“Consider, sir…”: Samuel Johnson puts things in perspective


Things getting too much for you? People have always felt that way. Let us please hop back to the eighteenth century, for Dr Johnson’s very sage advice on how to put our day-to-day problems into perspective:

“Consider, Sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelvemonth hence.”

You can find this wonderful quotation in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson.

“…I will call him a blockhead still.”: More great words from Dr Johnson

For your delectation, here are five further Dr Johnson quotations that I love (Each of which can be found in Boswell’s Life):

“No, Sir, I called the fellow a blockhead at first, and I will call him a blockhead still.”

“Every man is to take care of his own wisdom and his own virtue, without minding too much what others think.”

“Sir, you must not neglect doing a thing immediately good from fear of remote evil; – from fear of its being abused.”

“The happiness of London life is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it.

“No man is obliged to do as much as he can do. A man is to have part of his life to himself.”


Let us not also forget the fantastic Blackadder episode featuring Dr Johnson:

Update: The excellent @MichaelScutt shares his favourite Samuel Johnson quotation

I’m very pleased to report that top blogger and UK employment law expert Michael Scutt has responded to this post via Twitter, and has shared his own favourite Samuel Johnson quotation:

Dr Johnson also said “the safe and general antidote against sorrow is employment”


Cheers, Michael! And this reminds me that Dr Johnson also originally coined this phrase: “A change in work is as good as a rest.”

If you have a favourite Samuel Johnson quotation, please do get in touch and share it – I’d love to know what it is!




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