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50 Uplifting Quotes That Will Stay with You

When it feels like the world is against you, let these wise words lift your spirits and inspire you to keep going.

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Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images (7)

Give yourself a boost

Sometimes, we need a little extra motivation, and a few short words can go a long way when it comes to igniting that inner spark. If you’re stuck with writer’s block, rereading some of your favorite book quotes can get you back in rhythm. When you’re struggling to get out of bed, there are plenty of inspirational quotes to get you through the morning. And when you’re feeling down or just a little off, these uplifting quotes will do the trick.

That’s right—you don’t have to read long self-help books or motivational speeches. These concise words of wisdom will brighten your spirit and give you that tiny push you need to keep going. Looking for a bigger boost after the craziness of 2020? Check out these inspirational New Year’s quotes to help you start 2021 on the right note.

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"Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history." —Chadwick Bosemanrd.com, Getty Images

On having purpose

“Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.” —Chadwick Boseman

Many people spend years searching for their purpose. What they often don’t realize is that it was part of them all along. The sooner we realize that, the better, because scientists believe knowing your purpose can actually help you live longer.

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"Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud." —Maya Angelourd.com, Getty Images

On kindness

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” —Maya Angelou

One of the most surefire ways to feel uplifted is to lift up others. To get started, share these powerful quotes about kindness with someone who could use a boost.

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"No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel." —Demi Lovatord.com, Getty Images

On perseverance

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” —Demi Lovato

Sometimes, we can be so overwhelmed by stressful situations that it feels like they’ll never end. But make no mistake: They will. Keep looking on the bright side with these motivational quotes from eternal optimists.

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"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." —Ella Fitzgeraldrd.com, Getty Images

On passion

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” —Ella Fitzgerald

Never give up on your passion. Even when you’re feeling discouraged or doubting yourself, keep going, and remember—as long as you love what you do, you’re on the right path. If you’re still looking for the thing that makes you tick, ask yourself these 10 questions to discover your true passion.

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"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'" —Audrey Hepburnrd.com, Getty Images

On what is possible

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” —Audrey Hepburn

This is one of the most classic uplifting quotes out there. Once you believe it’s true, it can change your entire outlook, just like these positive affirmations you should say every day.

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"Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive. When you're positive, good things happen." —Deep Royrd.com, Getty Images

On inspiration

“Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive. When you’re positive, good things happen.” —Deep Roy

Inspiration is what motivates driven individuals to rise to a difficult occasion. We can all learn a thing or two from these inspiring quotes from everyday Americans who made the most of a tough year.

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"The most wasted of days is one without laughter." —E. E. Cummingsrd.com, Getty Images

On laughter

“The most wasted of days is one without laughter.” —E. E. Cummings

Growing up shouldn’t mean laughing less! Not only is it healthy, but it’s a simple way to bring more joy into our lives. Try incorporating these hilarious ways to laugh more every day into your life.

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"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." —Chinese proverbrd.com, Getty Images

On timing

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” —Chinese proverb

The spirit of this proverb remains true whether you’re starting a new business venture, gathering the courage to ask someone out, or trying to perfect a new recipe. For more ancient wisdom, check out the 22 most beautiful proverbs from around the world.

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"Every day, think as you wake up: Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it." —Dalai Lama XIVrd.com, Getty Images

On appreciating what you have

“Every day, think as you wake up: Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” —Dalai Lama XIV

When His Holiness the Dalai Lama tells you that your life is precious, you’d better listen. We should also listen to these other inspiring quotes from the Dalai Lama.

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"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." —John D. Rockefellerrd.com, Getty Images

On greatness

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” —John D. Rockefeller

Aiming for greatness surely helped Rockefeller become a successful businessman, not to mention the richest person in modern history. Taking that risk might be a little scary, but it can certainly pay off. Don’t forget to browse these body positive quotes to help celebrate the beautiful skin you’re in.

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"I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." —Michael Jordanrd.com, Getty Images

On failure

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan

To his credit, Michael Jordan kept trying even when he didn’t make the varsity basketball team in high school. (He was a starter for the junior varsity team instead.) This is just one of the ironic “failures” of highly successful people you probably didn’t know.

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"Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful." —Hazrat Inayat Khanrd.com, Getty Images

On beauty

“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan

You’ll definitely be thinking about this one for a while. That said, you can’t discount places for their natural beauty, like the 50 most beautiful cities in the world.

