Quotations about   possibility

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



I have no use for people who have learned the limits of the possible.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Last Hero (2001)

See also Clarke.
Added on 1-Jun-21 | Last updated 1-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

Every fellow is really two men — what he is and what he might be; and you’re never absolutely sure which you’re going to bury till he’s dead.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Old Gorgon Graham: More Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son, ch. 12 (1904)
    (Source)
Added on 8-May-20 | Last updated 8-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Lorimer, George Horace

Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations. There were people who said, “You can’t go into space. You can’t go to the moon.” If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist because you’ll have already shut it out. Yes, you can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to re-evaluate the world for yourself.

Mae Jemison (b. 1956) American engineer, physician, astronaut
Interview, Chicago Sun-Times (May 1994)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jemison, Mae

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Paulo Coelho (b. 1947) Brazilian spiritual writer
The Alchemist, ch. 1 (1988)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Feb-20 | Last updated 3-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Coelho, Paulo

Change is the essence of life: be willing to surrender who you are for what you could become.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) American theologian and clergyman
(Attributed)

Sometimes elided to: "Change is the essence of life: surrender who you are for what you could become."
Added on 13-Jul-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Niebuhr, Reinhold

Listen to the MUSTN’Ts, child,
Listen to the DON’Ts
Listen to the SHOULDN’Ts
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’Ts
Listen to the NEVER HAVEs
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, children's author
“Listen To The Mustn’ts,” Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
Added on 31-Jan-17 | Last updated 31-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Silverstein, Shel

Everything is possible for an eccentric, especially when he is English.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
A Floating City, ch. 8 (1871)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Verne, Jules

How many things have been denied one day, only to become realities the next!

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
From the Earth to the Moon (1865)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Aug-16 | Last updated 12-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Verne, Jules

Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, “It can’t be done.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
You Learn By Living (1960)
Added on 22-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Roosevelt, Eleanor

Better one byrde in hand than ten in the wood.

John Heywood (1497?-1580?) English playwright and epigrammist
Proverbes, Part 1, ch. 2 (1546)
Added on 16-Feb-15 | Last updated 13-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Heywood, John

With a view to poetry, an impossible thing that is believable is preferable to an unbelievable thing that is possible.

[πρός τε γὰρ τὴν ποίησιν αἱρετώτερον πιθανὸν ἀδύνατον ἢ ἀπίθανον καὶ δυνατόν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 24 / 1461b.11 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Sachs (2006)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "The poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities." [tr. Butcher (1895)]
  • "A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility." [tr. Bywater (1909)]
  • "You should prefer a plausible impossibility to an unconvincing possibility." [tr. Margoliouth (1911)]
  • "For poetic effect a convincing impossibility is preferable to that which is unconvincing though possible." [tr. Fyfe (1932)]
  • "Probable impossibilities are preferable to implausible possibilities." [tr. Halliwell (1986)]
  • "In relation to the needs of the composition, a believable impossibility is preferable to an unbelievable possibility." [tr. Janko (1987)]
  • "With respect to the requirement of art, the probable impossible is always preferable to the improbable possible."
  • "For the purposes of poetry a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility."
Added on 21-Feb-11 | Last updated 10-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Nought venter nought have.

John Heywood (1497?-1580?) English playwright and epigrammist
Proverbes, Part 1, ch. 11 (1564)
    (Source)

More commonly rendered, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Added on 27-Apr-09 | Last updated 13-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Heywood, John

I have argued flying saucers with lots of people. … I was interested in this: they keep arguing that it is possible. And that’s true. It is possible. They do not appreciate that the problem is not to demonstrate whether it’s possible or not, but whether it’s going on or not. Whether it’s probably occurring or not, not whether it could occur.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
The Meaning of It All (1998)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Feynman, Richard

Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.

John Wooden (1910-2010) American basketball player and coach
Coach Wooden One-on-One, “Day 25” (2003) [with Jay Carty]
    (Source)

Variant: "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Wooden, John

Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.

[Μή, εἴ τι αὐτῷ σοὶ δυσκαταπόνητον, τοῦτο ἀνθρώπῳ ἀδύνατον ὑπολαμβάνειν, ἀλλ̓ εἴ τι ἀνθρώπῳ δυνατὸν καὶ οἰκεῖον, τοῦτο καὶ σεαυτῷ ἐφικτὸν νόμιζε.]

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 6, #19 [tr. Rendall (1901 ed.)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "Do not ever conceive anything impossible to man, which by thee cannot, or not without much difficulty be effected; but whatsoever in general thou canst Conceive possible and proper unto any man, think that very possible unto thee also." [tr. Casaubon (1634), #18]

  • "Because you find a Thing very difficult, don't presently conclude that no Man can master it. But whatever you observe proper, and practicable by Another, believe likewise within your own power." [tr. Collier (1701)]

  • "If a thing is difficult to be accomplished by thyself, do not think that it is impossible for man: but if anything is possible for man and conformable to his nature, think that this can be attained by thyself too." [tr. Long (1862)]

  • "Because you find a thing very difficult, do not at once conclude that no man can master it. But whatever you observe proper and practicable by another, believe likewise within your power." [tr. Zimmern (1887)]

  • "Do not think that what is hard for thee to master is impossible for man; but if a thing is possible and proper to man, deem it attainable by thee." [tr. Morgan, in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1894)]

  • "Because thou findest a thing difficult for thyself to accomplish do not conceive it to be impracticable for others; but whatever is possible for a man and in keeping with his nature consider also attainable by thyself." [tr. Haines (1916)]

  • "Do not because a thing is hard for you yourself to accomplish, imagine that it is humanly impossible: but if a thing is humanly possible and appropriate, consider it also to be within your own reach." [tr. Farquharson (1944)]

  • "Because a thing is difficult for you, do not therefore suppose it to be beyond mortal power. On the contrary, if anything is possible and proper for men to do, assume that it must fall within your own capacity." [tr. Staniforth (1964)]

  • "Not to assume it's impossible because you find it hard. But to recognize that if it's humanly possible, you can do it too." [tr. Hays (2003)]

  • "If something is difficult for you to accomplish, do not then think it impossible for any human being; rather, if it is humanly possible and corresponds to human nature, know that it is attainable by you as well." [tr. Needleman/Piazza (2008)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Marcus Aurelius

But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) British writer
“Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination,” Profiles of the Future (1962)

Also known as Clarke's Second Law.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Clarke, Arthur C.