6 Great Psychology Quotes

A Few Psychological Words of Wisdom

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Inspirational quotes seem to be all the rage on the internet these days. While they might seem trite at times, sometimes these words of wisdom can offer fresh insights and perspectives on problems that we all face at one time or another. If you are looking for some quotes that might help you feel motivated or energized, you might want to start by taking a closer look at a few great quotes from some of psychology's best-known thinkers.

Let's explore a few of these great psychology quotes and learn more about what makes them so great.

Finding New Ways of Tackling Life's Problems

Abraham Maslow quote
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A Psychology Quote from Abraham Maslow:

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."

What Does It Mean?

Maslow's famous quote refers to a concept that is often known as the law of instrument or Maslow's hammer. Essentially, it suggests an over-reliance on a familiar or favorite tool. While such tools can sometimes be helpful, they can lead to approaching problems in ways that are not helpful or even destructive.

In psychological terms, this might involve always relying on the same coping mechanisms when dealing with problems rather than looking for new solutions. Rather than falling prey to this tendency, Maslow's quote suggests that you might want to try expanding your horizons a bit, learning about new ways of thinking, and exploring different ways of communicating with others.

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Doing Hard Things Can Build Character

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A Psychology Quote from William James:

"Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice."

What Does It Mean?

Life shouldn't always be about taking the easy road. Sometimes the greatest learning experiences are those brought on by adversity and challenge. It is during these times that we learn a great deal about ourselves, our strengths, and our weaknesses.

As James's quote suggests, sometimes it is important to do things, even if we do not necessarily enjoy or want to engage in these activities. For an ardent introvert, starting conversations with strangers would be a great example of an undesirable task that might lead to an unexpected reward.

So if you find yourself falling into a rut, try taking a word of advice from psychologist and philosopher William James. Challenge yourself to try something new or tackle a challenge that you don't necessarily find enjoyable and see what skills and knowledge you might gain from the experience. A few examples of things you might try include enrolling in a new class, trying a different workout, or committing to a marathon.

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Taking Personal Responsibility for One's Life

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A Psychology Quote from Albert Ellis:

"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny."

What Does It Mean?

Ellis's quote is all about taking responsibility for your own life and choices. Clearly, there are aspects of your life that are outside of your control. While you might not be able to control all the things that happen to you or that you experience through your life, you can take charge of how you respond to these events.

In psychology, this concept is often referred to as having an internal locus of control. Essentially, your locus of control refers to whether you see the events in your life as outside of your control or whether you feel that your actions can influence your destiny.

People who have an internal locus of control tend to feel more in control, have a greater sense of self-efficacy, and are typically happier and healthier. Those who possess an external locus of control often feel helpless, powerless, and unmotivated to make changes in their lives.

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Maintaining a Sense of Optimism

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A Psychology Quote from Carl Rogers:

"When I look at the world I'm pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic."

What Does it Mean?

It can be all too easy to start to feel pessimistic about the state of the world. The news seems filled with stories of tragedy and human misery. Your Facebook feed might present you with a constant influx of stories focused on strife, arguments, and stories suggesting that the world is going downhill fast.

Rogers's quote suggests that while focusing on such stories might make the world seem like a terrible place, focusing on individual people can help you maintain a more optimistic and realistic view of the world.

News articles and social media click bait stories may focus on the greatest of human tragedies as a way to rack up page views, but this doesn't truly offer a true look at what's going on in the world around you. If you find yourself getting pessimistic about the world, take a look at the people around you who can help boost you up. Focus on stories about inspirational people who are doing great things and making powerful contributions to society. As Rogers suggests, the world is full of kind and generous people who can inspire great optimism.

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Learning That Lasts a Lifetime

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A Psychology Quote from B. F. Skinner:

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."

What Does it Mean?

When we think of education, we tend to think of facts and figures learned in school. As many educators might suggest, however, it is often the methods, principles, and inquiry process that lie behind knowledge that really matter.

As Skinner suggests, the sum of our knowledge goes far beyond simple textbook learning. The information we learn in class might not be retained in long-term memory after taking an exam, the the critical thinking skills acquired while pursuing an education will last a lifetime. The learning process never ends, even long after the days of school are over. Never stop challenging yourself to explore new information, new ways of doing things, and different ways of thinking about the world.

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Carl Rogers Quotation

Enjoying the journey
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A Psychology Quote from Carl Rogers:

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination."

What Does it Mean?

Have you ever been so focused on achieving a goal that you totally forget to enjoy the journey toward reaching that goal? Carl Rogers's quotation suggests that living a good life is all about the journey itself.

Instead of focusing on the things that you think will ultimately lead to what you believe is "living the good life" such as having a big house, driving a nice car, and going on exotic vacations, focus you attention on the good things in your life each and every day. The things you learn, the family and friends you share your life with, and the things that bring you happiness are the greatest indicators of a happy, fulfilled life.

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