William James Quotes

- Notable William James Quotes Index -

Born: January 11, 1842,
Birth Country:
Died: , August 26, 1910
Occupation: Academic

1.
'Pure experience' is the name I gave to the immediate flux of life which furnishes the material to our later reflection with its conceptual categories.
- William James

2.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.
- William James

3.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
- William James

4.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
- William James

5.
Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.
- William James

6.
Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.
- William James

7.
Belief creates the actual fact.
- William James

8.
Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
- William James

9.
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
- William James

10.
Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.
- William James

11.
Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.
- William James

12.
How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.
- William James

13.
If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.
- William James

14.
If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door.
- William James

15.
If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.
- William James

16.
If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.
- William James

17.
If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.
- William James

18.
In business for yourself, not by yourself.
- William James

19.
Individuality is founded in feeling and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done.
- William James

20.
It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.
- William James

21.
It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
- William James

22.
It is well for the world that in most of us, by the age of thirty, the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.
- William James

23.
Knowledge about life is one thing effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.
- William James

24.
Man lives for science as well as bread.
- William James

25.
Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.
- William James

26.
No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better.
- William James

27.
Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case.
- William James

28.
Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.
- William James

29.
Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.
- William James

30.
The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.
- William James

31.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
- William James

32.
The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves one.
- William James

33.
The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.
- William James

34.
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James

35.
The god whom science recognizes must be a God of universal laws exclusively, a God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his processes to the convenience of individuals.
- William James

36.
The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
- William James

37.
The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.
- William James

38.
The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.
- William James

39.
The ideas gained by men before they are twenty-five are practically the only ideas they shall have in their lives.
- William James

40.
The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour.
- William James

41.
The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.
- William James

42.
There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.
- William James

43.
There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any attitude which we denominate religious. If glad, it must not grin or snicker if sad, it must not scream or curse.
- William James

44.
This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it.
- William James

45.
Those thoughts are truth which guide us to beneficial interaction with sensible particulars as they occur, whether they copy these in advance or not.
- William James

46.
Time itself comes in drops.
- William James

47.
To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.
- William James

48.
To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.
- William James

49.
Truth is what works.
- William James

50.
Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them.
- William James

51.
We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.
- William James

52.
We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.
- William James

53.
Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap kind!
- William James

54.
Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.
- William James

55.
Wisdom is learning what to overlook.
- William James

Quotes by William James

Quote Lite Home