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100 of the Most Uplifting Quotes Ever

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

collage of famous people on stylized background with Reader's Digest 100 Years, Getty Images (5)

Let your spirit soar

Looking for a little uplift? To celebrate Reader’s Digest’s 100th anniversary, we combed through the archives to collect 100 of the most uplifting quotes we’ve ever published. We hope you enjoy them, and when you’re in the mood for more, be sure to check out our other compilations of happy quotes, funny quotes, quotes from famous people, graduation quotes, and powerful quotes about life.

Angelina Jolie 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Angelina Jolie

The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.

RD Issue: May 2002

Queen Latifah Uplifting

Queen Latifah

Believe in yourself. Stay in your own lane. There’s only one you.

RD Issue: October 2008

RELATED: Be Yourself Quotes

Aldous Huxley Uplifting

Aldous Huxley

Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

RD Issue: March 1956

Salma Hayek Uplifting

Salma Hayek

People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder.

RD Issue: August 2013

RELATED: Body Positive Quotes

Ann Ruth Schabacker Uplifting

Ann Ruth Schabacker

Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbon.

RD Issue: September 1982

Eleanor C. Wood Uplifting

Eleanor C. Wood

Living is the art of getting used to what we didn’t expect.

RD Issue: July 1970

RELATED: Confidence Quotes

Mia Farrow Uplifting

Mia Farrow

A person without regrets is a nincompoop.

RD Issue: April 2006

Franklin P. Jones Uplifting

Franklin P. Jones

Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

RD Issue: September 1977

RELATED: Love Quotes

George Skolsky Uplifting

George Skolsky

Kindness is one thing you can’t give away. It always comes back.

RD Issue: April 1954

RELATED: Kindness Quotes

Sally Koch Uplifting

Sally Koch

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.

RD Issue: January 1995

RELATED: Spiritual Quotes

Maya Angelou 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Maya Angelou

Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

RD Issue: April 2019

RELATED: Powerful Quotes About Kindness

Jon Bon Jovi Uplifting

Jon Bon Jovi

Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.

“Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes” 2013

RELATED: Quotes About Success

Elbert Hubbard Uplifting

Elbert Hubbard

The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing that you’ll make one.

RD Issue: January 1953

RELATED: Empowering Strength Quotes

Harper Lee Uplifting

Harper Lee

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

RD Issue: October 1989

G.K. Chesterton Uplifting

G.K. Chesterton

There is only one certainty in life and that is that nothing is certain.

RD Issue: June 1926

RELATED: Quotes About Change

Walter Anderson Uplifting

Walter Anderson

The most sincere compliment we can pay is attention.

RD Issue: October 1987

Duke Ellington Uplifting

Duke Ellington

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

RD Issue: October 1984

RELATED: Positive Affirmations You Should Say Every Day

Henry Boye Uplifting

Henry Boye

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.

RD Issue: January 1997

RELATED: Loyalty Quotes to Help Build Honesty and Trust

Robert Frost Uplifting

Robert Frost

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

RD Issue: March 1959

Ruth E. Renkel Uplifting

Ruth E. Renkel

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining nearby.

RD Issue: February 1997

RELATED: Loneliness Quotes

Bonnie Prudden 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Bonnie Prudden

You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.

RD Issue: December 1980

John Lennon Uplifting

John Lennon

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.

“Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes” 2013

RELATED: Quotes About Time

Paul McCartney Uplifting

Paul McCartney

What’s wrong with being sentimental? Sentimental means you like stuff.

RD Issue: December 2005

Bob Talbert Uplifting

Bob Talbert

Having a young child explain something exciting he has seen is the finest example of communication you will ever hear or see.

RD Issue: July 1970

RELATEDKids’ Quotes About Life

Queen Elizabeth Uplifting

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Memories are everyone’s second chance at happiness.

RD Issue: October 1979

A.J. Cronin Uplifting

A.J. Cronin

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength.

“Reader’s Digest 40th Anniversary Treasury,” 1961

Tom Stoppard Uplifting

Tom Stoppard

Every exit is an entry somewhere else.

RD Issue: July 2000

Jonathan Winters Uplifting

Jonathan Winters

If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!

RD Issue: June 1990

George Clooney 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

George Clooney

My father gave me the best advice of my life. He said, “Whatever you do, don’t wake up at 65 years old and think about what you should have done with your life.”

RD Issue: July 2006

Jean Sibelius Uplifting

Jean Sibelius

Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.

