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100 of the Most Inspirational Quotes Ever

When it feels like the world is against you, let the wise words of these motivational quotes lift your spirits

collage of famous people on stylized, Getty Images (5)

Let your spirit soar

Looking for a little uplift? Inspirational quotes can make us feel ready to take on anything life throws at us. They can be happy quotes or funny quotes that remind us to see the bright side of life. They might be wise or witty quotes from famous people, or they could be sayings about accomplishment and change that could double as graduation quotes. What they all have in common is the power to inspire you! To uplift your daily life, we combed through the Reader’s Digest archives to collect 100 of the most motivational quotes about life we’ve ever published.

Angelina Jolie 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.” —Angelina Jolie

These quotes about time will remind you to make the most of it.

RD Issue: May 2002

Queen Latifah Uplifting

“Believe in yourself. Stay in your own lane. There’s only one you.” —Queen Latifah

These “be yourself” quotes will remind you of that!

RD Issue: October 2008

Aldous Huxley Uplifting

“Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.” —Aldous Huxley

Let these strength quotes help you transform challenges into experience.

RD Issue: March 1956

Salma Hayek Uplifting

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder.” —Salma Hayek

We love these body positive quotes to highlight that every person is beautiful.

RD Issue: August 2013

Ann Ruth Schabacker Uplifting

“Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbon.” —Ann Ruth Schabacker

These positive affirmations focus on appreciating life for the gift it is.

RD Issue: September 1982

Eleanor C. Wood Uplifting

“Living is the art of getting used to what we didn’t expect.” —Eleanor C. Wood

These confidence quotes will remind you that whatever life throws at you, you’re ready for it!

RD Issue: July 1970

Mia Farrow Uplifting

“A person without regrets is a nincompoop.” —Mia Farrow

Don’t forget to find out the most inspirational quote for your zodiac sign!

RD Issue: April 2006

Franklin P. Jones Uplifting

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” —Franklin P. Jones

We love these love quotes.

RD Issue: September 1977

George Skolsky Uplifting

“Kindness is one thing you can’t give away. It always comes back.” —George Skolsky

These kindness quotes will inspire you to be an even better person!

RD Issue: April 1954

Sally Koch Uplifting

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” —Sally Koch

These spiritual quotes highlight the importance of helping your fellow man.

RD Issue: January 1995

Maya Angelou 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” —Maya Angelou

Don’t forget to read these other uplifting inspirational quotes by Maya Angelou!

RD Issue: April 2019

Elbert Hubbard Uplifting

“The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing that you’ll make one.” —Elbert Hubbard

RD Issue: January 1953

Harper Lee Uplifting

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” —Harper Lee

RD Issue: October 1989

G.K. Chesterton Uplifting

“There is only one certainty in life and that is that nothing is certain.” —G.K. Chesterton

These quotes about change will prepare you to face uncertainty.

RD Issue: June 1926

Walter Anderson Uplifting

“The most sincere compliment we can pay is attention.” —Walter Anderson

RD Issue: October 1987

Duke Ellington Uplifting

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” —Duke Ellington

RD Issue: October 1984

Henry Boye Uplifting

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” —Henry Boye

These loyalty quotes help build honesty and trust.

RD Issue: January 1997

Robert Frost Uplifting

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” —Robert Frost

RD Issue: March 1959

Bonnie Prudden 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.” —Bonnie Prudden

RD Issue: December 1980

Ruth E. Renkel Uplifting

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining nearby.” —Ruth E. Renkel

If you’re feeling down, these loneliness quotes might make you feel understood.

RD Issue: February 1997

John Lennon Uplifting

“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.” —John Lennon

Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes,” 2013

Paul McCartney Uplifting

“What’s wrong with being sentimental? Sentimental means you like stuff.” —Paul McCartney

RD Issue: December 2005

Bob Talbert Uplifting

“Having a young child explain something exciting he has seen is the finest example of communication you will ever hear or see.” —Bob Talbert

For more wisdom from children, try these kids’ quotes about life.

RD Issue: July 1970

A.J. Cronin Uplifting

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength.” —A.J. Cronin

Reader’s Digest 40th Anniversary Treasury,” 1961

Tom Stoppard Uplifting

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” —Tom Stoppard

RD Issue: July 2000

Queen Elizabeth Uplifting

“Memories are everyone’s second chance at happiness.” —Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

For more royal quotes, try these Princess Diana quotes.

RD Issue: October 1979

Jonathan Winters Uplifting

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!” —Jonathan Winters

RD Issue: June 1990

George Clooney 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“My father gave me the best advice of my life. He said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t wake up at 65 years old and think about what you should have done with your life.'” —George Clooney

RD Issue: July 2006

Jon Bon Jovi Uplifting

“Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.” —Jon Bon Jovi

These inspirational quotes about success will have you feeling like you’re winning at life.

Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes,” 2013

Jean Sibelius Uplifting

“Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” —Jean Sibelius

RD Issue: October 1979

Alexandra Stoddard Uplifting

“The world is extremely interesting to a joyful soul.” —Alexandra Stoddard

RD Issue: March 1997

Harry Emerson Fosdick Uplifting

“I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.” —Harry Emerson Fosdick

These “dream big” quotes will help you imagine a bigger and more mysterious world.

RD Issue: July 1970

Les Paul Uplifting

“Don’t say you can’t until you prove you can’t.” —Les Paul

RD Issue: June 1957

Joseph Mayer Uplifting

“You are genuinely happy if you don’t know why.” —Joseph Mayer

RD Issue: March 1956. Try this meditation for happiness.

Kermit the Frog Uplifting

“It’s a whole lot more satisfying to reach for the stars, even if you end up landing only on the moon.” —Kermit the Frog

RD Issue: January 2007

Dolly Parton Uplifting

“I still close my eyes and go home—I can always draw from that.” —Dolly Parton

RD Issue: October 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson Uplifting

“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.” —Robert Louis Stevenson

RD Issue: November 1941

Lisa Kogan Uplifting

“Even the worst haircut eventually grows out.” —Lisa Kogan

RD Issue: January 2007

David Eddings Uplifting

“No day in which you learn something is a complete loss.” —David Eddings

RD Issue: May 1997

Bertrand Russell Uplifting

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” —Bertrand Russell

RD Issue: December 1950

Lionel Barrymore Uplifting

“The older you get the more you realize that kindness is synonymous with happiness.” —Lionel Barrymore

RD Issue: April 1953

Ellen DeGeneres Uplifting

“Be open to learning new lessons, even if they contradict the lessons you learned yesterday.” —Ellen DeGeneres

Read through these other LGBTQ+ quotes to celebrate pride every day.

RD Issue: January 2007

Oscar Wilde 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” —Oscar Wilde

RD Issue: August 1940

"Worry is like sand in an oyster: A little produces a pearl, too much kills the animal." —Marcelene

“Worry is like sand in an oyster: A little produces a pearl, too much kills the animal.” —Marcelene Cox

RD Issue: December 1955

Ben Morcell Uplifting

“Morale is when your hands and feet keep on working when your head says it can’t be done.” —Ben Morcell

RD Issue: January 1961

Hal Borland Uplifting

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.” —Hal Borland

RD Issue: January 1983

Hugh Mulligan Uplifting

“What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” —Hugh Mulligan

RD Issue: October 1981

Louis Nizer Uplifting

“Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man.” —Louis Nizer

RD Issue: January 1978

Sarah Barker Uplifting

“The sky isn’t the limit—the sky has no limit.” —Sarah Barker

RD Issue: April 2020

Maggie Kuhn 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” —Maggie Kuhn

These truth quotes will help you speak up, even when it’s hard.

RD Issue: May 2016

Eugene F. Ware Uplifting

“All glory comes from daring to begin.” —Eugene F. Ware

RD Issue: January 1978

Liz Smith Uplifting

“If you don’t place your foot on the rope, you’ll never cross the chasm.” —Liz Smith

RD Issue: January 1992

J.K. Rowling Uplifting

“It is our choices that show what we really are, far more than our abilities.” —J.K. Rowling

For more magic, check out these other excellent Harry Potter quotes.

RD Issue: January 2000

Brooke Shields Uplifting

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window—or break down a door.” —Brooke Shields

RD Issue: April 2006

Doug Larson Uplifting

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” —Doug Larson

RD Issue: December 2005

John Cleese Uplifting

“He who laughs most learns best.” —John Cleese

These teaching quotes will inspire a love of learning.

RD Issue: May 2016

Vincent Van Gogh Uplifting

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” —Vincent Van Gogh

RD Issue: May 1998

Bono Uplifting

“Joy is one of the only emotions you can’t contrive.” —Bono

RD Issue: December 2005

George E. Woodberry Uplifting

“To feel that one has a place in life solves half the problem of contentment.” —George E. Woodberry

RD Issue: January 1983

Andy Warhol 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” —Andy Warhol

For more inspiring quotes, try these life-changing words.

RD Issue: April 2020

Diane Ackerman Uplifting

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” —Diane Ackerman

RD Issue: September 2011

Anna Quindlen Uplifting

“A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree—or even, occasionally, the careless—may turn out to be half a life.” —Anna Quindlen

RD Issue: January 2007

Elmer G. Leterman Uplifting

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” —Elmer G. Leterman

RD Issue: February 1958

John W. Gardner Uplifting

“We are not at our best perched at the summit; we are climbers, at our best when the way is steep.” —John W. Gardner

RD Issue: July 1970

Dean Acheson Uplifting

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” —Dean Acheson

RD Issue: April 1976

Al Bernstein Uplifting

“Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” —Al Bernstein

These inspirational quotes about leadership will help you reach that success!

