„By far the most vital lesson I have ever learned is the importance of what we think. If I knew what you think, I would know what you are. Our thoughts make us what we are.“

Source: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948), p. 5

Last update June 4, 2020. History
Dale Carnegie photo
Dale Carnegie97
American writer and lecturer 1888 - 1955

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„I don’t want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say.“

—  Sherwood Anderson, book Winesburg, Ohio

"The Teacher"
Winesburg, Ohio (1919)
Context: "You will have to know life," she declared, and her voice trembled with earnestness. She took hold of George Willard’s shoulders and turned him about so that she could look into his eyes. A passer-by might have thought them about to embrace. "If you are to become a writer you’ll have to stop fooling with words," she explained. "It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it’s time to be living. I don’t want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say."

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„You will never learn what I am thinking. And those who boast most loudly that they know my thought, to such people I lie even more.“

—  Adolf Hitler Führer and Reich Chancellor of Germany, Leader of the Nazi Party 1889 - 1945

Statement to Franz Halder, as quoted in The Psychopathic God (1993) by Robert George Leeson Waite, p. xi
Other remarks

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„It is what we think we know that keeps us from learning.“

—  Chester Barnard American businessman 1886 - 1961

Attributed to Chester Bernard in: Brand, Richard A. "Hypothesis-based research." Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 28.2 (1998): 71-73.

Zoya Akhtar photo

„I think the most important thing, when you are directing is perspective on the story. What is your take? What are you saying? What does it mean?“

—  Zoya Akhtar Indian film director 1974

Luck By Chance - My First Film 29 Oct 2018, at 9 Min 03 Sec https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B2wChETV5g
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Alan Greenspan photo

„I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant“

—  Alan Greenspan 13th Chairman of the Federal Reserve in the United States 1926

Attributed to Greenspan by Rupert Cornwell, "Alan Greenspan: The buck starts here" http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/alan-greenspan-the-buck-starts-here-595789.html, The Independent, 27 April 2003, citing an unspecified Capitol Hill hearing. However, as Ralph Keyes notes in The Quote Verifier (2006, p. 233), "This popular tongue twister gets attributed to the obfuscator du jour." The earliest known print attribution is to Robert McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman, by Marvin Kalb, CBS reporter, in TV Guide, 31 March 1984, citing an unspecified press briefing during the Vietnam war.
Earlier attributions include: "a high government official", Annual Report, North American Gas Tax Conference, Federation of Tax Administrators, 1967; Jerry Lewis (a sign pasted on the camera during a movie shoot), by Dick Kleiner, Hollywood Correspondent, Sumter Daily Item, Feb. 4, 1970; a sign on the desk of Suzanne Schroeder, collector of bureaucratic gobbledygook, AP wire story, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, July 3, 1973; Jack Nicklaus paraphrasing Richard Nixon, by Larry Dorman, The Palm Beach Post, Dec. 8, 1979; and "a Hollywood film director", by J.D. Douglas, The Third Way, 29 December 1977. Additionally, a thesis monograph by Michael David Katz, Georgia State University, 1973 is titled with the quote.
On the back of the first Stealers Wheel album, a very similar statement attributed to band member Rod Coombes is found: "We know that you believe you understand what you think we said, but we are not sure you realize that what you heard is not what we meant." The album was released in 1972.
See Richard Nixon: "Now, when individuals read the entire transcript of the [March] 21st [1973] meeting, or hear the entire tape, where we discussed all these options, they may reach different interpretations, but I know what I meant, and I know also what I did"
Misattributed

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Gautama Buddha photo

„We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.“

—  Gautama Buddha philosopher, reformer and the founder of Buddhism -563 - -483 BC

As rendered by T. Byrom (1993), Shambhala Publications.
There is no quote from the Pali Canon that matches up with any of these. The closest quote to this is in the Majjhima Nikaya 19:
"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness." Sources: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html
Misattributed

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„I think, you know, the thing everybody really wants to know anyway is not what the theory of relativity is, but I think what we all really want to know anyways, is whether we're loved or not.“

—  Rich Mullins American christian musician 1955 - 1997

Wheaton, Illinois http://www.kidbrothers.net/words/concert-transcripts/wheaton-illinois-sep1590-backup-copy.html (April 11, 1997)
In Concert

Robert T. Kiyosaki photo

„What do you think about me is not my business the important thing is what I think about myself…“

—  Robert T. Kiyosaki American finance author , investor 1947

Source: Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom

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