ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing

Top 100 Inspirational Quotes

Updated on July 31, 2015
Colleen Swan profile image

A lover of the written word Colleen has a Master's degree in English literature and enjoys finding unique and poignant quotes

The beauty of nature is our greatest inspiration
The beauty of nature is our greatest inspiration | Source

A selection of quotes that inspire thought and discussion

♠ We should hear little of ingratitude, unless we were so apt to exaggerate the worth of our better deeds, and to look for a return in proportion to our own exorbitant estimate. Charles and Augustus Hare

♠ The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

♠ The humorous man recognizes that absolute purity, absolute justice, absolute logic and perfection are beyond human achievement and that men have been able to live happily for thousands of years in a state of genial frailty. Brooks Atkinson

♠ In the history of thought and culture the dark nights have perhaps in some ways cost mankind less grief than the false dawns, the prison houses in which hope persists less grief than the promised lands where hope expires. Louis Kronenberger

♠ A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion. Marshall McLuhan

♠ Being creative is having something to sell, or knowing how to sell something, or having sold something. It has taken over what we used to mean by being “wised up” knowing the tricks, the shortcuts. Pauline Kael

Source

♣ Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage. Eric Hoffer

♣ Our opinions are less important than the spirit and temper with which they possess us, and even good opinions are worth very little unless we hold them in a broad, intelligent, and spacious way. John Morley

♣ Most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures. Rainer Maria Rilke

♣ Moral good is a practical stimulus; it is no sooner seen than it inspires an impulse to practice. Plutarch

♣ If you shut yourself up disdainfully in your ivory tower and insist that you have your own conscience and are satisfied with its approval, it is because you know that everybody is criticizing you, condemning you, or laughing at you. Luigi Pirandello

♣ There are some men whom a staggering emotional shock, so far from making them mental invalids for life, on the other hand, to awaken, to galvanize, and to arouse into an almost incredible activity of soul. William McFee

Source

♥ Habituation is a falling asleep or fatiguing of the sense of time, which explains why young years pass slowly, while later life flings itself faster and faster upon its course. Thomas Mann

♥ The metaphor is perhaps one of man’s most fruitful potentialities. Its efficacy verges on magic, and it seems a tool for creation which god forgot inside one of his creatures when he made him. Jose Ortega Y. Gasset

♥ Inspiration is often thought of as a spark of perception, combined with a plan of action, but above all else the inspired person acts upon the measure of fulfillment and approval. Melvin Argyle

♥ It is in vain to hope to please all alike. Let a man stand with his face in what direction he will, he must necessarily turn his back on one half of the world. George Dennison Prentice

♥ Ideas are born, they struggle, triumph, change, and they are transformed; but is there a dead idea which in the end does not live on, transformed into a broader and clearer goal? Eugenio Maria De Hostos

♥ During the time men live without a common power to keep them in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. Thomas Hobbes

Source

♦ Peace dies when the framework is ripped apart. When there is no longer a place that is yours in the world. When you know no longer where your friend is to be found. Saint Exupery

♦ Adventure does not exist. It exists only in the mind of the man who pursues it, and as soon as his fingers graze it, it vanishes to appear much further off, in another form, at the limits of the imagination. Pierre Macorlan

♦ It is wrong to follow the advice of an adversary; nevertheless it is right to hear it, that you may do the contrary; and this is the essence of good policy. Sadi

♦ In marriage do be wise; prefer the person before money, virtue before beauty, the mind before the body; then you have a spouse, a friend, a companion, a second self. William Penn (amended)

♦ Nothing seems at first sight less important than the outward form of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store; they grow used to everything except to living in a society which has not their own manners. Alexis De Tocqueville

♦ One of the principle functions of a friend is to suffer in a milder and symbolic form the punishments that we should like, but we are unable to inflict upon our enemies. Aldous Huxley

Source

♠ A man should never be ashamed to own up that he is in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. Jonathan Swift

♠ Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so conduct yourself in youth that your old age will not lack for nourishment. Leonardo Da Vinci

♠ Since the individual’s desire to dominate his environment is not a desirable trait in a society which every day grows more and more confining, the average man must take to daydreaming. Gore Vidal

♠ In every age “the good old days” were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them. Brooks Atkinson

♠ How often, being moved under a false cause, if the person offending makes a good defense and presents us with a just excuse, are we angry against truth and innocence itself? Montaigne

