Maya Angelou: Life Lessons From her Most Famous Quotes

Maya Angelou: Life Lessons From her Most Famous Quotes

Maya Angelou

We can learn some great life lessons from the famous quotes of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou passed away this week on May 28th at age 86. She was an award winning memoirist and poet. Her accomplishments and accolades were extensive. Articles about her life, her leadership and accomplishments abound.

I first heard Angelou’s name in connection with her book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” While I never read the book (just ordered a copy today- finally) Angelou’s book title always struck a chord with me.

As a young adult still living under my parents’ roof I deeply related to the title; identifying to being trapped and powerless to change my environment yet choosing to sing anyway.

Whenever I had the opportunity to watch an interview with her I was always blown away by her keen insight and wisdom. I loved many of her quotes but until now I never realized the magnitude of her body of work.

Life’s Lessons:

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

Nothing will work unless you do.

If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

We need much less than we think we need.

Keep learning:

When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.

When you learn, teach, when you get, give.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Have an attitude of gratitude:

The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed

Be present in all things and thankful for all things.

When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.

Be adventurous:

Success is loving life and daring to live it.

I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.

A person is the product of their dreams. So make sure to dream great dreams. And then try to live your dream.

How to love:

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

Transformation isn’t easy

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

Successful living:

Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.

To those who are given much, much is expected.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.

Self esteem:

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

Be Positive:

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. 

While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.

Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Forgive:

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.

Have faith:

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.

We wish Maya Angelou farewell as she “ventures into the unknown and even the unknowable.”

How has Maya Angelou’s work inspired you? Is there a wonderful quote or passage from her work that I left out that you would like to share?

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Photo: Wikipedia

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75 Quotes to Inspire and Motivate You to Live Up to Your Potential

75 Quotes to Inspire and Motivate You to Live Up to Your Potential

Man in silouette in sunset

75 Great Inspirational Quotes

Like most people I love quotes. Whenever I find one that inspires me I save it. I hope you find a few here that inspire you live up to your full potential too!

1. “Most people are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.”       –Hermann Hesse

2. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” –William Shakespeare, Hamlet

3. “Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do then do it with all your strength.” –George Washington

4. “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ” –Maya Angelou

5. “If you want to be great and successful, choose people who are great and successful and walk side by side with them.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. “Use things, not people. Love people, not things.” –Author Unknown

7. “Before making a decision, ask inside for guidance. Be patient and await an answer. Act only when you feel calm and certain.” –Deepak Chopra

8. “Forgiveness is another word for letting go. –Matthew Fox

9. “Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn’t fall there.” –Unknown

10. “At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

11. “Change is inevitable; growth is optional. – Unknown

12. “Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” –Richard Bach

13. “I’m a Feather on the Breath of God.”  Flowing where I can best be used in service to my calling.” –Oprah

14. “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.” –J.Goethe

15. “Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes, it obstructs your vision. –Hsi-Tang

16.  “You cannot truly know the meaning of your life until you are know the one who created you.” –Shri Mataji

17. “Every man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds… 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

18. “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

19. I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk. – Tony Robbins

20. “What you get by achieving your goals is to as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau

21. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay

22. “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. For boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” –Goethe

23. “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted” — Jack Kerouac

24. “Look past your thoughts, so you may drink the pure nectar of This Moment.” –Rumi

25. “The door you open to give love is the very one through which love arrives.” –Alan Cohen

26. “Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong but just to watch it…”        – Krishnamurti

27. “If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” –Jean Paul Sartre

28. “The next thing you think, the next action you take, will either create a new possibility for you, or it will repeat the past.” –Deepak Chopra

29. “Many failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” –Thomas Edison 

30. “You can decide to stop being affected by the outer world and, instead, to affect the world around with your peace.” –Orin

31. “If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work.” — Kahlil Gibran

32. “Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify!” — Henry David Thoreau

33. “I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

34. “All the elements for your happiness are already here. There’s no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

35. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” — Toni Morrison

36. “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell and a hell of a heaven.” — John Milton

37. “There is no way to transform the world other than transforming yourself.” – Deepak Chopra

38. “Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” –Danny Kaye

39. “Power over others is weakness designed as strength. True power is within, and it is available to you now.” –Eckart Tolle

40. “Today I live in the quiet, joyous expectation of good.” –Ernest Holmes

41. “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” –Eckhart Tolle

42. “The most astonishing thing about miracles is they happen.” –Wayne Dyer

43. “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.” — Eckhart Tolle

44. “When you carry yesterday’s thinking into today, you program tomorrow to be like yesterday.” –Marianne Williamson

45. “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” –Rumi

46. “The cosmos is structured to bring about growth, and growth is always in the direction of greater love and happiness.” –Deepak Chopra

47. “There is no paycheck that can equal the feeling of contentment that comes from being the person you are meant to be.” –Oprah Winfrey

48. “Help other people get what they want ~ and you’ll get what you want.” –Mary Kay Ash

49. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha
“A light heart lives long.” — William Shakespeare

50. “Honor your challenges, for those spaces that you label as dark are actually there to bring you more light, to strengthen you.”  –Sanaya Roman

51. “Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto!” –Dale Carnegie

52. “The universe is conspiring at this moment to bring you happiness and peace.” –Marianne Williamson

53. “When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. This is enlightenment.” — Eckhart Tolle

54. “Start the day with LOVE. Fill the day with LOVE. End the day with LOVE… That is the way to God.” –Sai Baba

55. “Learn to see God in all people. When you begin to feel your oneness with every human being, you will know what divine love is.”  –Paramhansa Yogananda

56. “Beauty is how you feel inside, & it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” –Sophia Loren

57. “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only robs today of its joy.” — Leo Buscaglia

58. “There is only one moment in time when it is necessary to awaken. That moment is now.” — Buddha

59. “Don’t push the river. Let the river come to you.” –Zen Saying

60. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” –Oprah

61. “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” –Confucius

62. “I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.” –Wayne Dyer

63. “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson

64. “There is a wisdom of the head, and… a wisdom of the heart.” –Charles Dickens

65. “The door to my heart opens inwards. I move through forgiveness to love.” — Louise Hay

66. “Do what is healing to your spirit, and without effort you will bring the world healing in return.” — Alan Cohen

67. “A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

68. “In contracted awareness problems appear. In expanded awareness solutions appear. In pure awareness creative opportunities appear. –Deepak Chopra

69. ‘Let the waters settle, you will see stars and moon mirrored in your being.” –Rumi

70. “If you want to find the secrets of the Universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” –Nikola Tesla

71. “Other people and what they think of you … has very little to do with what you are.” — Abraham-Hicks

72. “The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good.” — Catherine Ponder

73. When a person achieves a certain level of consciousness, whatever he or she intends begins to happen. –Deepak Chopra

74. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou

75.  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” –Marianne Williamson

Did you find some quotes that inspired you? Which ones were your favorites and why? Share with us.

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