By May 6, 2012 Read More →

Positive Quotes

positivity quotes

This is my deep collection of positive quotes.   It includes insights and positive quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Milton, Oscar Wilde, and more.  Even Willie Nelson is among the bunch.

What do these positive quotes teach us?  When we scan across the wisdom of the ages, we see that the keys to positivity include letting things go, choosing to focus on the positive, and rolling with the punches.  Whether the glass is half-full or half-empty is often up to you.   Baggage holds you back so let the grudges go.  Life reflects back at us what we put into it and pay backs can be tough, so throw some sunshine Karma’s way.

(Note — If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out my book on Getting Results the Agile Way!  It helps you think, feel, and be your best.)

Positivity is a Choice

Maybe the most important lesson from these positive quotes is that it’s a decision, and the choice is yours.  The alternative is much worse.   Related to this is the idea that rather than put positivity on a pedestal, flow it from the inside out.  What you focus on and how you view it, is your reality.  Holding on to bad stuff poisons you, and you’re the one that loses.  Embracing change and adapting is better than worrying about who moved your cheese or dwelling on how things *should* be.    Make like a duck and let things roll off your back.  Remember that the mighty Oak breaks its branches against the wind, while the Willow bends with the breeze.

To make the most of this collection find three new positive quotes that help you in some way, and commit them to memory so they are always at your mental finger tips when you need them most.

Top 10 Positive Quotes

  1. “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” –  Herm Albright
  2. “Attitudes are contagious.  Are yours worth catching?” — Dennis and Wendy Mannering
  3. “Be enthusiastic.  Remember the placebo effect – 30% of medicine is showbiz.” — Ronald Spark
  4. “I think, what has this day brought me, and what have I given it?” — Henry Moore
  5. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” — Mahatma Gandhi
  6. “Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” – Voltaire
  7. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
  8. “Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.” — Arthur Christopher Benson
  9. “Wag more.  Bark less.” — Author Unknown
  10. “We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.” — Konrad Adenauer

Actions

  • “I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “If the sky falls, hold up your hands.” — Author Unknown
  • “Make your optimism come true.” — Author Unknown
  • “People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong … Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” –  Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway.” — Emory Austin
  • “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” — Eudora Welty
  • “The world is full of cactus, but we don’t have to sit on it.” — Will Foley
  • “There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go.” — Frederick Faber
  • “There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” — Publius Terentius Afer
  • “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” — Maori Proverb

Adaptability and Flexibility

  • “For every day that there is sunshine, there will be days of rain, it’s how we dance within them both that shows our love and pain.” — Joey Tolbert
  • “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana
  • “We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.” — Author Unknown
  • “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” — Albert Einstein

Anger and Frustration

  • “Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.” — Marcus Antonius
  • “To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” — Ken S. Keyes
  • “When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you’ve growled all day long.” — Author Unknown

Appreciation and Gratitude

  • “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault
  • “If you are not enjoying the journey, you probably won’t enjoy the destination.” — Author Unknown
  • “If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.” — Oscar Wilde
  • “If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” — Cavett Robert
  • “It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.” — Rosemarie Rossetti
  • “Leroy bet me I couldn’t find a pot of gold at the end, and I told him that was a stupid bet because the rainbow was enough.” — Rita Mae Brown
  • “Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr
  • “True contentment depends not upon what we have; a tub was large enough for Diogenes, but a world was too little for Alexander.” — Charles Caleb Colton
  • “Why not learn to enjoy the little things – there are so many of them.” — Author Unknown

Attitude, Disposition, and Character

  • “A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” — William Arthur Ward
  • “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” — Hugh Downs
  • “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” — Winston Churchill
  • “Be the light in the dark, be the calm in the storm and be at peace while at war.” — Mike Dolan
  • “Being a sex symbol has to do with an attitude, not looks.  Most men think it’s looks, most women know otherwise.” — Kathleen Turner
  • “Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different.” — Katherine Mansfield
  • “Excellence is not a skill.  It is an attitude.” — Ralph Marston
  • “Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same.” — Francesca Reigler
  • “He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.” — Samuel Johnson
  • “Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • “I am an optimist.  It does not seem too much use being anything else.” — Winston Churchill
  • “If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure.” ~David Ambrose
  • “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” — Vince Lombardi
  • “It isn’t our position but our disposition which makes us happy.” — Author Unknown
  • “No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” — Ellen Glasgow
  • “Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts.  It’s what you do with what you have left.” — Hubert Humphrey
  • “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Persons are judged to be great because of the positive qualities they possess, not because of the absence of faults.” — Author Unknown
  • “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” — William James
  • “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” — Dennis S. Brown
  • “There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.” — William J. Bennett
  • “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” — W. Clement Stone
  • “Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” — Art Linkletter
  • “Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.” — Alex Karras
  • “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.” — Eckhart Tolle
  • “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” — Anthony J. D’Angelo
  • “You must start with a positive attitude or you will surely end without one.” — Carrie Latet
  • “You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” — Ralph Marston

