Is it possible to condense the wisdom of centuries in a straightforward way? Can the brilliant knowledge millions of people used to live their lives by be summarized in a reader-friendly and manageable way? Let’s try with this collection of the most inspiring words to live by.
Normally, you would have to read through hundreds of good books in order to discover a pearl of wisdom here and there. You would also have to interview some of the greatest minds that ever lived in order to unearth excellent ideas to live by. In short, it’s the work of a lifetime.
You may not wish to invest that much time to collect a number of inspiring statements. Luckily for you, we’ve created a hand-picked selection of the 75 best words to live by. It’s the ultimate list of magnificently inspiring, wise, and thought-provoking quotes you can use to live your life by.
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
In the following, you can find the incredible quotes that became the fundament upon which millions of people constructed a successful, happy and fulfilling life.
The 75 Most Inspiring Words to Live by
There are many brilliant words that provide motivation and inspiration. But there are certain statements that stand out from the rest. Ideas, words, and sayings that are far more powerful than all the others.
Some of these powerful words will inspire you to reach for the stars. They will ignite the fire within you that fuels your motivation to accomplish a great number of things. But you can also find words in this list that will accompany you during times of great difficulties. These statements will help you to get back up again whenever life pushes you to the ground.
Feel free to select your personal favorites in this list. By integrating your favorite quotes in your day-to-day life, you will be able to gradually transform your entire life. The wisdom that can be found within the lines of these inspiring words provides you with everything you need to know to be equipped for the daily battle of life.
Here are the most inspiring words to live your life by:
1. Robert Downey, Jr. on laserlike focus
„Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever you were going to do anyway.“
Robert Downey, Jr.
When pursuing your goals, there will be many people trying to stop you. Some will try to convince you that your very dreams are not worth pursuing. They will tell you that it is impossible for you to accomplish what you’re trying to achieve. Others will advise you that it is better to settle for the ordinary instead of risking something.
No matter what these people are telling you, never let them convince you to stop pursuing your goals. If you listen to them, you will one day wake up living an unfulfilling and unsatisfying life.
2. Paul Brandt on accepting limitations
„Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there’s footprints on the moon.“
Have the courage to dream big. Challenge existing perceptions and always seek to set your goals a little higher with every step you take. Doing so will allow you to go beyond every limitation there is.
3. Bruce Lee on enduring difficulties
„Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Life can be quite a struggle. There are many situations in life where you wish that things would be much easier. During these difficult times, it is necessary to remind yourself how important it is to endure. Don’t allow hardship to break you. Instead, keep fighting and do everything you can to proactively free yourself from the difficulties you’re facing.
Only by wishful thinking, nothing will ever be accomplished. For this reason, see the difficulties of your life as important opportunities that accelerate your growth. Remind yourself that everything that happens to you does ultimately serve you.
4. An unknown hero on an excellent life motto to live by
„Everything happens for a reason. Everything leads to something better.“
Whatever happens to you in life can teach you an important lesson. If you are willing to seek for the particular reason why something happened, you will discover meaning in suffering. And once you are able to draw meaning from difficult experiences, you will be able to use what happens in order to grow stronger. This is what life is all about.
Once you’ve internalized these beautiful words to live by, you will understand that everything that happens to you – no matter if positive or negative – leads eventually to something better. If you always seek for the lessons that life teaches you, you will ultimately become a stronger, wiser and better person. Always remember that the strongest characters are seared with scars.
5. Washington Irving on misfortune
„Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.“
It is not so important what happens to you life. All that matters is how you think about it and how you respond to it. When you’re confronted with setbacks, difficulties, and misfortunes, you can always choose to give up. You can always allow these things to break you. In fact, life will not only push you continuously to the ground, but it will also do everything to keep you there.
At the same time, you can also choose not to allow what happens to break you. If you always get back up again, no matter how hard life pushes you down, nothing can ever stop you from pursuing your dreams.
6. Lance Armstrong on pain
„Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?“
Pain is not permanent. Giving up lasts a lifetime.
