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Quotations for Motivation #2 --- Attitude

Updated on September 21, 2015

Quotations on Attitude

“Are you surprised that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate.”

There are many to whom this might have been written at this very hour. But Seneca wrote it to a friend some nineteen centuries ago.

And then he added: “Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, and though . . . lands and cities are left astern, your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel.”

It would seem that almost all the people in the world could be divided into two classes: those who are running after something, and those who are running away from something.

Some have definite objectives and diligently pursue them.

Some are fugitives from justice.

Some are fugitives from fears.

Some are fugitives from their own thoughts.

Some are just running, without knowing what they are running after or what they are running away from.

But the peculiar thing about this restless world is that we so often fail to recognize the source of our difficulties. What really troubles many of us is ourselves.

And no man has ever succeeded in running away from himself.

Seneca quotes Socrates on this subject: “Why do you wonder that globetrotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you? The reason which set you wandering is ever at your heels.” And then he adds in his own words: “All your bustle is useless. Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself.”

Everyone who moves restlessly from place to place and from pleasure to pleasure must finally fact this fact: Here I am with myself on my hands.

Sometimes and under some conditions it is possible to escape from many things—from prison walls, from false friends, from bad company, from boring people, from old environments—but never from ourselves.

We may change our names, our neighborhood, our work, and even our appearance. But, like the little boy and his shadow, we “go in and out” with ourselves.

When we lie down at night we are there with our own thoughts—whether we like them or not.

When we wake in the morning we are still there—whether we like us or not.

The most persistent thing in life (and, we have no doubt, in death also) is our own consciousness of ourselves.

This being so, there is no more pitiable person than he who is uncomfortable in his own company—no matter where he runs, or how fast or how far.

We hear people say, “I want to get away,” as though getting away were the final solution to all troubles. But whether getting away is a solution or not depends upon what it is we want to get away from.

At times we all need the change that is said to be as good as a rest. We all need occasional vacations and relief from persistent pressure. But if what we are trying to escape is something inside us, there is little point in moving from place to place.

Sometimes a change of sights and of scenes, of people and of places, will help us see more clearly and come back to a fresh start. But “the person you are matters more than the place to which you go.” (Seneca)

Even the most ideal outward conditions, even in surroundings of physical beauty, even in places of plenty, even with congenial people, there are those who are not at ease with their own thoughts, who are not happy in their outlook on life. And so they are restless. And so they run.

But burdens “become more troublesome by reason of your very restlessness, just as in a ship the cargo when stationary makes no trouble. But when it shifts to this side or that, it causes the vessel to heel more quickly in the direction where it has settled. . . . You hurt yourself by the very unrest, for you are shaking up a sick man.” (Seneca)

It isn’t things that aren’t at peace. It isn’t places that aren’t at peace. It is people who aren’t at peace.

And it is people that we have to learn to live with, including ourselves and our own thoughts, wherever we are.

---Richard L. Evans, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 18, 1948.

The things we like to do we do with zest and pleasure. It’s the things we dislike to do, or that irritate us, that take the life and heart from us—and yet, we need these things in our lives to keep us from getting soft and to enable us to face courageously the unexpected and the difficult.

Each of us must build within our mind an attitude of personal victory and confidence in our ability to take many of the circumstances of life squarely on the chin—even though some of the blows fell us for a moment. Knockdowns are not evidences of defeat. Defeat comes only to the man who refuses to get up!

We must somehow banish fear from our system and from all our efforts. We must go ahead with an iron determination that we are in this world to pay our part grandly. It is true that we were not asked whether we wanted to come into this world or not—but here we are, so let us play as good a game as we know, knowing that we ourselves, as players, “are also the game and share the power of the cards.”

It is our attitude of mind, however, that has more to do with our success and happiness than anything else. That which we determine in our mind to be is usually what we eventually become, in some phase or other. And it is what we think of life, and all its complexities, as well as what we think of other human being that grades us a man or woman, establishing us.

Find out a man’s attitude of mind and you know just how far you want to trust or believe in him, or indeed whether you with to make him your friend or companion at all.

A high and courageous attitude of mind toward every circumstance of life will give to the one, who resolves upon it, every break of fortune, and it will then only be essential that he does his best—and he will be happy.

---George Matthew Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 4, 1933.

A life that has been rightly trained will extract sweetness from everything; it will see beauty everywhere.

---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., November 1905.

Attitude is not what happens to us throughout life. Attitude is how we respond to what happens to us. We can choose to be negative and pessimistic, always complaining of our circumstances. Or, we can count our blessings and focus on the good that is around us. You have an attitude. We all do. Let's make sure ours is the attitude of faith, thanksgiving, and praise.

---Stan Allcorn, The Baptist Herald, DeRidder, La., July 25, 1990.

We all have a wealth of sunshine in our natures if we gave it a chance to shine.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 23, 1929.

When you do not put a little sunshine in the world you live in you are taking some out of it.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 17, 1931.

If some of us would look up more we would see more sunshine.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Arizona Republican, Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 1, 1891.

People who carry sunshine with them are always welcome.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., Sept. 6, 1892.

There is no sunlight in the life where there are no skylights in the soul.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Norman Transcript, Norman, Okla., March 19, 1903.

