Preparation of the mind
“Though these young men unhappily fail to understand that the sacrifice of life is, in many cases, the easiest of all sacrifices, and that to sacrifice, for instance, five or six years of their seething youth to hard and tedious study, if only to multiply ten-fold their powers of serving the truth and the cause they have set before them as their goal—such a sacrifice is utterly beyond the strength of many of them.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, p. 20-21.
“The unprepared mind cannot see the outstretched hand of opportunity.”—Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." —Thomas A. Edison
Use of time
"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Labor, therefore, my dear boy, and improve the time. In youth, our steps are light, and our minds are ductile, and knowledge is easily laid up; but if we neglect our spring, our summer will be useless and contemptible, our harvest will be chaff, and our winter of old age unrespected and desolate.”
—Sir Walter Scott to son Charles, quoted in Gaining Favor With God and Man by William M. Thayer
"It is idleness that creates impossibilities; and where people don't care to do anything, they shelter themselves under a permission that it cannot be done." ~ Bishop Robert South
“A mind perpetually open will be a mind perpetually vacant”
"That spiritual danger exists in an intense application of the mind to these studies, he was so deeply sensible at a latter period of his life, as on a review of this particular time, most gratefully to acknowledge, that “the mercy of God prevented the extinction of that spark of grace which his spirit had kindled.” At the moment of his exposure to this peril he was less conscious of it; but we may perceive, from the following letter to his youngest sister, that he was not wholly devoid of circumspection on this head. Having shortly, and with much simplicity, announced that his name stood first upon the list at the college examination, in the summer of the year 1800, he thus expresses himself: “…Though I think my employment in life gives me peculiar advantages, in some respects, with regard to a religious knowledge, yet with regard to having a practical sense of things on the mind, it is by far the worst of any. For the laborer, as he drives on his plough, and the weaver who works at his loom, may have their thoughts entirely disengaged from their work, and may think with advantage upon any religious subject. But the nature of our studies requires such a deep abstraction of the mind from all things, as completely to render it incapable of any thing else during many hours of the day.”—John Sargent, Memoirs of the Rev. Henry Martyn, p. 25-27