15 Best Inspirational Quotes on Happiness and Success
Ask any successful person how many times they've failed, and you will likely receive the same answer: more times than they can count. For every worthwhile goal, the journey to success is usually met with obstacles and trials, sometimes leading us to feel uncertain or fearful. Oftentimes we just need a little reminder that failure is a stepping stone to your goals and that the universal feelings of fear and doubt are common before any grand accomplishment.
In many ways, inspiration is vital to our being. The word "inspiration" itself comes from the 14th century Old French word "inspiracion," which literally means the act of breathing in. When we feel inspired, we feel energized, in the zone or "flow" (coined by the distinguished psychology professor Mihály Csíkszentmihályi).
Below are 15 best inspirational quotes with accompanying images to give anyone a little motivational lift in their journey. Save the images for yourself as a daily reminder or share them with someone you care about. These Pinterest-ready and printable inspirational quotes are hand-selected among many to serve as incredible reminders of our potential.
1. "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote comes first because it's one of the most empowering messages we've ever come across. In essence, you determine who you are – not others. What others say about you matters far less than what you say to yourself.
Who can forget the powerful video of Misty Copeland, the star at the American Ballet Theatre, who was told at 13 that she didn't have what it takes to become a professional ballerina? Or the iconic band The Beatles, who was rejected by Decca Records because the record label did not like their sound? Any time you have a goal in mind, there will likely be naysayers. Your decision to be who you want to be paves a solid path ahead of you that leads to greater success.
2. "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." - C.S. Lewis
This C.S. Lewis quote fills us with hope every time we read it. You can't go back to the past and change things, whether it's the way you wanted others to treat you or the decisions you made in your younger years. But, in letting go of the past, you become free to embrace a future full of possibilities. Letting go gives us the impetus to go bigger, better, and bolder. We could not have said it any better: "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."
3. "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain
Surround yourself with those who make you feel like anything is possible. The benefits of being in the company of people who build you up only compounds over time – bolstering your self-esteem, your accomplishments, and overall quality of life.
4. "Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
This quote comes from one of the best graduation commencement speeches of all-time, where Steve Jobs echoed the farewell message of The Whole Earth Catalog, a magazine he loved reading when he was younger. "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." Whatever it is that sets your life on fire, the story of Steve Jobs reminds us to light our path with it. Love that rush of working on a brave, new project? Or the thrill of starting a venture on your own? There is no better time than now to go for it.
5. "She believed she could, so she did."
We love Ronald Reagan inspirational quotes – it's a story packed in one sentence. And the lesson is beautifully simple. Many of our limitations are self-imposed. "I'm not smart enough. I'm too young. I'm too inexperienced." While these self-doubts may seem practical, they can also stop us from fulfilling our true potential. Our path to success is first set by our own desire and belief in what is possible. Even if others doubt our abilities, our confidence can often turn the situation around. Take the example of Ronald Reagan during the presidential debates. In 1984, when Reagan was running to be re-elected, he was 73 years old, and many questioned whether he was too old to fulfill his duties as the President of the United States. That did not stop him. In fact, during a debate when this question arose, Reagan joked that he would not exploit his "opponent's youth and inexperience." This elicited laughs from the audience and his opponent Walter Mondale. As history shows, Reagan won the re-election easily.
6. "A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor."
Your every struggle only adds to your skillset. Whether you are honing a skill like running to be more athletic or learning a new subject like data analytics, breaking through every trial makes you that much more talented. We love this quote from photographer Jana Williams on her Youtube channel: "You work on your creativity. So the next time you're looking at somebody, and you think, 'Wow, that photographer is so creative,' maybe you should fill that in with 'Wow, that photographer works so hard – tries new things, pushes the envelope, fails a lot.'" In essence, failure pushes us further into greater heights that we can only imagine before. Every step you climb in your journey becomes your new vantage point.