Many goals in life can only be accomplished if you are willing to suffer temporality. In some cases, you will have to make sacrifices to accomplish your dreams. In other instances, you have to overcome challenging obstacles. Whenever it is you’re confronted with, always remind yourself that you’re doing all these things for a purpose. Remind yourself that the pain will eventually subside and something better will emerge from it.
7. Another unknown person on difficulties in life
„When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.“
How you think about difficult times can greatly impact your entire life. If you think that life is designed to punish you, you will never overcome the role as a helpless victim. However, if you are convinced that life is designed to teach you important lessons, nothing will ever bring you out of balance.
8. Dr. Seuss on being who you are
„Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.“
The people who truly matter will always accept you the way you are. So why should you try to be someone else for people who don’t even matter?
9. LeBron James on greatness
„Talent is given, greatness is earned.“
There are so many people who are incredibly talented, yet make nothing of it. They have become used to relying on their talents, which prevents them from ever accomplishing greatness. Only those who are willing to use their talents in order to pursue greatness will ever accomplish truly outstanding things in life.
10. Rocky Balboa on life
„The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place […] it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
I’m always amazed at the incredible motivational power of the words Rocky Balboa, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, speaks to his fictional son in the movie Rocky. And everything he says in his wonderful speech is absolutely true. There’s no use in complaining about how hard life has hit you. Doing so will never get you anywhere. Instead, give your very best to brace all the energy you have left to push yourself up again from the ground.
11. Mark Twain on regret
„Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.“
You will always regret 100% of the chances you didn’t take. Even more so, the regret you experience for not doing something will always outweigh the temporary pain a failure causes.
12. Robert Brault on enjoying the little things
„Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.“
It often times takes quite some work to truly appreciate the little things in life. But once you are able to discover all the small joys and all the small wonders in your life, your entire perception of life begins to change. Instead of ever chasing more, you will begin to realize how beautiful your life already is. It will help you to understand that you already have everything you need to live a happy and fulfilled life. So take yourself some time to ponder about the true value of all the little things in your life. Learn to be grateful about all these wonderful aspects of your life and you will free yourself from the never-ending pursuit of ever more.
13. Steve Jobs on changing the world
„The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.“
When you are exceptionally ambitious, you will always be confronted with naysayers. They will tell you that whatever you’re trying to accomplish is not possible. These are the people who will greatly insult you for your courage to dream. There will be no word of encouragement from these people – that is until you have accomplished your mission and every single one of them slaps you on the back, telling you that they always knew you could make it.
If people don’t believe in your dreams, show them that you can make your vision a reality.
14. Confucius on things that cannot be done
„Men who say it cannot be done should not interrupt men doing it.“
In addition to what was being said in #13, it is also worthwhile to point out to think twice before you tell a friend or a family member that it’s impossible for them to achieve their dreams.
15. Mary Engelbreit on affecting change
„If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.“
Aren’t these incredibly powerful words to live by?
Change whatever you don’t like about your life. And if you are confronted with something that you cannot change, start thinking differently about it. Ultimately, the way you think shapes your entire life. Your thoughts decide whether you see your failures and imperfections as terrible enemies that drag you down or if you see them as important stepping stones on your road to success. All this shows how incredibly important it is to learn to think positively about in life. Your thoughts can make or break you, so start seizing control of this magnificent power that lies in your hands.
16. Suzy Kassem on having dreams
„A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.“
Those who dare to dream are courageous enough to overcome their fears.
17. Albert Einstein on being a genius
„Everyone is a genius. But, if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.“
Every man and woman holds the potential for greatness. However, this greatness may not always be recognized by others, especially not when only superficial metrics are applied. If you only judge people based on their intelligence, academic accomplishments, or wealth, you may not be able to see the huge potential that lies – sometimes dormant – in all those who are not wealthy and not educated.
