14 Best Wise Quotes Worth Remembering
Need some inspiration? These insightful quotes will give you the wisdom and encouragement to help you live your best life.
On changing your life
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“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” —Maya Angelou
Author and activist Maya Angelou’s wise quotes often speak to finding hope while openly facing some very harsh realities. This inspirational line, from her poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” offers the reminder that while we can’t change our past, we can learn from it and, as a result, change our future. She read these optimistic words at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. These 15 stories prove that it’s never too late to change your life.
On standing up for what is right
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this quote from his book Strength to Love, Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us not to be complacent or to shy away from the hard things in life. A person’s true character is revealed when he or she does the right thing, even when it’s controversial or uncomfortable. Don’t miss these 20 inspirational quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. that will restore your faith in humanity.
On perseverance and success
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” —Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln wrote these wise words in 1855 in a letter to a young man studying to be a lawyer. Lincoln himself had little formal schooling in his early life and was a self-taught lawyer before becoming president, so he knew full well that success comes from sheer will and perseverance as much as from individual circumstances or other outside factors.
On living your best life
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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” —Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi, who promoted the concept of nonviolent civil disobedience, inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other leaders seeking racial justice through peace and pacifism. This wise quote, however, reminds us all not to take life for granted—and to try to better ourselves each and every day. Don’t miss these 18 wise quotes about peace from world leaders.
On figuring out what you truly want
“Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.” —Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Magazine‘s “What I Know for Sure” column contains wise quotes on life and success from the iconic queen of inspiration herself. Here, she writes about the value of taking a step back and distancing ourselves from other people’s opinions so that we can figure out what we truly want and need. Inside each of us, there’s a core, a north star, a guide. We just need to find some silence to hear it—and to be mindful enough to listen to it.
On dealing with a tough situation
“The best way out is always through.” —Robert Frost
This wise quote comes from Robert Frost’s 1915 book North of Boston, in a poem titled “A Servant to Servants.” The poem’s speaker is an overworked woman who suffers from mental illness and reveals her thoughts to a stranger she meets. Through her words, Frost conveys the difficult but courageous urge to keep going, despite the often harsh loneliness of life.
On helping those in need
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt
The 32nd president, FDR, served four terms shepherding the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. This wise quote came from his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1937, and in it, he urges citizens to consider those who are less fortunate than they are. His social programs and New Deal plan reflected this sentiment, as they offered economic relief to Americans who were struggling. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference, check out these 9 powerful ways to give to charity without breaking the bank.
On living life to the fullest
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
This famous quote comes from the transcendental philosopher’s essay collection, The Conduct of Life, first published in 1860. These wise words appear in a poem included in the preface that encourages people to live fully and joyfully. Emerson also offers this other nugget of wisdom: Of all the “wits” we possess, living well is the best of all.
“Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.” —George Bernard Shaw
The playwright George Bernard Shaw, known for his scathing wit and interest in social reform, often commented on the nature of life and provide us with a number of wise quotes. In this one, from his 1903 play Man and Superman, Shaw muses on the conundrum at the root of happiness—and advises people to make sure they’re getting what they truly want when it comes to life and love. Here are 49 quotes that perfectly capture what it’s like to fall in love.
On getting through life’s hardest challenges
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
You’ve probably said this quote more than once, without realizing where it came from. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote this wise saying in The Twilight of the Idols, published in 1899. And it’s actually part of a longer quote: “From the military school of life: What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” The “military school” in this aphorism refers to life itself, an often hard-knock adventure in which everyone ends up wounded in one way or another. According to Nietzsche, the hard stuff is the good stuff because it makes you who you are—and after you go through it, you’re a lot tougher than you would have been otherwise.