If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
- Hillel, First Century B.C.E.

To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Evolve, don't revolve.
- Matthew McConaughey

True health insurance is not what one carries on a plastic card, but what one does for oneself.
Lawrence Power, MD

A story is told of a man who, resisting the cost of oats he fed his mule, decided to gradually substitute sawdust in its diet. Everything went fine for a while - but by the time the mule was satisfied with sawdust, he died. What do you "feed" on? Is it possible that you are mentally digesting "junk"? Beware! Before you know it, through lack of nourishment, you may become mentally, emotionally and spiritually dead.
- Grant M. Bright

I had in all human probability existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world ... I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now sorely feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended ... I resolved in future, to redouble my exertions ... to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.
- Meriwether Lewis, August 18, 1805, on occasion of his 31st birthday (the Lewis of "Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery" fame)

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.
- Samuel Johnson

Instruct me in judicious spending and in gratitude with no holds barred.

Advice is less necessary to the wise than to fools, but the wise derive most advantage from it.
- Francesco Guicciardini, 1564

Feed the body food and drink, it will survive today. Feed the soul art and music, it will live forever.
- line from "One Special Night"

The mind is like a garden, plant flowers, you get flowers. Plant weeds, you get weeds. Plant nothing, you get weeds.

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
- Sir Thomas Aquinas

Health is not merely the absence of disease, it is the state of complete well-being.
- The World Health Organization

It is not the number of hours you put in that counts, it is what you put in the number of hours.

Rejuvenation: One must step back in order to take a better leap.

Expanding your horizons requires breaking through your limitations.

Don't push for growth. Instead, remove the constraints which limit growth.
- Peter M. Senge

Don’t let your past dictate who you are. But let it be part of who you will become.
- line from the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"

Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold, water becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Take care of the little things in life, and before your eyes you'll discover that they have grown into great things.

A single drop of enthusiasm can generate noticeable waves.

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you are tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write. They are those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
- Alvin Toffler

With simple steps, and a little understanding, every challenge can become an opportunity for personal growth.
- Anthony Robbins

The ultimate challenge is to not just survive, but thrive.
- Grant M. Bright

For most people the danger in their self-analysis is that it stops too soon. They are too easily satisfied. Self-analysis should last a lifetime.
- Sigmund Freud

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

He who knows others is clever; he who knows himself is enlightened.
- Lao-Tzu

The easiest person to deceive is one's self.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Effectiveness can be learned. It's a self-discipline, though, so it can't be taught.
- Peter Drucker

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
- Barry LePatner

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
- William Faulkner

Some people drink deeply from the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
- adapted by Grant M. Bright

"If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening the ax."
- Abraham Lincoln

God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.
- Swedish Proverb

We cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves, from ourselves.
- John McCain

There is no greater challenge than to surpass yourself.

Lack of skill dictates economy of style.
- Joey Ramone

Make the most of yourself,
For that is all there is of you.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps, the most important factors that inhibit us are short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness, and selfishness. A narrow-minded selfishness can lead to self-destruction. We have to realize that in reality our own interest is closely linked to the interest of others, and that the benefits, happiness, and interest of others are our own.
- Dalai Lama

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
- Albert Schweitzer

It is not the place of your birth; it is not the color of your skin; it is the size of your hope that determines what you do with your life.
- John Johnson, Ebony magazine

How to increase your happiness:

  • Accept that you are not in charge of the universe, only of yourself.
  • Identify something you can do to make the world a better place.
  • Create a plan for how you want to make your life matter.
  • Be flexible in everything except your principles.
  • Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • Be generous with whatever you have.

  • - Barbara Hemphill

    Apply a rigid standard of morality to your life; and if, periodically, you fail – as you surely will – adjust your life, NOT the standards.
    - Ted Koppel

    The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of possibility.
    - Paul Newman

    Adulthood begins when a person asks himself the question, What do I want to be remembered for?
    - St. Augustine

    Nothing makes you improve yourself more than a tough competitor.
    - Steve Young, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers

    When Ken Blanchard is asked by strangers what business he is in, he answers I'm in the gap reduction business! People usually respond The what? To which he replies The gap reduction business - the gap between what people say they stand for and how they behave in everyday life.

