224 Short Quotes and Sayings about Life

Sometimes you don’t have to use many words to get your point across.

In fact, keeping it short and simple can make what you’re saying extra powerful and memorable.

This is of course nothing new.

It’s something that’s many of the wisest people in history have kept in mind over thousands of years.

And today I want to share some of that sharp and quick wisdom.

This is 224 short and inspirational quotes about life and on how to make it a good, happy, loving and successful one from the past 2400 years.

I hope these quotes will give you a boost when you need it the most.

[Note: the original version of this post contained 101 short quotes but it has now been updated with 100+ additional quotes in a few new categories like, for example, short funny quotes.]

Short and Meaningful Quotes about Happiness

101 Short Quotes and Sayings about Life

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
— Epictetus

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
— Confucius

“The only joy in the world is to begin.”
— Cesare Pavese

“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
— Albert Camus

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
— Aristotle

Short quote by Dalai Lama

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
— Dalai Lama

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”
— Lucille Ball

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”
— Dennis Waitley

“It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.”
— Seneca

“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer

“For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.”
— Seneca

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

Short quote by Robert Anthony

“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.”
— Dr. Robert Anthony

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
— Marthe Troly-Curtin

“Happiness is a state of activity.”
— Aristotle

“The pleasure which we most rarely experience gives us greatest delight.”
— Epictetus

“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.”
— Seneca

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh

“The unhappy derive comfort from the misfortunes of others.”
— Aesop

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
— L.M. Montgomery

Short quote by Confucius

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

“The best thing in life aren’t things.”
— John Ruskin

 “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
— Winnie the Pooh

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”
— Benjamin Disraeli

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
— Robert Frost

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
— Albert Schweitzer

“Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.”
— Heraclitus

Short and Inspiring Quotes about Love

 “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
— James Baldwin

“When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.”
— Blaise Pascal

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
— Khalil Gibran

Short quote by Ray Croft

“I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”
— Roy Croft

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
— Elbert Hubbard

“Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.”
— Euripides

“Love is a friendship set to music.”
— Joseph Campbell

“The more one judges, the less one loves.”
— Honore de Balzac

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
— Alfred Tennyson

“Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.”
— Andre Breton

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
— Morrie Schwartz

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
– Buddha

Short quote by Benjamin Franklin

“If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.”
— Lord Byron

“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
— Herman Hesse

“The giving of love is an education in itself.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

“No matter what happens in life, never lose sight of who you are.”
— Yanni

“Better to have lost and loved than never to have loved at all.”
— Ernest Hemingway

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
— Bruce Lee

“The best proof of love is trust.”
— Joyce Brothers

Short Quotes by Leo Buscaglia

“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
— Leo Buscaglia

“Love is a better teacher than duty.”
— Albert Einstein

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’”
— Erich Fromm

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
– Anais Nin

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

 “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
— Robert A. Heinlein

“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

 “A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.”
— Honore de Balzac

Short and Motivational Quotes about Success

 “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
– Pablo Picasso

Short Quotes by Malcolm Forbes

“Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.”
– Malcolm S. Forbes

“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.”
– Harry F. Banks

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
– Florence Nightingale

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
– Oprah Winfrey

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.”
– Erich Fromm

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”
– Henry Ford

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
– Bruce Lee

“If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.”
– Napoleon Hill

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

Short Quotes by Richard Branson

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
– Richard Branson

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
– John R. Wooden

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”
– Robert Kiyosaki

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
– Steve Jobs

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
– Henry Ford

“Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”
– Dalai Lama

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
– Stephen King

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
– Samuel Beckett

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
– Mark Twain

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch

“The road to success is always under construction.”
– Lily Tomlin

“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
Steve Jobs

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“Good things happen to those who hustle.”
– Chuck Noll

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

“Success is largely a matter of holding on after others have let go.”
– Unknown

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”
– Albert Einstein

Short Quote by Arthur Ashe

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe

“You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.”
— Oprah Winfrey

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”
– Robert Collier

Short Self-Esteem Quotes to Help You to Feel Good About Yourself

 “Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”
– Maxwell Maltz

“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?”
– Brigham Young

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.”
– Katrina Mayer

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
– W.C. Fields

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.”
– Robert Hand

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
– Mark Twain

Short Quotes by Deborah Day

“Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.”
– Deborah Day

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
– Benjamin Spock

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”
– Shannon L. Alder

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”
– Charles Bukowski

“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”
– Robert Morley

“Beauty begins the moment you decided to be yourself.”
– Coco Chanel

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
? Dr. Seuss

“People who want the most approval get the least and the people who need approval the least get the most.”
– Wayne Dyer

