Create Your Own Destiny With 100 Quotes to Turn Your Day (And Maybe Your Life) Around

This might just change your life -- if you want it to.
Publish date:
September 17, 2014
inspiration, quotes

A little over a year ago, I was in a slump. One of the ways that I like to get out of slumps is to turn to people who are smarter than me for good advice. In that spirit, I shared with all of you some of my favorite quotes.

I still turn back to that story pretty frequently, and when I was sharing it with someone recently, I realized that it was high time for me to round up another powerful dose of inspiration in quotation form.

Just like last time, I was pretty picky in choosing only the ones that really viscerally affected me.

Enjoy -- and tell me if any of these serve to change your point of view, shift your perception or even slap you upside the head the way they did me.


1. "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

2. "It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." -- Leonardo da Vinci

3. "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." -- Maya Angelou

4. "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." -- Theodore Roosevelt

5. "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

6. "Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better." -- Florence Nightingale

7. "Opportunities multiply as they are seized." -- Sun Tzu

8. "Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility." -- Saint Augustine

9. "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right." -- Henry Ford

10. "As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to live it more and more." -- Jules Renard

11. "Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even." -- Muhammad Ali

12. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." -- Mahatma Gandhi

13. "There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm." -- Willa Cather

14. "My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias." -- William Allen White

15. "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." -- John D. Rockefeller

16. "Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world." -- Helen Keller

17. "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

18. "I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." -- Audrey Hepburn

19. "We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." -- Joseph Campbell

20. "Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!" -- Anne Frank

21. "I dwell in possibility." -- Emily Dickinson

22. "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life -- and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." -- Georgia O'Keeffe

23. "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

24. "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." -- John Wayne

25. "I am deliberate and afraid of nothing." -- Audre Lorde

26. "A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere." -- Joyce Meyer

27. "Tough times never last, but tough people do." -- Dr. Robert Schuller

28. "Always remember, your focus determines your reality." -- George Lucas

29. "Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don't hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people." -- Zig Ziglar

30. "To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable." -- Erich Fromm

31. "The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first. A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

32. "The past is a ghost, the future a dream, and all we ever have is now." -- Bill Cosby

33. "A year from now you may wish you had started today." -- Karen Lamb

34. "The best cure for worry, depression, melancholy, brooding, is to go deliberately forth and try to lift with one's sympathy the gloom of somebody else." -- Arnold Bennett

35. "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

36. "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -- Michael Jordan

37. "Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." -- George Addair

38. "If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat! Just get on." -- Sheryl Sandberg

39. "Hold fast to dreams/ For if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird/ That cannot fly." -- Langston Hughes

40. "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." -- Jack London

41. "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." -- Babe Ruth

42. "Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it." -- Charles Swindoll

43. "All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired." -- Chuck Palahniuk

44. "Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us." -- David Richo

45. "Teach thy tongue to say, 'I do not know,' and thou shalt progress." -- Maimonides

46. "Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It’s not where you take things from -- it’s where you take them to.'" -- Jim Jarmusch

47. "You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame." -- Erica Jong

48. "speak quietly to yourself & promise there will be better days. whisper gently to yourself and provide assurance that you really are extending your best effort. console your bruised and tender spirit with reminders of many other successes. offer comfort in practical and tangible ways -- as if you were encouraging your dearest friend. recognize that on certain days the greatest grace is that the day is over and you get to close your eyes. tomorrow comes more brightly...” -- Mary Anne Radmacher

49. "Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see." -- Confucius

50. "The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it."

51. "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." -– John Lennon

52. “Anger ... it's a paralyzing emotion ... you can't get anything done. People sort of think it's an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling -- I don't think it's any of that -- it's helpless ... it's absence of control -- and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers ... and anger doesn't provide any of that -- I have no use for it whatsoever." -- Toni Morrison

53. "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." -- Plato

54. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” -- Alan Wilson Watts

55. "Either you run the day, or the day runs you." -- Jim Rohn

56. "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is." -- Vince Lombardi

57. “There are two things we should always be 1. raw and 2. ready. When you are raw, you are always ready and when you are ready you usually realize that you are raw. Waiting for perfection is not an answer, one cannot say "I will be ready when I am perfect" because then you will never be ready, rather one must say "I am raw and I am ready just like this right now, how and who I am.” -- C. JoyBell C.