    Here’s a powerful way to pull the best performance out of yourself. Start living by the following 10 golden words:
    Do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.
    - Tom Hopkins

    "In case of emergency.." - Have you ever heard those words from a stewardess at the beginning of an airline flight? Part of the instructions that are given include what to do when traveling with a small child or infant. "Put your mask on first, then place a mask on the child." These instructions echo a basic lesson of life: You can't help or provide care for others unless you have first taken care of your self. What have you done recently to improve or develop a new skill?
    - Grant M. Bright

    High expectations are the key to everything.
    - Sam Walton

    If you don't have enthusiasm, you don't have anything.
    - Kemmons Wilson, Sr., Founder of Holiday Inns

    You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
    - Woodrow Wilson

    The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.
    - John Rushkin

    No one, not even you, gives one hundred-percent perfect performance every time. The business world belongs to the quick and the bold...not the perfect. It's the struggle towards perfection that counts.
    - Richard S. Sloma

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
    - Aristotle

    To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state.
    - Goethe

    Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, "lighthouses" (as a poet said) "erect in the sea of time." They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.
    - Barbara W. Tuchman

    The mountain of life must have a peak, but only for those that believe that there are not more accomplishments to achieve.

    Never be satisified because improvement is always possible!

    Chase your passion, not your pension.

    Your expected gains from any learning experience are directly proportionate to what you put into it.

    A man is known by the skill he keeps.
    - DR

    The biggest career challenge you face today is not the competition, it's yourself!

    If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
    - Rabbi Hillel

    You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.

    Many people go through life doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.

    Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.
    - Elie Wiesel

    I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.
    - Abraham Lincoln

    The important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part.
    The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.
    The essential thing is not that we have conquered but that we have fought well.
    - Baron De Coubertin

    Knowing others leads to wisdom; Knowing the self leads to Enlightenment.
    Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self calls for inner strength.
    - Lao-tzu

    The biggest room in the house is the room for improvement.

    I discovered you never know yourself until you're tested and that you don't even know you're being tested until afterwards, and that in fact there isn't anyone giving the test except yourself.
    - Marilyn French

    Our strength is that we don't have any weaknesses.
    Our weakness is that we don't have any real strengths.
    - Frank Broyles, University of Arkansas football team on the team's prospects

    The word "career" comes from the French word carriere, which originally meant "a racing course" and is related to the word "careen." As a verb, it means "to move at full speed."

    We've been working on the basics because, basically, we've been having trouble with the basics.
    - Bob Ojeda, L.A. Dodgers pitcher

    A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.
    - Mark Twain

    Excellence can be attained if you:
    - Care more than others think is wise
    - Risk more than others think is safe
    - Dream more than others think is practical
    - Expect more than others think is possible

    The most important relationship in your life -- the one you'll have, like it or not, until the day you die -- is with yourself.
    - John Roger & Peter McWilliams

    No one can predict to what heights you can soar. Even you will not know until you spread your wings.

    Most people add a silent, unconsious modifying phrase to all their commitments -- 'as long as it's not uncomfortable.
    - John Roger & Peter McWilliams

    We must learn to tolerate discomfort in order to grow.
    - John Roger & Peter McWilliams

    If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.
    - John Roger & Peter McWilliams

    You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do.
    - Henry Ford

    When people get in the habit of working on personal goals, they will automatically work on company goals.
    - Danny Cox

    You'll never ruin your eyes by looking on the bright side.

    Most folks don't know what they want, but they're pretty sure they don't have it.
    - Alfred E. Newman

    It is not the circumstances, but what we think about them that determines our experience.
    - Robert Kausen

    If you wish to astonish the whole world, tell the simple truth.
    - Rahel

    The only person who needs to defend is the one who feels threatened.
    - Dr. Lewis Losoncy

    We must always be reaching toward our potential, not just our goals.

    When you are too busy for friends, you are too busy.

    Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.

    To change the situation, we have to first change ourselves. To change ourselves effectively, we have to first change our perceptions.

    Don't get sunburned basking in the sunshine of your success.

    The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
    - Dolly Parton

    Though they sound simple, the basic steps to knowing yourself are tough: Seek out feedback from others, reflect on what you're doing (especially when things go wrong), be honest with yourself about yourself, and don't let success go to your head.

    I am no longer what I was. I will remain what I have become.
    - Coco Chanel

    A smile is contagious; start an epidemic.

    We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
    - Anais Nin

    You cannot consistently perform in a manner which is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.
    - Zig Zigler

    Improve your looks instantly -- smile.

    Don't wait to have a good day. Make one.

    When your head swells, your brain stops working.

    She who can laugh at herself will never be without something to smile about.

    If you can 't be the star, for goodness sakes, don't be the cloud.

    Without self-awareness, my defense mechanisms are likely to dominate my perceptions.
    - Will Schutz

    Life is an echo -- what you send out comes back.

    The truth will set you free... But first it might tee you off.

