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120 Famous Quotes of All Time: a Boost of Motivation

By Kristina
19 Aug, 2021
13 min read

Inspirational quotes have been all the range for some time now. But do they really work? Whether it’s a sentiment that echoes how you try to live your life or just the right words at the right time, motivational quotes can have a dramatic influence on your mood and drive to succeed.

The way you think and feel about yourself, your goals and expectations for the future, and how you interact with the world around you can all have a massive effect on your success (or failure). That’s why you see so many famous quotes about life, love, and success repeated time and time again.

Below, we’re going to look at 130 of the best quotes of all time. These memorable quotes are from a plethora of sources, from famous historical figures to poets, celebrities, and more.

No matter what’s going on in your life right now, we’re sure these classic quotes will have you feeling inspired, motivated, and understood; so you can take your next steps to success.

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Getting Started

Sometimes, the hardest thing in life is simply to take the first step. As Neil Armstrong’s famous quote goes: “it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Just like walking on the moon, you can achieve anything once you get started.

But when it all feels a bit overwhelming, here are some of the best quotes of all time to put you in the mood for taking that first giant leap:

1. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

2. “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin” – Tony Robbins

3. “The best way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” – Walt Disney

4. “When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it” – Jim Rohn

5. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined” – Henry David Thoreau

6. “Take action. An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention” – Steve Maraboli

7. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” – Babe Ruth

8. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

9. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great” – John D. Rockefeller

10.“If you genuinely want something, don’t wait for it – teach yourself to be impatient” – Gurbaksh Chahal

11.“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity” – Amelia Earhart

12.“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar

13.“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

14.“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

15.“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear” – George Addair

Believing in yourself

When pressure is mounting from every angle, it can be tough to keep believing in yourself. Whether you’ve had a recent knockdown or are getting started in a new endeavor, these famous quotes are sure to help you believe that you can do anything you put your mind to.

16.“Decide what you want. Believe you can have it. Believe you deserve it and believe it’s possible for you” – Jack Canfield

17.“I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your dreams” – Oprah Winfrey

18.“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napoleon Hill

19.“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

20.“If you can dream it, you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

21.“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

22.“Magic is believing in yourself; if you can do that, you can make anything happen” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

23.“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine” – Roy T. Bennett

24.“Believe you can, and you’re halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt

25.“There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking” – Brian Tracy

26.“All our dreams will come true if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney

change

Fear

Fear is the primary reason people fail, or even don’t start something in the first place. But living your life in fear will only cause disappointment in the long run. After all, “we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take,” so don’t let fear stop you from taking your shot.

27. “We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action” – Dr. Henry Link

28. “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears” – Les Brown

29. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear” – Rosa Parks

Change

Change can be tricky, even if it was a change you thought you wanted at the time. Whether you’re changing careers, moving house, dealing with kids, struggling with grief, or starting a new relationship, these motivational quotes for life will help you deal with all of life’s twists and changes.

30. “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt

31. “All our dreams will come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney

32. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new– Socrates

33. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Mary Angelou

34. “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change” – Gautama Buddha

35. “A bad attitude is like a flat tire; if you don’t change it, you won’t go anywhere” – Joyce Meyer

36. “We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future” – Robin Sharma

37. “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine” – John C. Maxwell 

Goals

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Without clearly defined goals to work towards, we’re all just drifting in the ocean. If you need some more incentives to set and achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of, here are some of the best inspirational quotes to help kick start your goal-achievements and best life ever.

38. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt

39. “Dream big and dare to fail” – Norman Vaughan

40. “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” – Tony Robbins

41. “Imagine your life is perfect in every respect; what would it look like?” – Brian Tracy

42. “I think goals should never be easy; they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time” – Michael Phelps

43. “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do” – Rob Siltanen

44. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose” – Dr. Seuss

45. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napoleon Hill

46. “First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end” – Aristotle

47.If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success”James Cameron

48. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”C.S. Lewis

49. “Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning” – Gloria Steinem 

Success

Once you’ve set your goals, striving for success is vital. There may be setbacks along the way, but these quotes from famous people will help you understand what sets them apart from everyone else and how you, too, can achieve success.