58. "Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible." -- Richard Jefferies

59. "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." -- Chinese Proverb

60. "I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear." -- Rosa Parks

61. "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." -- Benjamin Franklin

62. "Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled, 'This could change your life.'" -- Helen Exley

63. "Vital lives are about action. You can't feel warmth unless you create it, can't feel delight until you play, can't know serendipity unless you risk." -- Joan Erickson

64. "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." -- Tony Robbins

65. "So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable." -- Christopher Reeve

66. "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." -- Dalai Lama

67. "Education costs money. But then so does ignorance." -- Sir Claus Moser

68. "I would rather die of passion than of boredom." -- Vincent van Gogh

69. "A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all." -- Rita Mae Brown

70. "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." -- Booker T. Washington

71. "Hope costs nothing." -- Colette

72. "A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it." -- Ray Davis

73. “I wrote a book. It sucked. I wrote nine more books. They sucked, too. Meanwhile, I read every single thing I could find on publishing and writing, went to conferences, joined professional organizations, hooked up with fellow writers in critique groups, and didn’t give up. Then I wrote one more book.” -- Beth Revis

74. "What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." -- Bob Dylan

75. "The only way to support a revolution is to make your own." -- Abbie Hoffman

76. "We see things not as they are, we see them as WE are." -- Morrie Camhi

77. "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." -- Lao Tzu

78. "The best revenge is massive success." -- Frank Sinatra

79. "Sometimes questions are more important than answers." -- Nancy Willard

80. “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” -- Albert Schweitzer

81. “I think fitting in is highly overrated. I’d rather just fit out... Fitting out means being who you are, even when people insist that you have to change. Fitting out means taking up space, not apologizing for yourself, and not agreeing with those who seek to label you with stereotypes.” -- Golda Poretsky

82. “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.” -- Chuck Close

83. “Never curse a fall. The ground is where humility lives.” -- Yasmin Mogahed

84. “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

85. “Boredom is the fear of self.” -- Marie Joséphine de Suin

86. “The greatest thing about dreams is they don’t expire. They can lay dormant for years and when you pull them out and dust them off, they shine like new.” -- Casi McLean

87. “We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful.” -- Eric Micha'el Leventhal

88. “Notice the difference between being in control and needing control.” -- Marilyn Suttle

89. “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work - and realizing what opportunity is and what isn’t." -- Lucille Ball

90. “People will always notice something about you. It might be the way you walk or the way you talk, or just simply your personality. Live each day in the way you want to be remembered. Live in such a way that people will be inspired by those unique qualities that you have and strive to live better lives for themselves.” -- Amaka Imani Nkosazana

91. “Always try and be a better person than you were yesterday, cause we aren't guaranteed tomorrow.” -- Tina A. Morgan

92. “Rule your mind or it will rule you.” -- Horace

93. “Sometimes you just have to have faith in your own ideas. If you don't someone else will. Why should it be them and not you? The only difference is who is willing to take a chance.” -- Jennifer Ritchie Payette

94. “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don't just stick there scowling at the problem. But don't make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people's words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” -- Hilary Mantel

95. “Inspiration fires you up; motivation keeps you burning.” -- Stuart Aken

96. "If you don't value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Start charging for it." -- Kim Garst

97. “Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.” -- Lama Surya Das

98. “Everyday of your life is a another lesson. If you learn the lesson well and apply it; whether positive or negative, you determine what happens in your tomorrow.” -- David Kofi Awusi

99. “There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.” -- Anthony Rapp

100. "I'm not an inspirational quote kind of person." -- Christine Teigen

I'd love to hear what some of your favorite quotes are, but even if you don't have one that comes to mind, I'm also interested to know if any of these resonate with you -- and why or why not. There are several in here that took my breath away.


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