About Ashleigh Brilliant

Ashleigh Brilliant (born 1933) is an author and syndicated cartoonist born in London, UK, and living in Santa Barbara, California. He is best known for his Pot-Shots, single-panel illustrations with one-line humorous remarks, which began syndication in the United States of America in 1975.  Wikipedia

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Ashleigh Brilliant (quotes)

Values to live by



  • A good friend is worth pursuing… but why would a good friend be running away?
  • If I didn’t have most of my friends, I wouldn’t have most of my problems.
  • The difference between friendship and love is how much you can hurt each other.

Laughter and humour

  • If you can neither accept it or change it, try to laugh at it.
  • Life is too important to be taken as a joke, but too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
  • The funniest thing about some people is that they have no sense of humor.
  • There’s no harm in talking to yourself, but try to avoid telling yourself jokes you’ve heard before.


  • Accept me for what I am, completely unacceptable.
  • By accepting you as you are, I do not necessarily abandon all hope of your improving.
  • I’ve learned to accept birth and death . . . but sometimes I still worry about what lies between.
  • Just because I accept you as you are does not mean that I have given up all hope of your improvement.


  • Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
  • My cat knows the meaning of life, but has no interest in sharing the secret.
  • Life can be very deep, but I’m trying to stay at the shallow end.
  • Even a meaningless life may contain many good breakfasts.


  • As long as I have you there is just one other thing I’ll always need – tremendous self control.
  • Having failed to conquer myself, my best hope now is to arrange an alliance with myself.

Unity and co-operation

  • If we all work together, we can totally disrupt the system.
  • Without me there could be no everybody.


  • Be kind to unkind people, they need it the most.


  • The really great people are the ones who know how to make the little people feel great.


  • Beware! Freedom of speech also includes the freedom to be misunderstood.
  • Don’t call it freedom, unless it includes the freedom to be absolutely disgusting.
  • The price of freedom keeps going up, but the quality keeps deteriorating.

Being good

  • At any moment, I could start being a better person…but which moment should I choose?


  • I’ve learned so much from my failures that I’m thinking of having some more.
  • We can all learn from our failures. What I’ve learned is how much it hurts to fail.
  • If I do enough different things in enough different ways, I may, eventually, do something right.
  • It’s easier to learn many other things, if you first learn how to learn.
  • Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules.
  • My success lies in having achieved a record numbers of failures.
  • The truly successful teacher is the one you will never need again.
  • There are some things children cannot know, because once they learn them they are no longer children.
  • There’s so much to learn and so much of it not worth learning.
  • Why does life keep teaching me lessons I have no desire to learn?


  • If I had more skill in what I’m attempting, I wouldn’t need so much courage.


  • The most exciting place to discover talent is in yourself.

Life as a game

  • Please don’t ask me what the score is. I’m not even sure what the game is.
  • Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules.
  • Sometimes the only way you can win is to stay out of the game.
  • The surest way to remain a winner is to win once, and then not play any more.
  • To be sure of winning, invent your own game, and never tell any other player the rules.


  • In order to keep an open mind, I am trying to avoid learning anything.


  • I don’t know how to be happy – They didn’t teach it in my school.
  • I’ve found the secret of happiness, total disregard of everybody.
  • If you can’t go where people are happier, try to make people happier where you are.
  • Once I wanted total happiness – now I will settle for a little less pain.


  • If you can’t learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.
  • You have a right to enjoy life, but only on your own time.


  • All people are different. That’s why everybody should be treated the same.

Decisions and decisiveness

  • I am irrevocably committed to being permanently indecisive.
  • It’s amazing how much research has gone into making some of the worst decisions.

Ideas an execution

  • Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who will work hard enough to bring them about.
  • You can never discard too many bad ideas.


  • I always like to know what I’m doing, but there are times when nobody will tell me.


  • Fortunately, in my work there’s always a choice: I can choose to do it willingly or unwillingly.


  • Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am master of my fate and captain of my soul.
  • There is a whole world which I alone rule, but it ends at my fingertips.
  • Why am I so often at the mercy of those who don’t deserve to control my life?

