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Quotations for Motivation #27 --- Self-Improvement

Updated on November 4, 2015

Quotations on Self-Improvement

The largest room in the world is the room for self-improvement.

---Orison Swett Marden, Success Magazine, New York, N.Y., November 1903.

The room for improvement has a rent sign attached.

‑‑‑Jim Holleman, Clarksville Leaf‑Chronicle, Clarksville, Tenn., June 29, 1923.

Trouble with finding room for improvement is that it's often several floors above the ground level and most of us aren't interested if there's no elevator.

‑‑‑John Mooney, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 16, 1955.

The largest room on earth is the room for improvement. Not only that, but its area is spreading all the time without the formality of remodeling operations.

---Howard N. Hildreth Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Aug. 11, 1921.

Why not introduce yourself to your better self?

---Carl J.G. Brown, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Nov. 21, 1921.

If what you did yesterday still looks pretty big to you, then you haven’t done enough today.

---J.O. Jewett, Miami Daily News, Miami, Fla., Jan. 20, 1954.

People who depend upon past achievements never amount to much. The deadline in a man’s life is the hour he becomes self-satisfied and looks with complacency upon what he has accomplished.

---Albert W. Brownmiller, Reading Eagle, Reading, Pa., Jan. 1, 1912.

Every man may be the architect of his own fortune, but many of us feel we have used a house-wrecker’s technique.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 9, 1931.

To remodel one’s house of life, one first must find room for self-improvement.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 7, 1954.

The future would hold more for us—to which to look forward—if we concerned ourselves more with making the best of the present.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 11, 1956.

To make the world better, we might realize we are a part of it that could stand improvement.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 29, 1959.

There is no greater self-improvement than to strive to eliminate a single fault or to cultivate a single virtue.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., March 21, 1963.

One can change one’s life for the better only to the extent that one can improve oneself.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., June 22, 1967.

You can’t live in the past and move any way but backwards.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Feb. 1, 1937.

You can’t move forward if your mind is in a backward trend.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Jan. 20, 1939.

“The man who recognizes his own shortcomings is almost started on the road to improvement,” says Arthur G. Ivey. If we could recognize our own as quickly as we recognize those of the other fellow, wouldn’t it start a revolutionary wave of reformation?

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., March 6, 1940.

Living in the past is a pastime that hasn’t much future in it.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Oct. 24, 1942.

It’s not so difficult to get ahead of the other fellow, but what a lot of us need is a method to get ahead of ourselves. Too often we let ourselves believe we’re moving when we’re standing still.

—Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 27, 1944.

When a man contents himself with doing his best, he usually qualifies it, under his breath, with “under the circumstances.”

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Jan. 24, 1945.

If you never have a slip or a fall down don't be too complacent about it. Remember, if a man is in a rut he never skids.

---Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 3, 1922.

You cannot improve yourself when you are satisfied with yourself.

---Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 22, 1928.

A man is not doing his level best who is content to stay on the same level.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Claremore Messenger, Claremore, Okla., June 10, 1904.

A man is in a bad way when his future is all behind him.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., June 8, 1901.

The universe owes you but one thing, the right to climb. If you indulge the luxury of grief, you are defeating yourself in the strife.

---Edward Howard Griggs, Jamestown Evening Journal, Jamestown, N.Y., Aug. 5, 1926.

To know oneself is a great accomplishment. We make many blunders, both ludicrous and painful, because we do not know our powers, capabilities, faults and weaknesses. There will be no self-improvement until we are conscious that we need improvement. If all were satisfied with our present attainments, this would be a dead world.

---U.S. Milburn, Lockport Daily Journal, Lockport, N.Y., Feb. 28, 1898.

A man’s real limitations are not the things he wants to do, but cannot; they are the things he ought to do, but does not.

---Earl L. “Jack” Sampson, Williamson Daily News, Williamson, W. Va., June 8, 1948.

