100 Quotes To Get You Out Of Your Slump And Change Your Life

Let's do this thing.
Publish date:
April 23, 2013

We all have favorite inspirational quotes, and I'd love it if you share yours in the comments below so we can make this the best possible resource to remember and inspire and forge ahead.

So, what do you have taped on your wall, computer screen, tattooed on your arm?

What keeps you going?

Here's what helps for me, collected over a lifetime.

1. "Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And 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. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." -- Steve Jobs

2. "If you wait, all that happens is you get older." -- Larry McMurtry

3. "I think for it to be hip to be idealistic is weird, you know? I mean, even all the best rebels to me, had some sense of hope in them." -- Tom Petty

4. "There is no remedy for love but to love more." -- Henry David Thoreau

5. "I've always run by the hierarchy of 'If not funny, interesting. If not interesting, hot. If not hot, bizarre. If not bizarre, break something." -- Jon Stewart

6. "I went for years without finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged." -- Erica Jong

7. "Between grief and nothing I will take grief." -- William Faulkner

8. "What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." -- Crowfoot

9. "Gambling is not a vice. It is an expression of our humanness. We gamble. Some do it at the gaming table, some do not. You play, you win, you play, you lose. You play." -- Jeanette Winterson

10. "Don't worry, and don't kick yourself forever. Just take the opportunities when they come." -- Bob Diamond in "Defending Your Life," written by Albert Brooks

11. "We must hold in our minds these utterly contradictory thoughts: not one of us matters at all; each of us is infinitely precious." -- Jane Emily Bowers

12. "Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team." -- Scottie Pippen

13. "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -- Martin Buber

14. "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." -- Thornton Wilder

15. "I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." -- Jack London

16. "As you begin to live according to your own guidance and your own daring everything changes completely." -- Leonard Willoughby

17. "The best training is to read and write, no matter what. Don't live with a lover or roommate who doesn't respect your work. Don't lie, buy time, borrow to buy time. Write what will stop your breath if you don't write." -- Grace Paley

18. "People always say to me, 'When you get to the NBA, don't forget about me.' Well I should've said back, 'If I don't make it to the NBA, don't you forget about me.'" -- William Gates

19. "Because that is when you love somebody -- when you see them being game in the face of the worst. Not courageous. Not heroic. Just game." -- Philip Roth

20. "He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. 'You your best thing, Sethe. You are.' His fingers are holding hers." -- Toni Morrison, "Beloved"

21. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." -- Wayne Gretzky

22. "When life gives you lemons, just say, 'Fuck the lemons,' and bail." -- Chuck in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," written by Jason Segel

23. "Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment. Know the sweet joy of the way." -- Dhammapada, "Words of the Buddha"

24. "I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within." -- Eudora Welty

25. "A moment comes when the true self reveals itself. That moment comes when you are willing to be unconditionally present in the imperfection of this moment. A simple change of attitude; instead of chasing after perfection, you allow a total and profound surrending to the imperfection of the moment." -- Tyohar

26. "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anais Nin

27. "It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world. Both attitudes are within our power so that a man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy, and no one can stop him." -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

28. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." -- Thoreau

29. "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle." -- Christian D. Larson

30. "Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can." -- H.H. The XIVTH Dalai Lama

31. "Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in the magic will never find it!" -- Roald Dahl

34. "Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!" -- Christian D. Larson

35. "There is a peaceful place inside that welcomes you. A space so safe, so still, that there is no forward or backward -- only the eternal flow of the present moment. Entert his place where the truth of your being resides and appreciate who you are." -- Rusty Berkus

36. "Every single person has within an ocean of pure vibrant consciousness. Every single human being can experience that -- infinite intelligence, infinite creativity, infinite happiness, infinite energy, infinite dynamic peace." -- David Lynch

37. "I find that when we really love and accept and approve of ourselves exactly as we are, then everything in life works." -- Louise Hay

38. "The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -- Marcel Proust

39. "One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now." -- Annie Dillard

40. "It's always been my philosophy: Turn the page. If something falls through, turn the page. It's over with, get used to it, get on with it. Very simple. It's always worked for me." -- Merv Griffin

41. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -- Rumi

42. "Hold fast to stars. Hold fast to the elusive, the intangible, the never to be had; for stars fall from heaven sometimes, and kings are born in barns, and miracles rise out of little things." -- Anonymous

43. "Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you'll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap." -- William Bennett

44. "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a little better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

45. "I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give you, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven. No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take Joy." -- Fra Giovanni

46. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

47. "Life is so generous a giver but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial or a sorrow or a duty, believe me that angel's hand is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim, that is all." -- Fra Giovanni

48. "The state of self-realization, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been." -- Sri Ramana Maharshi

49. "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." -- Arthur C. Clarke

50. "We cannot change life! We can only change the way we live life. Any moment is the best moment, and any place is the best place." -- Tishan

51. "I feel what they feel. And people who listen to me know that, and it makes them feel like they're not alone." -- Nina Simone

52. "Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time? My greatest regret is how much I believed in the future." -- Jonathan Safran Foer

53. "I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far." -- Erica Jong

54. "When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, 'Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.'" -- Shunryu Suzuki

