On success and motivation
“Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs, and then you had the urge to pass it on.”
“A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”
– Equal Rites
“You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world? It’s all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they’re really good at. It’s all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It’s all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad ploughmen instead. It’s all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never born in a time when it is possible to find out.”
– Moving Pictures
“In a world where we all move in curves he proceeds in a straight line. And going straight in a world of curves makes things happen.”
– Night Watch
“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
“And what if your story doesn’t work?”
“You keep changing it until you find one that does.”
– The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
On love and compassion
“And what would humans be without love?”
“All he knew was that you couldn’t hope to try for the big stuff, like world peace and happiness, but you might just about be able to achieve some tiny deed that’d make the world, in a small way, a better place.”
– The Fifth Elephant
“Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.”
– Wyrd Sisters
“Sometimes the only thing you could do for people was to be there.”
– Soul Music
“Charity ain’t giving people what you wants to give, it’s giving people what they need to get.”
“There were far worse things than Evil. All the demons in Hell would torture your very soul, but that was precisely because they valued souls very highly; Evil would always try to steal the universe, but at least it considered the universe worth stealing. But the grey world behind those empty eyes would trample and destroy without even according its victims the dignity of hatred. It wouldn’t even notice them.”
– The Light Fantastic
“You have the effrontery to be squeamish, it thought at him. But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless, and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape – the great face pressed even closer, so that Wonse was staring into the pitiless depths of his eyes – we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.”
– Guards! Guards!
“Good and bad is tricky. I ain’t too certain about where people stand. P’raps what matters is which way you face.”
– Witches Abroad
“Yes, but humans are more important than animals,” said Brutha.
“This is a point of view often expressed by humans,” said Om.
– Small Gods
“I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You are wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.”
– Guards! Guards!
“Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.”
– Going Postal
“William wondered why he always dislike people who said ‘no offense meant.’ Maybe it was because they found it easier to say ‘no offence meant’ than actually refrain from giving offense. ”
– The Truth
“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,’ the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”
– The Thief of Time
“Stupid men are often capable of things the clever would not dare to contemplate.”
– Feet of Clay
“Windle shook his head sadly. Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.”
– Reaper Man
“Humans are always slightly lost. It’s a basic characteristic. It explains a lot about them.”
– Lords and Ladies
“It’s vital to remember who you really are. It’s very important. It isn’t a good idea to rely on other people or things to do it for you, you see. They always get it wrong.”
Thank you, Terry Pratchett, for pulling the veil back and reminding us what the world is really like.
With his fantastical, otherwordly tales, Pratchett was able to show us truths we might not otherwise have seen. We’ll leave you with what might just be the best, most inspirational piece of life advice from Pratchett’s brilliant mind:
I. This is not a game.
II. Here and now, you are alive.
Rest in peace, Terry Pratchett. And thank you.