Do what is right

  • Do what you know is right but try not to get caught.
  • Doing it wrong fast is at least better than doing it wrong slowly.


  • I can do only one thing at a time, but I can avoid doing many things simultaneously.

Purpose and goals

  • How can I be sure I’ve succeeded, if I can’t remember what I was trying to do.
  • How can I fail when I have no purpose?
  • I will stop at nothing to reach my objective, but only because my brakes are defective.
  • It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.


  • I’ll give up my bad habits as soon as equally satisfying good habits become available.


  • I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.


  • Communication with the dead is only a little more difficult than communication with some of the living.
  • Words are a wonderful form of communication, but they will never replace kisses and punches.
  • Inform all the troops that communications have completely broken down.
  • What good is it if I talk in flowers while you’re thinking in pastry?


  • I’m in search of myself – have you seen me anywhere?

Truth and lies

  • I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy.
  • I have just discovered the truth and can’t understand why everybody isn’t eager to hear it.
  • If you have something to say and say nothing, you are really telling a lie.
  • Please don’t lie to me, unless you’re absolutely sure I’ll never find out the truth.
  • Speak nothing but the truth, and you’ll soon be considered dangerous.
  • The greatest obstacle to discovering the truth is being convinced that you already know it.

Reality, fantasy and illusion

  • I never miss reality when I’m not in it, but it’s sometimes nice to come back to.
  • I have abandoned my search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy.
  • My first line of defense against reality is called sleep.
  • There’s only one thing more beautiful than a beautiful dream, and that’s a beautiful reality.
  • What could possibly be more fantastic than reality?
  • Life is a process of losing our illusions, until we finally lose the illusion that we’re alive.
  • Why does merely attempting to understand Reality so often seem to lead to going insane?


  • Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.


  • I hope I never become so used to the world that it no longer seems wonderful.
  • I want to appreciate you now, and avoid the rush.
  • Before I knew the best part of my life had come, it had gone….


  • I feel much better, now that I’ve given up hope.


  • I could do without many things with no hardship-you are not one of them.
  • I don’t need a great deal of love but I do need a steady supply.
  • I will always love the false image I had of you.
  • Love is a strange commodity, because you can’t import it if you don’t also export it.
  • The difference between friendship and love is how much you can hurt each other.


  • I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent


  • I have nothing definite to apologize for; I’m just sorry about everything in general.
  • Forgive me for allowing myself to be hurt by you so easily.


  • It costs money to stay healthy, but it’s even more expensive to get sick.
  • My struggle to remain healthy is gradually killing me.
  • You are what you eat, but eventually you become what eats you.


  • The information I most want is in books not yet written by people not yet born.
  • There has been an alarming increase in the number of things you know nothing about.

Making a difference

  • My object is to save the world, while still leading a pleasant life.
  • Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.

Do it

  • If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what would have happened if you had done it.
  • If you never try anything new, you’ll miss many of the world’s great disappointments.
  • The surest way to learn is by doing it, but often, the lesson is: Don’t do it!


  • If you think communication is all talking, you haven’t been listening.


  • Not even a great leader can get very far without great people to lead.
  • Even with a round table, some people always seem able to sit at the head of it.


  • I too have known joy and sadness, and, on the whole, I prefer joy.


  • No matter how often I talk to God, he never tells me anything I didn’t already know.
  • If we could all hear one another’s prayers, God might be relieved of some of his burdens.

Understanding and confusion

  • I want it clearly understood that I’m totally confused.
  • I don’t understand you. You don’t understand me. What else do we have in common?

Certainty and being ok with uncertainty

  • It’s good to have some certainty in life, even if it’s only that I’m in deep trouble.
  • Cling to your insecurity, in this world, it’s the only thing you can be sure of.


  • MAN THE BATTLE STATIONS! Someone’s coming who wants to reason with us.
  • The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.
  • The trouble is that sex is a force of nature, and reason is not.
  • Your reasoning is excellent, it’s only your basic assumptions that are wrong.


  • If only our great thinkers could learn to talk, and our great talkers could learn to think.


  • Some changes are so slow, you don’t notice them, others are so fast, they don’t notice you.
  • Things are sometimes better left as they are, but you can’t be sure until you change them.


