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Pettiness is a small thing that has a tremendous negative impact.
When you or the people around you act in a petty way, it’s guaranteed to slowly drag everyone down. Being petty and acting small-minded can feel good sometimes. But acting petty is a trap you don’t want to fall into.
In this piece, we’ve put together some petty quotes to give you more insight into the more mean-spirited side all humans are capable of. Understanding more about pettiness will help you notice it in yourself and in your friends, community, and family.
Before we make our way to the quotes, let’s touch on all things petty. Bringing some context to pettiness will help understand its underhanded impact.
The word petty goes back centuries, and it originates from the French word petit, which translates to mean small, trivial, or not serious.
When you or someone you know acts in a petty way, it’s because you’re focusing on things that don’t matter in the long run. Someone can act petty due to a habit of passive aggressiveness. Pettiness can also be a trick from your ego to make you think you’re in control of a situation or to bolster itself because of a setback.
While it can be hard to admit, we’ve all had experiences of being tough on someone because of a stressful day at school or work. We’re all human, and everyone is susceptible to being irritated, frustrated, or annoyed.
Pettiness becomes a problem when it starts to make a long-term appearance in your behavior. Holding grudges over small things, constantly expecting perfection, over-correcting of faults, and generally focusing on trivial details at the expense of the big picture are all symptoms of chronic petty behavior.
Pettiness over time leads to a narrow mind and an inability to look at things from another perspective. It can tear your relationships apart, and it can negatively affect your physical and mental health.
Pettiness can be sneaky and manifest itself in many ways, and the ones listed above are just a small sample. If you want to minimize the negative effect of pettiness, the best way is to understand it, either from your behavior or from those around you.
Our petty quotes will give you the leg up you need to facilitate this process. Once you recognize it in your life, you’ll naturally become increasingly broad-minded. Being able to consider other points of view, take a step back and pause is the hallmark of maturity, and it’s the beginning of wisdom.
- “A mind set in its ways is wasted. Don't do it.”– Eric Schmidt
- “Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?” – Zhuangzi
- “Giving an insignificant thing your attention is a form of self-disrespect.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
- “Self righteousness belongs to narrow-minded.” – Toba Beta
- “Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.” – Blaise Pascal
- “He'd rather wish for his neighbour's cow to die than have his own cow brought back to life.” – Juliet Butler
- “One’s opinion should only be as strong as one’s knowledge on the matter.” – Eric Hirzel
- “Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.” – George Carlin
- “The petty man wants to use God for himself; the ambitious man wants God to use him for God.” – Criss Jami
- “A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person.” – Zig Ziglar
- “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Intelligence arouses fear and respect, the lack of it keeps one on the narrow minded road of disrespect, stupidity and inferiority complex.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
- “Don't let the pettiness of life prevent you from enjoying God's plenty.” – Bernard Kelvin Clive
- “The ego is what drives a self-serving individual who hates to admit they are wrong.” – Suzy Kassem
- “Who among us has the strength to oppose petty egoism, those petty good feelings, pity, and remorse?” – Ivan Turgenev
- “My life is full of drama, and I don't have time to worry about something as petty as what I look like.” – Adele
- “Don’t be unwilling to take those little steps; in them are residing great journeys. Move on.” – Israelmore Ayivor
- “Wagging tongues from prejudiced, sophisticated facade of show-off people can never blemish any honest, genuine, golden heart.” – Angelica Hopes
- “Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine
- “I don't want to be a politician. I don't like politics. It's petty; it fights dirty.” – John Mellencamp
- “The world perishes not from bandits and fires, but from hatred, hostility, and all these petty squabbles.” – Anton Chekhov
- “The irony is that while our world might plead for change, it does its best to suppress it.” – Hiba Fatima Ahmad
- “Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous.” – Zhuangzi
- “So many it seems, have made it their life's goal to bask in the ignorance of their certainty.” – John Chaplin
- “Our thoughts are broadcasts of the soul, not secrets of the brain. Kind ones bring us happiness; petty ones, untold pain.” – Ritu Ghatourey
- “The man of petty ambition if invited to dinner will be eager to be set next his host.” – Theophrastus
- “A superior person knows what is moral; a petty person only knows what is profitable.” – Chinese Proverb
- “A petty person often misses out on what is pretty in life.”– Gift Gugu Mona
- “Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult, I've decided, is only a slow sewing shut.” – Jodi Picoult
- “Don't worry about petty things.” – Richie Norton
- “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” – Frank Zappa
- “Petty laws breed great crimes.” – Ouida
- “Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly, and forgive quickly” -.Susan Chapman Melanson
- “People who make up their minds about something never listen to advice – especially when it's to the contrary.” – Steven Erikson
- “The art of giving orders is not to try to rectify the minor blunders and not to be swayed by petty doubts.” – Sun Tzu
