Ability Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 1537 quotes )
Keep the extent of your abilities unknown. The wise man does not allow his knowledge and abilities to be sounded to the bottom, if he desires to be honored at all. He allows you to know them but not to comprehend them. No one must know the extent of his abilities, lest he be disappointed. No one ever has an opportunity of fathoming him entirely. For guesses and doubts about the extent of his talents arouse more veneration than accurate knowledge of them, be they ever so great.
At Childerstown High School and at college he had never led his class nor taken prizes; but, without being aware that he did, he really blamed this on his failure to work hard, or any harder than he needed to. . . . What he did not know, what Paul Bonbright, among others, showed him, was that those abilities of his that got him, without distinction but also without much exertion, through all previous lessons and examinations, were not first rate abilities handicapped by laziness, but second rate, by no degree of effort or assiduity to be made the equal of abilities like Bonbright's.
Society functions in a way much more interesting than the multiple-choice pattern we have been rewarded for succeeding at in school. Success in life comes not from the ability to choose between the four presented answers, but from the rather more difficult and painfully acquired ability to formulate the questions.
And what, incidentally, do you think integrity is? The ability not to pick a watch out of your neighbor's pocket? No, it's not as easy as that. If that were all, I'd say ninety-five percent of humanity were honest, upright men. Only, as you can see, they aren't. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.
I seem to grow more acutely conscious of the swift passage of time as I grow older. When I was small, days and hours were long and spacious, and there was play and acres of leisure, and many children's books to read. I remember that as I was writing a poem on "Snow" when I was eight. I said aloud, "I wish I could have the ability to write down the feelings I have now while I'm still little, because when I grow up I will know how to write, but I will have forgotten what being little feels like." And so it is that childlike sensitivity to new experiences and sensations seems to diminish in an inverse proportion to growth of technical ability. As we become polished, so do we become hardened and guilty of accepting eating, sleeping, seeing, and hearing too easily and lazily, without question. We become blunt and callous and blissfully passive as each day adds another drop to the stagnant well of our years.
In behaviorism, an infant's talents and abilities didn't matter because there was no such thing as a talent or an ability. Watson had banned them from psychology, together with other contents of the mind, such as ideas, beliefs, desires, and feelings. They were subjective and unmeasurable, he said, and unfit for science, which studies only objective and measurable things. To a behaviorist, the only legitimate topic for psychology is overt behavior and how it is controlled by the present and past environment. (There is an old joke in psychology: What does a behaviorist say after making love? "It was good for you; how was it for me?")