An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time being; but whichever it is, he should steadily focus his thought forces upon the object which he has set before him. He should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must until weakness is overcome), the strength of character gained will be the measure of his true success, and this will form a new starting point for future power and triumph.


James Allen (1864-1912, British-born American essayist, author, "As A Man Thinketh")


Above all be of single aim; have a legitimate and useful purpose, and devote yourself unreservedly to it.


James Allen (1864-1912, British-born American essayist, author, "As A Man Thinketh")


To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment; who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully.


James Allen (1864-1912, British-born American essayist, author, "As A Man Thinketh")


What allows us, as human beings, to psychologically survive life on earth, with all of its pain, drama, and challenges, is a sense of purpose and meaning


Barbara De Angelis (American expert on relationship & love, author)


You have to know what is right for you and go after it regardless of what others say.


Les Brown (1945-, American speaker, author, trainer, motivator,)


There may be ways in which we can work for change. We don't have to do dramatic things or devote our entire lives to it. We can lead normal lives but at the same time try hard not to be bystanders.


Helen Bamber


Never be afraid to treat the path alone. Know which is your path and follow it wherever it may lead you; do not feel you have to follow in someone else's footsteps.


Gita Bellin


From the first, I made my learning, what little it was, useful every way I could.


Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955, American educator, consultant for the U.S. government)


The first principle of ethical power is Purpose. By purpose, I don't mean your objective or intention -- something toward which you are always striving. Purpose is something bigger. It is the picture you have of yourself -- the kind of person you want to be or the kind of life you want to lead.


Ken Blanchard (American business lecturer, author)

Author's website:


What we must try to be, of course, is ourselves and wholeheartedly. We must find out what we really are and what we really want.


Nelson Boswell


I just wake up and say, "You're a bum, go do something worthwhile today."


Garth Brooks (1962-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.


John Mason Brown (1800-1859, American militant abolitionist)


If you don't stand up for something, you may fall for anything.


Les Brown (1945-, American speaker, author, trainer, motivator,)


Irrigators guide water; arrow-makers straighten arrows; carpenters bend wood; wise people shape themselves.


Buddha (568-488 BC, Indian born, founder of Buddhism)


Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.


Buddha (568-488 BC, Indian born, founder of Buddhism)


What mankind wants is not talent; it is purpose.


Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873, British novelist, poet)


Each of our acts makes a statement as to our purpose.


Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998, American expert on love, lecturer, author)


Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood ... but everyone has something to give.


Barbara Bush (1925-, American First Lady, wife of George H. Bush)


The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder -- waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


The purpose of man is in action not thought.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is.


Amy Carmichael (1867-1951, Irish missionary)


Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.


Dale Carnegie (1888-1955, American trainer, author, "How to Win Friends and Influence People")


The first thing to do in life is to do with purpose what one purposes to do.


Pablo Casals (1876-1973, Spanish cellist, conductor, composer)


By the street of by-and-by, one arrives at the house of never.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.


Norman Cousins (1915-1990, American editor, humanitarian, author)


The sense of paralysis proceeds not so much out of the mammoth size of the problem but out of the puniness of the purpose.


Norman Cousins (1915-1990, American editor, humanitarian, author)


Thus happiness depends, as nature shows, less on exterior things than most suppose.


William Cowper (1731-1800, British poet)


Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


The secret to success is constancy of purpose.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


A just cause is not ruined by a few mistakes.


Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881, Russian novelist)


The secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to live for.


Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881, Russian novelist)


To give life a meaning, one must have a purpose larger than self.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.


Wayne Dyer (1940-, American  psychotherapist, author, lecturer)

Author's website:


The only failure a man ought to fear is failure in cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


What makes life dreary is the want of a motive.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


I know of no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that of tenacity of purpose...


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Men achieve a certain greatness unawares, when working to another aim.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Be the business never so painful, you may have it done for money.


Thomas Fuller (1608-1661, British clergyman, author)


Many good purposes lie in the churchyard.


Philip Henry


The world makes way for a man who knows where he is going.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Bring me men to match my mountains: Bring me men to match my plains: Men with empires in their purpose and new eras in their brains.


Sam Walter Foss


Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.


Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997, Austrian psychiatrist, author, "Man's Search for Meaning")


There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by unfolding of his powers.


Erich Fromm (1900-1980, American psychologist)


It is good to follow one's own bent, so long as it leads upward.


Andre Gide (1869-1951, French author)


A purpose you impart is no longer your own.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


Every person above the ordinary has a certain mission that they are called to fulfill.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


To the person with a firm purpose, all men and things are servants.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


What is my life if I am no longer useful to others?


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


At a turbulent public meeting once I lost my temper and said some harsh and sarcastic things. The proposal I was supporting was promptly defeated. My father who was there, said nothing, but that night, on my pillow I found a marked passage from Aristotle:


Arthur Gordon


The purpose in life is to collaborate for a common cause; the problem is nobody seems to know what it is.


