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The 60 best sentences of William James

The 60 best sentences of William James

August 11, 2022

William James (1842-1910) was an important philosopher and psychologist who, along with Charles Sanders Peirce , founded the philosophical school of pragmatism, which holds that the meaning of an idea must be sought in its practical effects, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that the truth must be proved by the practical consequences of belief.

Phrases and quotes famous psychologist William James

This author pronounced innumerable quotes with great meaning and wisdom . Below you can find some of his best reflections.

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1. Our vision of the world is formed by what we decided to listen to

We interpret the world based on our knowledge and our beliefs.


2. We are ready to be wild for some reason. The difference between a good man and a bad man is the choice of cause

People can choose between being good or bad, depending on what is socially accepted or not.

3. An idea, to be suggestive, must reach the individual in the form of a revelation

The ideas that we value the most are those that give us something.

4. Believe that life is worth living and that belief will help create the fact

The attitude we have towards life, makes us act in a certain way.

5. It is our attitude at the beginning of something difficult, more than anything else, which will affect a successful outcome

Like the previous quote, a positive attitude will help us to behave positively.


6. Is life worth living? Everything depends on the vividor

It depends on us living life to the fullest or living anchored in the past.

7. It seems that action is followed by emotion, but in reality action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the control of the will, we can directly regulate the emotion

William James was always interested in providing knowledge about why and how human beings experience emotions.

8. Studying the abnormal is the best way to understand normal

A game of words that hides an idea with a lot of sense.

9. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook

Sometimes we have to put aside some things to follow our path.

10. Age is a high price to pay for maturity

Over the years, one mature. That does not mean that you should feel older.


11. Nothing is as fatiguing as leaving forever an unfinished task

An appointment that talks about procrastination.

  • You can learn more about this phenomenon in our article: "Procrastination or the syndrome of" I'll do it tomorrow ": what it is and how to prevent it"

12. Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action

Happiness depends in large part on what we want and strive to achieve.

13. The habit is the enormous flywheel of inertia that moves society, its most valuable agent of conservation

William James spent part of his life to learn more about people's habits.

14. Belief creates the current fact

What we think determines our action and the path we take.

15. The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes

The attitude we have has a great impact on the results we achieve.

16. To change life: start immediately. Do it ostentatiously

Action is essential to transform our day to day. Without action there is no change.

17. It is always wrong, anywhere, and for anyone, to believe something without enough evidence

We can not believe in something without having seen that it is really like that.

18. There is only one cause of human failure. And it is man's lack of faith in himself

When a person does not believe in his possibilities, he is destined to fail.

19. Many people think they are thinking when they are reorganizing their prejudices

Prejudices determine how we interpret what surrounds us.

20. Anything you can hold firmly in your imagination can be yours

A quote that refers to the desires we have people.

21. The greatest thing in all education is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy

A phrase by William James that invites deep reflection.

22. Common sense and sense of humor are the same although moving at different speeds. Common sense is like a sense of humor but dancing

A reflection that has a touch of irony.

23. If you can change your mind you can change your life

To change, it is necessary to transform the way of thinking first.

24. Begin to be now what you will be from now on

To transform your life, you must first change your mind.

25. The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual.The impulse dies without the sympathy of the community

People are social beings and, therefore, better united.

26. The acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcome the consequences of any misfortune

Acceptance is key to keep moving forward.

27. If an organism fails to complete its potentialities, it becomes ill

Personal development and self-realization of people are key to enjoy greater satisfaction in life.

28. The deepest principle of human nature is the longing to be appreciated

People are social beings and we like to be respected and appreciated.

29. Whenever you are in conflict with someone, there is a factor that can make the difference between damaging the relationship or reinforcing it. That factor is the attitude

Attitude is also important in interpersonal relationships. .

30. When you have to make a decision and do not take it, it is in itself a decision

Even if you do not decide for something, you have made the decision not to decide.

31. In the depth of the mind we know what we should be doing but somehow we can not start

Sometimes it happens that we think about changing but we do not take action.

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

Stress often has its origin in our beliefs.

