8 Life Quotes and Tips to Make You Think

8 Thought Provoking Quotes to Help You Think Straight

I love thought-provoking quotes – seemingly simple, yet interestingly profound phrases that have the power to get our minds thinking straight.  That’s what this short post is about.  Below I have listed eight of my favorite thought-provoking quotes, along with my interpretation and outlook on each one.  I hope you enjoy thinking about them as much as I do.

1.  Dealing with Problems

“We can not solve our problems with the
same level of thinking that created them.”
―Albert Einstein

Realize that not all movement is progress.  When stress and tension and chaos surround you, pause for a moment and relax.  The best time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.

Select a specific challenge, deal with it, and then move calmly and confidently to the next.  When you’re being pulled in multiple directions at once, take time to remember what you value most.  Focus on what’s most important to you and you’ll naturally direct your greatest energy to the right source.

Life is filled with either problems or possibilities.  What you see is what you choose to see.  On the surface life can seem tumultuous and perplexing, yet deep inside, where it truly matters, life is what you make of it.  Choose to see beyond the problems to the possibilities that await your attention.

2.  Happiness and Personal Growth

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness
without protecting yourself from happiness.”
―Jonathan Safran Foer

Live every day of your life in full.  Experience the highs and the lows, the positives and the negatives, and all the moods present between the various extremes.  Don’t focus on simply being happy.  Focus on living a well-rounded, seasoned life.  Focus on achieving completeness.  Yes, happiness is part of this completeness, but so is sadness, difficulty, frustration, and failure.  And overcoming these latter points supports your personal growth far more than constant happiness.

The feelings of happiness and fulfillment are nice when they happen, and they are needed, but they don’t strengthen you.  Instead of asking, “Is this making me happy?” ask, “Is this contributing to my completeness?”  If you’re struggling and making progress, the answer is “yes.”  Read 1,000 Little Things.

3.  Inner Peace

“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”
―Elizabeth Gilbert

Inner peace does not depend on external conditions; it’s what remains when you’ve surrendered your ego and your worries.  Peace can happen within you at any place and at any time.  It’s always there, patiently waiting for you to turn your attention toward it.

Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind.  It happens when you let go of the need to be anywhere but where you are, physically and emotionally.  This acceptance of the way things are creates the foundation for inner harmony.  The need for something to be different in this moment is nothing more than a worry, and worries simply lead you in circles.  Acceptance will bring you back to your peaceful, productive center.

Remember, the same part of you that longs for peace is the part of you that experiences peace.  It is not complicated to achieve and is as close as your next thought.

4.  Appreciating What You Have

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Don’t pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, simple, and yet not-so-small gifts in your life.  It may seem strange to feel thankful for those events in your life which appear to be ordinary, yet it’s precisely by being thankful that you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.  You may not see the value in spending time and effort acknowledging all the little, seemingly insignificant things in your life, yet without the little things there would be no big things.

Don’t let what was once a miracle become common to you.  Don’t get so accustomed to life’s goodness that you overlook it.  Let your enthusiasm rise from the doldrums by being thankful for what you have.  Seize every opportunity to be appreciative.  Make genuine gratitude a constant companion to who you are, in all that you do.  Read Learned Optimism.

5.  Replacing Excuses with Action

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the BS story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

Instead of making a lot of excuses, make a little progress.  Instead of looking back with regret, step forward with enthusiasm.  Choose to view your life based on the best of what is possible.  Choose to define yourself based on the person you know you are capable of becoming.  If you believe it, you can do it.

All the negativity from the past can be erased in the moment with a single positive action.  Go ahead and make it happen.  The best way to disconnect from a troubled past is to trust and connect with possibilities of the present moment.  When you embrace the power of now, the future belongs to you.

6.  Knowledge and Education

“When you know better you do better.”
―Maya Angelou

Your education is the most powerful weapon you possess.  It has the power to change the world.  Keep it thriving.  Do not confuse your schooling with your education.  The classes at school end; your education is a continuous lifelong process.

Keep your mind open to new ideas.  Challenge your beliefs when you’re given a chance.  The greatest advancements in your education will be based on your willingness to absorb fresh information without resistance and without losing your temper or your poise.

7.  The Importance of Asking Questions

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, she’s the one who asks the right questions.”
―Claude Lévi-Strauss

There is profound power in asking questions.  In fact, the most successful people are rarely the ones who have all the answers, they’re the ones who ask the right questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  Ask when you don’t understand.  Ask for what you want.  Ask how to make things happen.  It’s the reason children are always asking so many questions, because they know they’ll never get anywhere if they don’t ask.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Bottom line:  Growth is more about asking than telling.  The way forward is yours for the taking – the way forward is yours for the asking.  Read Goals: How to Get Everything You Want.

8.  Endings and Beginnings

“In every end, there is also a beginning.”
―Libba Bray

Everything in life has to come to an end sometime.  It’s important to acknowledge and accept the end of an era – to walk away sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.

Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc.  It doesn’t matter what you call it; what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can enjoy the life that’s still available to be lived.  This ending is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way.  It’s a point in your story where one chapter fades into the next.  Take a look at the first page of this new chapter; it’s a beautiful one.

Your turn…

What’s your favorite thought-provoking quote or saying about life?  Please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Photo by: Faith Goble


  1. Hannah says

    When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action… when you desired a consequence you had da*ned well better take the action that would create it.
    ~ Lois McMaster Bujold

  2. Melissa W says

    “Dust you knees off and get back out there”

    “Your first loss, is your best loss”

    Great Article and great quotes. Thanks

  3. Nicki says

    I love your blog and book! I am trying to sort a difficult situation and these are helping. Thank you. My quote is ” one life, live it”…

  4. Lindsay says

    “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

    -T. S. Eliot

  5. Debra Sherman says

    A variation on an earlier reply: Better to aim for the moon and miss it, than to aim for a ditch and hit it.

  6. Kristin says

    “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”. –George Bernard Shaw

    Age is attitude. Never stop playing!

  7. Kimberly Rowe-Vanallen says

    Love your posts! They always come at just the right time.

    I have a few favorite quotes. One I wrote and one I did not. Mine came after a very traumatic period in my life that forced me to take a long hard look in the mirror.

    “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” Randy Pausch

    “As I learn to be comfortable in my own skin, I now understand that every new experience is an opportunity for me to learn some type of lesson. Therefore, no single event is good or bad, it is merely a catalyst for the next step in my personal growth. The key is to be listening and open to the message.” Kimberly Rowe-Van Allen

  8. says

    I have so many favorite quotes! I’ll try to cut them down to just a few favorite favorites. No, really, this is just a small percentage of the big list of quotations I keep!! :)

    “We are so trained in the thought system of fear and attack that we get to the point where natural thinking — love — feels unnatural and unnatural thinking — fear — feels natural. It takes real discipline and training to unlearn the thought system of fear.” Marianne Williamson

    “In the long run, we get no more than we have been willing to risk giving.” Sheldon Kopp

    “There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Henry David Thoreau

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

    “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

    “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives” Maya Angelou

    “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected” Mahatma Gandhi

    “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

    “The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.” Richard M. Devos

    “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 the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

    “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William Shedd

    “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” Søren Kierkegaard

    “Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.” William James

    “The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you’re supposed to go up and down when you’re supposed to go down. When you’re supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you’re supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there’s no flow, stay still.” Haruki Murakami

    “When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet, this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now. For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands surrounded and interrupted by the sea, continuously visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the serenity of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    “Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things…the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough!” Randy Pausch

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

    “I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.” Dawna Markova

    “Thinking too well of people often allows them to be better than they otherwise would.” Nelson Mandela

    and to end it, a poem:

    by Janet Rand

    To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
    To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
    To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
    To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
    To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
    To love is to risk not being loved in return.
    To live is to risk dying.
    To hope is to risk despair.
    To try is to risk failure.
    But risk must be taken, because the greatest risk of life is to risk nothing.
    The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.
    He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
    Chained by his attitude, he is a slave; he has fortified his freedom.
    Only the person who risks is truly free.

  9. Carol says

    “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown

    “Do not be a mere recorder of history, but try to penetrate its origin.” ~ Pavlov

  10. says

    My favourite life quote would be one by Lao Tzu:

    “Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    Watch your words; they become actions.
    Watch your actions; they become habits.
    Watch your habits; they become character.
    Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

    Very true about the relationship of everything that we do and think, and how life transform to who we are today.

  11. Jill says

    “When we’re no longer able to change the situation, we are forced to change ourselves.”

    A little quote I keep close to remind myself that not only is change inevitable, but sometimes, “everything else” isn’t the problem – we are.

  12. Revel Harris says

    A quote that I came up with while in a certain stage of my life is… “You are not who you think you are, you are WHAT you think… life is a game, the question is ‘ who’s in control of the controls that are controlling you?”

  13. Adam says

    From dark clouds comes precious water.
    From dark mines comes precious jewels.
    From the darkest moments of our life come precious lessons.

  14. Patrick says

    I would only contest the quote attributed to Maya Angelou – “When you know better, you do better” Many folks, including myself, knew better than to have done some things, but did them anyway. Knowing better is no guarantee of doing better. Temptation, pride and stubbornness can get the best of us all.

  15. nidaa says

    Silence is the best response to a fool. Don’t argue with an idiot, because if you do so that idiot will drag you down to his level and beat you with his experience

  16. AbdirahmanHaji says

    Thank you! I really like this beautiful blog.

    I would like to share with you these favourite quotes of mine:

    1. Life expands or shrinks on proportion to ones courage.
    2. Every day, do one thing that scares you.
    3. The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

  17. Henry says

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    Carpe Diem… Seize the day.

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