All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.
Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.
Lose this day loitering
'Twill be the same old story,
Tomorrow and the next,
Even more dilatory.
Whatever you would do,
Or dream of doing, begin it!
Boldness has power, genius, and magic in it.
Begin it now.
Merely to breathe freely does not mean to live.
[Ger., Frei athmen macht das Leben nicht allein.]
Yes! to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
The last result of wisdom stamps it true;
He only earns his freedom and existence
Who daily conquers them anew.
Nothing is as terrible to see as ignorance in action.
The main thing is to have a soul that loves the truth and harbours it where he finds it. And another thing: truth requires constant repetition, because error is being preached about us all the time, and not only by isolated individuals but by the masses. In the newspapers and encyclopedias, in schools and universities, everywhere error rides high and basks in the consciousness of having the majority on its side.
How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking; always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Talent develops in tranquillity, character in the full current of human life.
Legislators and revolutionaries who promise equality and liberty at the same time are either psychopaths or mountebanks.
The best of all government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
He alone deserves liberty and life who daily must win them anew.
Tolerance comes of age. I see no fault committed that I myself could not have committed at some time or other.
The moment men obtain perfect freedom, that moment they erect a stage for the manifestation of their faults. The strong characters begin to go wrong by excess of energy; the weak by remissness of action.
What is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
I always had an aversion to your apostles of freedom; each but sought for himself freedom to do what he liked.
Some books seem to have been written not to teach us anything, but to let us know that the author has known something.