33. As a general rule, we do not believe in the facts and theories for which we are not prepared

Normally we believe those things that fit better with our knowledge and our beliefs.

34. I do not sing because I'm happy, I'm happy because I sing

The mind greatly influences our body and our actions.

35. The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves it

A phrase full of meaning and that makes the reader think deeply.

36. Act as if what you make makes a difference. He does it

In the attitude is the key to have or not success.

37. Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power

The way of thinking has a great impact on our behavior.

38. Genius means little more than the ability to perceive unusually

Geniuses are people with unusual intelligence.

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

Better to believe yourself good and act with confidence than to believe yourself to be bad and act with pessimism.

40. Everyone should do at least two things that they hate daily, just for practicing

A phrase that has a certain sense of humor but that is very true.

41. A paradise of inner tranquility seems to be the result of faith

With faith we seek to be at peace with ourselves.

42. The greatest use of a life is to spend it in something that lasts longer than it

When we enjoy doing something we like, time goes by and it does not seem to move forward.

40. The ideas obtained by man before twenty-five are practically the only ideas they can have in their lives

Meaning that at that age a person thinks with the heart and not with the mind.

41. The most unmovable barrier of nature is that between the thought of one man and that of another

Differences in opinions between two people are often insurmountable.

42. Success or failure depends more on attitude than on ability. Successful men act as if they had achieved something or enjoyed something. Act, look, feel, as if you were successful and you will see impressive results

Our thoughts can act as limiting or empowering beliefs.

43. Compared to what we should, we are half awake

William James always had great reflections like this one.

44. Wherever you are from, it is your own friends who make your world

Friendships are a big part of our life, and they accompany us throughout our existence.

45. If you think that feeling bad or worrying will change the past or the future, you are living on another planet with a different reality

It is useless to think about the past again and again, it is best to turn the page.

46. ​​For most of us, over thirty, character has been established as plaster, and will never be softened again

As the years go by, it becomes more difficult to change.

47. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let go of the past, expand our sense of the now and dissolve the fear of our minds

To change, it is necessary to be open to change and have an open mind.

48. To be a real philosopher, all that is necessary is to hate another's way of thinking

Not agreeing with the opinion of others can make us reflect deeply.

49. Every way of classifying a thing is only a way of handling it for a particular purpose

An appointment that deals with how people can have prejudices.

50. Whenever two people meet, there are six people present. How each person sees himself, how one person sees each other and each person as it really is

A funny quote that refers to how we see ourselves as others see us.

51. As a rule we do not believe in the facts and theories for which we have no use

A theory does not make much sense if it is not useful and applicable.

52The sense of humor is a philosophical state of the mind; it seems to say to nature that we do not take it more seriously than it does to us

Again, another date with a certain joking tone that is about taking your life seriously.

53. Life only makes sense if we give it meaning

It is no use living life if we are constantly sad.

54. It is not easy to choose the road in front of so many elections

William James reminds us that sometimes it can be difficult for us to make a choice about where we want to shoot.

55. Believe that life is worth living and that belief will help create the fact

Almost always, when we believe in our possibilities, we can achieve what we want.

56. We are like islands in the sea, separated from the surface but connected in depth

A comparison of the islands with the way of being of people.

57. If we consider the world of geometric relationships, there sleeps the thousandth decimal of Pi, although nobody ever tries to calculate it

An appointment about the Pi number and the geometric relationships. When something worries you, it is usual that you take measures to solve it.

58. The voluntary and sovereign path to joy, if we lose joy, consists in proceeding with joy, acting and speaking with joy, as if that joy was already with us

We have no better choice than to face life with a positive attitude.

59. The uncalculated decimals of pi, sleep in a mysterious abstract realm, where they enjoy a weak reality, until they are not calculated, they do not become something fully real, and even then their reality is mere matter of degree

The truth is not absolute, but that people can have different points of view.

60. If you are concerned enough about a result, you will probably do something to fix it

Negative thinking can be useful in many circumstances.


Jason Williams Top 10 Career Plays (August 2022).


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