One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best.

What did Johann Wolfgang von Goethe mean by:

One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best.


This quote emphasizes the importance of aiming high and not settling for mediocrity. It suggests that true discernment and appreciation, whether it be in art, food, music, or any aspect of life, can only be cultivated from exposure to the very best. In other words, we can only understand and appreciate the highest standards when we experience them.

When we expose ourselves only to what is average, our sense of taste or judgment becomes limited to that level. We may become complacent, accepting mediocrity as the norm. However, by seeking out and experiencing the best, we raise our standards and expectations. This exposure not only enhances our ability to discern quality but also motivates us to strive for excellence.

Applying this concept to personal development, it suggests that we should surround ourselves with excellence, whether it’s in the people we associate with, the books we read, or the goals we set. This will not only improve our judgment and standards but will also inspire us to reach our full potential.

In today’s world, this idea is particularly relevant. In an era where information and content are readily available, it’s easy to become complacent and accept the average. However, by seeking out the best – the best sources of information, the best role models, the best experiences – we can elevate our tastes, our standards, and ultimately, our lives.

For example, in professional development, one should not settle for an average mentor but seek the best in their field. This exposure to excellence will provide a better understanding of what high-quality work looks like, and how to produce it. Similarly, in personal relationships, surrounding oneself with positive, successful, and motivating individuals can influence one’s own behavior and aspirations.

Therefore, the quote serves as a reminder to not settle for the average but to strive for the best in all aspects of life.

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