April 11, 2024 | Sarah Ng

50 Iconic Quotes To Boost Your Motivation

We All Need Words Of Wisdom

It's easy to feel discouraged by life—the challenges it throws our way and the uncertainty of the future. Sometimes all we need are words of wisdom. These iconic, inspirational quotes are just the ticket.


1. Rosa Parks

"To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try."

Image of Rosa Parks - circa 1978Schlesinger Library, Wikimedia Commons

2. Robert Frost

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on."

Robert Frost, bust portrait, facing front - 1961Library of Congress, Picryl

3. Aristotle

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."

Image of Alexander The Great - 1895Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Wikimedia Commons

4. Walt Whitman

 "Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you."

Walt Whitman, poet; half-length, seated, wearing hat.Marion Doss, Picryl

5. C.S. Lewis

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

Image of C. S. Lewis looking at camera.Levan Ramishvili, Flickr

6. Maya Angelou

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."

B&W image of Maya Angelou looking at camera.Russell Mondy, Flickr

7. Muhammad Ali

"Don’t count the days, make the days count."

Muhammad Ali making punch at camera - 1963Len Trievnor, Getty Images

8. Dr. Seuss

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go.".

Dr. Seuss Drawing at His DeskJames L. Amos, Getty Images

9. George Eliot

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."  

Painting of George Eliot (Real name - Mary Anne Evans) looking at front.Bradford Timeline, Flickr

10. E.E. Cummings

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." 

E.E. Cummings, facing left, wearing hat and coat.Library of Congress, Picryl

11. Beyoncé

"Your self-worth is determined by you. You don't have to depend on someone telling you who you are." 

Beyonce Knowles at in-store appearance - 2006Everett Collection, Shutterstock

12. Audrey Hepburn

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says 'I'm possible!'"

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the trailer for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's - 1961Trailer screenshot, Wikimedia Commons

13. Walt Disney

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

Walt Disney wearing a hatAlan Fisher, Wikimedia Commons

14. Toni Morrison

"Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

Portrait of Toni Morrison looking at camera - 2010ALA The American Library Association, Flickr

15. Winston Churchill

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." 

Winston Churchill speaking at Epping during the 1924 General Election campaignTopical Press Agency, Getty Images

16. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - 2005Wake Forest University School of Law, Flickr

17. Madam C.J. Walker

"Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." 

Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919)GPA Photo Archive, Flickr

18. Truman Capote

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor."

Truman Capote Autographing His New Book Peggy O'Connor, Flickr

19. Billie Jean King

"Champions keep playing until they get it right." 

Billie Jean King looking at side - 1978Mitchell Weinstock, Flickr

20. Serena Williams

"I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger." 

American tennis player Serena Williams during a Press conference in Doha.Doha Stadium Plus Qatar, Flickr

21. Ella Fitzgerald

"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."

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald - 1946pixabay.com ,Picryl

22. Eleanor Roosevelt

"Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes."

Eleanor Roosevelt and her dogNational Archives and Records Administration, Wikimedia Commons

23. Nelson Mandela

"It always seems impossible until it's done."

Portrait of Nelson Mandela wearing black suit ,looking at side - 1994John Mathew Smith 2001 , Wikimedia Commons

24. Oscar Wilde

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist."

Portrait of Oscar WildeBrett Jordan, Flickr

25. Jane Fonda

"It’s a toxic desire to try to be perfect. I realized later in life that the challenge is not to be perfect. It’s to be whole."

Jane Fonda in Cat BallouColumbia Pictures, Cat Ballou (1965)

26. Theodore Roosevelt

"Believe you can and you're halfway there." 

Grayscale Portrait Photo of Theodore Roosevelt, showing head and shouldersPach Bros, Wikimedia Commons

27. F. Scott Fitzgerald

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

Portrait of Francis Scott FitzgeraldTullio Saba, Flickr

28. Oprah Winfrey

"No matter how far away from yourself you may have strayed, there is always a path back. You already know who you are and how to fulfill your destiny."

Oprah Winfrey at the Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock

29. Anaïs Nin

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage." 

Anais Nin – writer of novels - 1970sElsa Dorfman, CC-BY-2.5, Wikimedia Commons

30. Dolly Parton

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one." 

Dolly Parton performs at The Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island wearing yellow and red dress, microphone in frontCarl Beust, Shutterstock

31. Viola Davis

"All dreams are within reach. All you have to do is keep moving towards them." 

Viola Davis speaking at the San Diego Comic-ConGage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

32. Taylor Swift

"Hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it."

Taylor Swift attends the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly HillsRich Fury, Getty Images

33. Roxane Gay

"When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example."

Roxane Gay speaks at TEDWomen - 2015TED Conference, Flickr

34. Laverne Cox

"When you put love out in the world it travels, and it can touch people and reach people in ways that we never even expected." 

Laverne Cox, an actress on the television show, “Orange is the New Black,” - 2015CSUF Photos, Flickr

35. Ella Baker

"Give light and people will find the way." 

Photo of Ella Baker speakingElla Baker, CC-BY-SA-4.0, Wikimedia Commons

36. Geena Davis

"If you risk nothing, then you risk everything." 

Laureate and Holliwood icon, Mrs Geena Davis - 2012ITU Pictures, Flickr

37. Mary Lou Retton

"Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you."

Image of Mary Lou Retton smiling.Elf Sternberg, Flickr

38. Carol Burnett

"When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go." 

Image of Carol Burnett signing a book.Neon Tommy, Flickr

39. Alice Walker

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

Alice Walker smiling at camera.ALA The American Library Association, Flickr

40. Michelle Obama

"Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own."

Katy Perry FactsFlickr, Gage Skidmore

41. Bruce Springsteen

"When it comes to luck, you make your own." 

Bruce Springsteen attends HBO's Debby Wong, Shutterstock

42. Simone Biles

"If you're having fun, that's when the best memories are built." 

Simone Biles getting a medal - 2018Ministério do Esporte, Flickr

43. Lady Gaga

"You define beauty yourself, society doesn’t define your beauty." 

Lady Gaga smiling in black dressCarlos M. Vazquez II, Wikimedia Commons

44. Naomi Osaka

"You just gotta keep going and fighting for everything, and one day you’ll get to where you want." 

Naomi Osaka playing tennis.Peter Menzel, Flickr

45. Gabrielle Union

"If you prioritize yourself, you are going to save yourself." 

Gabrielle Union at The Recording Academy - 2010s_bukley, Shutterstock

46. Lucille Ball

"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line."

June Allyson factsFlickr, oneredsf1

47. Bonnie Prudden

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

Image of Bonnie Prudden - 1925Wikimedia Commons, Picryl

48. Amanda Gorman

"There is no better compass than compassion." 

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman - 2017GPA Photo Archive, Flickr

49. Duke Ellington

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

Duke Ellington Aventure smiling - 1971Louis Panassié, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

50. Maggie Kuhn

"Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind—even if your voice shakes." 

Gray Panthers founder Maggie Kuhn speaks at an anti- nuclear power rally - 1979Photo Researchers, Getty Images


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