RD Issue: October 1979

Alexandra Stoddard Uplifting

Alexandra Stoddard

The world is extremely interesting to a joyful soul.

RD Issue: March 1997

Harry Emerson Fosdick Uplifting

Harry Emerson Fosdick

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.

RD Issue: July 1970

Les Paul Uplifting

Les Paul

Don’t say you can’t until you prove you can’t.

RD Issue: June 1957

RELATED: “Dream Big” Quotes

David Eddings Uplifting

David Eddings

No day in which you learn something is a complete loss.

RD Issue: May 1997

Kermit the Frog Uplifting

Kermit the Frog

It’s a whole lot more satisfying to reach for the stars, even if you end up landing only on the moon.

RD Issue: January 2007

Dolly Parton Uplifting

Dolly Parton

I still close my eyes and go home—I can always draw from that.

RD Issue: October 2008

RELATED: Mother-Daughter Quotes

Ellen DeGeneres Uplifting

Ellen DeGeneres

Be open to learning new lessons, even if they contradict the lessons you learned yesterday.

RD Issue: January 2007

Robert Louis Stevenson Uplifting

Robert Louis Stevenson

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

RD Issue: November 1941

Bertrand Russell Uplifting

Bertrand Russell

To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.

RD Issue: December 1950

Lionel Barrymore Uplifting

Lionel Barrymore

The older you get the more you realize that kindness is synonymous with happiness.

RD Issue: April 1953

Lisa Kogan Uplifting

Lisa Kogan

Even the worst haircut eventually grows out.

RD Issue: January 2007

Joseph Mayer Uplifting

Joseph Mayer

You are genuinely happy if you don’t know why.

RD Issue: March 1956

Oscar Wilde 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Oscar Wilde

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

RD Issue: August 1940

Marcelene Cox Uplifting

Marcelene Cox

Worry is like sand in an oyster: a little produces a pearl, too much kills the animal.

RD Issue: December 1955

Ben Morcell Uplifting

Ben Morcell

Morale is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head says it can’t be done.

RD Issue: January 1961

Hugh Mulligan Uplifting

Hugh Mulligan

What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

RD Issue: October 1981

Hal Borland Uplifting

Hal Borland

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.

RD Issue: January 1983

Louis Nizer Uplifting

Louis Nizer

Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man.

RD Issue: January 1978

Sarah Barker Uplifting

Sarah Barker

The sky isn’t the limit—the sky has no limit.

RD Issue: April 2020

Maggie Kuhn 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Maggie Kuhn

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

RD Issue: May 2016

Eugene F. Ware Uplifting

Eugene F. Ware

All glory comes from daring to begin.

RD Issue: January 1978

Liz Smith Uplifting

Liz Smith

If you don’t place your foot on the rope, you’ll never cross the chasm.

RD Issue: January 1992

J.K. Rowling Uplifting

J.K. Rowling

It is our choices that show what we really are, far more than our abilities.

RD Issue: January 2000

Brooke Shields Uplifting

Brooke Shields

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

RD Issue: April 2006

Doug Larson Uplifting

Doug Larson

The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.

RD Issue: December 2005

Bono Uplifting


Joy is one of the only emotions you can’t contrive.

RD Issue: December 2005

Vincent Van Gogh Uplifting

Vincent Van Gogh

Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.

RD Issue: May 1998

George E. Woodberry Uplifting

George E. Woodberry

To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problem of contentment.

RD Issue: January 1983

Diane Ackerman Uplifting

Diane Ackerman

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

RD Issue: September 2011

John Cleese Uplifting

John Cleese

He who laughs most learns best.

RD Issue: May 2016

RELATED: Funny Quotes

Andy Warhol 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Andy Warhol

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

RD Issue: April 2020

RELATED: Life-Changing Words You’ll Never Forget

Anna Quindlen Uplifting

Anna Quindlen

A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree—or even, occasionally, the careless—may turn out to be half a life.

RD Issue: January 2007

Elmer G. Leterman Uplifting

Elmer G. Leterman

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

RD Issue: February 1958

John W. Gardner Uplifting

John W. Gardner

We are not at our best perched at the summit; we are climbers, at our best when the way is steep.

RD Issue: July 1970

Dean Acheson Uplifting

Dean Acheson

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

RD Issue: April 1976

Al Bernstein Uplifting

Al Bernstein

Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.

RD Issue: April 1976

RELATED: Leadership Quotes

Karla Kuban Uplifting

Karla Kuban

Without darkness, there are no dreams.

