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William James Quotes

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

"The essence of genius is to know what to overlook."

"Objective evidence and certitude are doubtless very fine ideals to play with, but where on this moonlit and dream-visited planet are they found?"

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

"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."

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

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

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

"We can act as if there were a God; feel as if we were free; consider Nature as if she were full of special designs; lay plans as if we were to be immortal; and we find then that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life."

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

"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."

"Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake."

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

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

"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."

"Do every day or two something 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."

"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."

"There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation."

"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."

"Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our mental and physical resources."

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