Do you ever find yourself wondering about the meaning of life?
Have you had those days when you’re consumed by the nihilistic feeling that your particular life has no purpose?
I think we all go through times when we question our reason for being — when we wonder why we must endure suffering or unhappiness. Sometimes it feels as though our experience of life is out of our control. We simply endure, waiting for the next shoe to drop. Or we assume uninterrupted happiness is our birthright, and when something bad happens, we’re thrown for a loop.
One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received was the realization that I alone have control over my experience of life. Good and bad things will continue to happen, but it is my choice how I wish to respond and the attitude I decide to foster. This realization was a slow awakening that developed after reading the inspiration and wisdom of many great thinkers like Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Rumi.
Here are 40 inspirational quotes about life from some deep thinkers:
1. “Life is beautiful, as long as it consumes you. When it is rushing through you, destroying you, life is gorgeous, glorious. It’s when you burn a slow fire and save fuel, that life’s not worth having.” D. H. Lawrence
2. “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” ~Rumi
3. “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~Lao Tzu
4. “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” ~Harvey Fierstein
5. “It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
6. “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” ~William James
7. “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?” ~Bob Marley
8. “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~Lao Tzu
9. “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell
11. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~Thomas A. Edison
12. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~Pablo Picasso
13. “Go where you are celebrated – not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start.” ~Unknown
14. “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.” ~William W. Purkey
15. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde
16. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” ~Alexander Graham Bell
17. “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.” ~Mother Teresa
18. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein
19. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Seuss
20. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw
21. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank
22. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ~Gilda Radner
23. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~John Lennon
24. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ~Helen Keller
25. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle
26. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” ~Jimmy Dean
27. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot
28. “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” – Marcel Pagnol.
29. “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” ~Will Rogers.
30. “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos
31. “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” ~Marcus Aurelius
32. “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.” ~The Eagles
33. “Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ~Dalai Lama
34. “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things.” ~Morrie Schwartz
35. “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” ~C.S. Lewis
36. “Let life be an adventure. Live your life to the fullest, unfettered by fear of the ghosts and goblins of what might occur. Calamity and death happen as well to those who hide from life as to those who squeeze every drop of zest from it.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
37. “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting HOLY CRAP… WHAT A RIDE!” ~Anonymous
38. “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” ~Albert Ellis
39. “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
40. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs
What are some of your favorite quotes about life and the meaning of life? Please share in the comments below.
Photo credit: Tammy Williams