18. Kurt Cobain on being ridiculed
„They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.“
If you have the courage to stand out from the crowd, you will often be considered “odd” or “different.” But the real question you have to ask yourself is if it is really worthwhile to give up your individuality, to give up everything that defines you, just to be like everyone else.
19. J. K. Rowling on failure
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
J. K. Rowling
Trying to avoid any kind of risk comes at a price: regret. If you allow your fear of failure to stop you from pursuing your dreams, you will sooner or later come to regret that you did not have the courage to overcome your fears. Sometimes in life, you simply have to risk something in order to affect beneficial changes.
20. Confucius on the importance to keep going
„It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.“
Every journey – even the longest voyage – starts with one tiny little step. There are some people who are amazed at the beauty of a certain destiny (i.e. a goal), which is why they immediately start running towards it. They might even boast how fast they are coming closer to their destination.
None of this really matters. All that matters is that you continue to pursue your own goals – at your own pace. Don’t let other people’s accomplishments discourage you from taking one step after another. One day you will realize that you have come much further by setting one foot in front of the other than all those who sprinted for some time until they quickly ran out of breath.
21. Ingvar Kamprad on achievement
„The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.“
The feeling of achievement opens room for complacency. If you do not continuously seek for opportunities to grow or to improve something, your victories will quickly be outdated.
22. Ray Kroc on forcing luck
„Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.“
Luck is not something that automatically comes to you when you’re at home. Many times in life, you have to go out and force your luck. The more diligently you pursue your goals and the more effort you are willing to invest, the more often will your efforts be accompanied by “lucky coincidences.”
23. Paolo Coelho on achieving your dreams
„There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
As was already mentioned, your fear of failure is the greatest enemy that stands in-between you and your dreams.
24. Joshua Marine on challenges
„Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”Joshua J. Marine
Without occasionally challenging yourself, you will never grow as a person. Only by confronting and overcoming difficulties, you will become stronger and more experienced.
25. Lao Tzu on patience
„Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.“
Many things in life can only be accomplished when you are patient. If you are willing to invest time and effort, you will eventually bring these things to fruition. However, those who long for instant results will quickly become discouraged by the lack of outcomes.
26. Aldous Huxley on happiness
„Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.“
Happiness cannot be pursued. Happiness is a choice. If you choose to be happy, nothing will ever be able to crumble your long-term happiness. At the same time, if you’re able to find happiness within, changes in the world around you affect your happiness less and less.
27. Michael Singer on inner freedom
„Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.”
Michael A. Singer
There lies great power in the realization that no person can ever take your inner freedom away from you.
28. Maya Angelou on wonderful days
„This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.“
Isn’t this a beautiful attitude to live by?
29. Dennis Kimbro on life
„Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
Dennis P. Kimbro
No matter what happens to you in life, it all boils down to how you’re going to react to it. You cannot change what happens. But you can always influence how you respond to it. There are many who allow setbacks and failures to discourage them. Don’t be one of them! Instead, use whatever happens to you as a stepping stone to success. This kind of attitude will help you to realize one day that all the difficulties you were confronted with in your life ultimately became the fundament upon which you build a successful and fulfilling existence.
30. Rae Smith on falling apart
„Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.“
It’s possible that trials and tribulations will rain down upon you during certain stages of your life. Wild storms will wreck havoc in your entire life, leaving nothing but ruins. These situations are incredibly difficult and extremely unpleasant. But one day you will realize that something stronger has emerged from the ashes.
31. Ron Carpenter on ignorance
„A teachable spirit and a humbleness to admit your ignorance or your mistake will save you a lot of pain.“
Ron Carpenter, Jr.
If you go through life with open eyes, if you are always honest with yourself and if you always admit your errors, you can spare yourself many painful lessons.
32. Les Brown on other people’s opinion
„Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.“
In many cases, it can be quite beneficial to listen to other people’s opinion. However, if you are not careful, others will impose their – sometimes negative – opinion about you to such a great extent on you that it will seem as if it’s true.