50. “Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”Jim Rohn

51. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing” – Abraham Lincoln

52. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have” – Thomas Jefferson

53. “I never dreamed about success; I worked for it” – Estee Lauder

54. “For every reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded” – Jack Canfield

55.Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

56.I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse” – Florence Nightingale

57.Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it” – Henry David Thoreau

58.Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities” – Robert H. Schuller

59.If you look really closely, most overnight successes took a long time” – Steve Jobs

60.  “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful” – Eric Thomas

61.Things work out the best for those who make the best of how things work out” – John Wooden

62.People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy” – Tony Robbins

63.There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure” – Colin Powell

64.Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all we can be” – Zig Ziglar

65.The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same” – Colin R. Davis

66.Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you” – Zig Ziglar

67.Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston S. Churchill 

Failure

As you strive for success, you will inevitably face some setbacks along the way. No “overnight success” is truly overnight (as you’ll discover in one of these top quotes). It’s how you deal with failure, however, that will set you up for true success and happiness in life.

failure

68. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius

69. “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated” – Maya Angelou

70. “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try” – Beverly Sills

71. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough” – Og Mandino

72.You learn more from failure than from success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character” – Unknown

73.It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up” – Vince Lombardi

74.It’s during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” – Aristotle

75.Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” – Thomas A. Edison 

Motivation

Whether you’re dealing with failure or seemingly endless challenges are getting a bit much, we all need some extra motivation from time to time. These famous motivational quotes will help keep you on track and inspired, even when things feel impossible.

76. “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110% all the time” – Don Zimmer

77.Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” – John Wooden

78.Nothing is impossible, the world itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

79.The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” – Ayn Rand

80.Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is” – Vince Lombardi

81.It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” – Confucius

82. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it” – Henry Ford

83. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples” – Mother Teresa 

Purpose

It can be tricky to find your “purpose.” Your reason for being. But even if you’ve not found it yet, don’t be disheartened! Many incredibly successful and famous people didn’t find their calling until later in life.

Remember, Stan Lee didn’t publish his first comic book until he was 38, Alan Rickman ‘made it’ when he was 42, Bob Ross was 41 before he became ‘everyone’s favorite painting teacher, Morgan Freeman was 50 years old before he landed his first big break, and JK Rowling was 32 when she put pen to paper and wrote the best-selling book series in history. The moral of these stories? “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

84.The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” – Mark Twain

85.When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you” – Lolly Daskal

86. “Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.” – Brain Tracy

87. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle” – Steve Jobs.

88. “It is never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot

Being yourself

It can be tough to be yourself sometimes. After all, what does that even mean? But as Oscar Wilde once famously said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

89.The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

90.Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals” – Michelle Obama

91.Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else” – Margaret Mead

92. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs

93.Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

94. “You have to be odd to be number one” – Dr. Seuss 

Self-improvement

While it’s vital to be yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t be the best version of you that you can be. These famous quotes from famous people are all about how you can improve yourself and your life. From having more confidence to staying positive, these truly are words to live by.

95. “The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others” – Hasidic Proverb

96. “Try not to become a person of success, but rather, try to become a person of value” – Albert Einstein

97. “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way” – Napoleon Hill

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

99. “Go the extra mile, there’s no-one on it” – Grant Cardone

100.Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant” – Robert Louis Stevenson

101.Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman

102.The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty” – Winston Churchill

103. “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

104.I cam not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions” – Stephen Covey

105.Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later”Og Mandino

106. “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

 Gratitude

Being grateful offers all sorts of benefits to our physical and mental health. You can practice gratitude in your daily life by writing a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness, or following a guided gratitude meditation… But really, it comes down to appreciating the good in your life and all the amazing things others do for you.