RD Issue: December 1999

RELATED: Hope Quotes

Celine Dion Uplifting

Celine Dion

The only failure is not knowing how to be happy.

RD Issue: January 2001

Amy Poehler 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Amy Poehler

There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.

RD Issue: August 2013

RELATED: Body Positive Quotes

James Leo Herlihy Uplifting

James Leo Herlihy

Be yourself. No one can ever tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

RD Issue: September 1982

Lynn Lively Uplifting

Lynn Lively

Procrastination means you know what you need to do and you don’t do it. If you don’t know what to do, you aren’t procrastinating. You are thinking.

RD Issue: December 1999

Maya Angelou Uplifting

Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

RD Issue: August 2013

RELATED: Mother-Son Quotes

Valerie Jarrett Uplifting

Valerie Jarrett

Just because you’re nervous doesn’t mean you have to look nervous. Nobody can look inside you. Project what you want to project.

RD Issue: August 2013

RELATED: Empowering Quotes from Women in Politics

Robert D. Ballard Uplifting

Robert D. Ballard

Everyone is an explorer. How could you possibly live your life looking at a door and not opening it?

RD Issue: May 1998

Elsa Schiaparelli Uplifting

Elsa Schiaparelli

If you can’t reach your destination by one road, try another.

RD Issue: January 1961

William Dean Howells Uplifting

William Dean Howells

The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested.

RD Issue: January 1974

George Bernard Shaw Uplifting

George Bernard Shaw

Be like the sun and the meadow, which are not in the least concerned about the coming winter.

RD Issue: September 1982

Robert Heller Uplifting

Robert Heller

Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.

RD Issue: August 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald Uplifting

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but in the ability to start over.

RD Issue: September 1982

Alice Walker 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Alice Walker

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

RD Issue: June 2019

Naomi Judd Uplifting

Naomi Judd

A dead end is just a good place to turn around.

RD Issue: January 2004

RELATED: Life Is Short Quotes

Dr. Phil McGraw Uplifting

Dr. Phil McGraw

My dad used to say, You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did.

RD Issue: December 2002

Gen. George S. Patton Uplifting

Gen. George S. Patton

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

RD Issue: November 2018

Finnish proverb Uplifting

Finnish proverb

Even a small star shines in the darkness.

RD Issue: June 1990

RELATED: Most Beautiful Proverbs from Around the World

Dalai Lama Uplifting

Dalai Lama

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

RD Issue: October 1994

RELATED: Inspiring Quotes from the Dalai Lama

Oprah Winfrey Uplifting

Oprah Winfrey

Failure is God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

RD Issue: June 2004

Jennifer Aniston Uplifting

Jennifer Aniston

Friends are the family we choose.

RD Issue: December 2002

RELATED: Best Friend Quotes

Billy Idol Uplifting

Billy Idol

If your world doesn’t allow you to dream, move to one where you can.

RD Issue: December 2002

RELATED: Quotes about Finding Happiness

Martin Luther King, Jr. Uplifting

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is taking the first step. Even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

RD Issue: September 2014

RELATED: Inspirational Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Twyla Tharp 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

Twyla Tharp

Age is not the enemy. Stagnation is the enemy. Complacency is the enemy. Stasis is the enemy

RD Issue: May 2020

Simone Biles Uplifting

Simone Biles

I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.

RD Issue: July/August 2020

Bernie Siegel Uplifting

Bernie Siegel

In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope.

RD Issue: July 1990

Billie Jean King Uplifting

Billie Jean King

Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make it a doozy.

RD Issue: January 2004

RELATED: Motivational Sports Quotes

J.K. Rowling Uplifting

J.K. Rowling

Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

RD Issue: November 2003

Joan Baez Uplifting

Joan Baez

Action is the antidote to despair.

RD Issue: May 1997

Harry Ruby Uplifting

Harry Ruby

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.

RD Issue: June 1952

Oprah Winfrey Uplifting

Oprah Winfrey

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

RD Issue: December 2019/January 2020

RELATED: Gratitude Quotes

Marcel Proust Uplifting

Marcel Proust

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.

RD Issue: February 1981

Aretha Franklin Uplifting

Aretha Franklin

It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.

RD Issue: May 2019

Leo Buscaglia Uplifting

Leo Buscaglia

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And swing!

RD Issue: October 1987

Additional reporting research done by Lucie Turkel and Greg Daugherty