Ability

If great your boasted talents be,
Great your responsibility:
For genius is the gift of Heaven,
And much requir’d where much is given.
~ William Ashburnham, Jr., in One Hundred Fables In Verse; By Various Authors (1825). Fable LIX. The Load-Stone And The Mirror

For though he could not perch so well,
Nor strut, nor swagger any longer,
His wings were strong as any bird’s —
Or were they stronger?
~ Karle Wilson Baker, from Burning Bush (1922). The Cripple

It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen.
~ Bill Bernbach, Bill Bernbach said … (1989).

Things become easier, when you try your level best.
~ William Hardcastle Browne, Odd Derivations of Words, Phrases, Slang, Synonyms and Proverbs (1900).

There’s no use fussing on a boy who doesn’t have any ability.
~ Paul William “Bear” Bryant, I Ain’t Never Been Nothing but a Winner: Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s 323 Greatest Quotes About Success, On and Off the Football Field (March 2000).

I never could be an expert golfer. That, too, is education — to learn where one lacks aptitude.
~ Willis H. Carrier, in Willis Haviland Carrier: Father of Air Conditioning (1952).

To note an artist’s limitations is but to define his talent.
~ Willa Sibert Cather, Not Under Forty (1936).

The exaltation of talent, as it is called, above virtue and religion, is the curse of the age.
~ William Ellery Channing (D.D.), Address Introductory to the Franklin Lectures, Boston MA (September 1838). On Self-Culture

Careless she is with artful care,
Affecting to seem unaffected.
~ William Congreve, A Hue and Cry after Fair Amoret (1698)

If modesty was not regulated by prudence and judgment, ability would not always do justice to itself.
~ William Danby, Thoughts on Various Subjects (1831).

We should be careful not to mistake the possession of talents, or their occasional exhibition, for the full use of them.
~ William Danby, Ideas and Realities, or Thoughts on Various Subjects (1827).

I have always admired the ability to bite off more than one can chew and then chew it.
~ William C. de Mille

Best efforts are essential. Unfortunately, best efforts, people charging this way and that way without guidance of principles, can do a lot of damage. Think of the chaos that would come if everyone did his best, not knowing what to do.
~ W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1986).

Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way.
~ William James “Will” Durant (with Ariel Durant), The Lessons of History (1968). III. Biology and History

At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right.
~ William Faulkner, in Faulkner in the University (1959).

If we conducted ourselves as sensibly in good times as we do in hard times, we could all acquire a competence.
~ William Feather

Not how much talent have I, but how much will to use the talent that I have, is the main question. Not how much do I know, but how much do I do with what I know?
~ William Channing Gannett, from The Faith That Makes Faithful (1886). Blesssed Be Drudgery

Anybody any good at what they do, that’s what they are, right?
~ William Gibson, Neuromancer (July 1984).

Confidence or courage is conscious ability — the sense of power. No man is ever afraid of attempting what he knows he can do better than any one else.
~ William Hazlitt, Characteristics: in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims (1823).

No man can get above his pursuit in life: it is getting above himself, which is impossible.
~ William Hazlitt, from The Plain Speaker, Volume I (1826). Essay III. On the Conversation of Authors (first published in the London Magazine; September 1820)

The world judge of men by their ability in their professions, and we judge of ourselves by the same test; for it is on that on which our success in life depends. Yet how often do our talents and pursuits lie in different directions!
~ William Hazlitt, Characteristics: in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims (1823).

To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind.
~ William Hazlitt, Characteristics: in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims (1823).

I rebel at the thought of some who claim to have been born with a talent. I believe is accorded only to those who endlessly strive and search for it — whether consciously or subconsciously.
~ Bill Hixson, from Flower Arranging, Volume 1 (1971).

I will admit all the world to be competent judges of my pictures, except those who are of the profession.
~ William Hogarth

Talent is ungovernable.
~ William Hone, The Every-Day Book (1825-26). March 12

I ain’t good looking
And my hair ain’t curls
But my mother she give me something
It’s going to carry me through this world.
~ Billie Holiday, Billie’s Blues (1936 single).

