Maya Angelou Biography | Inspiration Quotations | Motivation Quotes

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Motivational Quotations:

  • “Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.”

  •  “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

  •  “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

  •  “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

  •  “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”

  •  “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  •  “If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”

  •  “I have a son, who is my heart. A wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind.”

  •  “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

  •  “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

  •  “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

  •  “A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim.”

  •  “One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

  •  “It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

  •  “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

  •  “I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.”

  •  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

  •  “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.”

  •  “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

  •  “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”

  •  “You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise.”

  •  “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”

  •  “Nothing will work unless you do.”

  •  “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

  •  “All great achievements require time.”

  •  “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”

  •  “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

  •  “I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”

  •  “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

  •  “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

  •  “There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

  •  “I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

  •  “At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.”

  •  “Whenever I want to laugh, I read a wonderful book, 'Children's Letters to God.' You can open it anywhere. One I read recently said, 'Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.'”

  •  “All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”

  •  “Bitterness is cancer - it eats upon the host. It doesn't do anything to the object of its displeasure.”

  •  “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

  •  “Eating is so intimate. It's very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you're inviting a person into your life.”

  •  “We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.”

    Maya Angelou


  • “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.”

  •  “The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken.”

  •  “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”

  •  “I have great respect for the past. If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going. I have respect for the past, but I'm a person of the moment. I'm here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I'm at, then I go forward to the next place.”

  •  “We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay - and rise!”

  •  “Somehow, we have come to the erroneous belief that we are all but flesh, blood, and bones, and that's all. So we direct our values to material things.”

  •  “What humility does for one is it reminds us that there are people before me. I have already been paid for. And what I need to do is prepare myself so that I can pay for someone else who has yet to come but who may be here and needs me.”

  •  “I wasn't a pretty girl. I was six feet tall at 15, you know.”

  •  “I believe that every person is born with talent.”

  •  “I believe that each of us comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory.”

  •  “Achievement brings its own anticlimax.”

  •  “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

  •  “Don't let the incidents which take place in life bring you low. And certainly don't whine. You can be brought low, that's OK, but don't be reduced by them. Just say, 'That's life.'”

  •  “I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”

  •  “One of my lungs is half gone, and the other half, because I smoked for years, has a lesion. So I can't swim anymore and had the swimming pool covered over. Now it's what I call the dance pavilion, and so I and my friends sit out and put music on and watch people dance.”

  •  “In the flush of love's light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”

  •  “Whenever something went wrong when I was young - if I had a pimple or if my hair broke - my mom would say, 'Sister mine, I'm going to make you some soup.' And I really thought the soup would make my pimple go away or my hair stronger.”

  •  “I would be a liar, a hypocrite, or a fool - and I'm not any of those - to say that I don't write for the reader. I do. But for the reader who hears, who really will work at it, going behind what I seem to say. So I write for myself and that reader who will pay the dues.”

  •  “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

  •  “I never expected anyone to take care of me, but in my wildest dreams and juvenile yearnings, I wanted the house with the picket fence from June Allyson movies. I knew that was yearning like one yearns to fly.”

  •  “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

  •  “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

  •  “You have to develop ways so that you can take up for yourself, and then you take up for someone else. And so sooner or later, you have enough courage to really stand up for the human race and say, 'I'm a representative.'”

  •  “The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you're wrinkled.”

Maya Angelou

  •  “When the human race neglects its weaker members, when the family neglects its weakest one - it's the first blow in a suicidal movement. I see the neglect in cities around the country, in poor white children in West Virginia and Virginia and Kentucky - in the big cities, too, for that matter.”
  •  “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I'm grateful for life. And I live it - I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.”

  •  “Courage - you develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn't want to pick up a 100-pound weight without preparing yourself.”

  •  “It's very important to know the neighbor next door and the people down the street and the people in another race.”

  •  “I think a number of the leaders are, whether you like it or not, in the hip-hop generation. And when they understand enough, they'll do wonders. I count on them.”

  •  “I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I'll be OK. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me.”

  •  “It's good to remember that in crises, natural crises, human beings forget for awhile their ignorances, their biases, their prejudices. For a little while, neighbors help neighbors and strangers help strangers.”

  •  “Nothing succeeds like success. Get a little success, and then just get a little more.”

  •  “Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.”

  •  “Like a pianist runs her fingers over the keys, I'll search my mind for what to say. Now, the poem may want you to write it. And then sometimes you see a situation and think, 'I'd like to write about that.' Those are two different ways of being approached by a poem, or approaching a poem.”

  •  “All of us knows, not what is expedient, not what is going to make us popular, not what the policy is, or the company policy - but in truth each of us knows what is the right thing to do. And that's how I am guided.”

  •  “The hope, the hope that lives in the breast of the black American, is just so tremendous that it overwhelms me sometimes.”

  •  “If I walked into the kitchen without washing my hands as a kid, I'd hear a loud 'A-hem!' from my mother or grandmother. Now I count on other people to do the same.”

  •  “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”



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