65 William Osler Quotes On Success In Life

Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet, FRS FRCP was a Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training. He has frequently been described as the Father of Modern Medicine and one of the “greatest diagnosticians ever to wield a stethoscope”. Osler was a person of many interests, who in addition to being a physician, was a bibliophile, historian, author, and renowned practical joker. One of his achievements was the founding of the History of Medicine Society of the Royal Society of Medicine, London. These William Osler quotes will motivate you.

Best William Osler Quotes

  1. “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” ~ William Osler
  2. “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.” ~ William Osler
  3. “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” ~ William Osler
  4. “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. Often the best part of your work will have nothing to do with potions and powders, but with the exercise of an influence of the strong upon the weak, of the righteous upon the wicked, of the wise upon the foolish.” ~ William Osler
  5. “The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the disease and once from the medicine.” ~ William Osler

  6. “Be calm and strong and patient. Meet failure and disappointment with courage. Rise superior to the trials of life, and never give in to hopelessness or despair. In danger, in adversity, cling to your principles and ideals. Aequanimitas!” ~ William Osler
  7. “Gentlemen, I have a confession to make. Half of what we have taught you is in error, and furthermore, we cannot tell you which half it is” ~ William Osler
  8. “Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day absorb all your interest, energy, and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well.” ~ William Osler
  9. “Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom. Let not your conceptions of disease come from words heard in the lecture room or read from the book. See, and then reason and compare and control. But see first.” ~ William Osler
  10. “Care more for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease. . . . Put yourself in his place . . . The kindly word, the cheerful greeting, the sympathetic look – these the patient understands.” ~ William Osler
  11. “He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.” ~ William Osler
  12. “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.” ~ William Osler

  13. “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.” ~ William Osler
  14. “The hardest conviction to get into the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation.” ~ William Osler
  15. “One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.” ~ William Osler
  16. “Observe, record, tabulate, communicate. Use your five senses. Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert.” ~ William Osler
  17. “There are three classes of human beings: men, women, and women physicians.” ~ William Osler

  18. “The practice of medicine will be very much as you make it – to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily job and a life of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of men, because it is a life of self-sacrifice and of countless opportunities to comfort and help the weak-hearted, and to raise up those that fall.” ~ William Osler
  19. “Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day.” ~ William Osler
  20. “Acquire the art of detachment, the virtue of method, and the quality of thoroughness, but above all the grace of humility.” ~ William Osler
  21. “The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.” ~ William Osler
  22. “The very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it.” ~ William Osler

  23. “Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.” ~ William Osler
  24. “The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.” ~ William Osler
  25. “We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.” ~ William Osler
  26. “If it were not for the great variability among individuals, medicine might as well be a science, not an art.” ~ William Osler
  27. “Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.” ~ William Osler Quotes
  28. “The young physician starts life with 20 drugs for each disease, and the old physician ends life with one drug for 20 diseases.” ~ William Osler
  29. “Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than the malady from which he suffers.” ~ William Osler
  30. “The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.” ~ William Osler

  31. “Things cannot always go your way. Learn to accept in silence the minor aggravations, cultivate the gift of taciturnity and consume your own smoke with an extra draught of hard work, so that those about you may not be annoyed with the dust and soot of your complaints.” ~ William Osler
  32. “A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient.” ~ William Osler
  33. Without faith, a man can do nothing; with it all things are possible.” ~ William Osler
  34. “Happiness lies in the absorption in some vocation which satisfies the soul.” ~ William Osler
  35. “It is much simpler to buy books than to read them and easier to read them than to absorb their contents.” ~ William Osler
  36. “There are only two sorts of doctors; those who practice with their brains, and those who practice with their tongues.” ~ William Osler
  37. “To do today’s work well and not to bother about tomorrow is the secret of accomplishment” ~ William Osler

  38. “The successful teacher is no longer on a height, pumping knowledge at high pressure into passive receptacles.” ~ William Osler
  39. “The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime, that will take him away from patients, pills, and potions.” ~ William Osler
  40. “To confess ignorance is often wiser than to beat about the bush with a hypothetical diagnosis.” ~ William Osler
  41. “To have striven, to have made the effort, to have been true to certain ideals – this alone is worth the struggle.” ~ William Osler
  42. “Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life.” ~ William Osler
  43. “The philosophies of one age have become the absurdities of the next, and the foolishness of yesterday has become the wisdom of tomorrow.” ~ William Osler
  44. “I desire no other epitaph – no hurry about it, I may say – then the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work I have been called upon to do.” ~ William Osler
  45. “One special advantage of the skeptical attitude of mind is that a man is never vexed to find that after all he has been in the wrong.” ~ William Osler
  46. “The most essential thing for happiness is the gift of friendship.” ~ William Osler

  47. “A well-trained, sensible doctor is one of the most valuable assets of a community.” ~ William Osler
  48. “Avoid wine and women – choose a freckly-faced girl for a wife; they are invariably more amiable.” ~ William Osler
  49. “Advice is sought to confirm a position already taken.” ~ William Osler
  50. “Half of us are blind, few of us feel, and we are all deaf.” ~ William Osler Quotes
  51. “It is not… That some people do not know what to do with truth when it is offered to them, But the tragic fate is to reach, after patient search, a condition of mind-blindness, in which. The truth is not recognized, though it stares you in the face.” ~ William Osler
  52. “Patients should have rest, food, fresh air, and exercise – the quadrangle of health.” ~ William Osler
  53. “Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.” ~ William Osler
  54. “Perhaps no sin so easily besets us as a sense of self-satisfied superiority to others.” ~ William Osler

  55. “The extraordinary development of modern science may be her undoing. Specialism, now a necessity, has fragmented the specialties themselves in a way that makes the outlook hazardous. The workers lose all sense of proportion in a maze of minutiae.” ~ William Osler
  56. “Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought.” ~ William Osler
  57. “To it, more than to anything else, I owe whatever success I have had – to this power of settling down to the day’s work and trying to do it to the best of one’s ability, and letting the future take care of itself.” ~ William Osler
  58. “Patients rarely die of the disease from which they suffer. Secondary or terminal infections are the real cause of death.” ~ William Osler
  59. “Humanity has but three great enemies: fever, famine, and war; of these by far the greatest, by far the most terrible, is fever.” ~ William Osler
  60. “We are constantly misled by the ease with which our minds fall into the ruts of one or two experiences” ~ William Osler
  61. “He who knows syphilis knows medicine” ~ William Osler

  62. “The teacher’s life should have three periods, study until twenty-five, investigation until forty, profession until sixty, at which age I would have him retired on a double allowance.” ~ William Osler
  63. “The uselessness of men above sixty years of age and the incalculable benefit it would be in commercial, in political, and in professional life, if as a matter of course, men stopped work at this age.” ~ William Osler
  64. “There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation, and for some men, it is quite as difficult to record an observation in brief and plain language.” ~ William Osler
  65. “By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy-indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self-satisfaction.” ~ William Osler

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