Becoming A Brilliant Star                                                       

Weekly Quotations


Compiled by: W. Huitt, Valdosta, GA; Last revised: October 2005

The following quotations relate specifically to the core elements and domains of Becoming a Brilliant Star. Seven quotations (drawn from a larger set of quotations; see Huitt (2001)) are provided for an overview and each of the core elements and domains. It is recommended to take about 5 minutes each day and reflect on and/or discuss the following four questions:

1.      What is the key concept or principle? Paraphrase the quotation in your own words. What is the essence or central meaning of the quotation?

2.      Why is this concept or principle important? Why should we try to put this into practice? How would our lives or the lives of others be improved if we implemented this concept or principle? What would happen if we did? What would happen if we did not? What would happen if we put an opposite concept or principle into practice? 

3.      How can I implement or work on this concept or principle today, this week, this month? Describe some specific actions that could be taken. Prepare a simple statement that will describe what you intend to do and that affirms you have this attribute, value or virtue.

4.      How will I know I am making progress? What are some ways to measure my progress on this attribute? At the end of the day, what are some indicators that I could use to know that I have been successful or unsuccessful? How can I measure my implementation?  How can you hold yourself accountable for making progress with regards to this concept or principle?

The purpose of this activity is twofold:

1.      to demonstrate that the principles of Becoming a Brilliant Star have been discussed throughout history in a variety of cultures that provide us with generic knowledge about how to think and behave in our modern world (see Huitt (2000) for a discussion of some of the desired outcomes for children, youth, and adults in the 21st century); 

2.      to practice learning to apply these in specific situations in our daily lives.


Throughout each week make decisions about improving and actualizing potential, first overall, and then in each of the core elements and domains. Make commitments to implement the decisions and then manage those decisions daily (see Maxwell (2005) for some additional details on this process). You might also want to do a search on the individual making the quote or the culture from which the quote is drawn and find out more about the source of the quote.

  • Huitt, W. (2000). Desired student outcomes. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Available online from http://www.edpsycinteractive/topics/student/desout.html

  • Huitt, W. (2001). Becoming a Brilliant Star: Compilations of quotations. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Available online from http://www.edpsycinteractive/brilstar/quotes.html

  • Maxwell, J. (2005). Today matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow's success. New York: Warner Faith.


audio is in mp3 format; n = 98


Moral Character


Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

Chinese Proverb


As a splendid palace deserted by its inmates looks like a ruin, so does a man without character, all his material belongings notwithstanding.

Mohandas Gandhi (Activist)

We can change our whole life and the attitude of people around us simply by changing ourselves.

Rudolf Dreikurs (Scientist)

Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.

Hopi Proverb (United States)

All things good to know are difficult to learn.

Greek Proverb

There is a hole at the end of the thief’s path.

Lakota Proverb (United States)

You must live your life from beginning to end. No one else can do it for you.

Hopi Proverb

The tree is known by its fruit.

Latin American proverb


The life which is not examined is not worth living.

Plato (Philosopher)



A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

Nelson Mandela (Activist and South African Prime Minister)

You never know a line is crooked unless you have a straight one to put next to it.

Socrates (Philosopher)

Kindness is to use one’s will to guard one’s speech and conduct so as not to injure anyone.

Omaha Oral Tradition (United States)

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

United Nations: Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.

John Wooden (Athlete and Coach)









Personal Style


Spiritual Development


People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.

H. Jackson Browne (Entertainer)



Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.

Ansel Adams (Photographer)

There are three things extremely hard: steel, diamond, and to know one’s self.

Benjamin Franklin (Businessman,  Politician)


Man's law changes with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit remain always the same.

Crow Proverb (United States)


Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.

Erich Fromm (Scientist)


I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.

John F. Kennedy (U. S. President)

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

Thomas Jefferson (U. S. President)

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.

Italian Proverb


Two hundred cattle are under one stick, but two hundred human beings are under two hundred sticks.

Nupe Proverb (Nigeria)


A wide chasm separates knowing what is the right thing and actually doing the right thing. Spiritual intelligence bridges that chasm.

Khalil Khavari (Scientist)

A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them.

Sir Herbert Read (Critic, Poet)


No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.

Helen Keller (Author, Motivational Speaker)

Personality is born out of pain. It is the fire shut up in the flint.

J. B. Yeats (Poet)

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.

Stephen Hawking (Scientist



Physical Development


Perceptual Development


The awareness that health is dependent upon habits that we control makes us the first generation in history that to a large extent determines its own destiny.

Jimmy Carter (U.S. president)

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through chinks of his cavern.

William Blake (Poet)

The body is a sacred garment.

Martha Graham (Dancer and Choreographer)

Man's heart is never satisfied; the snake would swallow the elephant.

Chinese Proverb

Be happy in order to live long. Worry makes you sick.

Hopi Proverb (United States)



It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.

Albert Einstein (Scientist)

Many people treat their bodies as if they were rented from Hertz—something they are using to get around in but nothing they genuinely care about understanding.

Chungliang Al Huang (Scientist)

However, no two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is -- in other words, not a thing, but a think.

Penelope Fitzgerald (Author)

Your eyes are the mirror of your soul.

