10 Inspirational Quotes That Changed My Life


In my free time I enjoy writing down my favorite self-improvement quotes in a quotations book. In this article I’m delighted to share with you 10 self-help quotes that had a big impact on me and that reflect some big ideas of personal development. Enjoy!

The book in which I write my favorite inspirational quotations
My Quotations Book – It took me a while to find out how I would use this blank book offered by my parents


1. Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you will make a living, if you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune. – Jim Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living

This quote is probably one of the quotes that had the most impact on me. If you work hard your job but you don’t take the time to invest in yourself, you will never grow and become more valuable to the society. It is especially true if you are working in low-paid jobs where you performing repetitive tasks and not learning much. It doesn’t matter how diligent you are as a worker, you are not likely to grow if you are not working on yourself. To have more you have to become more. When you will start working on yourself, on your attitude, on your mindset and on your philosophy everything will start to change for you.


2. If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return. – Benjamin Franklin

I’m personally more interested in all the experiences and skills I can learn in my life that in acquiring material things. The knowledge you have, the experience you gained through life, your travel experiences, the languages you can speak and all the other skills you’ve acquired will always be more valuable than material things. If your house is destroyed during an earthquake you can rebuild it, if you go bankrupt you can start a new business and leverage your previous experiences, if you lose all your money you can rebuilt your wealth, but if someone erases your memory you are nothing!


3. Nothing can change until we do. When we change our world will change. – Earl Nightingale, Lead The Field

When you change, the world around you will have to change. When you grow, people around you will change and get inspired by you, or you will start making new friends that are more in line with your values. By changing your mindset, being more positive, getting rid of many of your limiting beliefs you will spot many new opportunities around you. By learning new skills, you will become too big for your current job and after a while, the environment around you will have to adapt to you. You will be promoted or maybe you will find a new job or start your own business. By educating yourself, reading more books and learning new skills the quality of your thoughts and of your ideas will increase. Better quality of thoughts will lead to better quality of life because:


4. The mind is everything. What you think you become. – Buddha

The idea that what our life is shaped by our thoughts is a very well-known idea repeated by many religions and famous persons throughout history. Whoever wants to change his life will have to start by changing the quality of his/her thoughts for every information given to our brain will affect our subconscious mind and shape our self-image. If there is only one thing you should remember about personal development it is that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts. Our thoughts will always determine our life because they will determine what we believe is possible. Thinking small will bring us small results, thinking big will bring us big results.

Can you identify the basic assumptions under which you are operating your life? I personally decided to change the basic assumption under which I’m operating my life to the following: “No matter what it is, I assume I can!” Then, I ask myself how I’m going to do it. Here is a powerful exercise: when you catch yourself saying “I can’t” about a goal you have, replace it by “I can” and take a piece of paper and take some time to think of how you’re going to do it. After a while you will realize that it is possible.


5. It’s lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy-consuming. – Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Most people don’t try to achieve the big dreams they have because they don’t believe in themselves and settle instead for a goal that they consider as more “realistic”. As soon as you start having bigger goals your way of thinking will totally change. If you said to yourself that instead of $5,000/month you want to earn $50,000/month you will automatically have to think differently. If you decide that you want to be one of the best in what you do you will have to take more action. The more time you will spend thinking about your goal and visualize it the more realistic it will become. By creating a plan of action for your goal and making sure you’re taking at least one small step towards your goal every single day you will create momentum and progressively make things happen. Who knows where it will take you!


6. Doing good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases your own health and happiness. – Zoroaster

Helping others, giving to others, serving others is what eventually makes us happy. If people were to understand that simple principle I believe that a lot of problems could be avoided in the world. If instead of thinking of ourselves we were to think more about how to help other people we would experience more happiness in our life.

Actually,  one of the characterisitics of depressed people is that they are too much focused on themselves. Dale Carnegie is his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living argues that you can cure depression in fourteen days if you think everyday how you can please someone. Indeed, when you are focusing on how to help people and better serve the society it is very difficult to get depressed and your life becomes more meaningful. That’s why it is important to have a life purpose. Studies also show that people are happier when they spend money on others rather than on themselves.


7. You can fool the whole word down the pathway of years

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final reward will be heartaches and tears

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass – Dale Wimbrow (full poem here)

You want to make sure that you are living in accordance with your values and that you are being authentic to yourself throughout your life. Ask yourself if what you have now in your life (your relationship, your career, your hobbies) is what you want or what other people want for you. If you weren’t worried about what your parents, your husband/wife, your friends or your colleagues think, would you be doing what you are doing now?

It means that to live an authentic and meaningful life you will have to accept that you cannot please anyone. You will have to say no to people or things that are not in line with your values. You will have to care less about what people think of you. It is the price to pay if you want to express yourself to the fullest and make a greater contribution to the society. Only you can make that choice.


8. It is only when we assume responsibility for our happiness that we will have a reasonable chance of gaining it. – William B. Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Happiness is not something we try to get out there, it is something we create from within by changing our thoughts and our attitude. Our level of happiness is partially determined by our genes, and external factors have only a limited impact on our happiness. As a result, the only way we can significantly increase our level of happiness is by changing our thoughts and our attitudes as well as the way we react to external events. Happiness is a choice.


9. The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate. – Thomas Watson

Fear of failure is probably one of the main factors that prevents us from reaching our full potential. We wrongly tend to consider failure as the opposite of success. I see both terms as complementary parts of the same process; the process that leads towards success. We should encourage failure and give this word the credit it deserves. Failure is awesome! 🙂 Schools should teach the importance of failure, as it is part of the success process.

Failure is a learning experience. The only failure that exists is when we’re not trying to learn anything and just give up. What would have happened to people like Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney or Abraham Lincoln if they had given up? The meaning you give to “failure” will determine how you react to it, so make sure you are giving it the meaning it deserves: a “learning experience”:-)


10. Just enough sense to stick with something – a chore, task, project – until it’s completed, pays off much better than idle intelligence, even if idle intelligence be of genius calibre. For, stickability is 95 percent of ability. – David J. Schwarz, The Magic of Thinking Big

Though it is true that some people are more talented than other, I don’t believe that having a particular talent is necessary to accomplish our goals. We don’t have to be a genius to be successful. Being clear about what we want and sticking to it until we accomplish it, will lead us to success. A lot of very smart people will not accomplish much in their life because they have a negative attitude or because they are lacking focus, ambition, confidence or commitment. I tend to believe that an average person with a clear goal, a strong commitment, an unshakable faith and a great attitude will generally outperform a genius lacking some of those qualities.

What about you? Do you have any favorite quotes? I would be very happy if you could share with me some of your favorite quotes 🙂


See also:

The One Factor that Determines Your Life

The Importance of Goal Setting

First Step: Everything Starts with Your Mindset

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The 5 Commandments of Personal Development

Comments 2

  • Great article, I always enjoy a great quote. One that has stuck with me since I first read it comes from Hafiz “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”

    • Thanks for your quote Ian. I love it! It’s a great lesson of humility. We should be grateful for what we have rather than trying to get something. The world owes us nothing! Still, a lot of people seem to be asking “What’s in here for me?”

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