The Wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsEleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was a national treasure. As First Lady of the United States (holding the record for longest period served, from 1933 to 1945), humanitarian, politician, and activist. Although she had a difficult, unhappy childhood, but she overcame monumental obstacles and setbacks to live a very rich, fruitful, and fulfilling life. In her tireless support of women’s rights, civil right, and global human rights, she earned the respect of the entire world; Harry Truman referred to her as the “First Lady of the World.” In a Gallup poll conducted in 1999, Roosevelt she was ranked the ninth most admired person in the 20th century. Not only did she have an insatiable curiosity, she was extremely generous with what she learned; she was always willing to inspire others with her wisdom. In his eulogy for Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson remarked, “What other single human being has touched and transformed the existence of so many? She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.” Bookshelf presents the timeless wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt:

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart.

Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one.

Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.

Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth.

You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself.

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

Autobiographies are only useful as the lives you read about and analyze may suggest to you something that you may find useful in your own journey through life.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

The Wisdom of Tom Shadyac
The Wisdom of Martin Luther King
The Wisdom of Maya Angelou
The Wisdom of a Grandmother
The Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks
The Wisdom of Lady Grantham
The Wisdom of Morrie Schwartz
The Wisdom of Yoda
The Wisdom of George Carlin
The Wisdom of Saint-Exupery
The Wisdom of Steven Wright
The Wisdom of Spock
The Wisdom of Elie Wiesel

For further reading: You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt
The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt


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