RD Issue: April 1976

Celine Dion Uplifting

“The only failure is not knowing how to be happy.” —Celine Dion

RD Issue: January 2001

Amy Poehler 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” —Amy Poehler

RD Issue: August 2013

James Leo Herlihy Uplifting

“Be yourself. No one can ever tell you that you’re doing it wrong.” —James Leo Herlihy

RD Issue: September 1982

Karla Kuban Uplifting

“Without darkness, there are no dreams.” —Karla Kuban

These hope quotes will help you dream in the darkness.

RD Issue: December 1999

Lynn Lively Uplifting

“Procrastination means you know what you need to do and you don’t do it. If you don’t know what to do, you aren’t procrastinating. You are thinking.” —Lynn Lively

RD Issue: December 1999

Maya Angelou Uplifting

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

RD Issue: August 2013

Valerie Jarrett Uplifting

“Just because you’re nervous doesn’t mean you have to look nervous. Nobody can look inside you. Project what you want to project.” —Valerie Jarrett

For more empowerment, try these other quotes from women in politics.

RD Issue: August 2013

Robert D. Ballard Uplifting

“Everyone is an explorer. How could you possibly live your life looking at a door and not opening it?” —Robert D. Ballard

RD Issue: May 1998

Elsa Schiaparelli Uplifting

“If you can’t reach your destination by one road, try another.” —Elsa Schiaparelli

RD Issue: January 1961

William Dean Howells Uplifting

“The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested.” —William Dean Howells

RD Issue: January 1974

Jennifer Aniston Uplifting

“Friends are the family we choose.” —Jennifer Aniston

These best friend quotes are a great way to let your friends know how much you care.

RD Issue: December 2002

George Bernard Shaw Uplifting

“Be like the sun and the meadow, which are not in the least concerned about the coming winter.” —George Bernard Shaw

RD Issue: September 1982

Robert Heller Uplifting

“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” —Robert Heller

RD Issue: August 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald Uplifting

“Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist but in the ability to start over.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

RD Issue: September 1982

Dalai Lama Uplifting

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —Dalai Lama

This is just one of many positive inspirational quotes from the Dalai Lama!

RD Issue: October 1994

Alice Walker 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” —Alice Walker

RD Issue: June 2019

Naomi Judd Uplifting

“A dead end is just a good place to turn around.” —Naomi Judd

The inspiring words in these “life is short” quotes will help you remember to make the most of every opportunity.

RD Issue: January 2004

Dr. Phil McGraw Uplifting

“My dad used to say, You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did.” —Dr. Phil McGraw

RD Issue: December 2002

Gen. George S. Patton Uplifting

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” —Gen. George S. Patton

RD Issue: November 2018

Finnish proverb Uplifting

“Even a small star shines in the darkness.” —Finnish proverb

For more international wisdom, read these proverbs about life from around the world.

RD Issue: June 1990

Oprah Winfrey Uplifting

“Failure is God’s way of saying, ‘Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.'” —Oprah Winfrey

RD Issue: June 2004

Billy Idol Uplifting

“If your world doesn’t allow you to dream, move to one where you can.” —Billy Idol

RD Issue: December 2002

"Faith is taking the first step. Even when you don't see the whole staircase." —Martin Luther King

“Faith is taking the first step. Even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

RD Issue: September 2014

Twyla Tharp 100 Uplifting, Getty Images

“Age is not the enemy. Stagnation is the enemy. Complacency is the enemy. Stasis is the enemy.” —Twyla Tharp

RD Issue: May 2020

Simone Biles Uplifting

“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” —Simone Biles

RD Issue: July/August 2020

Bernie Siegel Uplifting

“In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope.” —Bernie Siegel

RD Issue: July 1990

Billie Jean King Uplifting

“Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make it a doozy.” —Billie Jean King

Next, read these motivational sports quotes for more wisdom.

RD Issue: January 2004

J.K. Rowling Uplifting

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” —J.K. Rowling

RD Issue: November 2003

Joan Baez Uplifting

“Action is the antidote to despair.” —Joan Baez

RD Issue: May 1997

Harry Ruby Uplifting

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” —Harry Ruby

RD Issue: June 1952

Oprah Winfrey Uplifting

“Be thankful for what you have—you’ll end up having more.” —Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude quotes will help you be thankful for every day.

RD Issue: December 2019/January 2020

Marcel Proust Uplifting

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” —Marcel Proust

RD Issue: February 1981

Aretha Franklin Uplifting

“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.” —Aretha Franklin

RD Issue: May 2019

Leo Buscaglia Uplifting

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. And swing!” —Leo Buscaglia

RD Issue: October 1987

Additional reporting by Lucie Turkel and Greg Daugherty.