Quotations about   resilience

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There is, I hope, a thesis in my work: we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
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Added on 30-Jan-20 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Loving Your Enemies,” sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery (17 Nov 1957)
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Added on 30-Sep-16 | Last updated 30-Sep-16
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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
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The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891) Prussian soldier
“On Strategy” (1871)

Translated in Daniel J. Hughes, Harry Bell, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (1993).

Paraphrases / variants:
  • "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
  • "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."
Added on 15-Jan-10 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 469
Added on 26-Jun-08 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
The Citizen of the World: or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, Residing in London, to His Friends in the East, Letter 7 (1762)
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Ostensibly from a Chinese visitor to London, Lien Chi Altangi, the letters were written by Goldsmith and published in The Public Ledger in 1760-61. Letter 22 has the similar "True magnanimity consists not in NEVER falling, but in RISING every time we fall."

The saying is often attributed to Confucius (Letter 7's introduction implied that they were), but is not found in Confucius' work. The saying is also sometimes attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. See here for more discussion.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Jul-20
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