Defeat, Setbacks, and Failures

  • “A car can’t operate without the mechanical systems working, but it can operate with a few dents and scratches … you are the same.” — Mike Dolan
  • “Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.” — Joe Clark
  • “If you can wear the hard times of your life as furrows on your brow, you can wear the good times as a twinkle in your eye.” — Robert Brault
  • “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” — Albert Camu
  • “Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear.” — Author Unknown
  • “The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” — Thomas Carlyle
  • “The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” — C.C. Scott
  • “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” — Oprah Winfrey
  • “To begin to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment.” — James Allen
  • “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” –  Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • “Whenever you fall, pick something up.” — Oswald Avery

Expectations

  • “Expect nothing.  Live frugally on surprise.” — Alice Walker
  • “I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.” — William Allen White
  • “I am sure that nothing has such a decisive influence upon a man’s course as his personal appearance, and not so much his appearance as his belief in its attractiveness or unattractiveness.” — Leo Tolstoy
  • “I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.” — Abraham Lincoln
  • “If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of becoming a prophet.” — Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • “If you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.” –  Swami Vivekananda
  • “The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” — Eli Khamarov
  • “The sun won’t shine until you put the umbrella away.  Be free.” — Author Unknown
  • “These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” –  William James
  • “Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.” — Maurice Setter
  • “Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.” — Edward de Bono
  • “We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.” — Elbert Hubbard
  • “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

Focus and Perspective

  • “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” — Author Unknown
  • “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” — Anne Frank
  • “I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.” — Galileo Galilei
  • “If we shall take the good we find, asking no questions, we shall have heaping measures.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “If you call a thing bad you do little, if you call a thing good you do much.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” — Mary Engelbreit
  • “Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.” – Unknown
  • “It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.” — Annie Gottlier
  • “Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life.” — Annette Goodheart
  • “May I never miss a sunset or a rainbow because I am looking down.” — Sara June Parker
  • “Nothing is interesting if you’re not interested.” — Helen MacInness
  • “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.” – Epictetus
  • “Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day.” — Nicholas Chamfort
  • “That’s my gift. I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back. If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it. If you can overcome that, fights are easy.” — George Foreman
  • “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” — John Milton
  • “The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” –  Henri Matisse
  • “There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.” — Robert Brault
  • “There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am!’ and those who come in and say, ‘Ah, there you are.’” — Frederick L. Collins
  • “There’s a saying among prospectors:  ‘Go out looking for one thing, and that’s all you’ll ever find.’” — Robert Flaherty
  • “Two people can have a middling day, but one rounds up and the other rounds down.” — Robert Brault
  • “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” — Oscar Wilde
  • “Whatever my day may have lacked, yet I have tonight’s pearl moon.” — Dr. SunWolf
  • “Work is either fun or drudgery.  It depends on your attitude.  I like fun.” — Colleen C. Barrett

Hope and Fear

  • “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” — Patricia Neal
  • “Either way, things are a lot better – either a lot better than they were or a lot better than they’re going to be.” — Robert Brault
  • “Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.” — Swedish Proverb
  • “I am a little deaf, a little blind, a little impotent, and on top of this are two or three abominable infirmities, but nothing destroys my hope.” – Voltaire
  • “I not only bow to the inevitable; I am fortified by it.” — Thornton Wilder
  • “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.  One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “My friends, love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And we’ll change the world.” — Jack Layton
  • “When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.” — Zig Ziglar

Humor

  • “A friend will remind you that assumptions born of malice are better dealt with by gleefully sticking your tongue out.” – Dodinsky
  • “A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body – the wishbone.” — Robert Frost
  • “I was going to buy a copy of ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?” –  Ronnie Shakes
  • “Optimist: someone who isn’t sure whether life is a tragedy or a comedy but is tickled silly just to be in the play.” — Robert Brault
  • “Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus.” — Susan Longacre
  • “Scratch less.  Purr more.” — Author Unknown
  • “Sometimes life’s Hell.  But hey!  Whatever gets the marshmallows toasty.” — J. Andrew Helt
  • “The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” –  Oscar Wilde
  • “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” — Scott Hamilton
  • “The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.” — Foster’s Law

Letting Things Go and Forgiveness

  • “For my part I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance.” — Adlai Stevenson
  • “The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.” — Benjamin Franklin
  • “To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” — Confucius

Love and Liking

  • “A loving person lives in a loving world.  A hostile person lives in a hostile world; everyone you meet is your mirror.” — Ken Keyes, Jr.
  • “Anywhere you go liking everyone, everyone will be likeable.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  • “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” — Arthur Rubinstein
  • “Surrounded by people who love life, you love it too; surrounded by people who don’t, you don’t.” — Mignon McLaughlin
  • “The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.” — Henry Ward Beecher

Opportunity and Possibility

  • “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
  • “Become a possibilitarian.  No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.” — Wernher von Braun
  • “If the skies fall, one may hope to catch larks.” — Francis Rabelais
  • “Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.” – Napoleon
  • “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.” — Chinese Proverb
  • “Learn to smile at every situation.  See it as an opportunity to prove your strength and ability.” — Joe Brown
  • “Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.” — John Heywood
  • “The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.” — Author Unknown
  • “Where the loser saw barriers, the winner saw hurdles.” — Robert Brault

