Thinking Quotes

Most popular thinking quotes

Thoughts are often one-sided and untrue. Learn to be mindful of thought instead of being lost in it.

buddhist mindfulness

Thought is free.
Thinking is seeing.
To think is to say no.

saying no

To think is to differ.
By thought I comprehend the world.
Don't believe everything you think.


Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!


Thought is the labor of the intellect.
A moment's thinking is an hour in words.


To think and to be fully alive are the same.
When all think alike, then no one is thinking.
Think before you speak.  Read before you think.


If I look confused it is because I am thinking.
I have found power in the mysteries of thought.
What you are thinking, is what you are becoming.
What is the hardest task in the world?  To think.
Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.


People get wisdom from thinking, not from learning.


Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.

aggression anger

A conclusion is the place where you got tired thinking.
Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.


Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.


A man able to think isn't defeated—even when he is defeated.


Be careful of your thoughts; they may become words at any moment.
Thoughts corrupt language, and language can also corrupt thought.


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

conformity individuality

The revelation of Thought takes man out of servitude into Freedom.
Thinking is the endeavor to capture reality by the means of ideas.
If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all?
Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed.
Thinking is like loving and dying.  Each of us must do it for himself.
Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age.
It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.


Once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again.
Thinking, existentially speaking, is a solitary but not a lonely business.
Thought is a kind of opium; it can intoxicate us, while still broad awake.
To have ideas is to gather flowers.  To think is to weave them into garlands.


Many other animals have feelings.  What distinguishes our species is thought.

mankind man the animal

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.


Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.


Ultimately, no one can ever be greater than the quality of his or her thinking.
Beware of thinkers whose minds function only when they are fueled by a quotation.


Learning without thinking is time wasted; Thinking without learning is dangerous.


A king can stand people's fighting, but he can last long if people start thinking.
Delightful task! To rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot.


Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit—and man is his own gardener.
To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that's real power.
One must learn to think well before learning to think; afterward it proves too difficult.

critical thinking

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.


Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.  Then all things are at risk.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.


Thinking is the hardest work in the world; and most of us will go to great lengths to avoid it.
He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.
There is within every human being a deep well of thinking over which a heavy iron lid is kept clamped.
Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

critical thinking reading

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge it is thinking [that] makes what we read ours.
My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.
Thinking in its lower grades is comparable to paper money, and in its higher forms it is a kind of poetry.
There's times when I just have to quit thinking . . . and the only way I can quit thinking is by shopping.


Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

action management

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.


If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.

food for thought

Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not possibly have met.
In every epoch of the world, the great event, parent of all others, is it not the arrival of a Thinker in the world?
When the mind is thinking, is it simply talking to itself, asking questions and answering them, and saying yes or no.
Great innovators and original thinkers and artists attract the wrath of mediocrities as lightning rods draw the flashes.

artists mediocrity

You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.

emotion human nature

What generally passes for "thought" among the majority of mankind is the time one takes out to rearrange one's prejudices.
"Mr. Shepherd, ye cannot stop a bad thought from coming into your head. But ye need not pull up a chair and bide it sit down."
There's nothing wrong with standing back and thinking.  To paraphrase several sages: "Nobody can think and hit at the same time."
Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place.
The surprises of thought are like those of love: they wear out.  But here too you can carry on for a long time doing your conjugal duty.

Thinking gives a lot of pain.
Talking doesn't cost a thing.
Therefore, rest your weary brain
and give your tongue a fling.


The shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion—these are the most valuable coin of the thinker at work.
The first man who noticed the analogy between a group of seven fishes and a group of seven days made a notable advance in the history of thought.


Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.
Every man who has lived his life to the full, should, by the time his senior years are reached, have established a reserve inventory of unfinished thinking.
I concentrate on
the concentric rings
produced by my pen
in the ink.
The thing that distinguishes
thoughts from things
is that thoughts are harder
to think.
Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.
Life does not consist mainly—or even largely—of facts and happenings.  It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head.


All power is indeed weak compared with that of the thinker.  He sits upon the throne of his Empire of Thought, mightier far than they who wield material scepters.
Travel and idle, contemplate the future or the past of the world, dream over books and loiter at street corners, and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.
A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself. He can live without hope, without friends, without books, even without music, as long as he can listen to his own thoughts.
All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take firm root in our personal experience.


When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something that lasts longer than we do.

artists death

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
Not talking, by itself, already can bring a significant degree of peace. If we can also offer ourselves the deeper silence of not thinking, we can find, in that quiet, a wonderful lightness and freedom.

buddhist silence

Thoughts are like lenses through which we look at our world. We all have a tendency to cling to our particular lens and allow it to dictate how we interpret our experiences, even to the point of dictating who we think we are.

human nature

Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am." In light of the Buddha's teaching, you might say, "I think, therefore I am . . . not here." You are lost in your thinking, so you are really not here. For you to truly be here, thinking has to stop. As you are practicing mindfulness of the breath, the object of your attention is simply the breath.

buddhist mindfulness