We live too much in the past and in the future, and not nearly enough in the present which is the real life. Regrets and too fond hopes are strings to pull manikins, but staunch purpose is the implement of personal independence, with which we really get by. To be alive is always a privilege; and to live patiently, realistically and constructively, always a duty; to take it, the adventure.

---Burrows Matthews, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 29, 1935.

The best results are attained only when still better ones are sought. To do as well today as I did yesterday, I must do better. Life is valuable, not only for what it is, but for what it is to be.

---Clarence T. Brown, Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 19, 1898.

To be unsatisfied is not at all like being dissatisfied. It is wholesome to be unsatisfied, but to be dissatisfied is to carp at conditions without remedying them. The satisfied person does not progress. He goes downward, not up. He has no heights to reach toward.

‑‑‑Wallace Clift, The Monroe News‑Star, Monroe, La., Jan. 3, 1927.

To belong wholly to the past is a sorry thing. The past can never live again except in memory. Its shadow is with us yet, but its reality belongs to the ages that never return. Man goes forward, eternally forward, but never back. That is why the past is at once remorseful and remorseless. And that is why the present is so all-important–because the present is continually becoming part of the changeless past.

—Richard L. Evans, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 1937.

Let not your motto be "Get By," but "Get On."

‑‑‑B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Sept. 21, 1918.

Getting on is largely a matter of getting up each time you are knocked down.

‑‑‑B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1919.

The best part of our pay must come from ourselves.

‑‑‑B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., April 5, 1919.

Satisfaction can mean stagnation.

‑‑‑B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., July 5, 1924.

The fewest complaints about their lot come from those who strive hardest to improve their lot.

-‑‑B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Dec. 1, 1925.

Milestones are not monuments, but fingerboards The only possible use for a yesterday is to serve today. None but forward‑looking persons are of service to the world.

‑‑‑William T. Ellis, Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho, Dec. 31, 1916.

Man can afford to indulge in every luxury except that of being satisfied.

---James L. Gordon, Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., March 31, 1917.

If I improve on my past, the future will improve on my present.

---James L. Gordon, Washington Herald, Washington, D.C., April 28, 1917.

Some men think they are going ahead because they dodge around so much.

—Henry F. Cope, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., Oct. 2, 1910.

All of us are going to do better tomorrow, and the chances are we would, if we started today.

—Hamilton G. Park, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 3, 1941.

Don’t expect too much from the man who talks about what he did instead of what he’s doing.

—Hamilton G. Park, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 24, 1949.

The man who has no future is the man who always thinks of the future as tomorrow.

—Hamilton G. Park, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 29, 1949.

One way to cover a bad past is to build a splendid future over it.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., May 24, 1960.

Some people start the day in low gear and then throw it into reverse.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., July 6, 1966.

If you don’t make good with half of your life, you spend the other half making believe.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., May 9, 1968.

When you don’t even try to measure up, it shouldn’t surprise you to come up short.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., March 24, 1980.

A most grievous blunder is to keep your past in front of you and your future behind.

‑‑‑Bert Moses, Lake Charles American‑Press, Lake Charles, La., April 12, 1921.

To do more today than yesterday is not so much to your credit as doing it better.

‑‑‑Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., July 10, 1941.

Beat your own record before trying to beat the records of others.

---Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Oct. 16, 1942.

If what you did yesterday looks big, it is a sure sign that what you are doing today is little.

---Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Oct. 15, 1943.

Man may be the architect of his own destiny--but he has to go into the open market for most of the building materials.

---Jack Haney, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La., March 10, 1925.

No help can take the place of self-help.

---T.G. Pasco, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Jan. 17, 1900.

A man cannot always be measured by what he has become, but by what he has overcome.

---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 27, 1943.

Man can reach his best only as he is willing to master his worst.

---Roy L. Smith , Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Dec. 13, 1933.

Those who never attempt to be their best never know life's best.

---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 14, 1935.

We learn nothing about the heights if we are unwilling to make the effort to climb.

---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., July 21, 1936.

People seldom improve after they decide they no longer need to make improvement.