♠ The most important part of our lives, our sensations, emotions, desires, and aspirations take place in a universe of illusions which science can attenuate or destroy, but which is powerless to enrich. Joseph Wood Krutch

Source

♣ The world of shabby gentility is like no other; its sacrifices have less logic, its standards are harsher, its relation to reality is dimmer than comfortable property or plain poverty can understand. Murray Kempton

♣ I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgment for not agreeing with me in that from which perhaps within a few days I should dissent myself. Sir Thomas Browne

♣ Nothing is unthinkable; nothing is impossible to the balanced person, provided it arises out of the needs of life and is dedicated to life’s further developments. Lewis Mumford

♣ The sacred family is the supposed home of all the virtues, where innocent children are tortured into their first falsehoods, where wills are broken by parental tyranny, and self-respect smothered by crowded, jostling egos. August Strindberg

♣ The cult of nature is a form of patronage by people who have declared their materialistic independence from nature and do not have to struggle with nature every day of their lives. Brooks Atkinson

♣ Discussion without asperity, sympathy with fusion, gayety unracked by too abundant jests, mental ease in approaching one another; these are the things which give a pleasant smoothness to the rough edge of life. Agnes Repplier

Source

♥ We are forced to participate in the games of life before we can possibly learn how to use the options in the rules governing them. Philip Rieff

♥ The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is ambiguity; the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces; both individual and social. Paul Tillich

♥ To speak less of oneself than what one really is, is folly, not modesty; and to take that for current pay which is under a man’s value, is pusillanimity and cowardice. Montaigne

♥ Ours is a precarious language, as every writer knows, in which the merest shadow-line often separates affirmation from negation, sense from nonsense, and one gender from the other. James Thurber

♥ That is the true season of love, when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could have loved so before us, and that no one will love in the same way as us. Goethe

♥ In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat; but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards victory. This is one great reason for the utmost toleration of variety of opinion. Alfred North Whitehead

Source

♦ If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting idea. Richard Hofstadter

♦ The beating of drums, which delights young writers who serve a party, sounds to him who does not belong to the party like a rattling of chains, and excites sympathy rather than admiration. Nietzsche

♦ The business of every art is to bring something into existence, and the practice of an art involves the study of how to bring into existence something which is capable of having such an existence and has its efficient cause in the maker and not in itself. Aristotle.

♦ Everywhere in the world the industrial regime tends to make the unorganized or unorganizable individual, the pauper, into the victim of a kind of human sacrifice offered to the gods of civilization. Jacques Maritain

♦ Of nature: The child of civilization, remote from wild nature and all her ways, is more susceptible to her grandeur than is her untutored son who has looked at her and lived close to her from childhood up, on terms of prosaic familiarity. Thomas Mann

♦ Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought under the domination of the intelligence and is therefore not susceptible to any arguments whatever. James Baldwin

Source

♠ At bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone, and for one person to be able to advise or even help another, a lot must happen, a lot must go well, a whole constellation of things must come right in order once to succeed. Rainer Maria Rilke

♠ The profoundly humorous writers are humorous because they are responsive to the hopeless, uncouth concatenations of life. V. S. Pritchett

♠ Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves and find nothing. Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves either. Helen Keller

♠ In the human mind, one-sidedness has always been the rule, and many-sidedness the exception. Hence, even in revolutions of opinion, one part of the truth usually sets while another rises. John Stuart Mill

♠ When a man takes an oath he is holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again. Robert Bolt

♠ In these anxious times many of us are less astonished that reason is ever suspended than that it should ever prevail, even during the briefest of intervals. Morton Irving Seiden

Source

♣ The defects of human nature afford us opportunities of exercising our philosophy, the best employment of our virtues. If all men were righteous, all hearts true and frank and loyal, what use would our virtues be? Moliere

♣ You cannot tie a rope around the neck of an idea; you cannot put an idea up against a barrack-square wall and riddle it with bullets; you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build. Sean O’Casey

♣ Oh, what a valiant faculty is hope, which in a mortal subject, and in a moment, makes nothing of usurping infinity, immensity, eternity, and of supplying its master’s indigence, at its pleasure, with all things he can imagine or desire. Montaigne

♣ All thoughts are always ready, potentially if not actually. Each age selects and assimilates the philosophy that is most apt for its wants. John Morley

