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A Few Lesser Known Top Inspirational Quotes

Posted November 12, 2012 by Jonathan Baron


Inspiration is something we all use to create, and to push us to continue on in tasks that may have become boring or tedious to us.  Quotes from those that came before, whether spoken in times of trouble or times of plenty can inspire us to begin or complete the things we desire.

Contained below is a collection of many "Top Inspirational quotes."  Some of them may be lesser known, but their popularity does not make them any less inspiring! Please take a look and see what you think. Make sure to visit our main Inspirational Quotes page!

"We must be the change we want to see in the world."
- Gandhi

This quote was re-stated by Gandhi's fifth grandson, Arun Gandhi.
Brian Morton of the New York Times found that the closest quote that Gandhi actually spoke and subsequently recorded:  "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do."

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing."
- Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln wrote this quote when advising a prospective lawyer named Reavis.  Lincoln educated himself through his life, and further advised Reavis, "It is but a small matter whether you read with anyone or not. I did not read with anyone." 

In Lincoln's time, it was important who you read or were educated by, much like today where the prestige is conferred by the college one attends.

Lincoln is of course remembered as the President of the United States during the Civil War, but what is perhaps less remembered and arguably just as inspiring is that he tried, and failed, to be elected to the Senate, but persevered and continued to educate himself.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
-  Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a philosopher who believed "God is dead."  He advocated a rethinking of Western Judeo-Christian values, and favored a "life-affirming" vs. "life denying" approach to morality, rather than the "good" vs. "evil" morality seen in Western culture.

Regardless, the quote is often used to encourage those that have suffered setbacks.  If we take the quote literally, it can inspire us to continue even when problems seem ranged against us.
"Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."
- Charles Swindoll

 Spoken by the evangelical Swindoll, whose focus was frequently inspiring and developing true character in the face of modern difficulties. 

Swindoll was here echoing a sentiment that has been in the consciousness of many cultures and ideologies, that is, that life is what we make it and not that we suffer it.

"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm ... As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others." (variation of quote from "In One Era and Out the Other")
- Audrey Hepburn

Hollywood starlet Audrey Hepburn was fond of quoting these lines, from the book "In One Era and Out the Other."  It also contained the inspiring lines, "For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.  People even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anybody."  The above quote was often misattributed to Hepburn, and was one of her favorite quotes due to its clearly inspirational nature.

"You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don't seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together."
- Henry Ford

Ford was the entrepreneur who refined and delivered the assembly line, and used it to produce what he called the, "car for the great multitude."  He believed in hard work and continually pushing production to the point where it benefitted not only his company but his country.

When we think we need others to pull us along, we can realize as Ford did that the inspiration we can find may lie within ourselves.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope."
- Hellen Keller

Keller was afflicted with an illness as an infant that left her deaf and blind.  Despite this physical handicap, Keller went on to write prolifically and engage in social activism.  The above quote was written in her essay "Optimism." 

"Love your Neighbour; yet don't pull down your Hedge."
- Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin regularly published a book of quotes, proverbs, forecasts, and puzzles called "Poor Richard's Almanack."  Franklin is now known, or is cited in many quotes as the person who popularized well-known maxims which had been said for as many as three hundred years before. 


It may not seem inspiring at first, but perhaps the inspiration in the quote lies in the the "Poor Richard" from the title.  He was a persona Franklin created, based perhaps on Jonathan Swift's alter ego Isaac Bickerstaff.   Poor Richard was painted to be both a sort of "everyman" at the same time as being a philosopher and astrologer.  His words became proverbs that became popular in the United States and are still in use today.  Poor Richard is perhaps the wisdom in all of us.


"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson wrote this in his text, "Familiar Studies of Men and Books," about transcendentalist poet Henry David Thoreau.  The section about Thoreau is not free of criticism, but the above quote seems incredibly supportive and in agreement with Thoreau's philosophy. 

When events seem to keep us down, this quote argues that being who we truly are is a goal that is not only worth striving for, but is the ultimate achievement.

"There are many kinds of success in life worth having."
- Theodore Roosevelt

As a man who presided over a trying time in the United States' history, Roosevelt had a unique perspective on what was truly important.  He went on to say in, the same chapter of his autobiography that, "the greatest happiness is the happiness that comes as a by-product of striving to do what must be done, even though sorrow is met in the doing."

Make sure to visit our main Inspirational Quote page!


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