Gerhard Gschwandtner


I think that a lot of women are made to feel that they have not done the one thing that they were put on the earth to do if they didn't do the normal thing, if they didn't take the most traveled path. And it's unfortunate.


Nanci Griffith (1954-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


Many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose, an objective toward which to work.


George Halas (1895-1983, American football coach)


Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.


Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961, Swedish statesman, Secretary-General of the UN)


The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, Who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.


Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961, Swedish statesman, Secretary-General of the UN)


I was once the typical daughter, then the easily recognizable wife, and then the quintessential mother. I seem always to have reminded people of someone in their family. Perhaps I am just the triumph of Plain Jane.


Helen Hayes (1900-1993, American actress)


It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.


Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961, American writer)


Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do.


Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003, American actress, writer)


Action must be taken at once! There is no time to be lost.


Miguel Hidalgo


Multitudes of people, drifting aimlessly to and fro without a set purpose, deny themselves such fulfillment of their capacities, and the satisfying happiness which attends it. They are not wicked, they are only shallow. They are not mean or vicious; they simply are empty -- shake them and they would rattle like gourds. They lack range, depth, and conviction. Without purpose their lives ultimately wander into the morass of dissatisfaction. As we harness our abilities to a steady purpose and undertake the long pull toward its accomplishment, rich compensations reward us. A sense of purpose simplifies life and therefore concentrates our abilities; and concentration adds power.


Kenneth Hildebrand (1944-, American author)


Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes; lesser ones exist on wishes and inclinations.


Kenneth Hildebrand (1944-, American author)


By the age of twenty, any young man should know whether or not he is to be a specialist and just where his tastes lie. By postponing the question, we have set on immaturity a premium which controls most American personality to its deathbed.


Robert S. Hillyer


We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also something to give meaning to our suffering. We need as much something to suffer for as something to live for.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


For I say unto you in all sadness of conviction that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone -- when you have felt around you are a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and despair have trusted to your own unshaken will -- then only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten men who have never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought -- the subtle rapture of postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army. And if this joy should not be yours, still it is only thus you can know that you have done what lay in you to do -- can say that you have lived, and be ready for the end.


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935, American judge)


The only way you can be successful on a post or win at it is to be at cause over it.


L. Ron Hubbard (1911-, American author, philosopher, founder of Scientology)


The meaning of life is to give life meaning.


Ken Hudgins


Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.


Washington Irving (1783-1859, American author)


Though I have no productive worth, I have a certain indestructible quantity.


Alice James (1848-1892, American diarist, sister of William James)


God wastes nothing.


Jan Karon


There is something in benevolent purpose, as well as in industry, that cheers and supports the mind.


Hannah Farnham Lee


The aims of life are the best defense against death.


Primo Levi (1919-1987, Italian chemist, author)


Only the consciousness of a purpose that is mightier than any man and worthy of all men can fortify and inspirit and compose the souls of men.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Fear God and work hard.


David Livingstone (1813-1873, British missionary, explorer)


The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.


Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527, Italian author, statesman)


A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.


Malcolm X (1925-1965, American black leader, activist)


I see no business in life but the work of Christ.


Henry Martyn


The presence of a long-term, conscious goal has helped me maintain stability through the ubiquitous changes of over half a century.


Craig Mary


Make sure the thing you're living for is worth dying for.


Charles Mayes


It's this no-nonsense side of women that is pleasant to deal with. They are the real sportsmen.


Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978, American poet, author)


To be a housewife is ... a difficult, a wrenching, sometimes ungrateful job if it's looked on as only a job. Regarded as a profession, it is the noblest as it is the most ancient of the catalog. Let none persuade us differently, or the world will be lost indeed.


Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978, American poet, author)


If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.


Margaret Mead (1901-1978, American anthropologist)


The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost; to be everywhere, is to be nowhere.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


Give me a man who says, "This one thing I do," and not, "These fifty things, I dabble in."


Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899, American evangelist)


Lack of something to feel important about is almost the greatest tragedy a man may have.


Arthur E. Morgan (1878-1976, American engineer, educator)


There is no road to success but through a clear strong purpose. Nothing can take its place. A purpose underlies character, culture, position, attainment of every part.


Thornton T. Munger (American scientist)


You are only as strong as your purpose, therefore let us choose reasons to act that are big, bold, righteous and eternal.


Barry Munro (American writer and speaker)


To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.


Anais Nin (1914-1977, French-born American novelist, dancer)


It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.


Mary O'Connor (1925-1964, American writer)


The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.


Thomas Paine (1737-1809, Anglo-American political theorist, writer)


Purpose is what gives life a meaning.


Charles H. Parkhurst (1842-1933, American clergyman, reformer)


When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.


Patanjali (Indian philosopher)


It is your work in life that is your ultimate seduction.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


A pilgrim is a wanderer with purpose.


Peace Pilgrim (1908-1981, American peace activist)


The whole life is but a point of time; let us enjoy it, therefore, while it lasts, and not spend it to no purpose.


Plutarch (46-120, Greek essayist, biographer)


Mix a conviction with a man and something happens.


