There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.
You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
Patience — and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying, again and again, “This is certainly not like we thought it was!”
The ark was built by amateurs, and the Titanic by the experts. Don’t wait for the experts.
I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.
He became an infidel, hesitating between two mosques.
Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements, and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end result of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.
The ideal view for daily writing, hour on hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do, cloudless if possible.
I am not a writer except when I write.
It is only possible to succeed at second-rate pursuits — like becoming a millionaire or a prime minister, winning a war, seducing beautiful women, flying through the stratosphere, or landing on the moon. First-rate pursuits — involving, as they must, trying to understand what life is about and trying to convey that understanding — inevitably result in a sense of failure. A Napoleon, a Churchill, a Roosevelt can feel himself to be successful, but never a Socrates, a Pascal, a Blake. Understanding is forever unattainable.
Lady Astor: If you were my husband, Winston, I’d put poison in your tea.
Winston Churchill: If I were your husband, Nancy, I’d drink it.
If you cannot make God love you, make Him fight you. If He will not give you the embrace of the lover, compel Him to give you the embrace of the wrestler.
Happiness is to take up the struggle in the midst of the raging storm and not to pluck the lute in the moonlight or recite poetry among the blossoms.
Most successful people are unhappy. That’s why they are successes — they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice. . . . The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.
Of course it’s the same old story. Truth usually is the same old story.
The stabbing horror of life is not contained in calamities and disasters, because these things wake one up and one gets very familiar and intimate with them and finally they become tame again. . . . No, it is more like being in a hotel room in Hoboken, let us say, and just enough money in one’s pocket for another meal.
I look back on my life like a good day’s work. It was done and I am satisfied with it.