Take some time to think about what you have to be grateful for, and don’t forget to thank the important (and even not-so-important) people genuinely and at every opportunity.

107.Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others” – Cicero

108. “Develop an ‘Attitude of gratitude.’ Say thank you to everyone you meet for everything they do for you” – Brain Tracy

109. “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough” – Oprah Winfrey 

Creativity

You might think success is all about working hard no matter what, but without creativity, how can you expect your ideas to flourish? These inspirational quotes from famous people throughout history explain the importance of expressing your creativity in everything you do.

creativity

110. “Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein

111. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller

112. “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” – Herman Melville 

Life

Life can be tough sometimes. But no matter how difficult things get, we must never forget that it’s also beautiful and a great gift to be alive! These inspirational quotes about life and all its ups and downs are some of our favorite motivational sayings and always help us feel better when things feel a little out of control.

113. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today” – Will Rogers

114. “If life were predictable, it would cease to be life, and be without flavor” – Eleanor Roosevelt

115. “Life is never fair. And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not” – Oscar Wilde

116. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon

117. “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years” – Abraham Lincoln

118. “You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough” – Mae West

119. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller

120. “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it” – Charles Swindoll

121. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

122. “Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life” – John Wooden

123. “Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved” – D. H. Lawrence

124. “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on – Sheryl Sandberg

125. “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on” - Robert Frost 

Happiness and love

One of our favorite quotes to live by comes from Mother Teresa. As you can imagine, her meaningful quotes have been well repeated throughout history, but we think this one sums up this collection of motivational quotes perfectly: “In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

Or, in other well quoted words: “Live. Laugh. Love.” At every opportunity.

126. “Whoever is happy will make others happy too” – Anne Frank

127. “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” – Mother Teresa

128. “The purpose of our lives is to be happy” – Dalai Lama

129. “I would rather die of passion than of boredom” – Vincent van Gogh

130. “Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about” – Marilyn Monroe 

The best motivational quotes of all time: quotes to leave you with

Before we go, we wanted to leave you with four bonus quotes. These sayings are ones we try to incorporate into our everyday lives and hope that you’ll reap the benefits of them too.

1.Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined” – Henry David Thoreau

2. “Love the life you live. Live the life you love” – Bob Marley

3.The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere” – Barack Obama

4. “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale” – Hans Christian Anderson

We hope these quotes have helped you feel motivated and inspired to go on and live your best life. Perhaps you’ll take your favourites and add them to your wallpaper, smartphone, or print them to hang in your bedroom and give you a little boost when you need it most. Or just come back to this page for a pick me up whenever times are tough.

FAQ

What is the most famous quote ever?

There are so many famous quotes it can be tough to figure out which is the most famous. However, these three everyday sayings could be among the most commonly repeated quotes that you might not even realize were said by well-known individuals.

  • “Fortune favors the bold” – Virgil
  • “Time is money” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “When life gives you lemons, made lemonade”- Elbert Hubbard

What is the most inspiring quote ever?

Picking the most inspiring quote is an almost impossible endeavour. In our everyday lives, the quotes we find the most inspiring change like the wind depending on what we need to hear and the challenges we’re facing.

That said, these quotes always make us feel like we can achieve anything we set our minds to, and we come back to them time and time again:

  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius
  • Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen” - – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney
  • The real test is not whether you avoid this failure… It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere” – Barack Obama

What is the most powerful quote in the world?

Honestly, we think the most powerful quote in the world is the one that says the perfect thing at the perfect time. And depending on who you are and what challenges you’re currently facing, this can change on even a daily basis.

Because the most powerful quote in the world can change, we picked a powerful quote about change to answer this question:

  • Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi.
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Kristina

I'm a content manager at sixads. I'm fiery about marketing, writing and traveling, so you can often find me scribbling away in some unknown corner of the world. If you want to know more ways to increase traffic and attract buyers to your online store get in touch with sixads on one of the channels bellow.