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William James's Quotes

William James profile photo

Born: 1970-01-01
Profession: Philosopher
Nation: American
Biography of William James

See the gallery for quotes by William James. You can to use those 8 images of quotes as a desktop wallpapers.
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Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

Tags: Eternal, Hanging, Task

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.

Tags: After, Life, Stronger

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.

Tags: Acceptance, Happened, Step

We don't laugh because we're happy - we're happy because we laugh.

Tags: Happy, Laugh

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.

Tags: Choice

Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.

Tags: Control, Feeling, Together

Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.

Tags: Doubt, Faith, Means

Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.

Tags: Clearly, Effort, Means

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.

Tags: Himself, Holiday, Year

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

Tags: Everyone, Evidence, Wrong

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

Tags: Human, Indecision, Miserable

Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.

Tags: Action, Happiness, May

To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.

Tags: Best, Normal, Study

In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start.

Tags: Cannot, Mind, Start

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver.

Tags: Life, Living, Worth

The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.

Tags: College, Education, Good

We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

Tags: Bad, Between, Good

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.

Tags: Altering, Life, Thinking

Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.

Tags: Everybody, Hates, Practice

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

Tags: Care, Enough, Leadership

To spend life for something which outlasts it.

Tags: Life, Outlasts, Spend

Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.

Tags: Awake, Compared, Half

If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

Tags: Experience, Feeling, Good

The sovereign cure for worry is prayer.

Tags: Cure, Prayer, Worry

Those thoughts are truth which guide us to beneficial interaction with sensible particulars as they occur, whether they copy these in advance or not.

Tags: Thoughts, Truth, Whether

If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.

Tags: Fails, Fulfill, Sick
Much more quotes by William James below the page.

The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.

Tags: Greatest, Life, Spend

It is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.

Tags: Again, Age, Character

Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference.

Tags: Difference, Done, Makes

Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

Tags: Merely, Prejudices, Thinking

The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck.

Tags: Devil, Foot, Keep

Truth is what works.

Tags: Truth, Works

We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.

Tags: Today, Tomorrow, Truth

If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door.

Tags: Door, God, Grace

There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.

Tags: Failure, Faith, True

Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.

Tags: Knowledge, Life, Place

There is an organic affinity between joyousness and tenderness, and their companionship in the saintly life need in no way occasion surprise.

Tags: Between, Life, Surprise

We are doomed to cling to a life even while we find it unendurable.

Tags: Doomed, Life, While

Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings.

Tags: Blame, Life, Thinking

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.

Tags: Force, Idea, Individual

Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

Tags: Faculty, Genius, Means

Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.

Tags: Great, Greater, Show

I will act as if what I do makes a difference.

Tags: Act, Difference, Makes

Man lives for science as well as bread.

Tags: Bread, Lives, Science

Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case.

Tags: Faith, Greatest, Someone

The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves one.

Tags: Best, Existence, Life

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

Tags: Away, Individual, Sympathy

The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.

Tags: Essence, Genius, Overlook

To be conscious means not simply to be, but to be reported, known, to have awareness of one's being added to that being.

Tags: Known, Means, Simply

We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be.

Tags: Clear, True, Until

A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him.

Tags: Him, Recognize, Social

An act has no ethical quality whatever unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible.

Tags: Act, Possible, Whatever

In business for yourself, not by yourself.

Tags: Business, Yourself

Our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout.

Tags: Almost, Facts, Religious

The 'I think' which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the 'I breathe' which actually does accompany them.

Tags: Able, Actually, Said

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.

Tags: Enemy, Greatest, May

The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.

Tags: Great, History, Human

The ideas gained by men before they are twenty-five are practically the only ideas they shall have in their lives.

Tags: Ideas, Lives, Men

There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers.

Tags: Contradict

Time itself comes in drops.

Tags: Drops, Time

To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else's type of thinking.

Tags: Hate, Real, Thinking

What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise although the philosophers generally call it recognition!

Tags: Call, Fact, Praise

Where quality is the thing sought after, the thing of supreme quality is cheap, whatever the price one has to pay for it.

Tags: After, Quality, Whatever

Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.

Tags: Call, Lie, Special

The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour.

Tags: Human, Nature, Power

Do something everyday for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.

Tags: May, Rather, Reason

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioned our characters in the wrong way.

Tags: Hell, Ourselves, Wrong

One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling.

Tags: Feeling, Heart, Laugh

Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things. In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf.

Tags: Heart, Seems, Spite

Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them.

Tags: Fact, Thoughts, Truth

There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any attitude which we denominate religious. If glad, it must not grin or snicker; if sad, it must not scream or curse.

Tags: Attitude, Sad, Serious

Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.

Tags: Become, Give, Young

Individuality is founded in feeling; and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done.

Tags: Character, Feeling, Work

No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better.

Tags: Character, Good, May

'Pure experience' is the name I gave to the immediate flux of life which furnishes the material to our later reflection with its conceptual categories.

Tags: Experience, Life, Reflection

To be radical, an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced.

Tags: Admit, Neither, Nor

Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap kind!

Tags: Faith, Universe, Whatever

How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.

Tags: Happiness, Keep, Men

It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.

Tags: Enough, Faith, True

The god whom science recognizes must be a God of universal laws exclusively, a God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his processes to the convenience of individuals.

Tags: Business, God, Science

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

Tags: Help, Life, Living

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Tags: Act, Makes, Motivational

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

Tags: Humor, Moving, Sense

Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.

Tags: Attitude, Between, Someone

Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.

Tags: Men, Positive, Success

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

Tags: Art, Wisdom, Wise

Belief creates the actual fact.

Tags: Belief, Fact, Inspirational

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.

Tags: Acceptance, Happened, Step

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.

Tags: Greatest, Human, Life

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

Tags: Greatest, Stress, Thought

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.

Tags: Act, Leadership, Quality

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

Tags: Begin, Hereafter, Motivational

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

Tags: Great, Prejudices, Thinking

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.

Tags: Enough, Far, Sports

I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing.

Tags: Happy, Sing

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

Tags: Great, Life, Spend

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.

Tags: Change, Fear, History

To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.

Tags: Change, Life, Start

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Tags: Human, Nature, Principle

This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it.

Tags: Life, Living, Worth