50 Motivational/Inspirational Quotes & Proverbs To Lift Your Spirit

by Sherry Riter in Motivation,Self-Development  

yellow flowers full bloom

Being extremely unhappy is not an easy existence. Sometimes we start to feel uninspired, blue or just downright depressed. It wasn’t that long ago when I was as low as a person could get…the very bottom of the barrel. The difference between then and now is that now I can see a light at the top of the barrel. Thinking back to those dark days of the worst part of my PTSD is scary and I start to feel that my happiness and sanity was stolen. Actually, the essence of me was taken away in just a few brief moments.

During those harrowing months, I often found comfort in motivational and inspiration quotes, as well as ancient proverbs. Because they are short and usually just one sentence, it is easy to grasp the meaning of the thought shared in quotes and proverbs. It is also easy to remember them throughout the day and they can provide comfort when it gets rough.

Is It Motivational Or Inspirational?

There is a difference between something being motivational or inspirational. Let me define them both for you.

Motivational – Something that motivates; an inducement, reason, or goal.
Motivate – To provide with an incentive or a reason for doing something; impel.

Inspirational – Providing or intended to convey inspiration.
Inspiration – The excitement of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired

As I see it, motivation is something external that causes you to want to take a particular action and inspiration is something internal that causes a change in your spirit, soul or heart. Also, motivation is short-lived and in the present while inspiration is long-term and looks at the big picture of life.

Often you can be inspired to be motivated. People use the words interchangeably because both cause an action of change…good change.

The Difference Between A Quote And Proverb

There is a difference between a quote and a proverb. Let’s start with the definitions:

Quote – To repeat or copy (words from a source such as a book), usually with acknowledgment of the source.
Proverb – A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept.

So a quote can be repeating anything that has been written or said, whereas a proverb is a positive basic truth. A quote can be positive, negative or indifferent.

50 Motivational/Inspirational Quotes & Proverbs

I’ve gathered 50 motivational and inspirational quotes and proverbs to lift your spirit. I know that some days are super wonderful while others are filled with fear, unhappiness, pain or basically blah. So maybe the next time you are having one of those not so good days, you can click over and feel inspired or become motivated to make changes in your life.

I know that changing any aspect of my character or life takes effort. Change is not easy, but it is often necessary. I have quotes all over the place to inspire and motivate me – in my office at work, on my desk, keychain, desk at home, t-shirt, mug, wall plaque and many other places. I surround myself with positive words because they CAN make a difference in my attitude and the way I feel or react. Subconsciously, my brain reads them all the time and I believe it influences my conscious actions or reactions.

fall red yellow leaves tree

I will hush now and let you enjoy the nature photos with the wonderful, timeless words of wisdom, comfort, motivation and inspiration to lift your spirit, calm your soul and comfort your heart…

  1. “Nobody is born wise.” ~ African proverb
  2. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” ~ Zig Ziglar
  3. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill
  4. “For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.” ~ Socrates
  5. “Little by little one walks far.” ~ Peruvian Proverb
  6. “That inspiration comes, does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working.” ~ Pablo Picasso
  7. “Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.” ~ Guinean proverb
  8. “Success comes from within, not from without.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are absolutely right.” ~ Henry Ford
  10. “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” ~ Albert Einstein

farm crop field green blue sky

  1. “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” ~ Pablo Picasso
  2. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
  3. “You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb”
  4. “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill
  5. “The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
  6. “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~ Buddhist Proverb
  7. “To live long and achieve happiness, cultivate the art of radiating happiness.” ~ Malcolm S. Forbes
  8. “A patient person never misses a thing. ~ Swahili proverb”
  9. “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  10. “Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale ’til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Orange Daylily Hemocrallis flower bloom

  1. “Others may write from the head, but he writes from the heart, and the heart will always understand him.” ~ Washington Irving
  2. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Confucius
  3. “Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” ~ Zig Ziglar
  4. “Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” ~ Babe Ruth
  5. “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
  6. “If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.” ~ Japanese saying
  7. “Optimists enrich the present, enhance the future, challenge the improbable and attain the impossible.” ~ William Arthur Ward
  8. “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” ~ Vincent van Gogh
  9. “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  10. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates

syria virginia fall leaves mountain red

  1. “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
  2. “Continuance is power and strength.” ~ Japanese saying
  3. “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” ~ Henry Ford
  4. “Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  5. “You can only enter half way into the dark forest before you begin to come out the other side.” ~ Chinese Proverb
  6. “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” ~ Winston Churchill
  7. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” ~ Helen Keller
  8. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller
  9. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what you gone be tomorrow.” ~ William Shakespeare
  10. “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” ~ Michaelangelo

big cloud white sunshine blue sky

  1. “A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse.” ~ English Proverb
  2. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy
  3. “The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.” ~ Vince Lombardi Jr.
  4. “Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. “Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners.” ~ William Shakespeare
  6. “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Booker T. Washington
  7. “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” ~ English Proverb
  8. “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  9. “Go as far as you can see and you will see further.” ~ Zig Ziglar
  10. “Yesterday is gone, but today is a new adventure!” ~TheRedheadRiter

country road trees overhanging green

Which quote or proverb is your favorite from the list? How about which quote or proverb is your favorite whether it is on the list or not?