Tools aren’t as important as the skill of the people who use them.
~ Bill Husted, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (22 March 1998). Technobuddy

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake.
~ William James, Presidential Address, American Philosophical Association. Columbia University (28 December 1906). The Energies of Men

Yeah, life hurts like hell, but this is how I keep going. I have a sense of humor. I’ve got my brothers and sisters. I’ve got this ability to make something out of nothing. I can clap my hands and make magic.
~ Bill T. Jones, in People magazine. Vol. 32, No. 5 (31 July 1989). Bill T. Jones Choreographs An Anguished Tribute to His Late Partner, a Victim of AIDS

One of the crucial traits of real leaders in a democracy is the ability to help people become better informed so that society can make better choices.
~ William W. Lewis, The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability (2004). Chapter Three. Europe: Falling Behind

Psychic ability is like artistic talent. … You are either born with it or not. Not very democratic, but true.
~ W. Adam Mandelbaum, interview in New Dawn Magazine, No. 62 (September-October 2000). Paranormal ESPionage: The Military-Occult Complex

Disability is physical and ability lies in the mind.
~ William Ngwako Maphoto

[T]he crown of all faculties is common-sense.
~ William Mathews, Getting on in the World: Or, Hints on Success in Life (1872). Chapter IX: Practical Talent

Everyone who can hold a pen is confident of his ability to criticise, and to criticise superciliously.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, Mrs. Craddock (1902).

At times, our strengths propel us so far forward we can no longer endure our weaknesses and perish from them.
~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882).

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I had some god-given talent. … I’m grateful for that, and I’m happy that it’s over.
~ William (“The Refrigerator”) Perry, in Sports Illustrated magazine (31 July 2000). Where Are They Now? Refrigerator Perry

Don’t tell me of a man’s being able to talk sense; everyone can talk sense; can he talk nonsense?
~ William Pitt (1st Earl of Chatham), quoted in The National Review. Vol XIII, No. XXV (July 1861). Article IX. — William Pitt. Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt

I don’t know why I run so fast. I just run.
~ Wilma Rudolph, in ESPN “Classic’s SportsCentury” (2001). Rudolph ran and world went wild

God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night. Act I, scene v

Out of my lean and low ability
I’ll lend you something.
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night. Act III, scene iv

She was a vixen when she went to school:
And though she be but little, she is fierce.
~ William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act III, scene ii

They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten and discharging less than the tenth part of one.
~ William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida. Act III, scene ii

To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
~ William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act V, scene i

When workmen strive to do better than well,
They do confound their skill in covetousness.
~ William Shakespeare, King John. Act IV, scene ii

Ability is drawn out into use, by occasions and accidents.
~ Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet, in The Works of Sir William Temple, Bart., Vol. I (1720). Miscellanea, Part III. Heads, Designed for an Essay on Conversation

The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other, like too scanty a blanket when you are a-bed. If you pull it upon your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
~ Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet, from Miscellanea, Part II (1690). An Essay upon the Ancient and Modern Learning

[N]o personal attraction is more satisfactory than ability to converse well.
~ William Makepeace Thayer, Success: Oracle of the Age (1892). LXXXVIII. Art of Conversation

With indignation I survey
Such skill and judgment thrown away;
The time profusely squandered there
On vulgar arts beneath thy care,
If well employed at less expense
Had taught thee honour, virtue, sense.
~ William Whitehead, from Poems on Several Occasions (1754). The Youth and the Philosopher. A Fable

Everybody excels in some one thing. Some in many! … All you’ve got to do is discover in what!
~ Thomas Lanier (“Tennessee”) Williams, The Glass Menagerie (1944). Scene Seven

Reason is said to be one faculty, and Imagination another — but there cannot be a grosser mistake; they are one and indivisible.
~ John Wilson, from The Recreations of Christopher North (1845 edition). An Hour’s Talk About Poetry (written in 1831)

Use what talents you have; the woods would have little music if no birds sang their song except those who sang best.
~ Reverend Oliver G. Wilson

The most important skill in staying calm is not to lose sleep over small issues. The second most important skill is to be able to view all issues as small issues.
~ Paul Wilson, The Little Book of Calm (1996).

Many of us are more capable than some of us … but none of us is as capable as all of us!
~ Tom Wilson, Ziggy

I weigh the man, not his title; ’tis not the king’s stamp can make the metal better or heavier.
~ William Wycherley, The Plain Dealer (1674). Act I, scene i

Is it not certain that the Creator yawns in earthquake and thunder and other popular displays, but toils in rounding the delicate spiral of a shell?
~ William Butler Yeats, The Trembling of the Veil (1922). Book II. Ireland After The Fall Of Parnell, XXIV

© 1999-2012 all things William. All Rights Reserved.
A Collection of Quotes Based on the Name William

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