---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 9, 1936.

No man can possibly improve in his work by matching himself against his inferiors.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 15, 1929.

If we cease striving for our best we begin to sink toward our worst.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 24, 1931.

Life is not so short that there is not time for some self-improvement.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 5, 1933.

Men dry up when they cut themselves off from the source of power.

---Hamilton Wright Mabie, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Aug. 3, 1905.

The way to make the best of any situation is to make it better.

---Henry F. Cope, Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, Aug. 8, 1908.

The one sure way of improving our condition is to improve ourselves.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., April 30, 1903.

To lighten the load of life we must increase our own strength.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., May 7, 1903.

Man makes his condition as good as it is by always trying to make it better than it is.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Sept. 10, 1903.

Self-improvement, to be effectual, must reach the first springs of thought and feeling.

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Oct. 8, 1903.

Do not live in the good old days of the past nor the some days of the future—live today.

---William J. Burtscher, The Bee, Earlington, Ky., Feb. 23, 1905.

If we put our best into our everyday life, only the best will come back to us.

—Dorothy C. Retsloff, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, December 1925.

With too many people the act of merely getting by is the form and purpose of the game.

---Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., Jan. 24, 1915.

There is no particular use in getting into condition unless you stay there.

---Grantland Rice, New York Herald Tribune, New York, N.Y., Jan. 16, 1925.

The man worse than a quitter is the man who is afraid to begin.

---Earl Riney, Church Management, Cleveland, Ohio, November 1941.

Too many men are willing to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves.

---Earl Riney, Church Management, Cleveland, Ohio, January 1955.

The man who is perfect satisfied with himself is unlikely to be at all satisfied with anyone else.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., May 12, 1916.

A man who is entirely satisfied with himself seldom satisfies others.

---Henry Edward Warner, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Va., Sept. 10, 1915.

Don’t live in the past. The world has little sympathy for a has-been.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Aug. 27, 1942.

While some people are getting ready for the future, others are cashing in on the present.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 26, 1948.

Nobody is perfect, but some people don’t even seem to try to be average.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Feb. 24, 1951.

The average man never regards himself as an average man.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 11, 1954.

The fellow who keeps saying, “Anyway, no one’s perfect,” hasn’t even tried to improve himself, you can bet on that.

---John Merrill Chilcote, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo., Nov. 12, 1961.

Many are anxious to rise in the world, but they haven't got dynamite enough about them to give them a lift.

---Frank L. Stanton, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 7, 1912.

The reason some persons do not go ahead is that they are not willing to go afoot.

---Wickes Wamboldt, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 3, 1936.

The present is taken care of in the past if you provide for the future.

---Carl A. Wilhelm, The Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque, Iowa, Feb. 13, 1929.

The most irritating of all feelings is to realize your best is not enough.

---Jack Williams, Sr., Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Dec. 23, 1939.

A fossilized man, whether young or old, is one of the personal tragedies of the world. If you have ceased to grow, you have begun to fossilize, you are preparing for the day when you shall be thrown into the discard and younger or bigger men shall be put in your place. It will be the part of wisdom for every man in no matter what profession to stop and consider how much he has advanced within the past year. If one has not progressed, one has stood still. Standing still means the beginning of failure.

---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 7, 1918.

There is no limit to the possibilities of life. The limitation only lies in the failure to develop one’s powers to the fullest. The great question for each one is, “Where shall I invest my life to bring in the greatest returns?”

---W.A. Guy, The Evening Herald, Albuquerque, N.M., June 5, 1922.