  • Nothing really matters except a few things that really don’t matter very much.
  • Cheer up! The worst effects of what we’re doing won’t be felt until after we’re all dead.
  • What happened to you could have been worse – it could have happened to me.


  • One possible reason why things aren’t going according to plan is that there never was a plan.


  • The closest you will ever come in this life to an orderly universe is a good library.


  • The reports on human progress are beginning to come in, and some are a little discouraging.
  • You can’t stop progress, but you can help decide what is progress and what isn’t.


  • Even when I’m happy and successful, life still goes on.
  • Success for some people, depends on becoming well-known, for others it depends on never being found out.

Common sense

  • Why does it so often take a genius to see the obvious?

Try to be your best

  • Try to be the best of what you are, even if what you are is no good.


  • Try to relax and enjoy the crisis.

Life’s challenges and our human limitations


Life as a struggle

  • I can no longer face life, so I’ve decided to go through the rest of it backwards.
  • I can face anything, except the future, and certain parts of the past and present.
  • I try to take it one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.
  • I’m not always depressed: only when I think and feel.
  • I’m not yet desperate enough to do anything about the conditions that are making me desperate.
  • It’s hard enough to be alive and human, without the additional burden of being me.
  • Just when I nearly had the answer, I forgot the question.
  • Life is an incurable condition: the only known treatment is to try to keep the patient comfortable.
  • My biggest problem is what to do about all the things I cant do anything about.
  • Some of my troubles are so familiar, I know them by their first names.
  • The longer I live, the less chance I’ll ever recover from what life keeps doing to me.
  • Things are gradually falling into place on top of me.
  • Why is the place where I want to be so often so far from where I am?
  • Aren’t I lucky, to have survived so much bad luck.


  • One thing about pain: It proves you’re alive.
  • Once I wanted total happiness – now I will settle for a little less pain.
  • There is one pain, I often feel, which you will never know. It’s caused by the absence of you.
  • Why is there still so much pain and suffering being produced when there’s so little demand for it?

Problems and problem solving

  • By using your intelligence, you can sometimes make your problems twice as complicated.
  • I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.
  • I recently had my problems on the run, but now they’ve re-grouped, and are making another attack.
  • It’s all very simple, or else it’s all very complex, or perhaps it’s neither, or both.
  • It’s not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.
  • Life is not a problem – Life is the closest God has yet come to a solution.
  • Most of my problems have no answer or else the answer is worse than the problem.
  • My problems aren’t big but it doesn’t necessarily take a big problem to kill me.
  • Never underestimate the size and scope of my problems.
  • One problem I have definitely solved is the problem of not having enough to worry about.
  • Our meetings are held to discuss many problems which would never arise if we held fewer meetings.
  • What should I do if my problems aren’t all solved by the time I die?

Desire and need

  • All I want is a little more than I’ll ever get.
  • All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power.
  • Here is a guaranteed way to get more of what you want: want less.
  • Somehow I reached excess without ever noticing when I was passing through satisfaction.
  • What we really need is to realize how little we really need.


  • Please don’t tell me there’s no need to worry, it’s the only thing I’m any good at.
  • Please don’t tell me to relax, it’s only my tension that’s holding me together.
  • The future seems to be in good hands, it’s the past I’m worried about.
  • The longer I live, the less future there is to worry about.
  • The things I fear may all be imaginary, so what I fear most is my imagination.

Needing (and not needing) others

  • No man is an island, but some of us are long peninsulas.
  • My social life is much better, since I stopped spending it with other people.
  • Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.
  • Sometimes the best way to be useful is to get out of somebody’s way.
  • Be a good neighbor, and leave me alone.
  • I live in a world all my own, but visitors are always welcome.


  • Some people can find all the peace of mind they need in a good, satisfying conflict.
  • How can there ever possibly be a conflict between my private interests and the public good?
  • I hope I can settle my internal conflicts without bloodshed.


  • I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you.
  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
  • We’ve been through so much together, and most of it was your fault.


  • I could do great things, if I weren’t so busy doing little things.
  • By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task overwhelm me.
  • I’m just moving clouds today, tomorrow I’ll try mountains.
  • It’s hopeless! Tomorrow there’ll be even more books I should have read than there are today.