33. Frank Lynn on comparing yourself
„Do not compare. You paint differently because you are different.“
Never compare yourself to other people. Comparisons are never just. You are simply far too individual to fairly compare yourself to others. Even further, you almost always lack the right metrics to properly compare your accomplishments with those of another person. As a result, comparisons only cause discontent. The only one you should ever compare yourself with is your former self.
34. John Lennon on the key to life
„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.“
These words to live by are so beautiful that there really is nothing to add.
35. Jackson Brown, Jr. on criticizing others
„Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.“
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
If you spend all your time being obsessed about the imperfections of other people, you may not have enough time to properly address your own.
36. Dejan Stojanovic on walking the talk
„Words rich in meaning can be cheap in sound effects.”
There are many people who explain their dreams and goals in the most illustrious ways possible. But only a small minority actually puts these words into action.
37. Henry Ford on having faith in yourself
„Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.“
If you believe in yourself, if you are convinced that you can accomplish your goals, you are much more likely to succeed eventually.
38. Henry Rollins on scar tissue
„Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue.“
Difficulties and setbacks may leave many emotional scars behind. With time, however, you will realize that these very experiences contributed in a miraculous way to your growth as a person.
39. Robert Greene on treating others politely
„Never assume that the person you are dealing with is weaker or less important than you are. […] If you want to turn people down, it is best to do so politely and respectfully, even if you feel their request is impudent or their offer ridiculous.“
The way you treat others is incredibly important. Don’t let other people’s misbehavior or misconduct tempt you to behave in a similar way.
40. George Bernard Shaw about finding yourself
„Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.“
George Bernard Shaw
Life is not about learning to discover your purpose. It is about learning to create your purpose in life. No one will hand you a definition of who you are and who you should become. Similarly, it is very unlikely that you will all of a sudden stumble across your purpose in life. It takes time and effort to actively create your purpose in life and to define who you are.
41. The Dalai Lama on not getting what you want
„Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.“
Not getting what you want can be quite annoying. But more often than not, there is more than meets the eye. Not getting what you want can prove to be an opportunity to try something new. Perhaps it is even an encouragement for you that you need to try much harder in order to get what you want. Even further, it could also be a chance to pursue more meaningful goals in your life. Many years later you might even come to the conclusion that whatever you desired was not even worth pursuing.
42. Henry Ford on obstacles
„Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.“
Where most people see obstacles and difficulties, the great only see opportunities.
43. William Cameron on counting accomplishments
„Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.“
William Bruce Cameron
There are many people who do nothing else in their lifetime than amassing (countable) possessions. Their great successes and accomplishments can be measured pretty accurately. However, only a few of their actions did really matter. At the same time, there are many people performing extremely important services that really matter. These are the people whose lives really count. No matter if these people firefighters, nurses, or paramedics.
44. Eleanor Roosevelt on great minds
„Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.“
Let’s not focus too much attention on what other people – especially celebrities – are doing.
45. Arthur Schopenhauer on truth
„Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident.“
Unfortunately, this is the difficult path that the truth has to take until it is finally revealed to the public.
46. Mark Twain on small people
„Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great.“
If you listen too much to those who try to talk down on your ambitions, you’ll eventually wind up believing them.
47. Confucius on finding a profession
„Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.“
Finding a job that you really love is perhaps one of the most rewarding things in life.
48. E. Lockhart on your perception of the world
„See the world as it is, not as you wish it would be”
It is quite difficult to see things as they are. In fact, it can even be painful to face the truth. However, this is the only approach that will ultimately set you free.
49. Josiah Holland on finding the royal road
„There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly endures.“
Josiah Gilbert Holland
By taking one step at a time, you will arrive much faster in your destination than by wishful thinking about a royal road.
50. T. Jakes on the past and present
„Don’t allow your past or present condition to control you. It’s just a process that you’re going through to get you to the next level.”
T. D. Jakes
Never look back on what happened in the past. Use the present moment to create a better future.
51. Vicki Corona on measuring life
„Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.“
Wonderful, just wonderful.