The law of change is one of the great miracles with which the Creator has blessed man and every other creature. Change is an important tool in human progress. Yet, it's the one thing against which many people fight hardest. The law of change is, however, inexorable. Uncounted civilizations of mankind have died for violating it. For the law reads that just as the physical world must undergo incessant change, man's social and cultural world must progress or die. But the law is a blessing. Without it, man would still be an animal. With it, he can map his own earthly destiny and create the ways and means of attaining it. It is the device by which the habits and thoughts of men continuously reshape themselves into a better system of human relations, leading toward harmony, better understanding and closer brotherhood. Man's course, clearly, is to make sure that the change is always for the better, that he directs it toward the goal of ever-higher civilization. You can use the law of change to achieve your individual aims of material success. Fatalism is insufficient. You must take positive steps to make events work out the way you want them, in full faith that they will come to pass if your goal is a proper one. Recognition of the law of change can ease the blows that life deals out to you. Even the loss of a loved one will be softened by acknowledgement that grief itself is something that must pass away. Instead of resisting the law of change, make it work for you. Constant repetition has not blemished the truth of the old statement that "Time and tide wait for no man." And Shakespeare said: "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries." You must be prepared to seize the opportunities offered you by the irresistible law of change--or doom yourself to failure.

---Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, July 23, 1956.

What is the biggest bump on the average head? The biggest is probably the bump of complacency. If the bump of complacency is overdeveloped we are one hundred percent satisfied with our own beliefs, with our own ideas, our own opinions. When this bump is large we are sure that are but two sides to every question—our side and the wrong side. Our believing a thing so makes it so—in our own minds. When we speak of a campaign of education we mean a campaign to make other people think as we think. That’s what the bump of complacency indicates.

---Grove H. Patterson, Meriden Record, Meriden, Conn, July 18, 1929.

One of the great human fallacies is that men can remain stationary. Character is never motionless. Nobody can stand still for more than a moment. He may be physically still but the mind and the soul, asleep or awake, must be in motion. To be stationary is simply the beginning offering backward. We grow tired of a too active life. We seek rest, quiet, serenity. But we must not confuse serenity with complete inactivity. To move, to go forward, even though by pain and by struggle, is the history of success, of achievement, of worthwhile living. Let us not confuse the serenity of honest work well done with the calm of stagnation.

---Grove H. Patterson, Meriden Record, Meriden, Conn, Oct. 7, 1929.

There are those who sit back helplessly and say that times are no better than they have been and are going to be worse next winter. Men who talk like that forget that the biggest thing in life is human personality, human behavior, human performance. We are not the blind victims of circumstances over which we have no control. If things are worse, it is because we make them worse; if they are better, it is because we make them better. We do not have to sit by helplessly and take what we get in the way of local and world conditions. All we need is leadership, and with leadership we can make the world what we will.

‑‑‑Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., May 11, 1931.

The man who does us the greatest service is not the man who agrees with us or is it necessarily the one who disagrees. He does the most for us who pushes out our horizons and lifts the level of our thinking. I am always grateful for the friend or the public speaker who stretches the muscles of my mind and makes me conscious of a point of view or of a personal philosophy or of a set of circumstances of which I was not aware before.

—Grove H. Patterson, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Feb. 18, 1944.

George Pearson said, “It has been wisely pointed out that a man’s age can be determined by the degree of pain he feels when he comes into contact with a new idea.” When you haven’t the nerve to try something you never tried before, to go somewhere you have never gone before, to say something you have never said before, you are really getting old. Battered though the body may be, it is the mind that makes you old.

—Grove H. Patterson, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, July 11, 1944.

Most of this life is made up on the trial-and-error basis. It is a series of experiments, of trying first one thing and then another, of going back and taking a different road. There is such a place as the land of beginning, where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, and all of our blind foolish pain can be dropped like a shaggy old coat at the door, and never put on again. There is such a thing as restitution, as restoration, as reformation and re-education. When you are going wrong and you know it; when you’ve lost something and you miss it terribly, when you know that something is utterly out of gear; then there is only one thing to do and that is, with a resolute right-about-face, turn round and go back to where you lost it. If, however, a thing is irretrievably lost, then the only thing to do is to find a substitute. Try something else. Try again.

---Burris A. Jenkins, St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph, Mo., Aug. 8, 1926.

