Quotes About Habits in General


A Habit of Mind means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known: dichotomies, dilemmas, enigmas and uncertainties. It means getting into the habit of behaving intelligently when you DON’T know the answer.



“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.”

Horace Mann


“The sum of one’s intelligence is the sum of one’s habits of mind.”

Lauren Resnick


“Powerful indeed is the empire of habit.”

Publicus Syrus, 42 BC


“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.”

Maxine Hong Kingston


“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Ryuh


“Learning to explain phenomena such that one continues to be fascinated by the failure of one’s explanations creates a continuing cycle of thinking, that is the crux of intelligence.

It isn’t that one person knows more than another, then. In as sense, it is important to know less than the next person, or at least to be certain of less, thus enabling more curiosity and less explaining away because one has again encountered a well-known phenomenon.

The less you know the more you can find out about, and finding out for oneself is what intelligence is all about.”

Roger Schank


“How much do students really love to learn, to persist,

to passionately attack a problem or a task?

… watch some of their prized ideas explode and to start anew?

… go beyond being merely dutiful or long-winded?

Let us assess such things.”

Grant Wiggins


“The secret of a leader lies in the tests he has faced over the whole course of his life and the habit of action he develops in meeting those tests.”

Gail Sheehy


“Out of clutter, find Simplicity.

From discord, find Harmony.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein


“A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Tommy John


“Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study.”

Francis Bacon


“I believe everybody is creative, and everybody is talented.

I just don’t think that everybody is disciplined.

I think that’s a rare commodity.”

Al Hirschfield


“There is no education like adversity.”

Benjamin Disraeli


“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.”

Thaddeus Golas


“Successful people aren’t born that way.

They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.

The successful people don’t always like these things themselves; they just get on and do them.”

William Makepeace Thackeray


“Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge.”

Kahlil Gabran


“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal;

nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Thomas Jefferson


“Opposition is a natural part of life.

Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”

Stephen Covey


“When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery.”

Lord Kelvin


“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

Dr. Joyce Brothers


“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.”

Martha Washington


“Anyone can have a good day. The question is what do you do on a bad day.

That’s when you’re being tested.

In a very tangible sense, a bad day shows your innermost essence more than a good day.”

Arthur Golden


“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”

Hugh Downs


“To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life.

Life is but a tissue of habits.”

Henri Fredric Amiel


“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.”

Harvey Mackay


“When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Wendell Berry


“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,

but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”



“To make headway, improve your head.”

B. C. Forbes


“Iron rusts from disuse;

stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen;

even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”

Leonardo da Vinci


“Help your children understand that excellence in education cannot be achieved without intellectual and moral integrity coupled by hard work and commitment.”

National Commission on Excellence in Education


“The mind is like the stomach.

It’s not how much you put into it, but how much it digests.”

Albert Jay Nock


“The successful person is the individual who forms the habit of doing what the failing person doesn’t like to do.”

Donald Riggs


“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.”

Benjamin Disraeli


“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Booker T. Washington


“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.

When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.”

Sophia Loren


“The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.”

Abigail Adams


“Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes


“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

African proverb


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King Jr.


“Take the obvious, add a cupful of brains, a generous pinch of imagination, a bucketful of courage and daring, stir well and bring to a boil.”

Bernard Baruch


“Be of good cheer.

Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.

You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere;

and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.”

Helen Keller


“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.”

Colin Wilson, Author


“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

Benjamin Disraeli


“Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.”

Carl Jung


“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”

John Holt


“It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of pacific station that great characters are formed.”

Abigail Adams


“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson


“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

Thomas Paine


“Character is higher than intellect.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“No brain is stronger than its weakest think.”

Thomas L. Masson


“It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.”

Rene Descartes


“Achieve success in any area of life by identifying the optimum strategies and repeating them until they become habits.”

Charles J. Givens Businessman, and Author


“Success is a process, a quality of mind and way of being, an outgoing affirmation of life.”

Alex Noble, philosopher


“In adversity remember to keep an even mind.”



“Habit is ten times nature.”

Duke of Wellington


“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Roman ruler


“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.”

Albert Schweitzer, M. D.


“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”

Winston Churchill


“When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun with nettles.”

Horace Walpole, Lord Orford


“Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.”

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author


“Thought makes the whole dignity of man; therefore endeavor to think well, that is the only morality.”

Blaise Pascal


“Take the money in your wallet and invest it in your mind.

And in return, your mind will fill up your wallet!”

Benjamin Franklin


“Whatever your present situation, I assure you that you are not your habits.

You can replace old patterns of self-defeating behavior with new patterns, new habits of the effectiveness, happiness and trust-based relationships.”

Stephen Covey, author


“Many people have played themselves to death.

Many people have eaten and drunk themselves to death.

Nobody ever thought himself to death.”

Gilbert Highet, educator and author


“Education is what survives when what was learned has been forgotten.”

B. F. Skinner.


“It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.”

Rene Descartes,


“The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are things that endure.

These qualities are so much more important than events.”

Vince Lombardi


“Concentration can be cultivated. One can learn to exercise will power, discipline one’s body and train one’s mind.”

Anil Ambani, Indian businessman


“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

Samuel Johnson


“You can teach students to develop the ability to think reflectively, and you can help them understand what this means, but if they are not inclined to do so they never will.”

John Dewey (How We Think, 1933)


“One day of practice is like one day of clean living. It doesn’t do you any good.”

Abe Lemmons, former college basketball coach


“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”

B. F. Skinner


“Patience – it defers gratification instead of seeking instant results.

Sustainable Leadership is patient and persevering. Sustainable school improvement depends on habits of mind that are not impatient for rapid results.”

Hargreaves, A. & Fink, D. (2006). Sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.- p.259


“Intelligence is the habit of persistently trying to understand things and make them function better. Intelligence is working to figure things out, varying strategies until a workable solution is found. Intelligence is knowing what one does (and doesn’t) know, seeking information and organizing that information so that it makes sense and can be remembered.

In short, one’s intelligence is the sum of one’s habits of mind.”

Lauren Resnick


“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

William James, American psychologist and philosopher


“Habits are strange. Some are positive and serve us well, and some are negative and do us harm. However, we profit when we remember we entered this world with none and we will depart with none. As habits form silently, constantly, and relentlessly, their pervasive impacts are often unnoticed. Yet they control our life. Although productive habits are invaluable, and bad habits are costly and difficult to break, all the effective listening leaders I know spend an inordinate amount of time studying, consciously shaping, and refining their habits.”

Chuck Maragos


“Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.”

Aldous Huxley,British writer


“Challenge your team to build a common language and to be explicit about using terminology that resonates with everyone in the organization.”

Georgia Everse, communications and marketing executive, writing at Harvard Business Review’s online The Conversation blog


“Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery — it recharges by running.”

Bill Watterson, American cartoonist


“I have great belief in the fact that whenever there is chaos, it creates wonderful thinking.

I consider chaos a gift.”

Septima Clark, American educator and civil rights activist


“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

Warren Buffett, American businessman and philanthropist

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