“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.”
– André Gide

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.”
– Helen Keller

Short Quotes by Maya Angelou

“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”
– Maya Angelou

“Your problem is you’re… too busy holding onto your unworthiness.”
– Ram Dass

“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness.”
– Jean Vanier

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
– Malcolm S. Forbes

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
– George Eliot

Short Funny Quotes (When You Need a Quick Laugh)

“Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.”
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.”
– Calvin Coolidge

“I may be a living legend, but that sure don’t help when I’ve got to change a flat tire.”
– Roy Orbison

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.”
– Scott Adams

Short Quotes by Steven Wright

“I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”
– Steven Wright

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”
– Oscar Wilde

“I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.”
– Rodney Dangerfield

“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.”
– Ethel Barrymore

“If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.”
– Steven Wright

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
– Albert Einstein

“You can always tell when a man’s well informed. His views are pretty much like your own.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Here’s something to think about: How come you never see a headline like ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?”
– Jay Leno

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
– Winston Churchill

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
– Will Rogers

Short Quotes by Ann Landers

“If you want your children to listen, try talking softly to someone else.”
– Ann Landers

“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”
– George Carlin

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.”
– Erma Bombeck

“I have a lot of growing up to do. I realized that the other day inside my fort.”
– Zach Galifianakis

“The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30 percent of their ice cream.”
– Bill Murray

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
– Albert Einstein

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
Tom Clancy

“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.”
– Benjamin Franklin

“A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”
– Groucho Marx

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.”
– George Carlin

Short Quotes by Dalai Lama

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

“Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt, not swallowed.”
– Josh Billings

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”
– Charles M. Schulz

Short Quotes about Staying Strong During Tough Times

“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I like criticism. It makes you strong.”
– LeBron James

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”
– Susan Gale

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
– Robert H. Schuller

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
– Henry Ford

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Short Quotes by Honore de Balzac

“The more one judges, the less one loves.”
– Honore de Balzac

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength”
– Oprah

“You can’t really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.”
– Ken Kesey

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
– J.K. Rowling

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”
– John Wooden

“Concentration is the secret of strength.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
– Og Mandino

”Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
– Richard Branson

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
– Margaret Thatcher

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.’
– Eckhart Tolle

Short Quotes by Sarah Dessen

“Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.”
– Sarah Dessen

“The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”
– R. G. Ingersoll

“The only way out is in.”
— Junot Díaz

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”
– Robert Schuller

“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
– Leo Buscaglia

Short and Inspiring Friendship Quotes

“Friends are people who know you really well and like you anyway.”
– Greg Tamblyn

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.”
– David Tyson

“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.”’
– Socrates

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”
– Arnold H. Glasgow

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
– Linda Grayson

Short Quotes by Len Wein

“A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.”
– Len Wein

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
– Confucius

“Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected.”
– Charles Lamb

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”
– Tennessee Williams

“There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.”
– Jim Henson

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.”
– Leo Buscaglia

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
– Alice Walker

“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.”
– Maxwell Maltz

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
– Abraham Lincoln

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.”
– Elbert Hubbard

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.”
– Epicurus

Short Quotes by Woodrow T. Wilson

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”
– Woodrow T. Wilson

“The best time to make friends is before you need them.”
– Ethel Barrymore

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.”
– George Santayana

“A man’s friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.”
– Charles Darwin

“Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.”
— Miles Franklin

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
– Walter Winchell

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”
– Donna Roberts

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.”
– Ed Cunningham

“It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”
– Marlene Dietrich

Short Inspirational Quotes for Work (to Help You Work Hard and Smart)

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Short Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

“The future depends on what you do today.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
– Dale Carnegie

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”
– Seneca

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
– Jim Rohn

“You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind.”
– Irish Proverb

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”
– Confucius

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.”
– B. B. King

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
– Stephen Covey

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.”
– Eva Young

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
– Confucius

Short Quotes by Dalai Lama

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
– Dalai Lama

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
– Dale Carnegie

“The fool wonders, the wise man asks.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

“Happiness is the real sense of fulfillment that comes from hard work.”
– Joseph Barbara

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
– Paulo Coelho

“The best way out is always through.”
– Robert Frost

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford

“Think of many things; do one.”
– Portuguese proverb

What’s your favorite among these short quotes about life? Feel free to share the best one(s) you have found in this article or in your own life’s journey in the comments section below.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Subscribe to The Positivity Newsletter and get weekly tips on happiness, self-esteem and plenty more.

You’ll also get three free guides on how to stop being lazy, what to do when life sucks and 21 things I wish they’d taught me in school.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
    – Florence Nightingale

    +1 for the value of hard work.

    Apart from knowing the right people and being able to network well, hard work and a strong work ethic makes success a lot more likely to happen.

    Keep grinding!

  • Great thoughts! These quotes are really motivational and inspire us to live a happy life.