goethe | quote

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

– Goethe

(one of my alltime favorite quotes, just found it, it was tucked away on my harddrive.)

13 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Thanks for sharing it – it *is* a great quote :-)

  2. Thank you for this great quote. I can honestly say that it is now one of my favorite quotes! I can see it becoming my mantra.

  3. it’s a lovely quote! but i’m sure that mr goethe never had pms to reckon with :)

  4. nice quote. Another one from Goethe to the same effect- Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it.

  5. Am just putting together counselling leaflet and part of this speech is being included on it! Love it – I read it every morning!

  6. I am sorry to say, but this quote is not from Goethe. The quote comes from the book “Teacher and Child” by Dr. Haim
    Ginott , New York, NY: Collier.

    Just check with

  7. I’ve been Googling to discern the incredible quote’s origin and it would seem that Dr. Haim Ginott’s version may be precedent.

    But I must say, I even more strongly prefer the version posted above. It takes on so much more power and profound meaning when applied to the self! Speaking for myself.

  8. Very effective quote in the realm of education, but when relating it to the ‘true self’ or superego against the astral or etherical self it becomes even more powerful. Thanks for posting it – perfect for my research.

  9. great quote. I’m just starting a typography project on the theme of ‘speech’. These words have great potential for coming a live of a creatively typeset page. Loving your blog.

  10. Congratulations!

  11. Does anyone have a citation/date for this quote? If so, would you e-mail that info to me at mbiacobelli@comcast.net THANKS

  12. Since Goethe died in 1832 and Haim Ginott was not born until 1922, I think it’s fair to say that Dr Ginott is the plagiarist. I’m pretty sure the quote is from Eckermann’s “Conversations with Goethe” but I can’t find the reference.

  13. Hi Swissmiss,
    just wondering if you have this quote in German? I’d like to use it for my class, but am having trouble tracking it down online.
    Thanks for your help