55. "Writing enters into us when it gives us information about ourselves we are in need of *at the time that we are reading.* How obvious the thought seems once it has been articulated! As with love, politics, or friendship: readiness is all." -- Vivian Gornick

56. "Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire." -- Patti Smith

57. "Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S. Thompson

58. "The proper response to conflict, whether it lies within us or without us, is disengagement." -- Brian Browne Walker

59. "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." -- Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

60. "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

61. "Question: Since you are here to remember who you are, why have you forgotten? Answer: Perhaps you have lived another’s dream and not your own." -- Rusty Berkus

62. "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

63. "Lose faith. Pray anyway. Persist. We are made to persist, to complete the whole tour. That's how we find out who we are." -- Tobias Wolff

64. "I had discovered that a person does not have to be this or be that or be anything, not even oneself. One is free." -- Walker Percy

65. "When a person begins to yell during an argument, it is a tip-off that he is unsure of himself." -- Ann Landers

66. "I said this to my daughter, if you don't practice the guitar, when you get older you wouldn't be able to play it. It's that simple. If you want to play the guitar, you put a half hour in everyday, but you have to do it." -- Woody Allen

67. "Healing is a small and ordinary and very burnt thing. And it's one thing and one thing only: it's doing what you have to do." -- Cheryl Strayed

68. "I'm beginning to think that maybe it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them." -- Macon Leary

69. "As you begin to live according to your own guidance and your own daring, everything changes completely." -- Barbara Marciniak

70. "If you are called to be a sweet sweeper, sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'" -- Martin Luther King Jr.

71. "In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer." -- Albert Camus

72. "You see I'm trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across -- not to just depict life -- or criticize it -- but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can't do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can't believe in it. things aren't that way." -- Ernest Hemingway

73. "I've seen a jillion miracles. They're all around. Every green leaf is a miracle." -- Jimmy Dean

74. "All I ask is that you do your best, and forget the rest." -- Tony Horton

75. "The thing I try to get across to the writers -- and I do a lot of writing, too -- is that when I do stand-up, nothing I talk about is funny. Everything is really sad and tragic and then I make it funny." -- Chris Rock

76. "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." -- Steve Jobs

77. "I actually started to think a lot about the difference between a creative gesture and a noncreative gesture. I decided that all gestures were creative. Because you always have to make a decision at some point." -- Andrea Zittel

78. "A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They're just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can." -- Maude in "Harold and Maude," written by Colin Higgins

79. "Drop all ideas of achieving in meditation, just do it naturally; what happens happens on its own. One day, effortlessly, everything starts happening by itself." -- Osho

80. "I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead perseverance, application, industry, assiduity, will, will, will, desire, desire, desire." -- Gordon Lish

81. "You make one good friend a summer ... and you're doing pretty well." -- Tripper Harrison in "Meatballs," written by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, Janis Allen & Harold Ramis

82. "Don't be like me. Be better than me. That's the goal." -- Michael Jordon

83. "Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more." -- Erica Jong

84. "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung

85. "Marry somebody you love. That's the whole thing. And continue to love them." -- Charlie Daniels

86. "Nothing is always absolutely so." -- Theodore Sturgeon

87. "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -- The Dalai Lama

88. "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." -- Annie Dillard

89. "Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make life so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop a jar of applesauce. In summer, we work hard to make a tidy garden, bordered by pansies with rows or clumps of columbine, petunias, bleeding hearts. Then we find ourselves longing for the forest, where everything has the appearance of disorder; yet we feel peaceful there." -- Natalie Goldberg

90. "The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good." -- Stanley Kubrick

91. "I try to live my life in such a way that I don't have any regrets. That's probably why I work so much. I don't want to feel I missed something important." -- Philip Seymour Hoffman

92. "Because I'm not beaming with a radiant smile every two minutes, then I'm lonely and waiting for my hero? Well, guess what? I'm not waiting for my hero. I'm my own hero."

93. "Every great idea is on the verge of being stupid." -- Michel Gondry

94. "How I became a better writer was that I kept writing." -- Sallie Tisdale

95. "The relationship that counts most in my life is the one I have with myself. I have a great, great, great relationship with myself, and it gets better and better as I get older. The other day, I was talking to Barry in the car and I said, 'I'm so glad I'm me!'" -- Diane von Furstenberg

96. "The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death -- however mutable man may be able to make them -- our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." -- Stanley Kubrick

97. "It's in the act of having to do things that you don't want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego." -- bell hooks

98. "A psychologist said to me, there are only two important questions you have to ask yourself. What do you really feel? And, what do you really want? If you can answer those two, you probably can leave your neuroses behind you." -- Harold Ramis

99. "The writer must be in it; he can't be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing himself, always." -- Arthur Miller

100. "Well, in retrospect, what it came down to was that I would not allow myself to be defined by other people, white or black. It was beneath me to blame anybody for what happened to me. What happened to me was my responsibility. I didn't want any pity. 'Leave me alone, I'll figure it out.' I was very wounded and I was very dangerous because you become what you hate. It's what happened to my father and I didn't want it to happen to me. His hatred was suppressed and turned against himself. He couldn't let it out -- he could only let it out in the house with rage, and I found it happening to myself as well. And after my best friend jumped off the bridge, I knew that I was next. So -- Paris. With forty dollars and a one-way ticket." -- James Baldwin


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