment, Part 2, ch. 6 (1977)
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Added on 24-Aug-20 | Last updated 24-Aug-20
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For there is no gardening without humility, an assiduous willingness to learn, and a cheerful readiness to confess you were mistaken. Nature is continually sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder. But, by the due exercise of patience and diligence, they may work their way to the top again.

Alfred Austin (1835-1913) English poet, UK Poet Laureate (1986-1913)
The Garden That I Love, “April 30th” (1894)
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Added on 27-Jul-20 | Last updated 27-Jul-20
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No matter what the belief, if it had modestly said, “This is our best thought, go on, think farther!” then we could have smoothly outgrown our early errors and long since have developed a religion such as would have kept pace with an advancing world. But we were made to believe and not allowed to think. We were told to obey, rather than to experiment and investigate.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) American sociologist, writer, reformer, feminist
His Religion and Hers, ch. 10 (1923)
 
Added on 7-Jul-20 | Last updated 7-Jul-20
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In artful boasting, one states all the information necessary to impress people, but keeps the facts decently clothed in the language of humility.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior: Freshly Updated (2005)
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Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
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Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.‬

Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 10 [Darcy] (1813)
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Added on 1-Jun-20 | Last updated 1-Jun-20
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I have no time to scold, and I learned thirty years ago it was foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence.

John Wanamaker (1838-1922) American merchant, marketer, philanthropist, Postmaster General
Quoted in Herbert Adams Gibbons, John Wanamaker, Vol. 2 (1926)
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Variant paraphrase: "It's foolish to scold people. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God didn't see fit to distribute brains equally."
 
Added on 7-May-20 | Last updated 7-May-20
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That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans:

A European says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me?
An American says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him?

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (8 May 1994)
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Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“A Book That Influenced Me,” Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
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Added on 1-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self criticism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness,” Speech, National Urban League, New York (6 Sep 1960)
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Added on 27-Mar-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-20
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One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, ch. 26 “The First Newspaper” (1889)
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Added on 10-Mar-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
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We have all heard enough to fill a book about Dr. Johnson’s incivilities. I wish they would compile another book consisting of Dr. Johnson’s apologies. There is no better test of a man’s ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong; and Johnson behaved very well. He understood (what so many faultlessly polite people do not understand) that a stiff apology is a second insult. He understood that the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The Real Dr. Johnson,” The Common Man (1950)
 
Added on 6-Mar-19 | Last updated 6-Mar-19
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If a man has reported to you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make any defense to what has been told you: but reply, The man did not know the rest of my faults, for he would not have mentioned these only.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
Enchiridion, 33 (c. AD 135) [tr. Long (1888)]
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Alt. trans.: "If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you, but answer, 'He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would have not mentioned these alone.'" [tr. Higginson (1948)]
 
Added on 12-Sep-18 | Last updated 12-Sep-18
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Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.

John Wooden (1910-2010) American basketball player and coach
They Call Me Coach (1972)
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Added on 4-Sep-18 | Last updated 4-Sep-18
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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage ….

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 3, sc. 1, l. 1ff [Henry] (1599)
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Added on 12-Feb-18 | Last updated 27-Jun-22
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You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], Letter 52 “On choosing our teachers,” Sec. 12
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Added on 17-Oct-17 | Last updated 17-Oct-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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No labor, however humble, is dishonoring.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 49b

Alt. trans.: "Great is labor, for it honors the worker." [tr. Freedman] Alt. trans.: "Labor is great, as it brings honor to the laborer who performs it."
 
Added on 6-Jul-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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The wisest man could ask no more of Fate
Than to be simple, modest, manly, true,
Safe from the Many, honored by the Few;
To count as naught in World, or Church, or State,
But inwardly in secret to be great.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Jeffries Wyman,” The Nation #484 (8 Oct 1874)
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Added on 20-Jun-17 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
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Let us be content to do little, if God sets us at little tasks. It is but pride and self-will which says, “Give me something huge to fight, — and I should enjoy that — but why make me sweep the dust?”

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
Letter, “To a lady who consulted him about Sisterhoods” (24 Jul 1854)
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Added on 13-Jun-17 | Last updated 13-Jun-17
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The abdomen is the reason why man does not easily take himself for a god.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Beyond Good and Evil, ch. 4 “Apophthegms and Interludes,” #141 (1886)

Alt. trans.: "The belly is the reason why man does not so readily take himself for a God." [tr. Zimmern]
 
Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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If I thought of man as the final image of God, I should not know what to think of God. But when I consider that our ancestors, at a time fairly recent in relation to the earth’s history, were perfectly ordinary apes, closely related to chimpanzees, I see a glimmer of hope. It does not require very great optimism to assume that from us human beings something better and higher may evolve. Far from seeing in man the irrevocable and unsurpassable image of God, I assert — more modestly and, I believe, in greater awe of the Creation and its infinite possibilities — that the long-sought missing link between animals and the really humane being is ourselves!

Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) Austrian zoologist, ethologist, ornithologist
On Aggression, ch. 12 “On the Virtue of Scientific Humility” (1963)
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Added on 1-May-17 | Last updated 1-May-17
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Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Paul - rejoice weep - wist_info quote

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Romans 12:15 [KJV]

Quoting 12:15-18: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."
 
Added on 7-Sep-16 | Last updated 9-Mar-20
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The best advice I’ve ever received is, “No one else knows what they’re doing either.”