7. "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill
Your attitude is an amplifier of your view on life that is broadcasted to those that come into contact with you. As a result, what you tell yourself has a powerful effect on the attitude you adopt and project to the world. When you have a positive outlook, you are automatically in a better position to offer value to others, whether it be a smile, kind words, or a bit of useful knowledge. As people come and go, their impression of you stays consistent based on your past interactions together. Offering an optimistic attitude and a can-do spirit leaves a lasting impression that can help spur your next big success.
8. "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." - Jack Canfield
It's okay to be afraid. Fear is the vast uncharted territory between who you are and who you want to be. The best thing you can do for yourself is to have the courage to venture out and start before you're ready. Ultimately, every accomplishment, whether big or small, begins with that first step.
9. "Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." - Oprah Winfrey
The wonderful Oprah Winfrey is an inspirational example of surviving hardships and creating one's own empire. Although failure has been reframed many ways, we love this image of thinking like a queen. Seen in this light, viewing yourself as royalty allows you to anticipate and welcome failure. When it arrives, know that every single time you fail, you are building your own success story.
10. "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu
Your circumstances are transient. Who you are at this moment is also transient. Think of yourself as a work in progress. The person you are today can be so different from who you can be in two months. Depending on your schedule, a couple months is enough time to write a manuscript (National Novel Writing Month, anyone?), learn a new programming language, or take a course in something exciting you always wanted to learn. Not a good dancer? Take a look at this incredible time lapse video of a Karen Cheng learning to dance. Within a span of a year, she completely transformed herself from a novice to an amazing freestyle dancer.
11. "Things can happen to you, but they don't have to happen to your soul." - Jennifer Lawrence
Whether trivial or severe, bad events are inevitable in life. All of us have faced trials in our past that we have no control over. While we can't always determine what happens to us, we can determine our reactions to and outlook on these situations. The way we interpret these events can bring us purpose and meaning that becomes invaluable in life as we continue onwards in our journey.
12. "Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." - Rumi
It's been said many times and it still bears repeating: you only live once. Every day is a new day to continually light your passion. Whether you love dogs and are passionate about animal welfare or you are driven to create the best overall shopping experience for your new company, your passion can help you go very far, especially when you're fueled by those who support your vision.
13. "Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible." - Albert Einstein
When you take risks, you can fall flat on your face or you can achieve something great. But, one thing's for certain, and that is this: it's incredibly difficult to accomplish great things without some level of risk involved. For every big dream, there are a lot of naysayers who claim that it can't be done. Napoleon Hill’s Think Grow Rich shares the story of Henry Ford's determination for the V-8 motor to be cast in one piece. He instructed the engineers at Ford to build the design, but the engineers said it was impossible to cast a V-8 motor all in one piece. Ford's words? "Produce it anyway" and he gave them time to come up with the innovation. Six months go by with no results. Then, another six months go by, but the project still seems "impossible." Yet not long afterwards, the impossible became possible.
What innovations are we benefiting from that once seemed "impossible"? The light bulb? Landing on the moon? Every amazing accomplishment first came about because someone or a whole dedicated team conceived of an idea and worked tirelessly to make it happen.
14. "There is no education like adversity." - Benjamin Disraeli
Adversity is a great teacher. It's sometimes tough to see it as such when you've hit a rough patch in life. But bad scenarios are being turned around every single day, even for those who have hit rock bottom (in fact the best-selling author J.K. Rowling once said that "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which [she] rebuilt [her] life" and Steve Jobs had remarked that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to him). Adversity lets you step back, come up with a better plan, and begin anew as someone wiser, stronger, better.
15. "A little magic can take you a long way." - Roald Dahl
We cannot think of a more appropriate final quote than this lovely inspirational saying from children's book author Roald Dahl. A little bit of magic brings joy to our lives, whether it's seeing the loveliness in a single flower or feeling a serendipitous connection with someone sitting next to you at a new event. These little moments of inspiration can take us very far in our journey for greater happiness and success.
As an ending note: it's time to achieve the unachievable. Empowering yourself to guide the trajectory of your future is something you can do at every moment of every day - beginning with today. Every new day offers a fresh start – watch as the dreams you sow today become the reality of tomorrow.