“What does it profit a man to have gained the whole world, and to have lost his soul?” – Jesus Christ
You don’t need to be Christian to see wisdom in the words of Jesus. Simple quotes from men and women around the world, from present day or milleniums past, inspire and instruct us, regardless of the religious or spiritual tradition they come from. Nor do spiritual and religious people have a monopoly on wisdom. Quotes that touch on the truth of a matter can come from scoundrels, saints, and ordinary people.
Why Wisdom Quotes?
“There are two great disappointments in life: Not getting what you want, and getting it.” – George Bernard Shaw
Philosophies and arguments try to “capture” truth in a net of words. This is often to build systems of knowledge, or to satify egos. Wisdom quotes use words to point at truth, so that you can look and see it for yourself. Let me give you an example.
A man hesitates to do what he loves for a living, because he may fail. Outside of mathematics, virtually all reasoning is tainted with rationalization, so whatever his choice, he will support it with “logical arguments.” No wonder he’s confused and demotivated! He can’t trust his own reasoning, if it just finds a logical construct for whichever fear, desire or other feeling is strongest!
Then Wayne Gretzky points out the obvious: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” This hockey metaphor touches him, precisely because it’s not a logical argument. It simply points out a truth he can see for himself. He won’t get anywhere without “taking that shot.” Seeing the truth is more motivating – and productive – than arguing it. That’s the value of wisdom quotes.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Steve Gillman writes on many topics including brainpower, weight loss, meditation, habits of mind, creative problem solving, generating luck and anything related to self improvement. Learn more and get FREE e-courses at