“The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion” — Robert A. Heinlein
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In this quote, Robert A. Heinlein is referring to the most meaningful and valuable things in life that cannot be bought with money. He suggests that the “best things in life” like love, happiness, health, personal growth, or creative/artistic accomplishments require significant effort, struggle and sacrifice to attain.
When he says their “price is agony and sweat and devotion”, he means that achieving these best things often demands enduring hardship, exerting great effort through hard work or labor (“sweat”), and dedicating oneself fully to a cause or pursuit (“devotion”). So while money cannot directly buy these most meaningful aspects of life, Heinlein is saying they can be obtained through paying the non-monetary costs of pain, toil and complete commitment of oneself to their attainment.
In essence, the quote conveys that the greatest and most worthwhile parts of the human experience cannot be purchased but must be earned through difficulty, struggle and unwavering dedication of one’s efforts, time and energy. The “price” is the non-financial costs one pays in the journey towards these best things.