  • It’s human to make mistakes and some of us are more human than others.
  • Watch out! It’s quite possible that some of my best mistakes haven’t yet been made.

The need to be right

  • My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.
  • The majority is never right, unless it includes me.
  • The more sure you are, the more wrong you can be.
  • Why aren’t you more grateful when I prove how wrong you’ve been?
  • Your reasoning is excellent, it’s only your basic assumptions that are wrong.


  • Don’t let yourself suffer needlessly, find a need to suffer.


  • I am eagerly awaiting my next disappointment.


  • All I ask of Life is a constant and exaggerated sense of my own importance.


  • Why is the competition always so intense to set new records for maximum stupidity?
  • At great expense, we have built a vast system of inter-connecting stupidities.


  • The best thing about being too late is that there’s no more need to hurry.
  • Maybe I’m lucky to be going so slowly, because I may be going in the wrong direction.
  • Better start rushing before the rush begins!


  • There’s nothing on my mind that couldn’t be expressed by a long insane outburst of hysterical rage.


  • My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating.


  • Look how often the unexpected happens – yet we still never expect it.
  • My life shows a clear pattern of total unpredictability.
  • My main object in life is to see what will happen next.
  • My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.
  • Not only don’t I know what tomorrow will bring, I’m still not entirely certain what yesterday brought?
  • One thing you can rely on is that there will always be uncertainty.

Not being ready and prepared

  • My life is a performance for which I was never given any chance to rehearse.
  • My life so far has been a long series of things I wasn’t ready for.


  • I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must be from you.
  • Do you believe in apathy at first sight?


  • If you keep groaning, please do it to a rhythm I can dance to.
  • The time for action is past! Now is the time for senseless bickering!


  • I like who I am, and am puzzled to find that not everybody shares this opinion.
  • I have many unrecognized talents, but my faults have somehow succeeded in securing wide recognition.

Fear of humiliation

  • They laughed at Edison and Einstein, but somehow I still feel uncomfortable when they laugh at me.
  • It’s sometimes easier to do the impossible than to do the embarrassing.


  • I have no prejudices: all my irrational hatreds are based on solid evidence.

Advice for living

  • If you can’t go around it, over it, or through it, you had better negotiate with it.
  • To always hit the target, throw a dart, then call whatever you hit the target.
  • The older you get, the more important it is to not act your age.
  • Caution! Be very careful of false, meaningless, self-contradictory, and not even very funny warnings, like this one.
  • If you value your safety, avoid holy places founded in the name of peace and brotherhood.
  • If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.
  • Take Courage! Whatever you decide to do, it will probably be the wrong thing.
  • Take heart! Many great things have been done by people in poor mental health.
  • The whole world is our dining room, but be careful: it is also our garbage can.

Thoughts on…


Politics and government

  • There ought to be a better way than government to run the world.
  • In a democracy, every little wrong idea may grow up to become national policy.


  • History may never have all the facts, but history always has the last word.
  • History records no more gallant struggle than that of humanity against the truth.

Past, present, future

  • I can face anything, except the future, and certain parts of the past and present.
  • It’s hard letting go of the past, when there are no firm handholds in the future.
  • It’s hard to face tomorrow, but it’s easier than facing no tomorrow.
  • I try to take life as it comes, and just hope it keeps coming.
  • Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?
  • Nothing we do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.
  • Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.
  • The future seems to be in good hands, it’s the past I’m worried about.
  • The longer I live, the less future there is to worry about.
  • I have seen the future! Go back!


  • More books have resulted from somebody’s need to write than from anybody’s need to read.
  • My life has been greatly influenced by many books which I have never read.
  • Some books makes me want to go adventuring, others feel that they have saved me the trouble.
  • What’s most interesting about some books is the question: How did this crap ever get published?


  • Sooner or later, I’ll be punctual.
  • Time will end all my troubles, but I don’t always approve of Time’s methods.
  • Everything takes longer than you expect, even when you expect it to take longer than you expect.
  • My time is far too valuable for me to spend any of it trying to improve myself.


