C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The basis of good manners is self-reliance.


Time and I against any two.

Philip the Second.

For they can conquer who believe they can.


Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.


Do thine own work, and know thyself.


Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.


Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to Heaven.


No man should part with his own individuality and become that of another.


If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.


Let every eye negotiate for itself, and trust no agent.


It is seldom that we find out how great are our resources until we are thrown upon them.


Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man.


If women only knew the extent of their power!

Alphonse Karr.

Trust not overmuch to the blessed Magdalen; learn to protect yourself.


A person under the firm persuasion that he can command resources virtually has them.


The weakest spot in every man is where he thinks himself to be the wisest.

Nathaniel Emmons.

The supreme fall of falls is this,—the first doubt of one’s self.

Mme. de Gasparin.

If there be a faith that can remove mountains, it is faith in one’s own power.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

He is best served who has no occasion to put the hand of others at the end of his arms.


I have ever held it as a maxim never to do that through another which it was possible for me to execute myself.


Our own opinion of ourselves should be lower than that formed by others, for we have a better chance at our imperfections.

Thomas à Kempis.

Though we best know and cannot deny our imperfections, it is not for us to lose our self-reliance and true manhood.


Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates.

Samuel Smiles.

Look well into thyself; there is a source which will always spring up if thou wilt always search them.

Marcus Antoninus.

Opposition is what we want and must have, to be good for anything. Hardship is the native soil of manhood and self-reliance.

John Neal.

Great is the strength of an individual soul true to its high trust; mighty is it, even to the redemption of a world.

Mrs. L. M. Child.

In life, as in whist, hope nothing from the way cards may be dealt to you. Play the cards, whatever they be, to the best of your skill.


Thoroughly to believe in one’s own self, so one’s self were thorough, were to do great things.


As it is in himself alone that man can find true and enduring happiness, so in himself alone can he find true and efficient consolation in misfortune.


Forget not that the man who cannot enjoy his own natural gifts in silence, and find his reward in the exercise of them, will generally find himself badly off.


He who thinks he can find within himself the means of doing without others is much mistaken; but he who thinks that others cannot do without him is still more mistaken.

La Rochefoucauld.

We must calculate not on the weather, nor on fortune, but upon God and ourselves. He may fail us in the gratification of our wishes, but never in the encounter with our exigencies.


Watch over yourself. Be your own accuser, then your judge; ask yourself grace sometimes, and, if there is need, impose upon yourself some pain.


Humility is the part of wisdom, and is most becoming in men. But let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the rest, the greatest quality of true manliness.


It is for little souls, that truckle under the weight of affairs, not to know how clearly to disengage themselves, and not to know how to lay them aside and take them up again.


Providence has done, and I am persuaded is disposed to do, a great deal for us; but we are not to forget the fable of Jupiter and the countryman.


It’s right to trust in God; but, if you don’t stand to your halliards your craft’ll miss stays, and your faith’ll be blown out of the bolt-ropes in the turn of a marlinspike.

George MacDonald.

It is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself; it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.


Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures. In the assurance of strength there is strength, and they are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their powers.


Men on all occasions throw themselves upon foreign assistances to spare their own, which are the only certain and sufficient ones with which they can arm themselves.


It is at the approach of extreme danger when a hollow puppet can accomplish nothing, that power falls into the mighty hands of nature, of the spirit giant-born, who listens only to himself, and knows nothing of compacts.


Confidence in one’s self is the chief nurse of magnanimity, which confidence, notwithstanding, doth not leave the care of necessary furniture for it; and therefore, of all the Grecians, Homer doth ever make Achilles the best armed.

Sir P. Sidney.

The human mind, in proportion as it is deprived of external resources, sedulously labors to find within itself the means of happiness, learns to rely with confidence on its own exertions, and gains with greater certainty the power of being happy.


Nine times out of ten, the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim for himself. In all my acquaintance I never knew a man to be drowned who was worth the saving.

James A. Garfield.

Both poetry and philosophy are prodigal of eulogy over the mind which ransoms itself by its own energy from a captivity to custom, which breaks the common bounds of empire, and cuts a Simplon over mountains of difficulty for its own purposes, whether of good or of evil.

Horace Mann.

Whatever your sex or position, life is a battle in which you are to show your pluck; and woe be to the coward! Whether passed on a bed of sickness or a tented field, it is ever the same fair play, and admits no foolish distinctions. Despair and postponement are cowardice and defeat. Men were born to succeed, not to fail.


For the man who makes everything that leads to happiness, or near to it, to depend upon himself, and not upon other men, on whose good or evil actions his own doings are compelled to hinge,—such a one, I say, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation; this is the man of manly character and of wisdom.


Philosophers have very justly remarked that the only solid instruction is that which the pupil brings from his own depths; that the true instruction is not that which transmits notions wholly formed, but that which renders him capable of forming for himself good opinions. That which they have said in regard to the intellectual faculties applies equally to the moral faculties. There is for the soul a spontaneous culture, on which depends all the real progress in perfection.


Men seem neither to understand their riches nor their strength; of the former they believe greater things than they should; of the latter much less. Self-reliance and self-denial will teach a man to drink out of his own cistern, and eat his own sweet bread, and to learn and labor truly to get his living, and carefully to expend the good things committed to his trust.

Lord Bacon.