While it’s often a difficult concept with which to grapple, change is inevitable.
People don't always have the courage to change or the serenity to accept constant change., Sometimes we try to stop change from happening; we’re content and comfortable, and the unknown is disconcerting. Other times, we look to induce change — in the world, in our communities and in our individual lives. Whether it’s some unforeseen life transformation that’s happening to you, or it’s a revolution for which you’re advocating, change makes us think critically.
If you’re not entirely sure just how to think critically yet, here are 30 inspirational and motivational quotes about change that put it best — from philosophers, authors and leaders who’ve both endured and encouraged all sorts of change.
- “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Gandhi
- “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
- “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
- “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” — Albert Einstein
- “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” — Terry Pratchett, "A Hat Full of Sky"
- “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” — Lao Tzu
- “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama
- “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” — Andy Warhol
- “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Roy T. Bennett
- “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa
- “Watch yourself about complaining. What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it.” — Maya Angelou
- “When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them.” — Andy Warhol
- “Let him who would move the world first move himself.” — Socrates
- “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” — Martin Luther
- “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — William James
- “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs
- “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn.” — Helen Keller
- “Change not only was inevitable, but usually brought its own rewards.” — Nicholas Sparks, "The Last Song"
- “Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you'd like to act.” — Bob Dylan
- “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
- “There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it.” — Benjamin Hoff, "The Tao of Pooh"
- “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” —John F. Kennedy, "Address in the Assembly Hall at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, June 26 1963"
- “The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.” — Steve Maraboli, "Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience"
- “Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.” — Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are"
- “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.” — Alan Cohen
- “Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.” — Alice Walker, "Living by the Word"
- “Either way, change will come. It could be bloody, or it could be beautiful. It depends on us.” — Arundhati Roy
- “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” — John E. Lewis
- “You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.” — Anaïs Nin
- “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Keep this article bookmarked the next time you need the courage to change. Not only will these keep your attitude positive, but these will help you find happiness and embrace life.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.