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"The hard days are what make you stronger." —Aly Raismanrd.com, Getty Images

On hard times

“The hard days are what make you stronger.” —Aly Raisman

As an Olympic gymnast who’s also dealt with significant personal challenges, Aly Raisman knows the power and strength that come with persevering through hard times. You’ll want to share these best friend quotes with you BFF ASAP.

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"Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow's reality." —Malala Yousafzaird.com, Getty Images

On the future

“Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” —Malala Yousafzai

Malala’s drive and passion spearheaded her mission to improve education for current and future generations of young women around the world. That’s why she’s one of the most notable female pioneers who’ve changed the world.

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"If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can't hear them anymore." —Michele Ruizrd.com, Getty Images

On going the distance

“If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.” —Michele Ruiz

Tune out the haters and the doubters. If they’re telling you to give up on your dream, they’re not worth listening to anyway.

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"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination." —Mae Jemisonrd.com, Getty Images

On limits

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” —Mae Jemison

An open mind paired with an unbridled imagination can lead to endless possibilities. That was certainly true for astronaut Mae Jemison, who earned the distinction as the first Black woman to travel into space. Read about these other Black Americans you didn’t learn about in history class.

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"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." —Martin Luther King, Jr.rd.com, Getty Images

On combating hate

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

We often remember this powerful quote on MLK Day, but we should live out its message year-round, especially in these often challenging and contentious times. Don’t miss these other inspirational quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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"If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." —Roald Dahlrd.com, Getty Images

On good thoughts

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” —Roald Dahl

This imagery is quintessential Roald Dahl, and this message is true: Positive thinking can in fact make you a better person inside and out.

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"A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall." —Serena Williamsrd.com, Getty Images

On champions

“A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” —Serena Williams

Champions are also known for their motivation. For proof, take a look at these quotes from Olympians that’ll make you think you can conquer the world.

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"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." —William Jamesrd.com, Getty Images

On taking action

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” —William James

Your actions truly do make an impact on others, so make sure that impact is a positive one.

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"If you see someone without a smile today, give 'em yours." —Dolly Partonrd.com, Getty Images

On smiling

“If you see someone without a smile today, give ’em yours.” —Dolly Parton

Remember the old saying that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? That’s not technically true. However, science has proven that smiling really is contagious—here’s why.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." —J.R.R. Tolkienrd.com, Getty Images

On time

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” —J.R.R. Tolkien

In Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf says this powerful and humbling quote to Frodo. And couldn’t we all benefit from listening to the great Gandalf?

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"Any upward movement for one of us is upward movement for all." —Octavia Spencerrd.com, Getty Images

On equality

“Any upward movement for one of us is upward movement for all.” —Octavia Spencer

No one is equal until everyone is equal, which is why the fight for equality and justice is so important. This is how you can support racial justice.

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"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." —Babe Ruthrd.com, Getty Images

On striking out

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” —Babe Ruth

Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Unless, of course, you’re bowling—in which case, keep on dreaming of those strikes!

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"It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to apply it well." —Rene Descartesrd.com, Getty Images

On intelligence

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to apply it well.” —Rene Descartes

Stretching your mind is just as important as stretching your body. Try out these brain games guaranteed to boost your brain power.

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"Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn." —John Maxwellrd.com, Getty Images

On winning

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” —John Maxwell

There is no losing. There are only opportunities to learn and grow.

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"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all." —Emily Dickinsonrd.com, Getty Images

On hope

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” —Emily Dickinson

This inspirational quote is actually a quote from Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Can you figure out these famous works of literature based on only one line?

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"I didn't get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it." —Estée Lauderrd.com, Getty Images

On achieving goals

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” —Estée Lauder

We all must pave our own path to success. No one else can do it for us.

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"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." —Steve Jobsrd.com, Getty Images

On doing great work

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” —Steve Jobs

The late Steve Jobs said this quote in his commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Stanford University, but his words have inspired people of all ages.

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"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." —Will Rogersrd.com, Getty Images

On the past

“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” —Will Rogers

When you dwell too long on the past, you lose sight of the great things you can accomplish in the present.

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Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.—J.K. RowlingEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On thinking big

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” —J.K. Rowling

You may even write a book series that becomes more popular than Harry Potter. Here are a few more motivating quotes from J.K. Rowling.