Which way are you going? You can go ahead, in this day of the world, if you want to, or you can go back. But you must do one thing or the other. You cannot stand still. People sometimes think they are sitting very fast and pat on their great intellectual acquisitions, and are satisfied with the condition. It strikes them as a good thing to remain just what and where they are. They have thought it all out and know all about it. They are so self-centered that they are perfectly willing that wisdom shall die with them, and some of them are more than half inclined to think that it will. But that kind of man is not really standing still. He is retrograding. The world is going past him. Men not nearly so wise as he are forging past him. The ceaseless movement of this joyous, hopeful, buoyant world sweeps them along with it. Their forward hopes are better and nobler than the doctrinaire’s profound sit-fast reasoning. They are the youth of the world. And he who is not with them will find that he has somehow fallen far behind when he looks up from his self-satisfied speculations. To himself he has stood still. In reality he has gone backward. The man must move forward or must be left behind and forgotten. We see a few who have stood pat, and those few are fast passing out of the real activities. And we see many who have come in long since the standpatters were “established” and “known by everybody,” and all that and the new ones are in the forefront of progress and prosperity. It is the law of society, of politics, of business, of nature, that there is no standing still. All things must progress or retrograde. Which way are you going?

---Lew B. Brown, Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla., Oct. 2, 1912.

The closer we stick to individual improvement the nearer we will come to permanent success. Do not shun the rugged paths. Men grow in proportion to the difficulties they overcome. As lifting weights gives strength to muscles so does using the brain give mental discipline. Stagnation is as destructive in the mental as the physical world. Individual growth is what we should look to. There real progress begins. Building up one’s own character should be the work of everyone’s life. It is the constant struggle that prevents the mildew of leisure and the dry-rot of idleness. Adversity, sorrow, distress, often light up the flame of immortality which would otherwise be unfit forever.

---Roswell Gilbert Horr, Burlington Weekly Free Press, Burlington, Vt., July 2, 1880.

No record of the past is sufficient. We must press on to new conquest and more complete preparation, regardless of hardship or practice. The process which we call education is that training which fits one for the duties and responsibilities of life and makes him more useful to his fellow men. Let us go to a more complete education. We can never say our preparation is complete. We must not confound knowledge and education. Knowledge may mean simply the assembling of abstract facts. Education is vastly more. It is the power to apply knowledge, the increased capacity for work. An encyclopedia contains knowledge, but it cannot be called education. Education empowers men and women with the ability to do. Education enhances the usefulness of their gifts. Those who have helped and blessed the world have been men and women of achievement.

---S.E.P. White, Bemidji Daily Pioneer, Bemidji, Minn., June 1, 1909.

The future depends absolutely on the present. You find that out the next day, of course‑‑the day after the present, which is the future. But then it's too late. The damage has been done. The success of your lessons tomorrow depends upon how you study them today. You know that‑‑only you learn it when tomorrow comes‑‑which is too late. Just remember, when tomorrow does come, that it is always today. In fact, there is no tomorrow. There is only today. Today is the living thing. The work you are doing today is the vital thing. You‑‑the you inside of you‑‑are the real thing. Forget all else for the time being, concentrate on your work in hand. Fear and doubt and worry, trouble and sickness and even sin, prove their own unreality by disappearing when the light of understanding comes into the mind, just as darkness disappears when the electric light is turned on

‑‑‑Joseph H. Appel, The Making of a Man, New York, N.Y., 1921.

The greatest waste in the world is not war, nor the thoughtless depletion of the earth's resources, but the failure of mankind to live up to its potential. People are constantly fighting the tendency to stay put. We continually fight inertia. Humans have a great deal of control over their physical faculties, but lack similar control over the mind and psychological capabilities.

‑‑‑Sterling W. Sill, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 5, 1977.

Dissatisfaction with what is around us is not a bad thing if it prompts us to seek betterment, but the best sort of dissatisfaction in the long run is self-dissatisfaction which leads us to improve ourselves. Maturity implies the ability to walk alone and not be ashamed within ourselves of things we do and say. Progress in maturity may be measured by our acceptance of increased self-responsibility and an increased sagacity in decision making. This translation is not a time of calm enjoyment, but of growth and adaptation.