Adam Clayton Powell (1908-, African-American politician)


I live for my sons. I would be lost without them.


Princess Diana (1961-1997, British Princess)


No one sat me down with a piece of paper and said, “This is what is expected of you." But… I’m lucky enough in the fact that I have found my role… I love being with people.


Princess Diana (1961-1997, British Princess)


Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love; and then we return home.


Australian Proverb


Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question, then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being.


James Redfield (1950-, American author, "The Celestine Prophesy")


We may fail of our happiness, strive we ever so bravely; but we are less likely to fail if we measure with judgment our chances and our capabilities.


Agnes Repplier (1858-1950, American author, social critic)


Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves you.


Anthony Robbins (1960-, American author, speaker, peak performance expert, coach)

Author's website:


It is essential that we enable young people to see themselves as participants in one of the most exciting eras in history, and to have a sense of purpose in relation to it.


Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979, American statesman)


Our chief usefulness to humanity rests on our combining power with high purpose. Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity, and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking.


Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919,  American President (26th))


To be a Sufi is to cease from taking trouble; and there is no greater trouble for thee than thine own self, for when thou art occupied with thyself, thou remainest away from God.


Abu Sa'id


How could there be any question of acquiring or possessing, when the one thing needful for a man is to become -- to be at last, and to die in the fullness of his being.


Antoine De Saint-Exupery (1900-1944, French aviator, writer)


In a just cause the weak will beat the strong.


Sophocles (495-406 BC, Greek tragic poet)


Man becomes greater in proportion to knowing himself and his faculties. Let him become conscious of what he is and he will soon also learn what he should be.


Felix E. Schelling (1858-1945, American educator)


The surest sign of fitness is success.


Olive Schreiner


People should follow their own energy.


Will Schultz


My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right.


Charles M. Schulz (1922-, American cartoonist, creator of "Peanuts")


Why do I not seek some real good; one which I could feel, not one which I could display?


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


What we determine we often break. Purpose is but the slave to memory.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Better to die of something than to die in old age of nothing.


Al Sharpman


We know there is intention and purpose in the universe, because there is intention and purpose in us.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose -- a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851, British novelist)


There is no better test of a man's work than time, which also reveals the thoughts which lay hidden in his breast.




They are not only idle who do nothing, but they are idle also who might be better employed.


Socrates (BC 469-399, Greek philosopher of Athens)


Take us on the quest of service, Kingly servant of man's needs. Let us work with Thee for others, Anywhere Thy purpose leads.


Eleanor B. Stock


Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.


Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910, Russian novelist, philosopher)


Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.


Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910, Russian novelist, philosopher)


We are all designed for a specific purpose; we all have something for which each of us, and each of us alone, is responsible.


Naomi Stephan


The crowning blessing of life is to be born with a bias to some pursuit.


S. G. Tallentyre (1858-?, British writer)


One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: Psalms 27:4


Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: Philippians 1:27


Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: 2 Corinthians 5:20


Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.


James Thurber (1894-1961, American humorist, illustrator)


Every man is occasionally visited by the suspicion that the planet on which he is riding is not really going anywhere; that the Force which controls its measured eccentricities hasn't got anything special in mind. If he broods on this somber theme long enough he gets the doleful idea that the laughing children on a merry-go-round or the thin, fine hands of a lady's watch are revolving more purposely than he is.


James Thurber (1894-1961, American humorist, illustrator)


Anyone can live heroically and successfully for one day. The man who achieves a high purpose makes that day the pattern for all the days of his life.


Author Unknown


Are we interested in sight seeing or soul saving?


Author Unknown


Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose.


Author Unknown


By doing nothing we learn to do ill.


Author Unknown


He who clings to life shall lose it -- but losing it in a right cause will gain it.


Author Unknown


Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.


Author Unknown


Pep without purpose is piffle.


Author Unknown


Stay focused and stay curious. Do what you say you will do.


Author Unknown


What on earth are you doing for Heaven's sake?


Author Unknown


Your cause belongs to those that can avenge your wrongs.


Author Unknown


Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our duty is to furnish it well.


Peter Ustinov (1921-, British actor, writer, director)


Winners are people with definite purpose in life.


Denis Waitley (1933-, American author, speaker, trainer, peak performance expert)

Author's website:


I was not a classic mother. But my kids were never palmed off to boarding school. So, I didn't bake cookies.You can buy cookies, but you can't buy love.


Raquel Welch (1940-, American actress)


I am an ordinary person, but carried to extremes.


Fay Weldon (1933-, British novelist)


Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.


Westminster Confession of Faith


You can come to understand your purpose in life by slowing down and feeling your heart's desires.


Marcia Wieder (American speaker, trainer, author)


The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us.


Marianne Williamson (1952-, American author, lecturer on spirituality)


You, betrayed by time and space, seek and find your proper place.


Her Majesty's Wizard


For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren't able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment.


John Wooden (1910-, American basketball coach)


Don't become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.


Zig Ziglar (1926-, American sales trainer, author, motivational speaker)

Author's website:


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking