I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that’s good taste.
—Lucille Ball (1911–89) American Actor, Comedian, Model
He knows the universe and does not know himself.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
Many people today don’t want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing. They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety.
—Louis Kronenberger (1904–80) American Critic, Novelist, Biographer, Dramatist
Sum up at night what thou hast done by day, and in the morning what thou hast to do. — Dress and undress thy soul; mark the decay and growth of it. — If with thy watch, that too be down, then wind up both; since we shall be most surely judged, make thine accounts agree.
—George Herbert (1593–1633) Welsh Anglican Poet, Orator, Clergyman
One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.
—G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet
It is the individual who knows how little they know about themselves who stands the most reasonable chance of finding out something about themselves before they die.
—S. I. Hayakawa (1906–92) Canadian-born American Academic, Elected Rep, Politician
It’s not our disadvantages or shortcomings that are ridiculous, but rather the studious way we try to hide them and our desire to act as if they did not exist.
—Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837) Italian Poet, Essayist, Philosopher
A man who knows he is a fool is not a great fool.
—Zhuang Zhou (369BCE–286BCE) Chinese Philosopher
If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.
—Sidney Madwed (1926–2013) American Poet, Author
I love people. I love my family, my children… but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.
—Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) American Novelist, Human Rights Activist
I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.
—Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
There is no disappointment we endure one-half so great as what we are to ourselves.
—Philip James Bailey (1816–1902) English Poet
The one self-knowledge worth having is to know one’s own mind.
—F. H. Bradley (1846–1924 ) British Idealist Philosopher
He who comes up to his own idea of greatness, must always have had a very low standard of it in his mind.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.
—Thomas Mann (1875–1955) German Novelist, Short Story Writer, Social Critic, Philanthropist, Essayist
No sooner is it a little calmer with me than it is almost too calm, as though I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
—Franz Kafka (1883–1924) Austrian Novelist, Short Story Writer
The first step to improvement, whether mental, moral, or religious, is to know ourselves–our weakness, errors, deficiencies, and sins, that, by divine grace, we may overcome and turn from them all.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
To know oneself, one should assert oneself. Psychology is action, not thinking about oneself. We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
Man can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as… from a lack of bread.
—Richard Wright (1908–1960) American Novelist, Short-Story Writer
Learn God, and thou shalt know thyself.
—Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810–89) English Poet, Writer
In other living creatures the ignorance of themselves is nature, but in men it is a vice.
—Boethius (c.480–524 CE) Roman Statesman, Philosopher
The happy man is he who knows his limitations, yet bows to no false gods.
—Robert W. Service (1874–1958) Scottish Poet, Author
You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself.
—Beryl Markham (1902–86) British-born Kenyan Aviator, Adventurer, Sportsperson
We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects.
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) French Historian, Political Scientist
The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.
—Thales of Miletus (c.624–c.545 BCE) Greek Philosopher, Mathematician
Only as you do know yourself can your brain serve you as a sharp and efficient tool. Know your failings, passions, and prejudices so you can separate them from what you see. Know also when you actually have thought through to the nature of the thing with which you are dealing and when you are not thinking at all.
—Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965) American Financier, Economic Consultant
We should know what our convictions are, and stand for them. Upon one’s own philosophy, conscious or unconscious, depends one’s ultimate interpretation of facts. Therefore it is wise to be as clear as possible about one’s subjective principles. As the man is, so will be his ultimate truth.
—Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) Swiss Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Philosopher