Gordon Livingston Quotes

Who is Gordon Livingston?

Gordon Livingston was a psychiatrist who bundled his life experience, and that of his clients into several books.

He lost two of his children and only found when he was in his fifties that he was adopted.

"Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now", "The Thing You Think You Cannot Do: Thirty Truths about Fear and Courage" and "And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now" are just a few of his life-changing books.

Born June 30, 1938
Died March 16, 2016

Books by Gordon Livingston


Best 60 Quotes by Gordon Livingston | Page 1 of 2

“Only bad things happen quickly. Virtually all the happiness-producing processes in our lives take time, usually a long time: learning new things, changing old behaviors, building satisfying relationships, raising children. This is why patience and determination are among life’s primary virtues.”

Gordon Livingston

“To be happy is to take the risk of losing that happiness.”

Gordon Livingston

“We need to learn the art of letting go: of the past, of unresolved grievances, of our younger selves. Nobody gets out of here alive.”

Gordon Livingston

How to Love Quotes

“Money cannot buy happiness; it can, however, rent it.”

Gordon Livingston
How to Love

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart Quotes

“Acquiring some understanding of why we do things is often a prerequisite to change. This is especially true when talking about repetitive patterns of behavior that do not serve us well.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“All significant accomplishments involve taking risks: the risk of failure in invention, in exploration, or in love.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

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Quiet Air Purifier

“As long as we measure others and ourselves by what we have and how we look, life is inevitably a discouraging experience, characterized by greed, envy, and a desire to be someone else.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“As much as we try, we do not control how we feel or what we think.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“By nature, we are emotional creatures. Often we live and react based on feelings, not logic. Feelings are wonderful, but when we become tied to a particular thought or belief we tend to ignore the fact that change might be necessary.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Everything in life is a good news/bad news story.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Everything we are afraid to try, all our unfulfilled dreams, constitute a limitation on what we are and could become.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“If people are reluctant to answer 'Why?' questions in their lives, they also tend to have trouble with 'Why not?'. The latter implies risk. Steeped in habit and fearful of change, most of us are to some degree risk-averse. Particularly in activities that may involve rejection, we tend to act as if our sense of ourselves is fragile and must be protected.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“If the map doesn't agree with the ground the map is wrong.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Products by Gordon Livingston

“If we approach others in a suspicious or hostile way, they are more likely to respond accordingly, thereby confirming our low expectations. Fortunately, the opposite is likewise true.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“If we wish, as most of us do, to be treated with kindness and forbearance, we need to cultivate those qualities in ourselves.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

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“You are accustomed to authority, or to the atmosphere of authority, which you think will lead you to spirituality. You think and hope that another can, by his extraordinary powers—a miracle—transport you to this realm of eternal freedom, which is Happiness. Your whole outlook on life is based on that authority.”

Total Freedom


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“In general we get, not what we deserve, but what we expect.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“It is a primary task of parents throughout their lives to convey to the young a sense of optimism. Whatever other obligations we have to our children, a conviction that we can achieve happiness amid the losses and uncertainties that life contains is the greatest gift that can pass from one generation to the next.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“It is always easier to keep doing what we are used to, even if it’s evidently not working for us.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“It is our determination to overcome fear and discouragement that constitutes the only effective antidote to the sense of powerlessness over unwanted feelings.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“It is our fallibility and uncertainty that make us human. Our constant challenge is not to seek perfection in ourselves and others, but to find ways to be happy in an imperfect world. We are impeded in this effort if we cling to an idealized vision of the past that insures dissatisfaction with the present.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Keeping our expectations low protects us from disappointment.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Life consists of an effort to get the maps in our heads to conform to the ground on which we walk.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Life's two most important questions are 'Why?' and 'Why not?' The trick is knowing which one to ask.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Love is demonstrated behaviorally. Once again we define who we are and who and what we care about, not by what we promise, but by what we do.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Many of us are afraid of risk and prefer the bland, the predictable, and the repetitive. This explains the overwhelming sense of boredom that is a defining characteristic of our age.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Mental health is a function of choice. The more choices we are able to exercise, the happier we are likely to be. We are never out of choices, no matter how desperate the circumstances.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Products by Gordon Livingston

“Most of the heartbreak that life contains is a result of ignoring the reality that past behavior is the most reliable predictor of future behavior.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

“Nearly every human action is in some way and expression of how we think about ourselves. There are few behaviors that are self-esteem neutral.”

Gordon Livingston
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

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“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.”


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