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17 Short Inspirational Quotes that Will Make Your Day

Get inspired to be a better, happier, more productive person with these short inspirational quotes from comedians, philosophers, authors, and celebrities.

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Inspirational sayings can be a two-edged sword. The quotes that motivate some people to try harder may make others feel inadequate or hopeless. To help bring a smile to your face and, yes, inspire you to be a better, happier, more productive person (whatever that means for you personally), we rounded up short inspirational quotes from a wide variety of different types of people.

From comedians to authors to bona fide motivational speakers, we guarantee you’ll find something you can relate to. (Also, here’s  how you can improve your mental health.)

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No one’s too small to make a difference

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” —The Dalai Lama

Perseverance is something the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet has been practicing since 1959 when he was forced to flee his country.

(And if you feel like you’re a target for the annoying insects, check out why certain people attract mosquitos.)

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Your choice

“We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” —Carlos Castenada

This American author was intrigued by mystical approaches to self-improvement.

(For more, check out these short inspirational quotes to help you cope with depression.)

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The K.I.S.S. principal

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” —Confucius

Teacher, reformer, advisor, philosopher, and prophet: Confucius is considered one of the most influential individuals in human history.

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Don’t forget to laugh at (or with) yourself

“I always wanted to be somebody but now I realize I should have been more specific.” —Lily Tomlin

Tomlin is a former Saturday Night Live cast member, actress, and comedian extraordinaire.

(Boost your self-esteem with these short inspirational quotes that will help you feel happy with who you are.)

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A good outlook is the best revenge

“A positive attitude won’t solve all your problems—but it will annoy enough people to make it worth it.” —Herm Albright

An Army man, Albright became a Brigadier general in World War I.

(Optimism is great but here are 10 times when positive thinking can backfire.)

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Dance like everyone’s watching

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ―Friedrich Nietzsche

Not bad advice from the philosopher known for his nihilism.

(Keep your sanity and learn new things with these 30 amazing brain facts that will blow your mind.)

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Let the world lead the way

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” —E. M. Forster

Forster is the British novelist best known for Howard’s End.

(Taking a risk by trying something new is one of the 32 secrets of people who’ve crossed off their bucket lists.)

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Watch and learn

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

The former First Lady went from a shy and awkward child to a diplomat, activist, role model, and United Nations spokeswoman.

(Here’s how to fix 50 little everyday mistakes that everyone makes sometimes.)

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What fills your cup?

“People who wonder if the glass is half empty or half full are missing the point. The point is that the glass is refillable!” —Simon Sinek

Sinek is an entrepreneur, TED Talk phenomenon, and eternal optimist.

(For some ideas on how to refill your cup, start with these short inspirational quotes for succeeding in life.)

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Progress is vital

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” —Will Rogers

Considering all the hats Rogers wore—vaudeville performer, stage and film actor, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist—he definitely knew what he was talking about.

(Transformation is powerful: 9 real-life stories of people who changed their lives.)

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Yes, cookies can fix a lot of things

“Today me will live in the moment. Unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.” —Cookie Monster

Wisdom comes in many forms, and sometimes that form is a puppet.

(Craving a cookie but worried about overindulging? Try one of these nutritionist-recommended healthy sweet snacks.)

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Bone up

“To succeed in life, you need three things: A wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.” —Reba McEntire

This country music megastar is an unstoppable force of nature.

(Make sure you’re doing these 30 simple things you can do every day to improve your bone health.)

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If you can’t find the bright side, just look for a bright spot

“Not every day is good but there is something good in every day.” —Alice Morse Earl

This American historian nearly drowned in 1909 when the ship taking her to Egypt sank off Nantucket. If she was able to find something good in that day (surviving, perhaps?), then everyone can look for the positive.

(These short motivational quotes from cancer survivors will have you looking for the good right away.)

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Trust yourself

“You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.” —Robin Williams

By embracing his inner muse, Williams—an outstanding comic and actor—was able to bring joy and tears to millions.

(Perhaps being lazy might be the key to creativity.)

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The alternative is much harder

“Whenever I hear somebody sigh ‘Life is hard’ I’m always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?'” —Sydney Harris

A syndicated columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a best-selling book author, Harris was a philosophy major and good friends with novelist Saul Bellow; in other words, he had a deep understanding of the human condition.

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Point of view

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” —Winnie the Pooh

The zen wizard of Christopher Robin’s Hundred Acre Wood nails it yet again.

(If you’re worried that what you are now is all you can be, check out these 11 ways you’re smarter than you think.)

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You’re not alone

“Here’s to another day of outward smiles, and inward screams.” —Everyone in 2020


Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and ghostwriter who for nearly two decades has covered health, fitness, parenting, relationships, and other wellness and lifestyle topics for major outlets, including Reader’s Digest, O, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, and many more. Charlotte has made appearances with television news outlets such as CBS, NBC, and FOX. She is a certified group fitness instructor in Denver, where she lives with her husband and their five children.