---Hugh B. Brown, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, Utah, May 13, 1969.

"I just want to be an average student, with average ability, get along with the average person, and hold an average job." This clean‑cut college senior showed disdain for excelling thought, action and achievement in everything he said. "What do you mean by 'average'?" I asked him. After he had stated his conception of the average way of life‑‑one in which everything is reduced to its lowest common denominator‑‑I reminded him of a definition given by a wise sage many years ago: "Average is the worst of the best and the best of the worst." Such cutting, honest appraisal did not strike well with him. He began to chafe and rationalize. In defense of his mediocrity he advanced all sorts of excuses. This young student is not in minority. An ever‑increasing number are finding it easier all the while to barely get by, to make the passing grade, while meeting the mere minimum social responsibility. Where does all this second‑rate type of thinking and acting lead? The answer is obvious. Finding it difficult to compete with those who burned the midnight oil and excelled in their studies, the slovenly ones drop back or drop out. Since they had never made friends with books in school, the only type of reading after dropping out is comics, sex manuals, provided they are mostly pictures instead of narrative, or lurid sensational tabloids. As these dropouts grow older, they grow narrower. Since the brain was not expanded by arduous effort, it began to shrink. Many of the prejudiced, intolerant, superstitious throngs who make up our society come from this increasing group of young adults. The current popularity of masses and mobs in action often represents a tragic tale wherein individuals who have failed as persons, seek some type of self‑expression provided it is done in multitudes. These are the faceless, soulless ones who have not courage to admit their own inner failures. Instead, they go about the land, often unwashed and unkempt, championing causes or decrying involvement in anything that is law‑abiding or conventional. Many are as psychotic as they are pathetic; others are wickedly cynical. The whole motley crew of the dissident, disenchanted young adults should be shown far less favor and a hundred times less attention. Recognition and response to their offbeat egomania merely encourages their worthless parasitism.

‑‑‑Roy O. McClain, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 3, 1965.

It is said that no man is a failure until he becomes satisfied with himself. Is that statement sound? A man who is dissatisfied is discontented, he is disturbed, he is distressed. A man who is in that state of mind is not in a constructive state of mind. He is not in a frame of mind to do his best. Take a man who is disgruntled with his passion in some company, or with his pay. He is not a satisfactory employee. He is not likely to be promoted or even to hold his job. And the person who is dissatisfied with himself is not in a wholesome state of mind. He is almost sure to be melancholy which is a state of mind not conducive to success. Isn’t this the constructive attitude for a person to take toward his affairs? Shouldn’t he be grateful that he is as good as he is, and that he is as well placed as he is, yet be eager to make himself better and to improve his position? For a man to go around grouching to himself, is that a good thing to do? That would be discouraging to him, wouldn’t it?

---Wickes Wamboldt , Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 11, 1944.

Self‑improvement is not a gratuitous gift of life. It is not a budding or blossoming, naturally occurring through simple exposure to mortal minutes, days or years. Self‑improvement is the golden product of a consistently applied method. It does not derive from consistency only, for one can be constant in error; nor from action only, for one can be wasteful in motion; but it is the product of action harnessed and reined by particular method. The method is simple; we should, at the end of each active day, call ourselves to account. We should, as precisely and objectively as a doctor performing a post mortem operation, pick and examine and analyze the results produced in the application of self to the past day's goals and assignments. In this examination we should discover and cut out from each task performed the reason for success or failure. Then analyze the reason. If we have failed to do our best we must discover why and move to correct the cause of halfhearted effort. If we have done our best and yet failed we must review and analyze our motion, our words, and indeed all facets of our projection of ourselves, or of energy, or of message‑‑to discover our limitation‑‑then move on to improve on it. Even if our best has been crowned with success, we should perform this post‑mortem, for man's greatest vision lies in his hindsight, and there is learning in each task performed. Thus, even success can be improved upon. Through faithful, objective self‑analysis, the goals of yesterday truly may become the starting point of tomorrow. This is improvement‑‑this is progress.