♣ Adjustment, that synonym for conformity that comes more easily to the modern tongue, is the theme of our swan song, the piper’s tune to which we dance on the brink of the abyss, the siren’s melody that destroys our senses and paralyses our wills. Robert Lindner

♣ Imagination consists in expelling from reality several incomplete persons, and then using the magic and subversive powers of desire to bring them back in the form of one entirely satisfying presence. Rene Char

Source

♥ Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together, that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of life, which they are henceforth to rule. Maurice Maeterlinck

♥ Our unconscious is like a vast subterranean factory with intricate machinery that is never idle, where work goes on day and night from the time we are born until the moment of our death. Milton R Sapirstein

♥ The best thing about lying in bed late is that you learn to distinguish between first things and trivia, for whatever presses on you has to prove its importance before it makes you move. Max Lerner

♥ Life is a country that the old have seen, and lived in. Those that have to travel through it can only learn the way from them. Joseph Joubert

♥ Mirrors are there when we are and yet they never give anything back to us but our own image. Never, never shall we know what they are when they are alone or what is behind them. Erich Maria Remarque

♥ Better beware notions like genius and inspiration; they are a sort of magic wand and should be used sparingly by anybody who wants to see things clearly. Ortega Y Gasset

Source

♦ One must be thrust out of a finished cycle in life, and that leap is the most difficult to make; to part with one’s faith, one’s love, when one would prefer to renew the faith and recreate the passion. Anais Nin

♦ Fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that’s all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling. Felix Frankfurter

♦ As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and by the consistent narrowness of his outlook. Joseph Conrad

♦ The public official must pick his way nicely, must learn to placate though not to yield too much, to have the art of honeyed words but not to seem neutral, and above all to keep constantly audible, visible, likable, even kissable. Learned Hand

♦ We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship. E. M. Forster

♦ Angry men are blind and foolish, for reason at such a time takes flight and, in her absence, wrath plunders all the riches of the intellect, while the judgment remains the prisoner of its own pride. Pietro Aretino

Source

♠ Until a man can quit talking loudly to himself in order to shout down the memories of blunderings and fumbling, he is in no shape for the painstaking examination of distress. James Thurber

♠ In history as it comes to be written, there is usually some spirit of the age which historians can define, but the shape of things is seldom so clear to those who live them. To most thoughtful men it has generally seemed that theirs was an age of confusion. Joseph Wood Krutch

♠ The surest sign of the estrangement of the opinions of two persons is when they both say something ironical to each other and neither of them feels the irony. Nietzsche

♠ The superior gratification derived from the use and contemplation of costly and supposedly beautiful products is, commonly, in great measure a gratification of our sense of costliness masquerading under the name of beauty. Thorstein Veblen

♠ The sweetest memory is that which involves something which one should not have done; the bitterest, that which involves something which one should not have done and which one did not do. George Jean Nathan

♠ We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverably for ourselves and for others. Goethe

Source

♠ In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions. Henry Ward Beecher

♠ Humor simultaneously wounds and heals, indicts and pardons, diminishes and enlarges; it constitutes inner growth at the expense of outer gain, and those who possess and honestly practice it make themselves more through a willingness to make themselves less. Louis Kronenberger

♠ The passions that incline men to peace are fear of death, desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living and a hope by their industry to obtain them. Thomas Hobbes

♠ The soul is that which denies the body. For example, that which refuses to run when the body trembles, to strike when the body is angry, to drink when the body is thirsty. Alain

♠ What the world needs is not redemption from sin but redemption from hunger and oppression; it has no need to pin its hopes upon heaven, it has everything to hope for from this earth. Friedrich Durrenmatt

♠ The chief effect of talk on any subject is to strengthen one’s own opinions, and, in fact, one never knows exactly what he does believe until he is warmed into conviction by the heat of attack and defense. Charles Dudley Warner

Source

♣ Give me a wild horse, an axe and a tree, broken rocks and a plot of arable land. These are the tools that inspire me. John D. Hunter

♣ The most awful tyranny is that of the proximate utopia where the last sins are currently being eliminated and where, tomorrow, there will be no more sins because all the sinners will have been wiped out. Thomas Merton

♣ Those who would extirpate evil from the world know little of human nature. As well might punch be palatable without souring as existence agreeable without care. James Boswell

♣ What astonishes many of us is not so much that human nature is fundamentally corrupt; we are astonished rather that it does not behave more wickedly than it obviously does. Morton Irving Seiden

