The 10 Most Inspiring Personal Development Quotes of All Time

There are quotes from wise people that are uplifting and nice to hear. There are those that are easy to remember. There are funny quotes that make you smile.

And then there are those personal development quotes that have the power to really reach us and touch us very deeply. They have the build in ability to inspire positive change in ourselves. Because they express a profound truth in easy, almost elegant ways. They are so strong in their message that -just for a moment- you stop in awe and take in the wisdom they express.

I chose the following personal development quotes because they ask us to grow, to trust in ourselves and to be our best possible.

Be inspired …

1. “Be the change you want to see in this world.” ~ Gandhi [Tweet this!]

GandhiIf I had to pick just one, this would be it.

First and foremost because this great personal development quote is from one of the most inspiring people ever, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was born 1869 in India and trained in law in London later. Employing non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence in 1947 and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights and freedom across the world.

This quote is a powerful call to take full responsibility for your life. Gandhi tells us in order for us to see changes in the world, we are the ones who have to actively create them by ourselves. We are the ones who need to change first, nobody and nothing else. It’s just not enough to complain, criticize or theorize from the “safe” distance. Because that is still weak.

We need to be responsible for ourselves and our environment and invoke the positive change we desire most. That is strength. And it’s empowering, because we are in control! We are the ones that make it happen. Now.

It’s interesting that he never seem to have said the words exactly like this, but the meaning stays the same:

According to the GandhiServe Foundation, confirmed by Grandson Arun Gandhi: The quote is paraphrased from a longer paragraph:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. 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. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” ~ Gandhi

2. “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.” ~ Ken Hudgins [Tweet this!]

What is the purpose of life? The ultimate question. And what an elegant answer! I find this quote to be incredible empowering and inspirational. The meaning of life is exactly what you decide it to be. You are free to choose your own destiny. So choose wisely, invest some time to figure out what you want in life and how to get it.

And on the other hand it also means responsibility. Responsibility to make a good decision and make the most out of your life. Oscar Wilde said “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Be one of the people who live.

According to about.com, Ken Hudgins was a great american biologist. Actually it isn’t that easy to find more about Ken Hudgins, who he was and what inspired him to say those words (If you find more, leave a comment below).

3. “In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.” ~ The Dalai Lama [Tweet this!]

Dalai Lama Quote on Personal DevelopmentYou got to tell yourself the truth. It won’t do you any good if you are rationalizing your life’s situations just in order to avoid the necessary changes and feel a little more happy. This approach would backfire eventually. If you are truthful to yourself, even if it is uncomfortable, you made progress on your way to really improve the situation. You have to be aligned with the truth. It’s the only real way to be free.

The Dalai Lama said those words in his Nobel Lecture on December 11,  1989 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. It shows his compassion, even for people that other would consider their biggest enemies… Here is a longer excerpt from his speech:

“I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.”

The Buddha said something similar and not less inspirational with “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

4. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain [Tweet this!]

Mark Twain wants to encourage you to go actively and courageously for what lays ahead. Sometimes we are afraid or embarrassed and that is stopping us to really live fully in the moment. It’s about taking the long-term perspective and using it to make better decisions now. He challenges us to seize the day.

John Lennon said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” While this is very funny, and often describes reality pretty precisely, this is still not necessarily your path. Especially not if you are a self-reflecting person and pursue your personal growth consciously.

5. “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 [Tweet this!]

Steve Jobs Personal Development QuotesSteve Jobs had and has a defining influence on the way we use technology today. While a genius at marketing and product-design (what a combination) he always strived for simplicity in Apple’s products.

Sometimes we need that kind of reinsurance that what we truly desire most in our hearts is really the right thing. When breaking through our fears and insecurities this wise and experience-based quote from Steve Jobs can come just at the right moment. Have the courage to follow your heart and give your best while doing so! “Everything else is secondary…”

Another strong empowering quote is: “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” This quote is the last line from the 1997 Think Different campaign. It’s not directly from Steve Jobs, as it’s done by an advertising company, but it expresses his philosophy in an inspiring way.

While being tremendously successful, leading Apple to the most valuable company in the world, his main goal was always to remain as narrowly focussed as possible and keep (complex) things simple. He wanted to “put a ding in the universe.” And he did.

The main quote above from Steve Jobs is of course from his legendary speech at the Stanford Campus, as well as his mantra: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

6. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” ~ Albert Einstein [Tweet this!]

Albert Einstein advices us to have the courage to try and to get started with new things. Woody Allen also said half-jokingly, half-serious: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Initially we need to go through the time when we are just not good at what we do. Yes, it feels weird and maybe sometimes a bit frustrating, but be assured that it is a normal part in the cycle of becoming successful.

So push through this initial fear of not being perfect, you won’t be anyway. But you could possibly be a master after some time if you went through the phase of learning and improvement.

7. “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” ~ Oprah Winfrey [Tweet this!]