    No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.
    - Kenneth Blanchard

    People with humility don't think less of themselves...they just think about themselves less.
    - Kenneth Blanchard

    There is no right way to do a wrong thing.
    - Kenneth Blanchard

    Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
    - Stephen Covey

    People don't care how much you know...until they know how much you care.

    We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world is accomplished without passion.
    - Georg Hegel

    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
    - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Winners develop a habit of doing the things that losers don't like to do.
    - Ed Foreman

    Life is for laughing, loving and living.
    - Ed Foreman
    No situation is so bad that losing your temper won't make it worse.

    Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss.

    It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
    - John Wooden

    You teach best that which you need most to learn.
    - Richard Bach

    Trying, even though you fail, breeds learning; wishing you had tried only breeds discontent.

    Yesterday is experience. Tomorrow is hope.

    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.
    - Vernon Law, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher

    I believe the overall quality of work improves when you give people a chance to fail.
    - Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner

    Success does not breed success. It breeds failure. It is failure which breed success.
    - Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner

    When you are clear about what you want to learn, you will find your teacher. The teacher is already there. The two of you will meet because you are looking for each other.
    - W.A. Mathieu

    Learning is a major problem for modern organizations. Few know how to capture the experience generated by all the ad hoc teams and networks that increasingly populate the world.
    - Lipnack & Stamps

    The greatest assets to constantly develop, preserve and enhance are your own capabilities.

    If you want to live a long life, focus on making contributions.
    - Selye

    The greatest discovery of our generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.
    - William James

    Remember that what pulls the strings is the force hidden within; there lies the power to persuade, there the life - there, if one must speak out, the real man.
    - Marcus Aurelius

    We shall not cease from exploring, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
    - T.S. Elliot

    Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.
    - A.E. Hotchner

    I am convinced that one of the biggest factors in success is the courage to undertake something.
    - James A. Worsham

    Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do anything that is worth doing.
    - Frederick W. Robertson

    Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.
    - Thomas J. Watson

    The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question: "What are you going to be?" Courageous would be the youngster who could look the adult squarely in the face and say, "I'm not going to BE anything; I already am." We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark, for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active, participating and contributing member of society from birth. Childhood isn't a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.

    We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.
    - Peter Drucker

    Learning is the ultimate freedom.

    Patient, heal thyself!

    The more clear you are on what you want, the more power you will have.


    There are only two things you "HAVE TO" do in life. You "HAVE TO" die. You "HAVE TO" live until you die. You make up all the rest.

    Sometimes you must do the thing you cannot do.

    Some people drink deeply from the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
    - adapted by Grant M. Bright

    He is truly wise who gains wisdom from another's mishap.

    He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.

    What we love we shall grow to resemble.
    - Bernard of Clairvaux

    The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.
    - John Ruskin

    The years teach us much the days never knew.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    The groundwork of all happiness is health.
    - Leigh Hunt

    An African farmer had heard tales about other farmers who had made millions of dollars by discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. So he sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, broke and worn out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a rive and drowned. Meanwhile, back at the farm, the man who had bought his farm happened to be crossing a small stream on the property one day when he saw something gleaming at the bottom of the stream. He picked it up. It was a sparkling stone - a good size stone - and, admiring it, he later put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity. Several weeks later, a visitor admired the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he'd found. When the farmer said no, that he thought it was just a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer was astonished. He told the man that his creek was full of these brilliant stones, and his farmland was covered with them. Not all were as large, perhaps, as the one on his mantel, but they were sprinkled generously throughout his property. Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold, so that he could search for a diamond mine, turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent. The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds, but had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere. The moral is clear: If the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself - to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state - and, since he had already owned a piece of land, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, his wildest dreams would have come true. EACH OF US IS, AT THIS MOMENT, STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS OR HER OWN ACRE OF DIAMONDS. If each of us will only have the wisdom and patience to begin by exploring ourselves, we will find that we contain all the riches necessary to be able to succeed in whatever endeavors to which we may set our minds and hearts. - A true story, originally told by Dr. Russell Herman Conwell, b. 1843, has been repeated by Earl Nightingale

    Plant a thought, reap an act.
    Plant an act, reap a habit.
    Plant a habit, reap a character.
    Plant a character, reap a destiny.

    Commencement address by Sir Winston Churchill at a graduation ceremony: "Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never." - this was his entire speech.

    The word question is derived from the Latin quaerere (to seek) which is the same root as the word for quest. A creative life is a continued quest, and good questions can be very useful guides. Most useful are open-ended questions; they allow for fresh unanticipated answers to reveal themselves.