♣ One of man’s greatest failings is that he looks almost always for an excuse, in the misfortune that befalls him through his own fault, before looking for a remedy; which means he often finds the remedy too late. Cardinal De Retz

♣ We all wear some disguise, make some professions, use some artifice, to set ourselves off as being better than we are; and yet it is not denied that we have some good intentions and praiseworthy qualities at bottom. William Hazlitt

Source

♥ One of the most ordinary weaknesses of the human intellect is to seek to reconcile contrary principals, and to purchase peace at the expense of logic. Alexis De Tocqueville

♥ There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and the craft. Jessamyn West

♥ The human animal needs a freedom seldom mentioned, freedom from intrusion. He needs a little privacy quite as much as he wants understanding or vitamins or exercise or praise. Phyllis McGinley

♥ All the art of analysis consists in saying a truth only when the other person is ready for it, has been prepared for it by an organic process of gradation and evolution. Anais Nin

♥ A man’s thinking goes on within his consciousness in a seclusion in comparison with which any physical seclusion is an exhibition to public view. Ludwig Wittgenstein

♥ Life is so full of miseries, minor and major; they press so close upon us at every step of the way, that it is hardly worthwhile to call one another’s attention to their presence. Agnes Repplier

Source

♦ Some causes are sufficient to make a man uneasy, when great ones are not in the way; for want of a block he will stumble at a straw. Jonathan Swift

♦ Modern man; whether in the womb of the masses, or with his workmates, or with his family, or alone, can never for one moment forget that he is living in a world in which he is a means and whose end is not his business. Alberto Moravia

♦ The most subtle, the strongest and deepest art, supreme art, is the one that does not at first allow itself to be recognized. Andre Gide

♦ Though it be in the power of the weakest arm to take away life, it is not in the strongest to deprive us of death. Sir Thomas Browne

♦ Take this sorrow to thy heart and make it part of thee, and it shall nourish thee till thou art strong again. Longfellow

  • I hope you have enjoyed these quotes; I welcome your comments.

Whenever science makes a discovery, the devil grabs while the angels are debating the best way to use it

— Alan Valentine

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Hi ahorseback, I am glad to think these quotes were worthwhile to anyone, especially a fellow writer.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      We should all keep these in our pocket ! Amazing gathering of wisdom !

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you CriSp, I am happy you enjoyed these. Goethe wrote some amazing quotes.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Shyron, I really enjoy collecting these. I generally find a good quote in every book I read.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Great collection of inspirational and motivational quotes. Love Goethe!

      Well done! Up and sharing.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Colleen, I love your quotes, they are wonderful.

      Thumb-up UABI and shared

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Hi Larry, Yes, in these troubled times and in our own private lives we all need the occasional uplift and boost.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you MsDora, I agree with your thoughts. It took me some years to admit being wrong and to not be to proud to apologize. With time I have grown more secure and realize we all need to forgive at times and ask to be forgiven.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Can always use a bit of inspiration. Thanks for the list of quotes.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      There are many profound thoughts here. Thank you very much. My take away however is Swift's "A man should never be ashamed to own up that he is in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Ann, Happy you enjoyed these. There were enough to cover every event and inspire at least a smile, yes, I like to end with a quip. Colleen

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I liked 'A man should never be ashamed to own up that he is in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.' by Jonathan Swift

      You have some extensive research here, as always. There are some amazing quotes which encompass so many philosophies through the ages which makes this pretty impressive. The last quote says it all.

      Great job, Colleen.

      Ann

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Tom. I am amazed that when I collect quotes, many of the best are by Goethe. Glad you enjoyed these.

    • Thomas Swan profile image

      Thomas Swan 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Another lovely selection of quotes. I always enjoy reading the ones by Goethe.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 2 years ago from County Durham

      Hi DJ, Thank you for your perceptive comment. I am fortunate in having a husband who is extremely adept at finding and creating quotes, so it was a team effort. The first picture is one he took of the flowering phlox in our garden. Colleen

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Hello, Colleen,

      These are some truly amazing quotes from some great minds.

      You have given us many philosophical views from many schools of thought.

      I believe there is a bit of wisdom in each writers' perspective.

      There will always be the quest of truth on life, reality and death. It is mankind's inherent nature to search for a common core, something identifiable, something with which to relate.

      Congratulations on another fine hub!

      DJ.