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You only live once. But if you work it right, once is enough.—Fred Allen Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On living your best life

“You only live once. But if you work it right, once is enough.” —Fred Allen

That way, you won’t only have lived. You’ll have lived a full life.

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Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On practicing

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” —Billie Jean King

All the authors of these uplifting quotes had to put in hard work of their own before they could inspire others. When the going gets tough, use these 27 hope quotes to instantly lift you up and inspire you to keep working.

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Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put on some sunglasses.—Lady GagaEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On the right attitude

“Do not allow people to dim your shine because they are blinded. Tell them to put on some sunglasses.” —Lady Gaga

If they ask you why, just say you were born this way.

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A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.—Walter WinchellEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On true friendship

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” —Walter Winchell

When you have true friends at your side, nothing is impossible. Read these heartwarming stories about friendship that will make you want to call your bestie.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.—Margaret Mead Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On the power of change

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead

One day, those committed citizens will write their own uplifting quotes and inspire new minds to think big. Check out these positive changes we’ve already seen since the anti-racism protests began.

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Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.—Jon Bon Jovi Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On the secret to success

“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” —Jon Bon Jovi

He definitely took his own advice to become one of the biggest rockers of all time. If you need more motivation, refer to these quotes about success that will make you even more successful.

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If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her 18th birthday, you can get out of bed.—E. Jean CarrollEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On making the most of it

“If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her 18th birthday, you can get out of bed.” —E. Jean Carroll

Once you get out of bed, you make coffee…and then you change the world.

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Don't waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window—or break down a door.—Brooke Shields Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On the road to happiness

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window—or break down a door.” —Brooke Shields

Do whatever it takes to find your bliss, although we strongly suggest against using physical violence. These quotes about finding happiness are the perfect pick-me-up for days when you’re feeling down.

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The world can't end today, because it's already tomorrow in Australia.—Charles M. SchulzEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On perspective

“The world can’t end today, because it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” —Charles M. Schulz

Science has just dismissed your greatest fear. Now, you’re free to live without worrying. You’re welcome.

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You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now.—Joan BaezEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On embracing the moment

“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.” —Joan Baez

Every moment you spend preoccupied with death is one less moment to enjoy life. Don’t miss these inspiring Oscar acceptance speech quotes from throughout the years.

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Happiness hides in life's small details. If you're not looking, it becomes invisible.—Joyce Brothers Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On finding joy

“Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, it becomes invisible.” —Joyce Brothers

Sometimes, those small details are the wise words of others.

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Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.—Dame Edna EverageEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On taking yourself too seriously

“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” —Dame Edna Everage

If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll never worry about being laughed at again. Laugh some more with these hilarious short jokes anyone can remember.

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There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.—Albert EinsteinEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On optimism

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

Who knew that Einstein had as many uplifting quotes as he did scientific discoveries?

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The mind is the limit. As long as you can envision something, you can do it.—Arnold Schwarzenegger Emma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On setting goals

“The mind is the limit. As long as you can envision something, you can do it.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger believes in you. How can you not succeed? Here are more “dream big” quotes that will motivate you to aim higher.

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I just have to be myself. I'm not perfect and I'm going to make mistakes.—Laverne CoxEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On making mistakes

“I just have to be myself. I’m not perfect and I’m going to make mistakes.” —Laverne Cox

Mistakes should be expected and embraced; it’s how we grow.

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Be thankful for what you have—you'll end up having more.—OprahEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On gratitude

“Be thankful for what you have—you’ll end up having more.” —Oprah

Let your own attitude of gratitude inspire those around you to create their own. Don’t miss these quotes that will remind you to be grateful every single day.

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All our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.—Walt DisneyEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On dreams

“All our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.” —Walt Disney

When you start every day with a positive attitude, you can make any dream a reality.

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We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list.—Michelle ObamaEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On putting yourself first

“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” —Michelle Obama

Most of us are guilty of not giving the care we give to others to ourselves. See some more empowering quotes from women in politics.

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I think it's just as important what you say no to as what you say yes to.—Sandra OhEmma Kumer/rd.com, Getty Images

On saying “no”

“I think it’s just as important what you say no to as what you say yes to.” —Sandra Oh

As much as you would like to, you just can’t do it all (and that’s OK). For more uplifting quotes, check out these life-changing words you’ll never forget.

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