Great Quotes on Thinking



“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”—Voltaire

Your thoughts can shape your feelings can shape your actions.  Thinking is powerful stuff whether you’re shaping your moment, or shaping your lifetime.

The real beauty is that thinking is a skill and you can develop throughout your lifetime.  To build our thinking skills, we can draw from the wisdom of the ages and modern sages.  And quotes are one of the best ways to do that.  Whether it’s positive thinking quotes, or critical thinking quotes, there are so many words of wisdom and sayings that make us think.  Perhaps one of the most powerful thoughts on thinking is this …

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.  Watch your words, for they become actions.  Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Unknown

Now, let’s turn wisdom into action and fill your quiver with arrows of action, and fill your mental toolbox with a garden of insight in the form of pithy prose, one-liner reminders, and quotable quotes.

To make the most of these thinking quotes, see if you can find three thinking quotes that you can use in some way or at least make you think.   There are no right answers here, only growth and greatness.  Here’s to your excellence.

Top 10 Quotes on Thinking

  1. “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” — William James
  2. “Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.” — Thomas Szasz
  3. Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” — Winnie the Pooh
  4. “Few minds wear out; more rust out.” — Christian N. Bovee
  5. It is well for people who think, to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean.” — Luther Burbank
  6. “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” — Benjamin Lee Whorf
  7. “Misery is almost always the result of thinking.” — Joseph Joubert
  8. “Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.” — Edward de Bono
  9. “Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” —  Ralph Waldo Emerson
  10. “What we think, we become.” — Buddha

While that’s a useful bunch to have under your belt, and you may have heard of many of these before, now take a waltz through the garden below and be sure to stop and smell the thinking quotes that bloom brightest for you.

Best Quotes on Thinking

Here is a collection of thinking quotes from A – Z for your browsing pleasure …

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.”

— Jerry Seinfeld

A good listener is usually thinking about something else.”

— Kin Hubbard

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

— William James

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

— Thomas Paine

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

“A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.”

— Soren Kierkegaard

“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.”

— Oscar Wilde

“An idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.”

— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

— Tony Robbins

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“An idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.”

— Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

“And these little things may not seem like much but after a while they take you off on a direction where you may be a long way off from what other people have been thinking about.”

— Roger Penrose

“And we’re seeing a higher level of consciousness and many more opportunities for people to challenge their present ways of thinking and move into a grander and larger experience of who they really are.”

— Neale Donald Walsch

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

As you begin changing your thinking, start immediately to change your behavior. Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become. Take action on your behavior. Too many people want to feel, then take action. This never works.”

— John Maxwell

“At a certain age some people’s minds close up; they live on their intellectual fat.”

–William Lyon Phelps

“Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”

— Alan Alda

“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.”

— Buckminster Fuller

“Believing is easier than thinking.  Hence so many more believers than thinkers.”

— Bruce Calvert

“Better to be without logic than without feeling.”

Charlotte Bronte

“Building art is a synthesis of life in materialized form. We should try to bring in under the same hat not a splintered way of thinking, but all in harmony together.”

— Alvar Aalto

“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.”

— Thomas Szasz

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?”

— Winnie the Pooh

“Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.”

— Arthur Miller

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”

— Ray Bradbury

“Doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd.”

— Voltaire

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.”

— Niels Bohr

“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”

— Khalil Gibran

“Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Few minds wear out; more rust out.”

— Christian N. Bovee

“Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”

— George Bernard Shaw

“Get into a line that you will find to be a deep personal interest, something you really enjoy spending twelve to fifteen hours a day working at, and the rest of the time thinking about.”

— Earl Nightingale

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

— Rick Warren

“I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I am not what I think. I am thinking what I think.”

— Eric Butterworth

“I began to realize that thinking itself is nothing but the process of asking and answering questions.”

— Tony Robbins

“I cannot cure myself of that most woeful of youth’s follies – thinking that those who care about us will care for the things that mean much to us.”

— David Herbert Lawrence

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.”

— Arthur C. Clarke

“I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking theres some kind of change.”

— Bob Dylan

“I grew up thinking that whatever I wanted to do, I could do.”

— Victoria Principal

“I have a different way of thinking. I think synergistically. I’m not linear in thinking, I’m not very logical.”

— Imelda Marcos

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me – shapes and ideas so near to me – so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn’t occurred to me to put them down.”

— Georgia O’Keeffe

“I knew I was a winner back in the late sixties. I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way – I hope it never will.”

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”

— Donald Trump

I like to think of thoughts as living blossoms borne by the human tree.”