Oprah Winfrey QuoteGo for your dreams, make a plan, set a goal that gets you in the direction of what you truly desire most. You have to develop the courage to go for it, and this quote of one of the most successful women ever, should prompt you to.

Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty to a teenage single mother. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. (source: Wikipedia) Still she went on to not only become the richest celebrity in the world but more importantly to make significant distributions to poor people.

Another quote from Oprah I really like is: “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” … something that seems so hard to do for some. Doing something right without anybody noticing and without you profiting, because it is the right thing to do, that shows REAL strength of character.

8. “In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” ~ Anthony Robbins [Tweet this!]

Anthony Robbins is without a doubt one of the most energetic yet authentic persons I have ever met. One of his mantras is to inspire us to take massive action towards our dreams. I can remember listening to his Personal Power II audio program which I actually used to increase my energy level.

Two other very inspirational and helpful personal development quotes from Tony are: “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” as well as “Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.”

9. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle [Tweet this!]

Quote by Eckhart Tolle

The problems that we have are there for a reason. We can never cheat on life. There are no short-cuts. We get what we attract by the way we are at the moment. Our internal state and our life-situation move to be harmony, reflecting each other. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we will see the same situations over and over in our life, until we finally change.

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle tells us to take the challenges that we face in life and use them to grow.

Another very authentic quote is: “If not now, when?”
The author of The Power of Now reminds us that life always happens in the present moment and nowhere else. So to experience our life fully means centering our awareness in the Now.

10. “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.” ~ Satchel Paige [Tweet this!]

Dance your life’s dance, like no one is watching…

About the author Myrko Thum

I'm author of this site and I could coach you to make a giant leap ahead in your personal life and your business. I founded Personal Breakthrough Academy, a powerful personal development video course to create your personal breakthrough. Sign up below to get started:

26 Comments

  • rick

    July 20, 2012

    love would be better served if we were to first mourn its loss

    ReplyReply
  • mon

    July 29, 2012

    Gandhi did NOT lead india to independance. Freedom fighters such Bhagat Singh, Sukdev, raj guru sparked awareness amongst Indians, backed by subash Chandra Bose and many other leaders who campaigned against the British. Millions lost their lives fighting against the British. Eventually British were forced to leave as they lost control.
    The British loved Gandhi simply because he promoted non violence which favoured them So whilst people were fighting against the British rule,.Gandhi was too busy writing quotes and getting media attention. Yet practically did nothing for India when he could have done a lot, like saving many freedom fighters from being hanged.

    ReplyReply
  • M.A. Barnette

    July 31, 2012

    There will be times in your life when you only have one thread to hang on to, and its thinner than a human hair…ITS YOUR FAITH !!!

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    August 13, 2012

    Thanks for the note, mon.
    M.A. Barnette, yes faith gives strength, well said.

    ReplyReply
  • Jose Leonidas

    August 19, 2012

    Awesome quotes!

    ReplyReply
  • Radu

    September 11, 2012

    Good blog, good post.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko

    September 11, 2012

    Thanks Radu!

    ReplyReply
  • dan

    December 5, 2012

    Thank you. I needed this.

    ReplyReply
  • Pritam Kamath

    December 11, 2012

    @M.A. Barnette:
    The ultimate truth of one’s belief in Driving Force is explained or simply presented: Its pleasure reading your Quote dear Barnette would love to have more of this elixir: Pritam Kamath

    ReplyReply
  • marius

    May 26, 2013

    This is an outstanding motivational and inspiring post reflecting on the best motivators out there

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    May 26, 2013

    Thanks marius!

    ReplyReply
  • The Theist

    July 2, 2013

    Very Inspiring quotes. Thank you, so much.

    ReplyReply
  • Srirupa

    August 21, 2013

    @M.A. Barnette: Couldnt agree more

    ReplyReply
  • Yaşam Koçluğu Eğitimi

    August 27, 2013

    Thanks for the blog, I love those quotes

    ReplyReply
  • Sasa

    October 24, 2013

    Those people are very inspiring. Tanks for the nice compilation. I like Steve Jobs citation because your heart is sometimes more powerful than your brain and luck is something you have to earn.

    ReplyReply
  • Anna Maledon

    November 12, 2013

    Beautiful quotes…

    I was actually looking to find the exact quote of sth like this:

    You can only grow financially if you grow personally first.

    I don’t know the exact words or who said that. Anybody knows?

    ReplyReply
  • Koçluk Eğitimi

    February 18, 2014

    Great quote

    ReplyReply
  • Salomon

    February 23, 2014

    Great quotes. Most difficult and rather challenging thing we face everyday is to be able to listen to our heart. IF we follow what our heart says, we hardly fail towards to happiness and help others…

    ReplyReply
  • khushi shergill

    March 9, 2014

    These are really motivational thoughts..
    I really like all these n nice explanation. Thank you..!

    ReplyReply
  • Yönetici Koçluğu

    March 26, 2014

    Definetly Great

    ReplyReply
  • Amy

    May 9, 2014

    Nice list but seriously only one quote from a woman???

    ReplyReply

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field