‑‑‑R. Sherman Russell, Messenger, Minneapolis, Minn., April 1962.

This is a small world, but there is always room for improvement.

‑‑‑Phil H. Armstrong, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 17, 1922.

It is better to follow even the shadow of the best than to remain content with the worst.

---Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., March 11, 1931.

The surest way of making the world better is to begin with ourselves.

---Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, N.Y., Aug. 21, 1933.

More people are willing to do their level best than their uphill best.

---Carson City News, Carson City, Nev., Jan. 27, 1923.

There is so much room for improvement in some people that they will probably never be able to use it all up.

---New York Times, Aug. 14, 1910.

It's strange that so many people brag about being average. After all, average is the worst of the good and the best of the bad.

---San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 7, 1973.

If all the people who are trying to find out what is the matter with the world try to find out what is the matter with themselves there would be an immediate improvement.

---Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Nov. 9, 1922.

A man who brings out an improved model of himself each year, is apt to go far.

---Utah Farmer, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 10, 1936.

It will be well to be content with what you have when you have done the best you could. But it is never well to be satisfied with what you are, for there is always room for improvement.

—B.J.W. Graham, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., March 11, 1915.

Self-enlargement through self-improvement is like increasing the power of the telescope, enlarging the lens, increasing its magnifying power so one may see farther and more distinctly. It enlarges and clarifies the mental vision. The enlarging, increasing and intensifying of all of one's faculties, the constant effort to make one a larger man or a larger woman, broader, deeper. The intensifying of the mental faculties--this is what the great life school means to the determined soul, the aspiring soul.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 15, 1919.

There is no more pitiful object than the man who tries to live on his past achievements. ... Past achievement is no life preserver to float one on the surface of the stream of life. Its only present worth is the purpose and power it has developed with which to breast and buffet the oncoming waves. The problem of life is heartily to enjoy today; courageously to face tomorrow, and serenely to trust for the day following.

—William DeWitt Hyde, Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Me., June 24, 1895.

True nobility is not being superior to someone else, but being superior to your former self.

—Golden Driggs, As a Man Thinketh, Provo, Utah, April 13, 1970.

We will not improve our records until we know the causes of our shortcomings.

—Mattie M. Boteler, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 27, 1919.

We will not do much in the way of self-improvement till we have an honest look for our deficiencies. ... When we try to excuse ourselves for our deficiencies, we may plead lack of opportunity. Yet this is seldom a good excuse. Let us not think of the "golden opportunity" as something handed to us out of nowhere in particular. It may take hard digging to unearth opportunities that are more precious than rubies.

—Mattie M. Boteler, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, July 24, 1920.

No one can improve himself unless he improves his mind.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 17, 1947.

You can't croak and climb at the same time–unless you are a tree toad.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 30, 1920.

If what you did yesterday still looks pretty big to you, then you haven't done enough today.

—J.O. Jewett, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Jan. 21, 1954.

Improvement of any kind is an uphill business. To remain stationary or to fall down is a quality of inert matter. Such matter cannot of itself rise or change. It cannot improve itself. Man must exercise energy and intelligence if he is to rise or change. His will to do better, to do differently must overcome the tendency to remain as he is if he is to improve. And the growth that is true life demands a program of daily improvement: self-improvement, business improvement, social and pastime improvement. The first part of the efforts of improvement is that which is necessary to build a plan. What personal habits are to be corrected? What better business practices should be adopted? Another part of the effort of improvement arises out of the necessary checking up at regular intervals on the improvement program. Has today seen the wrong habit put away? The right one more firmly fixed? Has the new business practice been adhered to? The man who gets the improvement idea and keeps it will win. It is an uphill business and there is no lack of room above.

—Vernald William Johns, Garland Times, Garland, Utah, April 25, 1929.

