William James - Quotes

There are 101 quotes by William James at 95quotes.com. Find your favorite quotations and top quotes by William James from this hand-picked collection about life, faith, thinking, change, truth, attitude. Feel free to share these quotes and sayings on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr & Twitter or any of your favorite social networking sites.

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. ---->>>

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Time itself comes in drops. ---->>>

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

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

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

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

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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

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

Do something everyday for no other reason than you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test. ---->>>

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. ---->>>

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

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

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.

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.

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking. ---->>>

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. ---->>>

Belief creates the actual fact.

Belief creates the actual fact.

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ---->>>

To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal. ---->>>

One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling. ---->>>

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. ---->>>

We don't laugh because we're happy - we're happy because we laugh. ---->>>

What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise although the philosophers generally call it recognition! ---->>>

To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.

To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver. ---->>>

Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.

Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.

Truth is what works. ---->>>

I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing. ---->>>

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. ---->>>

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ---->>>

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.

When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.

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

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

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not. ---->>>

Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice. ---->>>

The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck. ---->>>

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

Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.

Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---->>>

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

Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. ---->>>

Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake. ---->>>

The sovereign cure for worry is prayer. ---->>>

In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start. ---->>>

Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ---->>>

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

Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference. ---->>>

There is an organic affinity between joyousness and tenderness, and their companionship in the saintly life need in no way occasion surprise. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick. ---->>>

If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door. ---->>>

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community. ---->>>

We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be. ---->>>

The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it. ---->>>

We are doomed to cling to a life even while we find it unendurable. ---->>>

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

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

Man lives for science as well as bread. ---->>>

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

There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers. ---->>>

To be conscious means not simply to be, but to be reported, known, to have awareness of one's being added to that being. ---->>>

An act has no ethical quality whatever unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible. ---->>>

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation. ---->>>

Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way. ---->>>

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

Our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout. ---->>>

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

To be a real philosopher all that is necessary is to hate some one else's type of thinking. ---->>>

The 'I think' which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the 'I breathe' which actually does accompany them. ---->>>

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioned our characters in the wrong way. ---->>>

Our errors are surely not such awfully solemn things. In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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.

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.

To be radical, an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced. ---->>>

'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. ---->>>

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. ---->>>

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!

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!

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.

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.

Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly. ---->>>

To spend life for something which outlasts it. ---->>>

A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him. ---->>>

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

Where quality is the thing sought after, the thing of supreme quality is cheap, whatever the price one has to pay for it. ---->>>

In business for yourself, not by yourself. ---->>>

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.

Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
Born: January 11, 1842
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Die: 08-26, 1910
Occupation: Philosopher
Website:

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labeled him the "Father of American psychology" (wikipedia)