— James Douglas

“I like what the future holds. I don’t like thinking about the past.”

— John Cale

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“I once tried thinking for an entire day, but I found it less valuable than one moment of study.”

— Xun Zi

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”

— Billy Joel

“I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking.”

— Joan Rivers

“I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”

—  Albert Einstein

“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.”

— Harold Kushner

I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”

— Peter De Vries

“I’m against fashionable thinking.”

— Herman Kahn

“I’ve never responded well to entrenched negative thinking.”

— David Bowie

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton

“If I look confused it is because I am thinking.”

— Samuel Goldwyn

“If the track is tough and the hill is rough, thinking you can just ain’t enough!”

— Shel Silverstein

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.”

— Desiderius Erasmus

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”

—  C.S. Lewis

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

— Bruce Lee

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”

— Lao Tzu

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

— James Thurber

“It is by not always thinking of yourself, if you can manage it, that you might somehow be happy. Until you make room in your life for someone as important to you as yourself, you will always be searching and lost.”

— Richard Bach

“It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”

— William Shakespeare

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.”

— Stephen Hawking

“It is well for people who think, to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean.”

— Luther Burbank

“It’s not the events that shape my life that determine how I feel and act, but, rather, it’s the way I interpret and evaluate my life experiences.”

— Tony Robbins

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

— Lao Tzu

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.”

— Benjamin Lee Whorf

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

— Winston Churchill

“Let your performance do the thinking.”

— Charlotte Bronte

“Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”

— Audrey Hepburn

“Logic teaches rules for presentation, not thinking.”

— Mason Cooley

Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.”

— Ambrose Bierce

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.”

— William James

“Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.”

— Mohandas Gandhi

“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.”

— Blaise Pascal

“Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”

— Virginia Woolf

“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.”

– Voltaire

“Men always do leave off really thinking, when the last bit of wild animal dies in them.”

— David Herbert Lawrence

“Men can live without air a few minutes, without water for about two weeks, without food for about two months – and without a new thought for years on end.”

— Kent Ruth

“Mental fight means thinking against the current, not with it. It is our business to puncture gas bags and discover the seeds of truth.”

— Virginia Woolf

“Misery is almost always the result of thinking.”

— Joseph Joubert

“Most of one’s life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.”

— Aldous Huxley

“Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.”

— Edward de Bono

“Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins.”

— Carlos Santana

“Most people are unable to write because they are unable to think, and they are unable to think because they congenitally lack the equipment to do so, just as they congenitally lack the equipment to fly over the moon.”

—  Henry Louis Mencken

“My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.”

— Billy Connolly

“My hand is the extension of the thinking process – the creative process.”

— Tadao Ando

“My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.”

— Jean-Paul Sartre

“No amount of energy will take the place of thought.  A strenuous life with its eyes shut is a kind of wild insanity.”

— Henry Van Dyke

“No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.” — Terry Josephson

“No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form. The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking.”

J. P. Morgan

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”


“Nothing comes merely by thinking about it.”

— John Wanamaker

“Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all.”

— G.C. Lichtenberg

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.”

— Carl G. Jung

“One ought to look a good deal at oneself before thinking of condemning others.”

– Moliere

“Opinion is that exercise of the human will which helps us to make a decision without information.”

— John Erskine

“Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.”

— Anonymous

“Our minds are lazier than our bodies.”

— François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

“Our thinking and our behaviour are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based.”

— Deepak Chopra

Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.”

— Howard Mumford Jones

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

— Soren Kierkegaard

“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”

—  Anthony de Mello

“People who say they don’t care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.”

— George Carlin

“Physiological response to thinking and to pain is the same; and man is not given to hurting himself.”

— Martin H. Fischer

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

— Elbert Hubbard

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” — Zig Ziglar

“Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.”

— Tommy Lasorda

“Pride is pleasure arising from a man’s thinking too highly of himself.”

— Baruch Spinoza

“Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference.”

— Karl Von Clausewitz

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”

— John Locke

“Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.”

— Arthur Schopenhauer

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

— Edmund Burke

“Romance is thinking about your significant other, when you are supposed to be thinking about something else.”

— Nicholas Sparks

Sad people dislike the happy, and the happy the sad; the quick thinking the sedate, and the careless the busy and industrious.”

– Horace

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

— Carl Sagan

“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.”

— Wayne Dyer

“Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.”

— James Thurber

“Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.”

— G. Behn

“Some people do not become thinkers simply because their memories are too good.”

— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

“Some years ago, I wrote a book called the Emperor’s New Mind and that book was describing a point of view I had about consciousness and why it was not something that comes about from complicated calculations.”

— Roger Penrose

“Sometimes I think and other times I am.”

— Paul Valéry

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Bill Gates

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte

“Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.”

— Joseph Addison

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”

— Norbet Platt

The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life.  The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of clichés.”

— H.L. Mencken

“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

— David Ogilvy

“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”

— Thomas A. Edison

The best way of forgetting how you think you feel is to concentrate on what you know you know.”

— Mary Stewart

“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.”

— John Kenneth Galbraith

“The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it.”

— H.G. Wells

“The ‘how’ thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile ‘ifs’.”

—  Norman Vincent Peale

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

— Alice Walker

“The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.”

— Martin Heidegger

The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.”

— Robert H. Schuller

The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than others are saying.”

— Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.”

— Charles R. Swindoll

“The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”

— A. A. Milne

“The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have.”

— John Locke

“The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.”

— Will Durant

The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.”

— Samuel Johnson

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”

— Tony Robbins

“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

“There are different rules for reading, for thinking, and for talking. Writing blends all three of them.”

— Mason Cooley

There are some days I practice positive thinking, and other days I’m not positive I am thinking.”

— John M. Eades

“There are two distinct classes of what are called thoughts: those that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord.”

— Thomas Paine

“There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.”

— Georg C. Lichtenberg

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”

— Paramahansa Yogananda

“There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.”

— Clarence Day

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.”

— Thomas A. Edison

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.” – Voltaire

“Thinking about the universe has now been handed over to specialists. The rest of us merely read about it.”

Mason Cooley

“Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought.”

— Martin Heidegger

“Thinking in its lower grades is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms it is a kind of poetry.”

— Havelock Ellis

“Thinking is like loving and dying.  Each of us must do it for himself.”

— Josiah Royce

“Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thinking is one thing no one has ever been able to tax.”

— Charles Kettering

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

— Henry Ford

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.”

— Robert Frost

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.”

W. Clement Stone

Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.”

– Plato

“Those who know how to think need no teachers.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

“Thought is action in rehearsal.” — Anonymous“Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.”

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny.”

— Tryon Edwards

“Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man.  But they don’t bite everybody.”

— Stanislaw Lec

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

— William James

“To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.”

— Og Mandino

To get others to come into our ways of thinking, we must go over to theirs; and it is necessary to follow, in order to lead.”

— William Hazlitt

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

— John F. Kennedy

“Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can’t. The brain doesn’t process negatives.”

— Doug Coupland

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

— Marcus Aurelius

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.”

—  Buddha

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

— Albert Einstein

“We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. In that race which daily hastens us towards death, the body maintains its irreparable lead.”

— Albert Camus

“We teach people that they upset themselves. We can’t change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.”

— Albert Ellis

“What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking.”

– Voltaire

“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”

— Abraham Lincoln

When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.”

— Thomas Paine

When people talk of the freedom of writing, speaking or thinking I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.”

— John Adams

“When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.”

– Plato

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”

— Joseph Campbell

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.”

— Carter G. Woodson

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.”

— William James

“Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.”

— William Zinsser

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”

— Isaac Asimov

“You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think.”

Walter Anderson

“You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”

—  Tom Brokaw

“You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see.”

— Tadao Ando

“You must continue to gain expertise, but avoid thinking like an expert.”

— Denis Waitley

“You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

— J. K. Rowling

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”

— Alan Watts


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  1. Amazing ! Thanks J.D. for such powerful words in one post.
    Among the first 100, I like the idea of not thinking about the past and enjoying what the future holds. However, I’ve to admit its not easy at times specially when things or people behavior happen and we don’t really know why.
    I will start to make use of them….right now.

  2. Another great list of quotes to draw from.:)

    “The ‘how’ thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile ‘ifs’.” – Norman Vincent Peale

    My favorite of the above is #137 because this is where i struggle at times. It has always been too easy for me to let my thought processes go the route of “what might have been”.

    Weird as it may sound, while am there i actually feel detached from the current reality and feel slightly better in the sense that my situation could have been solved by “one mere step”…

    But after going for the brief high, i go down to reality and see the problem is unchanged and feel worse that i cannot go back in time to take that “other choice”. Then it is a toss up of reviewing and doing the workable options i have now (which is what i could’ve done from the very beginning) or a state of paralysis and feeling very low.

