Accentuate the Positive: No Pessimist Ever Discovered the Secrets of the Stars, or Sailed to an Uncharted Land, or Opened a New Heaven to the Human Spirit

By Keller, Helen | The Saturday Evening Post, May-June 2004 | Go to article overview

Accentuate the Positive: No Pessimist Ever Discovered the Secrets of the Stars, or Sailed to an Uncharted Land, or Opened a New Heaven to the Human Spirit


Keller, Helen, The Saturday Evening Post


Editor's Note: For Christmas in 1989, John Cook gave his niece and nephews a different kind of Christmas present. He assembled a selection of "life-affirming" quotations that had always helped him in time of need. He told them to put the quotations away until they needed them.

"You'll know when you are ready for them," he said. "When you are, these thoughts should give you the courage and confidence and spirit you need ... and they'll remind you of the wonder and the joy of life, regardless of how dark things seem at the moment. I know they will," he added. "They always have for me."

Cook's list grew into the first-ever book of positive quotations published 10 years ago as The Rubicon Dictionary of Positive, Motivational, Life-Affirming and Inspirational Quotations. The work now is available as The Book of Positive Quotations, published by Gramercy Books.

Counting Your Blessings

Good heavens, of what uncostly material is our earthly happiness composed ... if we only knew it? What incomes have we not had from a flower, and how unfailing are the dividends of the seasons?

--James Russell Lowell

If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.

--Benjamin Franklin

One is never fortunate or as unfortunate as one imagines.

--Francois, duc de la Rochefoucauld

Is life so wretched? Isn't it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled? You are the one who must grow up.

--Dag Hammarskjold

There is no wealth but life.

--John Ruskin

Living Simply

Everything should be made as simple as possible ... but not simpler.

I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

--Albert Einstein

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

--Leonardo da Vinci

I have a simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. Scratch where it itches.

--Alice Roosevelt Longworth

The Power of Positive Thinking

Great things are not something accidental, but must certainly be willed. …

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