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Wise is he who instead of grieving over what he lacks delights in what he has.

[Εὐγνώμων ὁ μὴ λυπεόμενος ἐφ’ οἷσιν οὐκ ἔχει, ἀλλὰ χαίρων ἐφ’ οἷσιν ἔχει.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 231 (Diels) [tr. @sententiq (2016)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Diels citation "231 (61 N.)"; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium III, 17, 25. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter. Alternate translations:

  • "A sensible man takes pleasure in what he has instead of pining for what he has not." [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
  • "The right-minded man is he who is not grieved by what he has not, but enjoys what he has." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "A man of sound judgement is not grieved by what he does not possess but rejoices in what he does possess." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "A sensible man does not grieve for what he has not, but enjoys what he has." [Source]
Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
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It is the mark of a child not an adult to desire without measure.

[Παιδός, οὐκ ἀνδρὸς τὸ ἀμέτρως ἐπιθυμεῖν.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 70 (Diels) [tr. @sententiq (2018), fr. 69]
    (Source)

Diels citation "70. (62N.) Demokrates. 35." Alternate translations:

  • "Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not a man." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "It is a characteristic of a child, not a man, to desire without measure." [tr. Chitwood (2004)]
Added on 30-Mar-21 | Last updated 30-Mar-21
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One of the most troublesome things in life is that what you do or do not want has very little to do with what does or does not happen.

Lemony Snicket (b. 1970) American author, screenwriter, musician (pseud. for Daniel Handler)
The Carnivorous Carnival (2002)
Added on 3-Mar-21 | Last updated 3-Mar-21
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It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

[ἄπειρος γὰρ ἡ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας φύσις, ἧς πρὸς τὴν ἀναπλήρωσιν οἱ πολλοὶ]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 2, ch. 7, sec. 19 / 1267b.4 [tr. Jowett (1885)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alt. trans.:

  • "For it is the nature of our desires to be boundless, and many live only to gratify them." [tr. Ellis (1912)]

  • "For appetite is in its nature unlimited, and the majority of mankind live for the satisfaction of appetite." [tr. Rackham (1924)]

  • "For the nature of desire is without limit, and it is with a view to satisfying this that the many live. [tr. Lord (1984)]
Added on 18-Dec-20 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) American writer, feminist, civil rights activist
“Notes from a Trip to Russia,” Sister Outsider (1984)
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Added on 19-Oct-20 | Last updated 19-Oct-20
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Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey (b. 1954) American TV personality, actress
(Attributed)
Added on 19-Nov-15 | Last updated 19-Nov-15
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The starting point of all achievement is desire.

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American author, motivational writer
Think and Grow Rich (1937)
Added on 21-May-15 | Last updated 21-May-15
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At the bottom of every social problem we will find a social wrong.

Henry George (1839-1897) American economist
Social Problems, ch. 1 (1883)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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An American Government cannot permit Americans to starve.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) US President (1933-1945)
Speech, San Diego Exposition (2 Oct 1935)
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Added on 16-Jul-14 | Last updated 16-Jul-14
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Want is a growing giant whom the coat of Have was never large enough to cover.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
The Conduct of Life, ch. 3 “Wealth” (1860)
Added on 12-May-14 | Last updated 5-May-20
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It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) American computer inventor, entrepreneur
In BusinessWeek (25 May 1998)
Added on 6-Dec-12 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
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What greater evil could you wish a miser than a long life?

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 69 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 21-Nov-11 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes,
You just might find
You get what you need.

Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger (b. 1943) English musician, songwriter, producer, actor
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” [with Keith Richards] (1969)
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Added on 9-Feb-10 | Last updated 18-Jun-15
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Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.

Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970) American educator, writer, critic, naturalist
The Twelve Seasons, “February” (1949)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Sep-21
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Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
Lake Wobegon Days (1985)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-May-14
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The miser is as much in want of that which he has, as of that which he has not.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

Don Herold (1889-1966) American humorist, cartoonist, author
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Lawrence Peter, Peter's People (1979) as "Herold's Law."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-May-20
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