    The futile “ifs” and “what might have been” thinking is a quick fix for escapists leading to a path of more despair

  3. Incredible list J.D,
    My whole take on this is summarised by a quote/statement I came accross a little while back from Mike Dooley, ‘Notes from the Universe’ , ‘Manifesting Change’ fame
    “Thoughts become things, choose the good ones”… is so simple, easy to remember and makes perfect sense. Thanks again J.D , your research/presentation makes illuminating reading.
    be good to yourself

  4. Wow, J.D. that’s a lot of quotes. I didn’t get a chance to read through them all, but I skipped around here and there. I love Buddha’s: ““What we think, we become.” Ain’t that the truth!

    Thanks for putting this together.

  5. @ Patrick — Thank you!

    Yeah, when we don’t know why, it can frustrating. That’s why I think having a lot of lenses to draw from and making useful assumptions are helpful.

    @ Riza — Thank you.

    That’s a powerful way to build your foresight, and in terms of hindsight, I think the best we can do is find the lesson and carry it forward. It might suck, but I think there’s solace in the fact, that it’s the best we can do, until we master time travel.

    @ David — Thank you.

    Beautiful, simple, sticky, and powerful — I like that on multiple levels. I especially like that it puts the power of choice in your hands, starting with the most important and basic building block … the thoughts you think.

    @ Jk — There were more, but I ran out of ink 😉

    Hopping around is a good thing — I’m a fan of scanning (I try to cast a wide net, before drilling in.) Yeah, Budda really knows how to nail the prose. It’s always punchy and precise … just what the philosopher ordered.

  6. “The dissenter is every human being at those times of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.”-
    Archibald Macleish (1892-1982)
    Poet, playwright, Librarian of Congress, & Assistant Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt

  7. My compliments on your site. Well done. Excellent. This site is packed with useful information. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


  8. Hi JD .. excellent to know this list is here – added to your resources .. and to have Thinking Quotes .. makes us use the active verb ‘to think’ .. so it’s not just quotes .. great thought – cheers Hilary

  9. @ Mike — Very nice!

    @ Julie — Thank you. It’s a journey.

    @ Hilary — Yes, “great thought” 🙂

    I couldn’t believe I hadn’t covered thinking quotes before. I have a lot of ground to still cover, and it’s all part of the journey.

  10. Hey J.D.,

    I’m a complete quote junkie and actually just finished rounding up some quotes for my latest life shop.

    Quotes have acted as hands lifting me up and out of my rut.

    Really love this one because it’s so true. My heart questions the insanity I see. My thinking was trained to along with the program. My heart got me to change my thinking. It’s a neat check and balance we need to listen to more.

    “People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” – Anthony de Mello



  11. You have collated an amazing list of thinking quotes. Wow!! I like inspiring quotes too. It’s great to be reminded that we have the ability to change our thinking, which then influences our reality.

  12. @ Giulietta — I know what you mean about quotes lifting up out of a rut. I find the right words really help me either change paths, get it in gear, or, if nothing else, reaffirm I’m on track.

    Anthony articulated very well what Drucker, de Bono and others great thinkers have taught us about thinking.

    @ Evelyn — Thank you! Early on I realized that we ultimately share wisdom through little sayings, quotes, and one-liner reminders. I made it a habit to hunt, gather, collect, and organize all the gems I could find.

    I’m always amazed by just how much our reality can shift, by shifting our thinking. The fastest way to change our world is to change ourselves, and the fastest way to change ourselves is to change our thinking.

  13. I enjoyed that Albert quote on thinking. I think the more we allow ourselves to think, the smarter we become. Why? We formulate our own ideas and ideologies about life, who we are, the environment we live in and the people that surround us. Thinking is the most powerful and productive thing we CAN do. Refusing to numb our minds with B.S is the first step.

  14. @ Jonathan — Yes, thinking gets better with practice. And the keys to better thinking are asking better questions, switching perspectives, and testing assumptions.

  15. “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.- Watch your words, for they become actions.- Watch your actions, for they become habits.- Watch your habits, for they become character.- Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Charles Reade.

    Reade, English, 19th c. author, is credited with the quote “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny”. These days often adapted to “Mind your thoughts for they become your words; mind your words for they become your actions; mind your actions for they become your habits; mind your habits for they become your character; watch your character for they become your destiny.” (Recently quoted in The Iron Lady (2011) by Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher)

  16. I cannot remember where I saw this one.

    “Make a man Believe you have made him think and he will love you. Make a man Actually think, (to truly challenge his prejudices and thoughts) and he will Hate you until you die.”

    It’s serious paraphrase I just cannot remember where I saw it or who to attribute it to.

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