Gervais - what theyre doing either - wist_info quote

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Tweet (7 Oct 2014)
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Added on 9-Jun-16 | Last updated 9-Jun-16
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You know, if you’re an American and you’re born at this time in history especially, you’re lucky. We all are. We won the world history Powerball lottery, but a little modesty about it might keep the heat off of us. I can’t stand the people who say things like, “We built this country!” You built nothing. I think the railroads were pretty much up by 1980.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Victory Begins at Home (20 Jan 2004)
 
Added on 4-May-16 | Last updated 4-May-16
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In the end, a life of prayer is a life with open hands where we are not ashamed of our weakness but realize that it is more perfect for us to be led by the Other than to try to hold everything in our own hands.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
With Open Hands (1972)
 
Added on 29-Apr-16 | Last updated 29-Apr-16
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Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Guildhall, London (12 Jun 1945)
 
Added on 23-Feb-16 | Last updated 23-Feb-16
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Do you wish people to think well of you? Don’t speak well of your-self.

[Voulez-vous qu’on croie du bien de vous? N’en dites point.]

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) French scientist and philosopher
Pensées, # 4 (1670)

Alt. trans.:
  • "If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself."
  • "Do you want people to think well of you? Don't say a word about it."
 
Added on 17-Feb-16 | Last updated 13-Jul-20
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For as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
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Added on 11-Jan-16 | Last updated 11-Jan-16
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But though I’m not a spaceman,
Famous and renowned,
I’m just a guy that’s down to earth,
With both feet on the ground.
It’s all imagination,
I’ll never reach the stars.
My heart is still a fireball, a fireball,
Every time I gaze into your starry eyes.

(Other Authors and Sources)
“Fireball XL-5,” st. 3 (1962)
    (Source)

Charles Blackwell (lyrics), Barry Gray (music), Don Spencer (vocals).
 
Added on 5-Jan-16 | Last updated 5-Jan-16
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Make the least ado about your greatest gifts. Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 295 (1647)

Alt. trans.: "The greater your exploits the less you need affect them: content yourself with doing, leave the talking to others." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
 
Added on 2-Dec-15 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 23:11-12
 
Added on 3-Apr-15 | Last updated 3-Apr-15
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Science increases our power in proportion as it lowers our pride.

Claude Bernard (1813-1878) French physiologist, scientist
Bulletin of New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 4 (1928)
 
Added on 6-Feb-15 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
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Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) American jurist, Supreme Court Justice
Comment (8 Mar 1931)

When asked by a reporter on his 90th birthday.
 
Added on 16-Jan-15 | Last updated 16-Jan-15
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You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.

Will Self (b. 1961) English author, journalist, television personality
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
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Added on 12-Nov-14 | Last updated 12-Nov-14
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There is no method more likely to cure passion and rashness, than the frequent and attentive consideration of one’s own weaknesses: this will work into the mind an habitual sense of the need one has of being pardoned, and will bring down the swelling pride and obstinacy of heart, which are the cause of hasty passion.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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Added on 16-Oct-14 | Last updated 16-Oct-14
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If you have a friend that will reprove your faults and foibles, consider you enjoy a blessing which the king upon the throne cannot have.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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There is an affected humility more unsufferable than downright pride, as hypocrisy is more abominable than libertinism. Take care that your virtues be genuine and unsophisticated.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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The only happy author in this world is he who is below the care of reputation.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) American author [pseud. for Geoffrey Crayon]
Tales of a Traveler, Part 2 “The Poor-Devil Author” (1824)
 
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You can’t do the biggest things in this world unless you handle men; and you can’t handle men if you’re not in sympathy with them; and sympathy begins in humility.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1901)
 
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The greatest achievement in my life in terms of morality is that I can apologize to someone I have wronged. I can bow my head and ask for forgiveness. I think everyone should learn to do this, everyone should realize that, far from humiliating, it elevates the soul.

Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) Russian cellist and conductor
(Attributed)
 
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Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

Anne Enright (b. 1962) Irish writer
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
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No Man is the worse for knowing the worst of himself.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3601 (1732)
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Popularity is a Crime from the Moment it is sought; it is only a Virtue where Men have it whether they will or no.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Ambition,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Reflections (1750)
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Women commend a modest Man, but like him not.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5805 (1732)
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The hater of property and of government takes care to have his warranty deed recorded, and the book written against Fame and learning has the author’s name on the title page.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (Spring 1857)
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See Cicero.

 
Added on 23-Nov-10 | Last updated 10-Mar-20
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What separates me from most atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. The fanatical atheists are like the slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who — in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses” — cannot hear the music of the spheres. I prefer the attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
(Spurious / Synthetic)

This quotation is actually a synthesis of several Einstein quotes. It is sometimes attributed as a whole to "Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium" (1941), but only a part is found there. Nor is it found at all  in the also sometimes cited "Religion and Science," New York Times Magazine (9 Nov 1930)

The "utter humility" portion is attributed as a letter from Einstein to Joseph Lewis (18 Apr 1953).  It was quoted in Walter Isaacson, Einstein (2007). The “fanatical” through “spheres” portion is in a letter (7 Aug 1941) discussing responses to his essay “Science and Religion” (1941) per Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology (1999)

The “weakness of our intellectual understanding” phrase is attributed to a letter to Guy H. Raner Jr. (28 Sep 1949), quoted in the Isaacson work as well as by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic, Vol. 5, No. 2.

The lame/blind phrase is attributed to a letter to Eric Gutkind (3 Jan 1954). It was earlier used by Einstein (1941) at the Symposium cited above.

This synthetic quotation is a good example of the difficulties in quoting Einstein, who is used as a polemical bludgeon by a variety of groups, and is often poorly or incorrectly cited online, compounded by his re-use the same turns of phrase multiple times in his correspondence and papers.
 
Added on 31-Jul-09 | Last updated 16-Mar-17
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