Motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behavior. Motivation, a temporal and dynamic state, consists of the desire and willingness to do something.
- There are two things people want more than sex and money . . . recognition and praise.
- Mary Kay Ash, as quoted in The Greatest Management Principle in the World (1985) by Michael LeBoeuf, p. 97.
- In the eye of that Supreme Being to whom our whole internal frame is uncovered, dispositions hold the place of actions.
- Hugh Blair, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 420.
- Dreadful will be the day when the world becomes contented, when one great universal satisfaction spreads itself over the world. Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.
- Phillips Brooks, Daily Thoughts from Phillips Brooks (1893), p. 85.
- In general, we do well to let an opponent's motives alone. We are seldom just to them. Our own motives on such occasions are often worse than those we assail.
- William Ellery Channing, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 420.
- Motivation is a battle for the heart, not just an appeal to the mind. Passion is always an expression of the soul.
- Patrick Dixon, Building a Better Business (2005), p. 159.
- We must not inquire too curiously into motives…. they are apt to become feeble in the utterance: the aroma is mixed with the grosser air. We must keep the germinating grain away from the light.
- George Eliot, Middlemarch (1977 [originally published in 1871–1872]), chapter 2, p. 13.
- There is a desire deep within the soul which drives man from the seen to the unseen, to philosophy and to the divine.
- Khalil Gibran, "Al Ghazali", Mirrors of the Soul, trans. Joseph Sheban (1965), p. 49.
- It is not the motive, properly speaking, that determines the working of the will; but it is the will that imparts strength to the motive. As Coleridge says: " It is the man that makes the motive, and not the motive the man."
- James McCosh, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 420.
- The value the world sets upon motives is often grossly unjust and inaccurate.
- H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949), p. 12. This is the opening sentence of his essay, "The Scientist", first published in The Smart Set, August 1919.
- The plea of good intentions is not one that can be allowed to have much weight in passing historical judgment upon a man whose wrong-headedness and distorted way of looking at things produced, or helped to produce, such incalculable evil; there is a wide political applicability in the remark attributed to a famous Texan, to the effect that he might, in the end, pardon a man who shot him on purpose, but that he would surely never forgive one who did so accidentally.
- Theodore Roosevelt, writing of John C. Calhoun, Thomas Hart Benton (1897, reprinted 1968), chapter 5, p. 111.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 532.
- Iago's soliloquy—the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity—how awful it is!
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Shakespeare. Notes on Othello.
- What makes life dreary is the want of motive.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Book VIII, Chapter LXV.
- A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays. Fate.
- For there's nothing we read of in torture's inventions,
Like a well-meaning dunce, with the best of intentions.
- James Russell Lowell, A Fable for Critics, Line 250.
- Men's minds are as variant as their faces. Where the motives of their actions are pure, the operation of the former is no more to be imputed to them as a crime, than the appearance of the latter; for both, being the work of nature, are alike unavoidable.
- George Washington, Social Maxims. Difference of Opinion no Crime.
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 178-180.
- Motives do not concern me; they are a dangerous subject with which to deal.
- Kekewich, J., Whelan v. Palmer (1888), L. J. Rep. (N. S.)57 C. D. 788.
- What passes in the mind of man is not scrutable by any human tribunal; it is only to be collected from his acts.
- Willes, J., King v. Shipley (1784), 3 Doug. 177.
- We must judge of a man's motives from his overt acts.
- Lord Kenyon, C.J., King v. Waddington (1800), 1 East, 158.
- There is no entering into the secret thoughts of a man's heart.
- Lord Mansfield, The King v. Woodfall (1774), Lofft. 782.
- It is impossible to dive into the secret recesses of a man's heart.
- Sir William Grant, M.R., Burrowes v. Lock (1805), 10 Ves. Jr. 476.
- To enter into the hearts of men belongs to him who can explore the human heart.
- Lord Kenyon, C.J., Eaton's Case (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 821.
- It is not for human judgment to dive into the heart of man, to know whether his intentions are good or evil.
- Lord Kenyon, C.J., Case of Lambert and others (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 1018.
- . . . The fallacious use of the principle that you cannot look into a man's mind. It is said you cannot do that: therefore what follows? It is said that you are to have fixed rules to tell you that he must have meant something, one way or the other, when certain exterior phenomena arise. The answer is that there is no such thing as an absolute criterion which gives you certain index to a man's mind. There is nothing outside his mind which is an absolute indication of what is going on inside. So far from saying that you cannot look into a man's mind, you must look into it, if you are going to find fraud against him: and unless you think you see what must have been in his mind, you cannot find him guilty of fraud.
- Bowen, L.J., Angus v. Clifford (1891), L. R. 2 C. D. , p. 471.
- He revealeth the deep and secret things, he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
- Quoted by Legge, B., Trial of Mary Blandy (1752), 18 How. St. Tr. 1188.
- The plaintiff cannot dive into the secret recesses of his (the defendant's) heart.
- Lord Romilly, M.B., In Re Ward (1862), 31 Beav. 7.
- Every man has a right to keep his own sentiments if he pleases.
- Joseph Yates, J., dissenting in Millar v. Taylor (1769), 4 Burr. Part IV., 2379.
- Men's feelings are as different as their faces.
- Grose, J., Good v. Elliott (1790), 3 T. R. 701.
- A man acting for himself may indulge his own caprices, and consider what is convenient or agreeable to himself, as well as what is strictly prudent, and his prudential motives cannot afterwards be separated from the others which may have governed him.
- Lord Langdale, M.R., Att.-Gen. v. Kerr (1840), 2 Beav. 428.
- Motives are very often immaterial with reference to the manner of disposing of a suit. It has been said by an eminent Judge, that if you were to look into motives of suitors, Courts of justice would not sit above a month in the year, and would have little to do. Of course there are, in numerous instances, motives for litigation which, if they could be looked into, would prevent a Court of justice from interfering. But generally I agree that it is not the rule so to regard them.
- Knight Bruce, L.J., Att.-Gen. v. Sheffield Gas Consumers Co. (1853), 3 D. M. & G. 311.
- The rule of our law is that the immediate cause, the causa proxima, and not the remote cause, is to be looked at: for, as Lord Bacon says: "It were infinite for the law to judge the causes of causes and their impulsions one of another; therefore it contenteth itself with the immediate cause, and judgeth of acts by that, without looking to any further degree."
- Blackburn, J., Sneesby v. Lancashire and Yorkshire Rail. Co. (1874), L. R. 9 Q. B. Ca. 267.
- I think the motives of the legislature in passing an Act of Parliament are to be taken to be proper motives.
- Bayley, J., King v. Hunt (1820), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 312.
- It was by no means uncommon, where the legislature had a particular object in view in making a particular statute, to extend the enactments beyond the immediate and original object, and apply it to other matter suggested by it.
- Abbott, C.J., Clarke v. Burdett and another (1819), 2 Stark. 505.