Positive Thinking

  • “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” –  Mahatma Gandhi
  • “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.  You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” — Roald Dahl
  • “Being in a good frame of mind helps keep one in the picture of health.” — Author Unknown
  • “Care not what they say about the color of your skin let the brilliant light of your soul blind them.” — Mike Dolan
  • “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore
  • “Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.” — Bill Meyer
  • “Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune.” — Walt Whitman
  • “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” –  Robert H. Schuller
  • “Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time.” — Betty Smith
  • “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson
  • “People are zealous for a cause when they are not quite positive that it is true” — Bertrand Russell
  • “Positive anything is better than negative thinking.” — Elbert Hubbard
  • “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” — Zig Ziglar
  • “So our human life but dies down to its root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” — Alphonse Karr
  • “The best way to dispel negative thoughts is to require that they have a purpose.” — Robert Brault
  • “The man who has no inner life is a slave to his surroundings.” — Henri Frédéric Amiel
  • “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” — Author Unknown
  • “They can betray me, but I choose not to betray my peace of mind.” – Dodinsky
  • “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” — Albert Einstein

Enjoy and best wishes for a positive outlook and positive action for your road ahead.

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18 Comments on "Positive Quotes"

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  1. Joy says:

    Wow, JD! What an empowering list of quotes! I *love* that you invite us to pick a few to memorize…might I expand upon that and issue an invitation to pick a few to experience and live :) Thank you for providing a resource that allows for wonderful expansion if we wish!

  2. Vidya Sury says:

    A post to treasure. I always love your posts, but this one is very special. Thank you JD.

  3. Juliet says:

    Hi JD

    What is your understanding of the quote:
    “Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life.” — Annette Goodheart

    Cheers,
    Juliet

  4. JD says:

    @ Joy — Thank you.

    Experience and live is the best way to test-drive the positive quotes. It’s where the rubber meets the road.

    @ Vidya — Thank you.

    I was actually excited by what unfolded the more I arranged the tapestry of positive quotes.

    @ Juliet — I actually like the irony of that one.

    What I understand it means is that no matter how tough life gets, we can find the joy in it. For example, could we enjoy the morning Sun, or the people in our life, or savor the moment, etc. No matter what outside events occur, can we control our thoughts and think the thoughts that serve us. The beliefs and the meaning we make can help us find joy. We can learn optimism, despite the world that surrounds us.

  5. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. great list – well amazing one .. thanks so much .. cheers Hilary

  6. Juliet says:

    Hi again,

    Ah, so implying a degree of inner peace / contentment / stability. I was wondering about the phrase in a situation where the misery is internal and not due to external factors / conditions. Well, not directly related to them.

  7. JD says:

    @ Hilary — Thank you.

    The more I arranged the list, the more clarity I think we gain on how to truly embrace the power of positive thinking.

    @ Juliet — I think the best quote for that scenario is, John Milton — “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

    Another relevant quote is, ““The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet”, from James Openheim.

    In terms of tactics, it sounds simple but I found the best way to put this into practice is simply to ask yourself each day, what was the favorite part of your day. It forces you to look for the moments to savor, and savor the moments you have.

  8. Hi JD,

    These are wonderful. WOW!!! one of my favorite is
    ?“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    I try to keep this one close to my heart if I start wonderful off where I don’t belong.

    Thank you very much for your hard work. These are great. You have us covered from every corner.
    Blessings to JD always,
    Debbie

  9. Juliet says:

    Thanks JD
    :)

  10. JD says:

    @ Debbie — Thank you.

    Gandhi was a great example of “see it and make it happen.” When you combine this with Covey’s, “all things are created twice”, and Deepak’s idea that “thoughts are things”, it’s powerful stuff.

    @ Juliet — No problem. Enjoy.

  11. JD, thank you!

    This is the most comprehensive, useful and inspiring collection of quotes I’ve come across.

    And great to see some powerful quotes from my hero and mentor Gandhi.

    I feel the world is a better place because of the work you have put into creating this list. Thanks again:-)

  12. JD says:

    @ Arvind — Thank you.

    Gandhi really knew how to lift others up in inspiring ways and with empowering words.

    I really want the world’s wisdom at our finger tips. It’s a journey.

  13. nikhil nambiar says:

    WOW …….. Fabulous collection some really inspiring quotes .. Let every sunrise be an inspiration for human kind to remember that life has lot more treasures to reveall to us … Thank you so much :)

  14. Loa says:

    Wow!
    Amazing list you have here, very inspiring!
    I love quotes and use them a whole lot.
    Here is one of my favorite one:
    “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Mother Teresa

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I am bookmarking your page to read more in the future.

    Kindest regards and have a great one!
    Loa

  15. Judy says:

    Love the comments they are so inspiring!

  16. Jenalee says:

    So many great quotes here–thanks for sharing them.

  17. Jai says:

    Thanks for making my day. Bless you for sharing.

  18. Vivianne says:

    Wow – Thank you very much for your hard work. You’ve made my day! I will read one every day! Keep up the great work! Love it!!!