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Quotes for life

We've gathered together some of the most interesting, insightful and amusing quotes from some wise and well-known people in order to provide some insight and wisdom on a range of topics.   Scroll down to see the list.

For example, if you want some inspiration for living we've got everything from Ralph Waldo Emerson's 'It is not length of life, but depth of life' through to this gem from Hunter S. Thompson: 'Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously'.

Each week we will be including new quotes in our Twitter feed and Facebook page so if you're not already following us on these, do so now by clicking on the links above!

We'd also love to hear your suggestions of quotes for life on any topic - tweet them to us, post them on our Facebook wall or just email us at [email protected]. We're aiming to build an online resource containing people's favourite quotes on various topics.

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Quotes for life


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Ralph Waldo Emerson

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. George Bernard Shaw

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

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain

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

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Mark Twain

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. William James

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it. Henry Ford

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. Anne Frank

It is not length of life, but depth of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. Henry David Thoreau

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. John Lennon

Life is half spent before we know what it is. George Herbert

Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously. Hunter S. Thompson

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. Eleanor Roosevelt

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for. Oscar Wilde



A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right, and not what is established. Aristotle

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Martin Luther King Jr.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. Confucius

What is morality, she asked. Judgement to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, and courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price. Ayn Rand

Compassion is the basis of morality. Arthur Schopenhauer

Morality is of the highest importance - but for us, not for God. Albert Einstein


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Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt

You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do. Eleanor Roosevelt

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. Mark Twain

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. Nelson Mandela

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Curie

Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Henry David Thoreau

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. Emily Dickinson

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. William James

Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom. Queen Elizabeth



Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? Abraham Lincoln

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. Dalai Lama

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it's beauty. Albert Einstein

That's what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing. Simone de Beauvoir

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

Be thoughtful of others and you will not be shy, for they are incompatible addictions. Robert Brault

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. Plato



The environment is everything that isn't me. Albert Einstein

You see, it's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events - how we interpret them - that shapes who we are today and who we'll become tomorrow. Tony Robbins

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. Aldo Leopold

Waste is a tax on the whole people. Albert W. Atwood

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. Thomas Fuller

We have a responsibility to look after our planet. It is our only home. Dalai Lama



Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi

Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone. Sigmund  Freud

Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time. Picasso

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Frederick Keonig

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. Joseph Addison

I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. Henry David Thoreau

Happiness is not a's a by-product of a life well lived. Eleanor Roosevelt

The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does. J.M. Barrie



Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Theodore Roosevelt

I can't imagine anything more worthwhile than doing what I most love. And they pay me for it. Edgar Winter

Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else. George Halas.

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. Oscar Wilde



The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships. Anthony Robbins

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. Theodore Roosevelt



I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. Henry David Thoreau

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Mark Twain



The only wealth is life. Henry David Thoreau

Money often costs too much. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will. Nelson Mandela
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Him Rohn


Appreciation of life/ pace of life 

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Henry David Thoreau

I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate. Elbert Hubbard

Our life is frittered away by detail...Simplify, simplify, simplify! Henry Thoreau


Life Squared
Updated March 2017

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