To hold one’s head up helps to keep one’s heart up.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., April 9, 1903.

Singing can be heard farther than shouting.

---William Goodell Frost, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Nov. 15, 1900.

By always looking on the bright side we never strain our eyes trying to pierce the darkness.

---Bennett Wilson “B.W.” Peck, Fulton County News, McConnelsburg, Pa., June 10, 1903.

You don’t need much of a voice to sing the blues.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Feb. 11, 1953.

Attitude is not just a fancy word, reflecting something we look like or profess to be. It is born rather of noble pursuit, of lofty aim and constant endeavor.

—Alvin R. Dyer, Central States Mission Bulletin, Independence, Mo., July 24, 1956.

It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.

—Wesley S. Izzard, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Jan. 19, 1956.

Looking on the bright side is fine, but the smart fellow looks on both sides, also inside.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Aug. 12, 1920.

Success or failure in life is caused more by mental attitude than mental capacity.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Feb. 20, 1928.

One reason why so many people fail is that they dwell too much upon the difficulties in their path, they magnify obstacles. They look through the wrong end of their mental telescope; they bring their obstacles too near to them; make them look too formidable. They should look at them through the large end of the telescope and throw them a long way off, minimize them instead of magnify them.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 8, 1919.

A man is never completely down until he is down on everybody.

—Olin Miller, Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, Fla., Jan. 5, 1948.

So long as you think in a rut you will stay in a rut.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Jan. 31, 1941.

Negative attitudes will give you nothing but discontent and a spirit of criticism. A positive attitude will help you become aware of your problems as an individual.

—Thomas B. Neff, New York New York City Mission Bulletin, New York, N.Y., Sept. 25, 1975.

It isn’t the length of life that makes us old; it’s what we let life do to us.

—Hamilton G. Park, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 31, 1947.

No man is hurt by circumstances as much as he is by his own attitudes.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 30, 1936.

Don't sit down and wait for times to brighten, but rise up and turn on the light!

—Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 10, 1910.

Mental attitude is the common denominator for success.

—Oscar Straube, The Bison, Searcy, Ark., May 18, 1943.

Attitude! The oft repeated quotation, "As a man thinketh, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7), can equally be rendered, "As a man thinketh, so is his happiness."

—Bryan F. West, Zion's Builder, Independence, Mo., June 1970.

Out-look is limited; Up-look is limitless.

—Gloria Young, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 2, 1939.

Your attitude to what might be the unessentials measures your growth as an individual.

River Press, Fort Benton, Mont., Sept. 4, 1946.

It isn't where we live but how we live that really matters. Our enjoyment of life comes not from our surroundings as much as from within ourselves. We often blame the outward circumstances of our lives when in reality we have been poor company for ourselves. We should not likely to change our attitudes by moving unless we were also to experience a change within us.

—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 18, 1960.

A positive attitude is nothing more than an outward manifestation of inner faith. It is not idle boasting. It is real assurance. It is made visible by the absence of negative words and actions.

—Harland E. Carey, Affirmative, Billings, Mont., March 1962.

He who thinks life is a poor thing is himself very poor because he thinks so.

—Amos Clary, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., Aug. 4, 1938.

When you expect only the best, you will certainly receive more than if you expect only the worst.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Feb. 8, 1948.

Looking down never lifts up.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., Oct. 31, 1909.

People who expect the worst have already set the stage for it.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., June 23, 1965.

If it is in your heart and soul to do and achieve, happiness will attend you. And much of all that attitude will come from mental habits. If you start life as a cynic, a grouch or a pessimist, if constantly you are searching for faults and flaws, disappointment will be everywhere and in everything you do. Ability to see with the eyes of hope and to feel with the heart of faith will make the going comparatively easy. Accept the allotted work, dignify it with the best of efforts, dream of greater achievements, and go on.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, May 24, 1926.

As a man thinks, he acts–and that may be why so few ever act.

—Zoe Powell Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, June 19, 1958.

Our mental and emotional attitude, behavior and conduct, productive of useful things and the well being of our fellow man or of ill to them are the only dependable indications for our guidance and direction to avoid harm and attain desirable results. The man with malice in his heart, who wants to destroy, never can be a builder, his every utterance exposes his motive and purpose, and as a warning to the unwary. The traits of character that we cultivate and express in our behavior, conduct and action, determine the object of our devotion and create corresponding institutions and circumstances. The virtues of love, cheerfulness, kindness, peacefulness, useful industry, productive and constructive work and pleasing service, will ... establish [cooperation] so far as these virtues are practiced.

—Carl Henry Gleeser, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., July 19, 1930.

To develop a positive mental attitude, you must make a habit of transmuting every experience into definite action, promptly and decisively. That means you must learn to substitute faith--applied faith--for fear and worry. It also means you must have a definite philosophy, a clear-cut general standard of behavior, to guide your thoughts and actions under various circumstances. The most important rule you can make for yourself is this: Never, under any condition, engage in any transaction which does not bring equal benefits to all persons it affects. Remember that for one person to gain, it is not necessary for someone else to lose. The only true measure of success is whether everyone concerned is benefitted by it.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 21, 1956.


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