35 Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes That Speak to the Leader in All of Us

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt/Flickr

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
July 22, 2024 at 11:10AM UTC
Eleanor Roosevelt was both a diplomat and an activist. She served as the First Lady of the United States from March 4, 1933 to April 12, 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four terms in office. His four terms made her the longest-serving First Lady of the United States.
We've rounded up 35 of the most powerful quotes she gave us throughout the years and beyond.
1. “You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.”
2. “Work is always an antidote to depression.”
3. “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying attention to you.”
4. “Since everybody is an individual, nobody can be you. You are unique. No one can tell you how to use your time. It is yours. Your life is your own. You mold it. You make it.”
6. “Character building begins in our infancy and continues until death.”
7. “Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.”
8. “The very next thing you need to be doing is the thing that terrifies you the most.”
9. “It is a brave thing to have courage to be an individual; it is also, perhaps, a lonely thing. But it is better than not being an individual, which is to be nobody at all.”
10. “Before we can make friends with anyone else, we must first make friends with ourselves.”
11. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
12. “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”
14. “The mind must be trained, rather than the memory.”
15. “Success must include two things: the development of an individual to his utmost potentiality and a contribution of some kind to one’s world.”
16. “Life has got to be lived — that’s all there is to it. At seventy, I would say the advantage is that you take life more calmly. You know that ‘this, too, shall pass!”
17. “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”
18. “Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a ‘success.”
19. “Your life is your own. You mold it. You make it. All anyone can do is to point out ways and means which have been helpful to others. Perhaps they will serve as suggestions to stimulate your own thinking until you know what it is that will fulfill you, will help you to find out what you want to do with your life.”
20. “No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within.”
22. “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do…”
23. “We all create the person we become by our choices as we go through life. In a real sense, by the time we are adults, we are the sum total of the choices we have made.”
24. “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
25. “The giving of love is an education in itself.”
26. “The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now.”
27. “Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.”
28. “If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault.”
29. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
31. “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”
32. “You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.”
33. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
34. “Courage is exhilarating.”
35. “Enjoy every minute you have with those you love, my dear, for no one can take joy that is past away from you. It will be there in your heart to live on when the dark days come.”

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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