Quotes on Wisdom

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, November 1991

Wisdom has two parts: (1) having a lot to say; (2) not saying it. — Anonymous


You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves. — Abraham Lincoln

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. — Thomas Jefferson

The theme here [in Ecclesiastes 7:13-29] is resignation to the will of God.  Become content by changing and controlling yourself and by refraining from doing wicked and foolish things.   Part of wisdom lies in changing what can be changed and in accepting what cannot. Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, p. 20

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.  As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.  But it too seemed immoveable.  As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.” — From the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey

The intellect of the wise is like glass: it admits the light of heaven and reflects it. — Augustus Hare, British writer


It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wisdom comes through effort.  All good things require effort.  That which is worth having will cost part of your physical being, your intellectual power and your soul power – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  (Matt. 7:7)   But you have to seek, you have to knock.  On the other hand, sin thrusts itself upon you.  It walks beside you, it tempts you, it entices, it allures.  You do not have to put forth effort.  It is like the poor, fallen woman who lies in wait to deceive.  It is like the billboard advertising attracting you to drink and to smoke.  It is like the message that comes into your very homes with the television and radio or the golden packet put right into your hand.  Evil seeks you, and it requires effort and fortitude to combat it.  But truth and wisdom are gained only by seeking, by prayer, and by effort. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1965, p. 145

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. — Vince Lombardi

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. — Albert Einstein

Seeking for the wisdom of God is always accompanied by obedience to the commandments.

Generally, the spiritual gift of wisdom comes step by step as we honestly and diligently seek it.  “I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, . . . and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, . . . for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more” (2 Nephi 28:30).

Joseph Smith said this: “The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 267.)  There is no instant gratification in seeking for the wisdom of God.

Finally, the source of the wisdom of God is different from that of the world.  The wisdom of God is found in the scriptures, in the teachings of the prophets (such as during general conference), and, of course, in our prayers (see D&C 8:1–2).  And always, always this wisdom distills upon us with the power of the Holy Ghost. 

The wisdom of God is wisdom worthy of our devoted attention. — Elder Neil N. Andersen, “Reverence for God is the Beginning of Wisdom,” Ensign, January 2013, p. 36; from a commencement address delivered on April 10, 2009, at BYU-Idaho

Wisdom:  For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We should be careful indeed what we say. — Confucius

To solve the human equation, we need to add love, subtract hate, multiply good, and divide between truth and error. — Janet Coleman

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. — Thomas Jefferson

By three methods we may learn wisdom:  first by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter. — Confucius

You can tell whether a person is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a person is wise by his questions. — Naguib Mahfouz

Don’t be fooled by the calendar.  There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.  One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week. — Charles Richards

Advice is seldom welcome, and those who need it the most, like it the least. — Lord Chesterfield

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can. — Sydney Smith Reynolds

My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.  It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. — Steve Jobs, creator of Apple

What you do every day should contribute to giving your life meaning.  If it doesn’t, why are you doing it? — Don Hutcheson