John W Gardner Quotes & Wallpapers

John W Gardner
Total Quotes: 100


We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life. John W Gardner

The ablest and most effective leaders do not hold to a single style; they may be highly supportive in personal relations when that is needed, yet capable of a quick, authoritative decision when the situation requires it. John W Gardner

When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: 'Only stand out of my light.' Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light. John W Gardner

Creative minds are rarely tidy. John W Gardner

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. John W Gardner

All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose. John W Gardner

The [nonprofit] sector enhances our creativity, enlivens our communities, nurtures individual responsibility, stirs life at the grassroots, and reminds us that we were born free. John W Gardner

It is not easy to be crafty and winsome at the same time, and few accomplish it after the age of six. John W Gardner

Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them... They achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don't stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose. John W Gardner

We get richer and richer in filthier and filthier communities until we reach a final state of affluent misery - crocus on a garbage heap. John W Gardner

The first and last task of aleader is to keep hope alive. John W Gardner

Creativity requires the freedom to consider 'unthinkable' alternatives, to doubt the worth of cherished practices. Every organization, every society is under the spell of assumptions so familiar that they are never questioned, least of all by those most intimately involved. John W Gardner

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities - brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. John W Gardner

The cynic says, 'One man can't do anything.' I say, 'Only one man can do anything.' John W Gardner

When hiring key employees, there are only two qualities to look for: judgement and taste. Almost everything else can be bought by the yard. John W Gardner

If our society continues at its present rate to become less livable as it becomes more affluent, we promise all to end up in sumptuous misery. John W Gardner

History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable. John W Gardner

All that we know about the interaction between leaders and constituents or followers tells us that communication and influence flow in both directions; and in that two-way communication, nonrational, nonverbal, and unconscious elements play their part. John W Gardner

A prime function of a leader is to keep hope alive. John W Gardner

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. John W Gardner

If one defines the term 'dropout' to mean a person who has given up serious effort to meet his responsibilities, then every business office, government agency, golf club and university faculty would yield its quota. John W Gardner

In the United States, to an unprecedented degree, the individual's social role has come to be determined not by who he is but by what he can accomplish. John W Gardner

At home we have lost the capacity to see what is before us. Travel shakes us out of our apathy, and we regain an attentiveness that heightens every experience. The exhilaration of travel has many sources, but surely one of them is that we recapture in some measure the unspoiled awareness of children. John W Gardner

Renewal is not just innovation and change. It is also the process of bringing the results of change into line with our purposes. John W Gardner

The man who once cursed his fate, now curses himself - and pays his psychoanalyst. John W Gardner

One of my less pleasant chores when I was young was to read the Bible from one end to the other. Reading the Bible straight through is at least 70 percent discipline, like learning Latin. But the good parts are, of course, simply amazing. God is an extremely uneven writer, but when He's good, nobody can touch Him. John W Gardner

More and more Americans feel threatened by runaway technology, by large-scale organization, by overcrowding. More and more Americans are appalled by the ravages of industrial progress, by the defacement of nature, by man-made ugliness. If our society continues at its present rate to become less livable as it becomes more affluent, we promise all to end up in sumptuous misery. John W Gardner

Some people seem to believe that for each problem there is a solution readily available - a solution that can be promptly achieved by passing a law and voting some money. I think of this as the vending machine concept of social change. Put a coin in the machine and out comes a piece of candy. If there is a social problem, pass a law and out comes a solution. John W Gardner

Creativity requires the freedom to consider unthinkable alternatives, to doubt the worth of cherished practices. John W Gardner

Perhaps the most promising trend in our thinking about leadership is the growing conviction that the purposes of the group are best served when the leader helps followers develop their own initiative, strengthens them in the use of their own judgment, enables them to grow, and to become better contributors. John W Gardner

Nothing can be more readily disproved than the old saw, You can't keep a good man down. Most human societies have been beautifully organized to keep good men down. John W Gardner

The creative individual is particularly gifted in seeing the gap between what is and what could be (which means, of course, that he has achieved a certain measure of detachment from what is). John W Gardner

Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all. John W Gardner

The hallmark of our age is the tension between aspirations and sluggish institutions. John W Gardner

Our problem is not to find better values but to be faithful to those we profess. John W Gardner

An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. John W Gardner

We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure-all your life. John W Gardner

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality. John W Gardner

Nothing can be more readily disproved than the old saw, "You can't keep a good man down." Most human societies have been beautifully organized to keep good men down. John W Gardner

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. John W Gardner

When one may pay out over two million dollars to presidential and Congressional campaigns, the U.S. government is virtually up for sale. John W Gardner

If you don't give your kid freedom to make choices with money, including stupid choices, he'll make plenty when he gets to college. John W Gardner

We have to face the fact that most men and women out there are more stale than they know, more bored than they care to admit. John W Gardner

All of us celebrate our values in our behavior. John W Gardner

The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursuing his education. John W Gardner

It is one of the ironies of history that reformers so often misjudge the consequences of their reforms. John W Gardner

A nation is held together by shared values, shared beliefs, shared attitudes. That is what enables a people to maintain a cohesive society despite the tensions of daily life. This is what enables them to rise above the conflicts that plague any society. That is what gives a nation its tone, its fiber, its integrity, its moral style, its capacity to endure. John W Gardner

Life is an endless process of self-discovery. John W Gardner

One generalization that is supported both by research and experience is that effective two-way communication is essential to proper functioning of the leader-follower relationship. John W Gardner

The play of conflicting interests in a framework of shared purposes is the drama of a free society. It is a robust exercise, and often a noisy one. It is not for the faint-hearted, or the tidy-minded. John W Gardner

True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents. John W Gardner

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. John W Gardner

History never looks like history when you are living through it. John W Gardner

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. John W Gardner

The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W Gardner

If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are. John W Gardner

It's a staggering transition for high school students that found they could study five hours a week and make As and Bs. John W Gardner

Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W Gardner

Paralysis of leadership is due in part to the unseen grip of the special interests. John W Gardner

Tax reduction has an almost irresistible appeal to the politician, and it is no doubt also gratifying to the citizen. It means more dollars in his pocket, dollars that he can spend if inflation doesn't consume them first. But dollars in his pocket won't buy him clean streets or an adequate police force or good schools or clean air and water. Handing money back to the private sector in tax cuts and starving the public sector is a formula for producing richer and richer consumers in filthier and filthier communities. If we stick to that formula we shall end up in affluent misery. John W Gardner

If the modern leader doesn't know the facts, he is in grave trouble, but rarely do the facts provide unqualified guidance. John W Gardner

Perhaps the most striking feature of the [nonprofit] sector is its relative freedom from constraints and its resulting pluralism. John W Gardner

The [nonprofit] sector is the natural home of nonmajoritarian impulses, movements and values. It comfortably harbors innovators, maverick movements, groups which feel they must fight for their place in the sun, and critics of both liberal conservative persuasion. John W Gardner

But if we believe what we profess concerning the worth of the individual, then the idea of individual development within a framework of ethical purpose must become our deepest concern, our national preoccupation, our passion, our obsession. We must think of education as relevant for everyone everywhere - at all ages and in all conditions of life. John W Gardner

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. John W Gardner

The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept. John W Gardner

One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure. John W Gardner

The cynic says, "One man can't do anything". I say, "Only one man can do anything." John W Gardner

We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. John W Gardner

What leaders have to remember is that somewhere under the somnolent surface is the creature that builds civilizations, the dreamer of dreams, the risk taker. And remembering that, the leader must reach down to the springs that never dry up, the ever-fresh springs of the human spirit. John W Gardner



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