Who the hell is William James?

William James was an American nineteenth century philosopher and psychologist. James is known as the Father of American Psychology.

Books by William James

Quotes by William James

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

William James

“A great nation is not saved by wars, it is saved by acts without external picturesqueness; by speaking, writing, voting reasonably; by smiting corruption swiftly; by good temper between parties; by the people knowing true men when they see them, and preferring them as leaders to rabid partisans and empty quacks.”

William James

“A man may not achieve everything he has dreamed, but he will never achieve anything great without having dreamed it first.”

William James

“A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.”

William James

“A winner's attitude: it may be difficult, but it's possible. A loser's attitude: It may be possible, but it's too difficult.”

William James

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”

William James

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

William James

“Act the part and you will become the part.”

William James

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”

William James

“Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.”

William James

“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits - practical, emotional, and intellectual - systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be.”

William James

“Anything you may hold firmly in your imagination can be yours.”

William James

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James The Will to Believe

“Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.”

William James

“Belief creates the actual fact.”

William James

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James

“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.”

William James

“Beyond the very extremity of fatigue distress, amounts of ease and power that we never dreamed ourselves to own, sources of strength habitually not taxed at all, because habitually we never push through the obstruction.”

William James

“Circumstance does not make me, it reveals me.”

William James

“Do every day or two something for no other reason that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.”

William James Habit

“Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.”

William James The Writings of William James

“Good-humor is a philosophic state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us. I maintain that one should always talk of philosophy with a smile.”

William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

“Habit simplifies our movements, makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.”

William James

“Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendships and intimacies… and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to "keep" by force of mere inertia.”

William James

“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

William James

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man's pride.”

William James

“I don't sing because I'm happy; I'm happy because I sing.”

William James

“If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.”

William James

“If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.”

William James

“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.”

William James

“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”

William James

“If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.”

William James

“In youth, we have an absolutely new experience, subjective or objective, every hour of the day… but as each passing year converts some of this experience into automatic routine which we hardly note at all, the days smooth themselves out in recollection to contentless units, and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

William James The Principles of Psychology

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”

William James

“It would probably astound each of us beyond measure to be let into his neighbors mind and to find how different the scenery was there from that of his own.”

William James

“Knowledge about life is one thing; effective occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.”

William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

“Lives based on having are less free than lives based either on doing or being.”

William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

“Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being.”

William James

“Most unhappiness is caused because people listen to themselves... instead of talking to themselves.”

William James

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

William James

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

William James

“Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”

William James

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

William James

“Philosophy is an unusually stubborn attempt to think clearly.”

William James

“Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of human pursuits.”

William James

“Positive images of the future are a powerful and magnetic force... They draw us on and energize us, give us courage and will to take on important initiatives. Negative images of the future also have a magnetism. They pull the spirit downward in the path of despair.”

William James

“Procrastination is attitude's natural assassin. There's nothing so fatiguing as an uncompleted task.”

William James

“Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.”

William James

“Science, like life, feeds on its own decay. New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law.”

William James The Will to Believe

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, 'This is the real me,' and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”

William James The Principles of Psychology

“Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.”

William James

“Tension is a habit. Relaxing is a habit. Bad habits can be broken, good habits formed.”

William James

“The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.”

William James

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”

William James The Principles of Psychology Vol. 2

“The attitude of unhappiness is not only painful, it is mean and ugly. What can be more base and unworthy than the pining, puling, mumping mood, no matter by what outward ills it may have been engendered? What is more injurious to others? What less helpful as a way out of the difficulty? It but fastens and perpetuates the trouble which occasioned it, and increases the total evil of the situation. At all costs, then, we ought to reduce the sway of that mood; we ought to scout it in ourselves and others, and never show it tolerance.”

William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

William James

“The discovery of the power of our thoughts will prove to be the most important discovery of our time.”

William James

“The good we do today becomes the happiness of tomorrow.”

William James

“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

William James

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real.”

William James

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

William James Living the Abundant Life

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James

“The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.”

William James

“The soul is stronger than its surroundings.”

William James

“The strenuous life tastes better.”

William James

“The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion with correctness, this surely is the ideal.”

William James

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”

William James

“There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.”

William James

“There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.”

William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

“There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking.”

William James

“There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true self.”

William James

“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”

William James The Principles of Psychology Vol. 1

“There is nothing so absurd that it cannot be believed as truth if repeated often enough.”

William James

“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers.”

William James

“This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it.”

William James

“Thoughts become perception, perception becomes reality. Alter your thoughts, alter your reality.”

William James

“To change one’s life:
1. Start immediately.
2. Do it flamboyantly.
3. No exceptions.
Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted.”

William James

“To kill time is not murder, it's suicide.”

William James

“To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”

William James

“We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.”

William James

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”

William James

“We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.”

William James

“We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone until those smiling possibilities are dead... By neglecting the necessary concrete labor, by sparing ourselves the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities.”

William James

“We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition.”

William James

“We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.”

William James

“We may be in the Universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversation, but having no inkling of the meaning of it all.”

William James

“What holds attention determines action.”

William James Psychology: The Briefer Course

“When a thing is new, people say: ‘It is not true.’ Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: ‘It is not important.’ Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say: ‘Anyway, it is not new'.”

William James

“When thoughts do not neutralize an undesirable emotion, action will.”

William James

“When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.”

William James

“Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.”

William James

“Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”

William James

“Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world.”

William James

“You can alter your life by altering the state of your mind.”

William James

“Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.”

William James