Quotations by William James

106 Found
Displaying 1 through 50


Born: Tuesday, January 11, 1842
Died: Friday, August 26, 1910 (68 years old)
Profession: Philosopher
Nationality: American


'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
(Keywords: Life, Experience, Name, Reflection)

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.
- William James
(Keywords: Life)

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
- William James
(Keywords: People, Thinking)

A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him.
- William James
(Keywords: Man)

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
- William James
(Keywords: Acceptance, Consequences, First, Misfortune, Overcoming)

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
- William James
(Keywords: Act, Difference)

Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.
- William James
(Keywords: Happiness, Action, May)

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.
- William James
(Keywords: Action, Control, Feeling, Will)

An act has no ethical quality whatever unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible.
- William James
(Keywords: Quality, Act)

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.
- William James
(Keywords: Idea, Force)

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
- William James
(Keywords: Acceptance, Consequences, First, Misfortune, Overcoming)

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.
- William James
(Keywords: Now, Will)

Belief creates the actual fact.
- William James
(Keywords: Belief, Fact)

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
- William James
(Keywords: Life, Belief, Fact, Help, Living, Will, Worth)

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
(Keywords: Humor, Common sense, Dancing)

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

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.
- William James
(Keywords: Habits, State, Walking, Will)

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.
- William James
(Keywords: May, Reason)

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.
- William James
(Keywords: Force, Holiday, Man)

Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.
- William James
(Keywords: Day, Practice)

Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.
- William James
(Keywords: Faith, Belief, Doubt)

Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
- William James
(Keywords: Genius)

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

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
(Keywords: Happiness, Men, Fact, Gain, Motive)

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.
- William James
(Keywords: Mind)

I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing.
- William James

I will act as if what I do makes a difference.
- William James
(Keywords: Act, Difference, Will)

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

If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.
- William James
(Keywords: Experience)

If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door.
- William James
(Keywords: God, Grace)

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
(Keywords: Change, Feeling, Future, Past, Reality, Will)

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.
- William James
(Keywords: Care, Result, Will)

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.
- William James
(Keywords: Quality, Act, Want)

In business for yourself, not by yourself.
- William James
(Keywords: Business)

In the dim background of mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start.
- William James
(Keywords: Mind)

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
(Keywords: Work, Character, Events, Fact, Feeling, Individuality, World)

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver.
- William James
(Keywords: Life, Living, Worth)

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
(Keywords: Faith, Result)

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
- William James
(Keywords: Successful, Attitude, Beginning, Will)

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
(Keywords: Age, Character, Will, World)

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
- William James
(Keywords: Wrong)

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
(Keywords: Life, Knowledge, Being, Occupation)

Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference.
- William James
(Keywords: Difference)

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.
- William James
(Keywords: Life, Man, Thinking)

Man lives for science as well as bread.
- William James
(Keywords: Science, Man)

Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
- William James
(Keywords: People, Thinking)

Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.
- William James
(Keywords: Effort, Metaphysics, Nothing)

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.
- William James
(Keywords: People, First, Wind)

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
(Keywords: Opportunity, Character, Maxims, May)

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
- William James
(Keywords: Nothing)



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