Mediocrity Quotes

Quotes tagged as "mediocrity" Showing 1-30 of 319
Arthur Conan Doyle
“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear

Richard Yates
“It's a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.”
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

Gordon B. Hinckley
“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
Gordon B. Hinckley

Albert Camus
“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.”
Albert Camus

Michael Bassey Johnson
“To be of good quality, you have to excuse yourself from the presence of shallow and callow minded individuals.”
Michael Bassey Johnson

Criss Jami
“Creative people are often found either disagreeable or intimidating by mediocrities.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Ayn Rand
“Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?"
"I've felt it all my life," she said.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Gustave Flaubert
“Everyone, either from modesty or egotism, hides away the best and most delicate of his soul’s possessions; to gain the esteem of others, we must only ever show our ugliest sides; this is how we keep ourselves on the common level”
Gustave Flaubert, November

Dante Alighieri
“And I — my head oppressed by horror — said:
"Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?"
      And he to me: "This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
      They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.
      The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them —
even the wicked cannot glory in them.”
Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Gustave Flaubert
“Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.”
Gustave Flaubert

Martha Graham
“The only sin is mediocrity.”
Martha Graham

Ayn Rand
“People don't want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they'll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue - a highly intellectual virtue - out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt... They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Robert G. Ingersoll
“In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.”
Robert G. Ingersoll

Og Mandino
“Most humans, in varying degrees, are already dead. In one way or another they have lost their dreams, their ambitions, their desire for a better life. They have surrendered their fight for self-esteem and they have compromised their great potential. They have settled for a life of mediocrity, days of despair and nights of tears. They are no more than living deaths confined to cemeteries of their choice. Yet they need not remain in that state. They can be resurrected from their sorry condition. They can each perform the greatest miracle in the world. They can each come back from the dead...”
Og Mandino, The Greatest Miracle in World

Thomas Mann
“He probably was mediocre after all, though in a very honorable sense of that word.”
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

John Steinbeck
“It's because I haven't courage,' said Samuel. 'I could never quite take the responsibility. When the Lord God did not call my name, I might have called his name - but I did not. There you have the difference between greatness and mediocrity. It's not an uncommon disease. But it's nice for a mediocre man to know that greatness must be the loneliest state in the world.'

'I'd think there are degrees of greatness,' Adam said.

'I don't think so,' said Samuel. 'That would be like saying there is a little bigness. No. I believe when you come to that responsibility the hugeness and you are alone to make your choice. On one side you have warmth and companionship and sweet understanding, and on the other - cold, lonely greatness. There you make your choice. I'm glad I chose mediocrity, but how am I to say what reward might have come with the other? None of my children will be great either, except perhaps Tom. He's suffering over the choosing right now. It's a painful thing to watch. And somewhere in me I want him to say yes. Isn't that strange? A father to want his son condemned to greatness! What selfishness that must be.”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Tom Robbins
“But why diminish your soul being run-of-the-mill at something? Mediocrity: now there is ugliness for you. Mediocrity's a hairball coughed up on the Persian carpet of Creation.”
Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Roland Merullo
“I felt I was drawing close to that age, that place in life, where you realize one day what you'd told yourself was a Zen detachment turns out to be naked fear. You'd had one serious love relationship in your life and it had ended in tragedy, and the tragedy had broken something inside you. But instead of trying to repair the broken place, or at least really stop and look at it, you skated and joked. You had friends, you were a decent citizen. You hurt no one. And your life was somehow just about half of what it could be.”
Roland Merullo, A Little Love Story

Israelmore Ayivor
“To a hungry person, every bitter food is sweet. When the preferable is not available, the available becomes preferable!”
Israelmore Ayivor

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“...simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but world's champions.... A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tap-dances on the coffee table like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an "exhibitionist." How do we reward such an exhibitionist? We say to him or her the next morning, "Wow! Were you ever drunk last night!”
Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard

Matthew Kelly
“We don't want to think about our weaknesses. We don't want to talk about them, and we certainly don't want anyone else to point them out. This is a classic sign of mediocrity, and this mediocrity has a firm grip on the Church and humanity at this moment in history.”
Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism

Sarah Vowell
“You know you've reached a new plateau of group mediocrity when even a Canadian is alarmed by your lack of individuality.”
Sarah Vowell, Assassination Vacation

Christopher Hitchens
“Very often the test of one's allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel's 'Charter 77' committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what 'The Party' had so perfectly termed 'normalization.' As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Alfred de Vigny
“I admit that I myself am far from having a complete command of every topic I touch on, but my knowledge of my subject is always greater than the interest or the understanding of my auditors. You see, there is one very good thing about mankind; the mediocre masses make very few demands of the mediocrities of a higher order, submitting stupidly and cheerfully to their guidance”
Alfred de Vigny, Stello

Flannery O'Connor
“So many people can now write competent stories that the short story is in danger of dying of competence.”
Flannery O'Connor

Sharon Salzberg
“We’re capable of much more than mediocrity, much more than merely getting by in this world.”
Sharon Salzberg, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

George Eliot
“What right have such men to represent Christianity—as if it were an institution for getting up idiots genteelly?”
George Eliot, Middlemarch

E.M. Forster
“Society is invincible—to a certain degree. But your real life is your own, and nothing can touch it. There is no power on earth that can prevent your criticizing and despising mediocrity—nothing that can stop you retreating into splendour and beauty—into the thoughts and beliefs that make the real life—the real you.”
E M Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

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