People seldom improve as long as they are satisfied with themselves.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Jan. 16, 1936.

People seldom improve if they have no other model than themselves.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 9, 1936.

The soul of improvement is the improvement of the soul.

—Rasmus Thomsen, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, May 25, 1936.

The one who spends most of his time improving himself has little time left in which to find fault with others.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Jan. 10, 1948.

Most people can improve themselves by living up to their opinions of themselves.

River Press, Fort Benton, Mont., Sept. 7, 1938.

There is almost always room for improvement. A great deal of it, however, never gets beyond rumor for improvement.

—Jack Haney, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, La., March 10, 1926.

Some folks never can find room for improvement because they keep a "no vacancy" sign posted.

—John Mooney, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 8, 1958.

Be your chief competitor if you want to win in the battle of life. Strive to do a better job of living this year than you did last year.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., March 6, 1950.

Do your best today–and tomorrow's best will not seem so hard.

—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, May 5, 1955.

Some men never become quitters because they never start.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Sept. 24, 1938.

Always keep your own possibilities in view. Their utmost development should be the goal of your ambition. Your real competitor is yourself, your higher possible self, the man you are capable of measuring up to. You cannot in the nature of things climb higher than your own conception of your capabilities. What others do, so far as your individual power is concerned, has nothing whatever to do with you or your life work. Very often in competing with others there is no vestige of equality between them and ourselves because their real power, their unseen possibilities may be above or below your own. But when you enter into competition with your plus self, your possible self; when you analyze your talents and capabilities, you will not be so likely to overrate or to underrate them as if you were competing with others. This accurate view will be most helpful.

—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., June 21, 1918.

Nearly every hotel has a card furnished to every room upon which is printed "Do Not Disturb." The guest may hang this on the outside of the door and sleep on through the day. It may seem strange, or it may not, to know that some people hang this kind of a sign on their minds. They are well opposed to having anything like a new idea come in. They resent a suggestion for a better way of doing familiar things. There are too many who regard the suggestion of a new idea as a personal insult. They sleep away their lives in a half-conscious state, satisfied to repeat the threadbare phrases and time-worn ideas of the past. A phrase that would be suitable for them would be "Not dead, but sleepeth." Let it be resolved that we will not permit our minds to become a mental cemetery. Let us climb up out of the grave and live for today, leaving the old and defunct ideas and outdated prejudices behind. It would be well to start now to handle one important part of your life in a new way. It may surprise you how far you can go if you will break through the chains that have been fencing you in.

—Carlysle H. Holcomb, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Jan. 26, 1952.

We are so often the victims of figures of speech. We are accustomed to think of life as a journey, and one of our favorite figures is expressed in the saying, "We pass this way but once." This gives us the impression of passing incidents and experiences as we would mile posts and stations on a railway. ... As a matter of experience our figures of speech are totally misleading. These incidents and experiences of life, which we think we have left behind us; words which we have spoken and forgotten, acts which we say have gone into history, have a way of meeting us again--perchance standing athwart our pathway challenging our progress. We do not always recognize them, but the days which are gone, are not gone. Our yesterdays have a way of mingling with today, playing a potent part in our present. The truth is that one has no past. Growth is a far better figure of speech for life than to call it a journey. Today is the child of yesterday, and tomorrow's life will be born out of the motives, ideals and aspirations of today. We must understand that the words and deeds of today are the inevitable expressions of the convictions and decisions of our yesterdays. When we talk of meeting our past, what really happens is that we meet ourselves.

—M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 31, 1944.

Sometimes in our efforts to improve, ... we lose sight of the value of quality. ... Any endeavor to increase quantity should be paralleled with an attempt to augment quality. ... While perfection requires performance beyond mortal ability, we cannot compromise with ideals or ambitions less challenging. There is an old proverb that says, “Let us never be satisfied with anything less than the best we can do.”

—Lee A. Palmer, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1954.

What the future has in store for you depends largely on what you place in store for the future.

—Hamilton G. Park, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 6, 1947.


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