When you sparkle your eyes, whether you think you are beautiful or not, you are.

Twylah Nitsch (Educator)

Every horse thinks his own pack heaviest.

Thomas Fuller (Physician)



If anything is sacred the human body is sacred.

Walt Whitman (Poet)


All that glitters is not gold, and all that is sticky is not tar.

Lithuanian Proverb

We are truly indefatigable in providing for the needs of the body, but we starve the soul.

Ellen Wood (Scientist)


Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

Hans Margolius (Author)






Cognitive Development


Affective Development


The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.

Sir Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister)

Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.

James Allen (Philosopher)

It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.

Rene Descartes (Philosopher)

Write the bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble.

Arabian Proverb

Nurture your thoughts with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic, makes heroes.

Benjamin Disraeli (Israeli Prime Minister)

You’re more likely to act yourself into a feeling than feel yourself into action.

Jerome Bruner (Scientist)

You don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.

Albert Einstein (Scientist)

Where there is love there is life...

Mohandas Gandhi (Attorney, Activist)


We live in our minds…Understanding how the mind works is crucial for understanding ourselves, dealing with others and leading a happier and more successful life.

Khalil Khavari (Scientist)

To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway.

John C. Maxwell (Motivational Speaker, Spiritual Leader)


There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be.

Charles Sanders Pierce (Philosopher)

When we run away from fear, it gets bigger, but when we advance toward it, it shrinks.

Laurie Skreslet (Adventurer)


Never confuse knowledge with wisdom. By wisdom I mean wrestling with how to live.

Cornel West (Philosopher, Activist)

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.

Mark Twain (Author)





Volitional Development


Family Development


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Aristotle (Philosopher)

Even as the cell is the unit of the organic body, so the family is the unit of society.

Ruth Nanda Anshen (Author, Editor)

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.

John Dryden (Philosopher)

A family in harmony will prosper in everything.

Chinese proverb


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank (Author)

To understand your parents’ love you must raise children yourself.

Chinese Proverb

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die,

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Langston Hughes (Poet)

Family is the first school for young children, and parents are powerful models.

Alice Sterling Honig (Scientist)



Work to be worth more, study to know more.

Latin American proverb

A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.

Andre Maurois (Author, Critic)

More than anything else, what keeps a person going in the midst of adversity is having a sense of purpose. It is the fuel that powers persistence.

John C. Maxwell (Motivational Speaker, Religious Leader)

Marriage is a good thing. Like any good thing, it exacts a price. To receive the reward of marriage, both wife and husband should pay their share of the costs.

Khalil Khavari (Scientist)

If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you’ve always gotten.

Traditional Saying (United States)

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones—the ones at home.

Mother Teresa (Activist)





Friendship Development


Financial Development


Yearn to understand first and to be understood second.

Becca Lewis Allen (Motivational Speaker)

If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master.  

Francis Bacon (Philosopher)


It is because one antelope will blow the dust from the other’s eye that two antelopes walk together.

Akan Proverb (Ghana)

Many folks think they aren't good at earning money, when what they don't know is how to use it.

Frank A. Clark (Author)

Tell me with whom you travel, and I will tell you who you are.

Miguel de Cervantes (Author)


Successful people make money. It's not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do.

Wayne Dyer (Author, Motivational Speaker)

Behind an able man there are always other able men.

Chinese Proverb

Money is like an arm or a leg -- you use it or lose it.

Henry Ford (Businessman)

Be slow in choosing a friend, but slower in changing him.

Scottish Proverb

Choice has always been a privilege of those who could afford to pay for it.

Ellen Frankfort (Businesswoman)

A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.

Tecumseh (Tribal Leader)


A person’s treatment of money is the most decisive test of his character; how he makes it and how he spends it.

James Moffatt (Businessman)

Good and evil cannot dwell together in the same heart, so a good man ought not to go into evil company.

Wingenim (Tribal Leader)

Pennies do not come from heaven—they have to be earned here on earth.

Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister)






Career Development


SocioCultural Development


If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

Sir Isaac Newton (Scientist)

The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.

Pearl S. Buck (Author)

Monotony is the law of nature. Look at the monotonous manner in which the sun rises. The monotony of necessary occupation is exhilarating and life giving.

Mahatma Gandhi (Attorney, Activist)

So long as we defile our sacred mother earth, as long as the elderly go without health care, as long as men and women labor for bare subsistence, the pain goes on, and the promise is unfulfilled.

Larry Echohawk (Tribal Leader)

Every calling is great when greatly pursued.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (Author)


Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.

Dwight Eisenhower (Military Leader, U. S. President)

I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.

Thomas A. Edison (Inventor)



We must seek unity within. The time for division and dissension is over. We must reach out to each other, come together and unite.

Peter MacDonald (Navajo Tribal Leader)

Very few of the great leaders ever get through their careers without failing, sometimes dramatically.

Philip Crosby (Author, Businessman)

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.

Margaret Mead (Scientist)

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

Eleanor Roosevelt (Activist)



The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done…

Jean Piaget (Scientist)

Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.

Booker T. Washington (Educator)


In the last analysis civilization itself is measured by the way in which children will live and what chance they will have in the world.

Mary Heaton Vorse (Author)