All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep a hotel.

What did Mark Twain mean by:

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep a hotel.


This quote is a humorous yet insightful observation about the nature of performing miracles versus running a hotel, or more broadly, managing daily tasks and responsibilities. The “saints” in this quote represent individuals who are capable of achieving great feats or producing extraordinary results. The “miracles” could be seen as those grand accomplishments that are awe-inspiring and often considered beyond the realm of ordinary human capabilities.

However, the quote also implies that these same individuals might fail at running a hotel, which can be interpreted as managing the mundane, routine, and often complex details of daily life or business. Running a hotel requires consistency, attention to detail, patience, and a multitude of other skills that aren’t as glamorous or immediately impressive as performing miracles, but are just as important, if not more so.

In today’s world, this quote is still highly relevant. Many people are celebrated for their extraordinary achievements, such as winning a Nobel prize, becoming a billionaire, or breaking athletic records. However, these same individuals may struggle with basic tasks such as managing their time, maintaining healthy relationships, or even taking care of their physical and mental health. This could be seen in various aspects of society, from celebrities struggling with personal issues, to high-flying executives facing burnout due to poor work-life balance.

In terms of personal development, this quote serves as a reminder of the importance of balance. While striving for exceptional achievements is commendable, it shouldn’t come at the expense of basic life skills and responsibilities. It’s important to not only aim for the extraordinary but also master the ordinary. This balance can lead to a more sustainable success and a more fulfilling life.

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