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William James quotes page 1

1842 - 1910, American philosopher, author of "The Varieties Of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature"

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering
their attitudes of mind.
William James

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.
William James

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.
William James

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

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

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

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
William James

First, you know, a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but
obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that
they themselves discovered it.
William James

To change one's life: 1. Start immediately. 2. Do it flamboyantly. 3. No exceptions.
William James

Our colleges ought to have lit up in us a lasting relish for a better kind of man, a loss of
appetite for mediocrities.
William James

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

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive,
along with which comes the inner voice which says, "This is the real me," and when you have
found that attitude, follow it.
William James

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

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.
William James

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

Actions seems to follow feeling, but really actions 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. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness
be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.
William James

Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees
himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.
William James

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
William James

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

Philosophy is "an unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly."
William James

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.
William James

The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party.
William James

Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognise
him.
William James

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.
William James

Procrastination is attitude's natural assassin. There is nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal
hanging on of an uncompleted task.
William James

The strenuous life tastes better.
William James

Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and
intimacies… and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as
they will by the roadside, expecting them to "keep" by force of mere inertia.
William James

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

Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.
William James

If things are ever to move upward, some one must take the first step, and assume the risk of
it.
William James

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.
William James

The war-party is assuredly right in affirming and reaffirming that the martial virtues, although
originally gained by the race through war, are absolute and permanent human goods.
William James

As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.
William James

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