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stéfan November 5, 2012 at 12:46 am

I love #11 by Picasso.


2 Sherry Riter November 5, 2012 at 6:52 am

Yes! We definitely can’t wait for inspiration to be delivered on a silver platter! 😀


3 meg November 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

“Always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.”- Helen Austin.
” Man, When you lose your laugh you lose your footing”- Ken Kesey
Two of my favorites.


4 Sherry Riter November 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

LOL I love the unicorn quote! I’ve never heard it before, but it is great! Thanks for sharing!


5 Skip_D November 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

First, I love the photos!

One of my favorites in this collection is number 4 from Socrates… I also really like the Buddhist proverb, number 16, which reminds me of one I’ve known for a long time, although I don’t know its attribution: “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

Perhaps my favorite proverb is one that I learned in Eritrea & Ethiopia, both in the Tigrinya and Amharic languages. This is my translation: “In its own good time, an egg will stand up and walk on its own legs.”

I don’t mean to cloud the issue further, but in addition to quotes & proverbs, I also would add sayings, maxims, adages, expressions, dictums, saws, locutions, epigrams, & aphorisms… 😀


6 Sherry Riter November 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

Thank you for sharing your favorite proverb, Skip. I had a great visual, but the meaning is so true!


7 Kathy Morelli, LPC (@KathyAMorelli) November 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm

“Nobody is born wise.” ~ African proverb and “Little by little one walks far.” ~ Peruvian Proverb

How true these both are…Nobody is born wise….we gather wisdom via our experiences..
and long journeys are made a little at a time..

very profound..
ty, Kathy .


8 Sherry Riter November 6, 2012 at 7:43 am

I wish some of my wisdom could have come without the experience. 😉 Thank you, Kathy!


9 Anita November 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I’m afraid I disagree completely with #25. Most people are far harder on themselves than anyone else would be. Some wallow in self pity. The art is in finding the balance between the two. I believe it was while watching a safety video on diving and hearing that we should be sure to breathe first before giving our oxygen mask to another, (especially a child) so that we could properly help them, that I realized how incorrectly I had been taught as a child. My mother saw herself a martyr and raised my sister and I to be the same nearly destroying us in the process. I still struggle to put myself first but my family is much happier. And healthier.


10 Sherry Riter November 6, 2012 at 7:46 am

We do need to love ourselves first. The way I took #25 was that we need to have high standards for ourselves even if no one else does and that, like you said, we shouldn’t wallow in self pity. Great insight, Anita. Thanks!


11 Joan November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I love quotes and proverbs! I do find them inspirational! 🙂


12 Sherry Riter November 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

😀 Obviously, I do too. Must be that “great minds think alike” thing. 😉


13 Exodus August 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

nice one Jah Bless


14 Sherry Riter August 24, 2013 at 1:25 am



15 Pauline November 25, 2013 at 2:23 am

After surviving Grade 2B Sarcoma, major surgery and radiotherapy I was left in a wheelchair. Frustrated and depressed I realised that I was not dead yet – so best not to live as if I am. That was 10 years ago – I am no longer in a wheelchair I am in a stable loving relationship and work full time. Life is a choice, be humble enough to ask for help and be grateful when you get it…. and keep moving on.


16 Sherry Riter November 25, 2013 at 9:24 am

Pauline, you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for your comment. {{{hugsss}}}


17 Graphic Design Inspiration August 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

nice article keep it up



18 Sherry Riter August 22, 2014 at 11:57 am



19 Daniel January 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm

personal quote….An ungrateful person is not greater than a great fool………It takes a wise man to build a better future….wisdom comes with Inspiration while foolishness comes with idleness….Wisdom is not for idle minds bt for Active minds…..in summary..In all your getting,get wisdom the principle thing.


20 Sherry Riter February 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm

That’s a great quote! 😀


21 Mazrah March 30, 2015 at 1:05 am

I love the number #50. Simple but true. Everyday you can start with new hope, new life, new you…


22 Sherry Riter April 1, 2015 at 6:45 am

😀 Yes! Thank you Mazrah!


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