  • It can take a surprisingly long time to get from one part of my mind to another.
  • My mind contains many good ideas, but it’s not always easy to squeeze one out.
  • There is a vast region of enormous potential located somewhere between your ears.
  • When you plan a journey from your mind into mine, remember to allow for the time difference.
  • I could live a better life if I had a better mind and a better body.
  • I want to reach your mind – where is it currently located?

Men verse women

  • It’s well-known that men and women are different but it keeps being re-discovered with great.
  • There are no important differences between men and women, but the unimportant ones are sometimes very interesting.
  • Women can do anything men can do, but often have more sense than even to be interested.


  • Dying is a part of living, but only a very small part.
  • If I can survive death, I can probably survive anything.
  • The task I’ve been given seems absurd: To wait here on earth until I no longer exist.
  • What should I do if my problems aren’t all solved by the time I die?
  • Cheer up! The worst effects of what we’re doing won’t be felt until after we’re all dead.
  • Being dead is one way to experience nothing, another is to attend some classes at my school.
  • The entire universe will eventually disintegrate but by then I hope to be in a safer place.


  • One good thing about my computer: it never asks why.
  • My worst personal problem is that my computer doesn’t understand me.
  • My computer must be broken: whenever I ask a wrong question, it gives a wrong answer.
  • Thanks to my computer, I have now achieved a much higher state of disorganization.


  • For me, it’s always easy to choose between the Ultimate, the Infinite, and the Chocolate.
  • Instead of past, present and future, I’d prefer chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.


  • Modern travel would be totally delightful if only I could learn to enjoy boredom, discomfort, and fatigue.
  • Even if you’re not enjoying the flight, it’s futile to threaten to get out and walk.


  • What I need is a lawyer who specializes in the law of the jungle.
  • The case has been going on for so long that I’ve forgotten whether I’m really innocent or guilty.

Final thoughts

  • It’s good to know that if I behave strangely enough, society will take full responsibility for me.
  • Unfortunately, it’s possible to be able to do something extremely well that nobody ever wants done.
  • To the Tax Office: All is over between us. Please don’t attempt to communicate with me again.
  • Please don’t believe everything you hear about me, regardless of how true it may be.
  • One possible reason that I don’t believe in fate is that I wasn’t fated to.
  • Don’t wait for a disaster to get to know your neighbors.
  • Isn’t it a coincidence that you and I are both alive at the same time?
  • Is it you and I who are crazy, or is it everybody else?
  • I was unemployed for a long time, but I couldn’t adjust to the hours
  • I either want less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
  • We owe it to our past futile sacrifices to continue making further futile sacrifices.
  • I too am a member of the human race, (but admittedly not a very active member).
  • I march to a different drummer, whose location, identity, and musical training haven’t yet been established.
  • Where would I be without my sense of direction?
  • We’re still benefiting from the sacrifices of people long dead, but we’re also suffering from their errors.
  • We must have courage, faith, and lunch together sometime soon.
  • Every time I do it at least proves I can still do it.
  • It would be easier for me to reject all established values, if I knew what they were.
  • For some strange reason, no matter where I go, the place is always called “here”.
  • Hold on to me: Someday I may be quite valuable.
  • Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story.
  • How can you call it unreasonable when all I want is my own way?
  • I believe the stars can affect human lives, particularly by providing employment for thousands of astrologers.
  • According to the latest official figures, 43% of all statistics are totally worthless.
  • If coffee didn’t exist, somebody would have to invent it for me very soon.
  • Beware! I’m acting under the influence of human nature.
  • I didn’t mind being a public executioner, once I got the hang of it.
  • If you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ve never been to a family reunion.
  • If you don’t like my opinion of you, you can always improve.
  • Why is my autograph so little in demand, except on checks?
  • My research consists of studying the effects of putting somebody like me into a world like this.
  • The true artists is one who insists on producing a supply, whether or not there’s any demand.
  • Not everything I dislike should be destroyed, some of it should simply be moved farther away.
  • The fact that many things have no explanation ought to prevent them from happening; but it doesn’t.
  • The hand can be quicker than the eye, and the mouth can be quicker than the brain.