- “We should not have a petty regard for God's gifts, though we may and should despise our own imperfections.” – Saint Ignatius
- “I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” – Maya Angelou
- “Your priorities aren’t what you say they are. They are revealed by how you live.”-Anonymous
- “It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.” – W. Somerset Maugham
It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.” – W. Somerset Maugham
- “Whether the gentleman is capable or not, he is loved all the same; conversely the petty man is loathed all the same.” -Xun Kuang
- “An open mind is like an open window. It lets the fresh air in.” – Mike Hernacki
- “Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.” – Stanisław Lem
- “When we are unhurried and unwise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence,— that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.” – Walden
- “Everything is possible; we just need to be hopeful and think of the world from a human perspective. The world is so small compared to the universe, so we shouldn’t fight for petty things.” – Manal al-Sharif
- “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
- “If the folks sometimes observe the vastness of the universe their narrowmindedness dies.” – Lord Robin
- “Revenge is always the delight of a little weak and petty mind” – Juvenal
- “Men are separated by so many petty things.” – Aaron Huey
- “I don't need other people to have an open mind for me to be happy. I'm the only one who needs an open mind.” – Byron Katie
- “When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are – usurpers and petty tyrants.” – Pat Buchanan
- “One will seldom go wrong if one attributes extreme actions to vanity, average ones to habit, and petty ones to fear.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
- “We are regressing from narrow-mindedness to nano-mindedness” – Amit Abraham
- “Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.” -Russell M. Nelson
- “You don't have to knock anyone off their game to win yours. It doesn't build you up to tear others down.” – Mandy Hale
- “Feeling petty and frustrated can have reverberating consequences for your ability to think strategically and reach your goals.” – Robert Greene
- “People throughout time have grieved, have fallen in love, have fallen out of love. We are sometimes petty and sometimes heroic, and we have been that way forever.” – Monica Hesse
- “If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between ‘for' and ‘against' is the mind's worst disease.” – Jianzhi Sengchan.
- “Empowered manifestors are masters of their own mind. They are not slaves to self-limiting beliefs, nor servants to small-minded views of the world.” – Anthon St. Maarten
- “Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.” – Richard M. Nixon
- “Open your mind before your mouth.” – Aristophanes
- “People who prefer to believe the worst of others will breed war and religious persecutions while the world lasts.” – Dorothy L. Sayers
- “Often in life, we forget the things we should remember, and remember the things we should forget.” – Anonymous
- “Class is considerate of others. It knows that good manners is nothing more than a series of petty sacrifices.” – Ann Landers
- “They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they can see nothing but sea.” – Francis Bacon
- “Sometimes painfully lost people can teach us lessons that we didn't think we needed to know, or be reminded of—the more history changes, the more it stays the same.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein
- “It is never too late to give up your prejudices.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “Narrow-mindedness will only get you as far as Nowhere, and once you're there, you're lost forever.” – Tahereh Mafi
- “Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.” – Rajneesh
- “Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.” – Marcus Aurelius
- “Change comes from confrontation. You have to be confronted or confront yourself.” – Bryant Mcgill
- “It's the most unhappy people who most fear change.” – Mignon McLaughlin
- “Never let somebody’s drama determine the outcome of your day.” -Terry Mark
- “An open mind is better than a clenched fist.” – Matshona Dhliwayo
- “It’s easy to just be rude or just be nasty. I think it’s actually harder for people to say something positive; it’s interesting.” – Karrueche Tran
- “Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.” – Lao Tzu
- “Do not be threatened by rude people, because rudeness is a sign of insecurity.” – Gift Gugu Mona
- “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.” – Dave Barry
- “If they do it often, it isn’t a mistake; it’s just their behavior.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
That brings us to the end of our collection of petty quotes. We hope that reading through these can help you understand more about this shady side of the human spectrum. If you’re on the receiving end of abuse from petty, small-minded people, then these words might offer you a little encouragement.
Check out these 125 mirror affirmations that will boost your confidence, as growing your confidence will help you confront the petty behavior in your life.
And if you want more eye-opening quotes, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 91 Ungrateful Quotes for Dealing with Thankless People
- 77 Rejection Quotes for When People Hurt You
- 51 Disrespect Quotes for Dealing with Rude People
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.
Tom Smith is a creative writer with over 6 years of professional experience. He discovered the joy of writing after covering some furniture in his childhood home with graffiti. In later years, he got himself a BA in creative writing and hasn’t looked back. After discovering the power of positive thinking and discovering the spiritual side of life, he believes it's a huge privilege to be able to write about all things personal development.