52. Zig Ziglar on greatness
„You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Always remember that you never start as an expert in whatever you do. All you need to do is to overcome any kind of procrastination that stops you from taking one step after another towards accomplishing greatness.
53. Audrey Hepburn on the word “impossible”
„Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’”
Some challenges may seem impossible to overcome. But if you persist long enough, you’ll be able to see the opportunities that help you to overcome all the difficulties.
54. Ralph Emerson going where the path leads
„Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.“
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you always go where everyone else is going, you will always accomplish what everyone else is accomplishing.
55. Vince Lombardi on perfection
„Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.“
It is not so important to attain perfection. What is important is that striving for perfection allows you to eventually attain excellence and greatness.
56. Farrah Gray on building your dreams
„Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.“
57. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. on making promises
„I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man’s word should be as good as his bond; that character — not wealth or power or position — is of supreme worth.“
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Another important thought that is tremendously neglected in this modern day and age.
58. James Ray on reaching your destination
„Often what may appear as a detour in life is actually the most direct and empowering path to your destination.”
James Arthur Ray
Not every failure is a negative thing. Sometimes you will realize months or even years later that only with this setback was it possible to finally accomplish your goal.
59. Richard Carlson on the things that matter
„Ask yourself this question, will this matter a year from now?“
Most things that upset us won’t even matter a month from now. So why even bother?
60. Frank Zappa on deviating from the norm
„Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.“
Have the courage to stand out from the crowd!
61. Wayne Dyer on conflict
„Conflict cannot survive without your participation.”
By internalizing these important words to live by you will realize that it lies greatly in your own hands whether or not a conflict starts to arise in your life.
62. Michael Jordan on making it happen
„Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.“
Wishful thinking will never get anything done. If you really want to see a dream realized, it takes diligent work to make it happen. Only by taking a proactive approach you will ever be able to let your dreams become a reality. Otherwise, they will remain what they always were – dreams.
63. Milton Burle on creating opportunities
„If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.“
As already mentioned, there are many situations in life where you need to force your luck. If you don’t see any opportunities in your present situation, become active and create those opportunities.
64. Roy Goodman on happiness
„Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.“
Roy L. Goodman
Don’t make your happiness dependent on the outcome of your actions. Learn to be happy at this very moment.
65. Albert Einstein on solving problems
„We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.“
The mental attitude responsible for many of the world’s problems must be changed first if we want to affect long-lasting changes on this planet.
66. Aristotle on entertaining thoughts
„It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.“
This approach also helps you to remain open to new ideas and thoughts that are presented to you.
67. Henry Ford on facing difficulties
„When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.“
What does this wonderful quote tell us? Well, even though we do not like difficulties, we should come to the realization that challenges and setbacks can often prove to be true accelerators of our growth.
68. Unknown person on true wealth
„The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.“
The richest person on this planet may not be as happy as the one who has learned to let go of the pursuit of their insatiable desires.
69. Erma Bombeck on making use of your talent
„When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.“
Don‘t let your various talents lay dormant. Actively encourage their unfoldment.
70. Plato on wise men
„Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.“
There are many situations in life where it is better to remain silent.
71. Jamie Paolinetti on limitations
„Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.“
Many of the limitations we are confronted with are self-imposed. If you learn to identify one limitation after another, you can greatly accelerate your growth.
72. Henry Rollins on reinventing yourself
„I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”
Being yourself is the key to true authenticity.
73. William Ward on discovering greatness
„Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.“
William Arthur Ward
These are the characteristics of truly great people. Possessions, wealth, and power do not necessarily contribute to a person’s greatness.
74. Edward Hale on not refusing to stop
„I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.“
Edward Everett Hale
Don’t allow feelings of powerlessness to stop you from making a contribution in this world. Just because you can affect little does not mean you’re unable to affect anything. Even the slightest contribution is worthwhile.
75. Maurice Switzer on staying silent
„It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.“
At the same time, it helps you to avoid overly emotional responses that you may regret later on.
„The best way to predict the future is to invent it.“
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best words to live by.