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Creative quotes and quotations
On Thinking...


Creativity means thinking, albeit in different ways to perhaps you usually think. But thinking it is, and much has been said about this subject. Thinking changes what you are, how you feel and probably the weather as well. So get that thinking cap on, and make sure it’s the right way around!

See also

being, belief, common sense, confidence, curiosity, doubt, dreaming, enjoyment, genius*, ideas, memory, mind*, openness, perception, understanding*


‘All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.’

James Allen

‘The soul never thinks without a picture.’


‘If you strike upon a thought that baffles you, break off from that entanglement and try another, so shall your wits be fresh to start again.’


‘If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.’

Mary Kay Ash

‘The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.’

Marcus Aurelius

‘I have always found that the man whose second thoughts are good is worth watching.’

James M. Barrie

‘The key to success is to risk thinking unconventional thoughts. Convention is the enemy of progress. If you go down just one corridor of thought you never get to see what’s in the rooms leading off it. ‘

Trevor Baylis

‘I carry my thoughts about with me for a long time, often for a very long time, before writing them down.’

Ludwig van Beethoven

‘Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.’

Henri Bergson

‘Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?’

Yogi Berra

‘No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical.’

Niels Bohr

‘Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.’

Niels Bohr

‘Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.’

Edward de Bono

‘Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.’

Ray Bradbury

‘The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.’

William Bragg

‘Beyond all our actions stands the larger shadow: How are we to choose between what we have been taught to think right and something else which manifestly succeeds?’

Jacob Bronowski

‘With our thoughts we make the world.’

Gautama Buddha

‘All that is is the result of what we have thought.’

Gautama Buddha

‘We are what we think.’

Gautama Buddha

‘If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.’

Marc Chagall

‘We owe most of our great inventions and most of the achievements of genius to idleness

—either enforced or voluntary. The human mind prefers to be spoon-fed with the thoughts of others, but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly, begin to think for itself-and such thinking, remember, is original thinking and may have valuable results.’

Agatha Christie

‘The fact is that if you have not developed language, you simply don’t have access to most of human experience, and if you don’t have access to experience, then you’re not going to be able to think properly.’

Noam Chomsky

‘To think is to live.’

Marcus Tullius Cicero

‘A ‘new thinker,’ when studied closely, is merely a man who does not know what other people have thought.’

F. M. Colby

‘I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plants and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.’

Leonardo Da Vinci

‘I think, therefore I am.’

René Déscartes

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.’

John Dewey

‘We only think when we are confronted with a problem.’

John Dewey

‘Nurture your mind with great thoughts.’

Benjamin Disraeli

‘A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.’

Albert Einstein

‘We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course powerful muscles, but no personality.’

Albert Einstein

‘Without creative, independently thinking and judging personalities the upward development of society is as unthinkable as the development of the individual personality without the nourishing soil of the community.’

Albert Einstein

‘The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.’

Albert Einstein

‘Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who read too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.’

Albert Einstein

‘The world’s greatest thinkers have often been amateurs; for high thinking is the outcome of fine and independent living, and for that a professional chair offers no special opportunities.’

Havelock Ellis

‘Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘If a man sits down to think, he is immediately asked if he has a headache.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Thoughts rule the world.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘What is the hardest task in the world? To think.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.’

Henry Ford

‘The more you think, the more time you have.’

Henry Ford

‘Think before you speak is criticism’s motto; speak before you think creation’s.’

E. M. Forster

‘To cease to think creatively is but little different from ceasing to live.’

Benjamin Franklin

‘We must care to think about the unthinkable things, because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.’

James Fulbright

‘All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘If I look confused, it’s because I’m thinking.’

Samuel Goldwyn

‘Most people can’t think, most of the remainder won’t think, and the small fraction who do think mostly can’t do it very well.’

Robert Heinlein

‘Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.’

Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘Most of one’s one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking.’

Aldous Huxley

‘Man lives in only one small room of the enormous house of his consciousness.’

William James

‘A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.’

William James

‘The intellect can intuit nothing, the senses dcan think nothing. Only through their union can knowledge arise.’

Immanuel Kant

‘The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes.’

Søren Kierkegaard

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.’

Søren Kierkegaard

‘Nature gave men two ends–one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then, man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he uses most.’

George Kirkpatrick

‘Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don’t bite everybody.’

Stanislaw Lec

‘The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.’

Walter Lippmann

‘Thought takes man out of servitude, into freedom.’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.’


‘I think like the species I am studying, whatever it is. If I am watching a lizard, I become the lizard. Gazing ath the water at a pike, I become the pike.’

Desmond Morris

‘Even a thought, even a possibility can shatter us and transform us.’

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘Thoughts give birth to a creative force that is neither elemental nor sideral. Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow. When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven, as it were and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him. For such is the immensity of man that he is greater than heaven and earth.’

Philipus Aureolus Paracelsus

‘If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.’

George S. Patton

Change your thoughts and you change your world.’

Norman Vincent Peale

‘Real, constructive mental power lies in the creative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental conduct produces power for change in your life. Develop a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your life as well as your happiness depends upon the direction in which that train of thought is going.’

Lawrence J. Peter

The mind ought to sometimes be diverted that it may return the better to thinking.’


‘The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow.’

Eden Phillpotts

‘Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything.’

Henri Poincaré

‘I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’

Terry Pratchett

‘When one is painting one does not think.’


‘I did not think; I experimented.’

Wilhelm Röentgen

‘Many people would rather die than think; in fact most do.’

Bertrand Russell

‘When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy.’

Salman Rushdie

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.’

Carl Sagan

‘Flout ‘em, and scout ‘em; and scout ‘em, and flout ‘em; / Thought is free.’

William Shakespeare

‘Nimble thought can jump both sea and land.’

William Shakespeare

‘There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’

William Shakespeare

‘This is the very coinage of your brain: this bodiless creation ecstasy.’

William Shakespeare

‘Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.’

George Bernard Shaw

‘I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.’


Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no-one else has thought.’

Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

‘To his whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning.’

Henry David Thoreau

‘As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think BIG.’

Donald Trump

‘We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.’

Mao Tse-Tung

‘They can do all because they think they can.’


‘No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.’


‘Only when one thinks even much more madly than the philosophers can one solve their problems.’

Ludwig Wittgenstein



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