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These life-affirming quotations include the wise and the witty, the astute and the amusing, and they share the thoughts of folk famous and not-so famous from across the centuries. Although they are the thoughts of others they urge us to think for ourselves and to develop an attitude that is positive and enthusiastic. For most of us there are times in our lives when such a degree of optimism is hard to achieve. at other times we may feel 'On top of the world'. Wherever you are at the moment I hope that this page will provide you with some inspiration to experience the joys that life can offer.

I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.

Katherine Mansfield    1888-1923

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

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)    1819-1880

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard    1813-1855

Aim at the sun and you may not reach it; but your arrow will fly far higher than if you had aimed at an object on a level with yourself.

F. Hawes   

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance of a plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.

W J Davison   

If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

Epictetus    c55 - c135

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Carl Bard   

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.

ascribed to various people including William Jennings Bryant    1860-1925

Great minds have purposes, little minds have wishes.

Washington Irving    1783-1859

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.

Seneca the Elder    c 54 BC - 39 AD

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific!

Lily Tomlin / Jane Wagner    b. 1939 / b. 1935

To live at this time is an inestimable privilege, and a sacred obligation devolves upon you to make right use of your opportunities.   Today is the day in which to attempt and achieve something worthwhile.

Grenville Kleiser   

Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.

David Lloyd George    1863-1945

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.

Michael Pritchard   

Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways; but where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses.

Dayak Proverb   

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.

John F. Kennedy    1917-1963

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Ghandi    1869-1948

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Johnson)    b. 1928

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.

G. C. Lichtenberg   

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

W. Edwards Deming    1900-1993

Until the pain of remaining the same, hurts more than the pain of change, most people prefer to remain the same.

Dr. Richard D. Dobbins   

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.


Action is the antidote to despair.

Joan Baez   b. 1941

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step

Lao-tsu   c. 604-c.531 BC

When the first baby laughed for the first time,the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they went skipping about and that was the beginning of fairies.

Sir James Mathiew Barrie    1860-1937

It is better to begin in the evening than not at all.

English proverb   

If not you, who? If not now, when?

The Talmud   

Donīt ask what the world needs.   Rather ask – what makes you come alive? Then go and do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive

Howard Thurman   

Throwing away ideas too soon is like opening a package of flower seeds and then throwing them away because they're not pretty.

Arthur VanGundy   

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.

Ralph Waldo Emerson   

"There. There," said the marquis de Carabas, awkwardly, patting her shoulder. And he added, for good measure, "There." He did not comfort well.

Neil Gaiman    (Neverwhere)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr    The Serenity Prayer (1934)

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.


Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Chinese Proverb   

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert    (Dune)

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy    (opening line of Anna Karenina)

If a man is called to be a street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, "Here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well."

Martin Luther King, Jr   

I could not, at any age, be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. One must never, for whatever reason, turn one's back on life.

Eleanor Roosevelt   

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

Henry James    1843-1916

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.

Babatunde Olatunji   

It's surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings towards other people are largely determined by their feelings towards themselves, and if you're not comfortable within yourself, you can't be comfortable with others.

Napoleon Hill   

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.

Abraham Lincoln   

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew.

Francis de Sales   

If you're not using your smile, you're like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no chequebook.

Les Giblin   

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

W. Edwards Deming   

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.

Danny Kaye   

The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a person's life.

William Wordsworth   

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.

Elie Wiesel   

If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough.

Ann Landers