    All of life is an obstacle course, with ourselves as the chief obstacle.

    KEEP YOUR SENSES ABOUT YOU! Helen Keller remembers talking to a friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods. When she asked her friend what she had observed, her friend replied, "Nothing in particular." "I wondered how that was possible," Helen said, "to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing of note. I who cannot see find hundreds of things: the delicate symmetry of a leaf, the smooth skin of a silver birch, the rough, shaggy bark of a pine. I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: use your eyes as if tomorrow you will have been stricken blind. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never taste or smell again. Make the most of every sense. Glory in all the facets and pleasures and beauty which the world reveals to you."

    Only that day dawns to which we are awake.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    What are you doing with the handful of years you possess between the great bookends of mystery?

    The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.
    - Dr. Adolf Berle

    The powerful play goes on - and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

    If you try to get everything out of life, you may wind up with nothing.

    Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.
    - Ken Keyes, Jr.

    It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
    - John Wooden

    I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
    - Henry David Thoreau

    A young girl visited a farm one day and wanted to buy a large watermelon. "That's three dollars," said the farmer. "I've only got 30 cents," said the young girl. The farmer pointed to a very small watermelon in the field and said, "How about that one?" "Okay, I'll take it," said the little girl. "But leave it on the vine. I'll be back for it in a month!" Do you take the time to invest in your future? Spend a little time learning each day and you will reap big rewards in the future.

    If you rest, you rust.

    He who knows only his own generation remains forever a child.

    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
    - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.
    - A. Huxley

    The TRUTH: It may not lead you to where you thought you were going, but it will always lead you somewhere better. When ignored, it will eventually show itself. The closeness of your relationships is directly proportional to the degree to which you have revealed the truth about yourself. It can be painful.

    What's terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first-rate, that you don't need love when you do or that you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.
    - Doris Lessing

    If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you will be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life.
    - Abraham Maslow

    Demons in our lives and be angels that we haven't faced yet. They can lead you to discover new things about yourself and pave the way for greater personal growth.

    We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
    - Benjamin Franklin

    The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.
    - Ray L. Wilbur

    The child is the father of the man.
    - William Wordsworth

    I've never met a person, I don't care what his condition, in whom I could not see possibilities. I don't care how much a man may consider himself a failure, I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life any time he is ready and prepared to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can take away from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformation and change lies within.
    - Preston Bradley

    The illiterate of the future are not those that cannot read or write. They are those that can not learn, unlearn, relearn.
    - Alvin Toffler

    It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.
    - Napoleon Hill

    by John Thomas Wood
    I will present you
    if you are patient and tender.
    I will open drawers
    that mostly stay closed
    and bring out places and people and things
    sounds and smells, loves and frustrations, hopes
    and sadnesses,
    bits and pieces of decades of my life
    that have been grabbed off
    in chunks
    and found lying in my hands.
    they have eaten
    their way into my memory,
    carved their way into
    my heart.
    altogether-you or i will never see them-
    they are me.
    if you regard them lightly,
    deny that they are important
    or worse, judge them
    i will quietly, slowly,
    begin to wrap them up,
    in small pieces of velvet,
    like worn silver and gold jewelry,
    tuck them away
    in a small wooden chest of drawers
    and close.
    - from "How Do You Feel?"

    If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain.
    If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees.
    If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.
    - old Chinese proverb

    I tell you that as long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it in to existence or clearing the way for it.
    - George Bernard Shaw

    People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.
    - Oliver Goldsmith

    Even the best lumberjack in the forest has to sharpen his ax occasionally.

    The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt

    HOW TO BE A "NO-LIMIT" PERSON: (Wayne Dyer)
    We ALL have problems we have to deal with. Remember: I CANNOT control what goes out on outside, but I CAN control what goes on inside.
    Don't forget that you are the sum total of the choices you make. Remember: Anything inside that immobilizes me, gets in my way, keeps me from my goals, is all MINE. I can throw it away IF I CHOOSE.
    Listen to those inner signals that help you make the right choices - no matter what anyone thinks. Remember: What you think of me is none of my business.
    Remember: You can set yourself up to be sick, or you can CHOOSE to stay well.
    Remember: People who panic or get depressed usually do so because they have lost control.
    Rather than the bumper sticker that says: "This is the first day of the rest of your life", think: "This is the last day of my life. And I am going to live it as if I didn't have any more." The truth is that the past is over and gone and the future is not guaranteed, so I should stop acting as if life was a rehearsal.

    End of Quotes on "Self-Improvement"


    Return to main page for: "Bright Quotes"