Why Quotes? Quotes are little (or not so little) nuggets of wisdom that can provide guidance and inspiration on lots of topics. They can be particularly important during the teen years because there are so many challenges to master—all at play at the same time. 

If you browse through these quotes you will find lots of wisdom that you can build into your approach to life. It’s like having a big group of advisors that you can rely on.

Click a link below to jump to quote category:

The Heroic Journey—“Little h” Heroism

"Some days it is a heroic act just to refuse the paralysis of fear and straighten up and step into another day."
– Edward Albert

"The reason progress is slow is that we always expect other men to be the heroes and to live the heroic lives. But we all have hero stuff in us. In our sphere of life we can always live more heroically and triumphantly and grow in heroic stature."
– Wilferd A. Peterson

"That's what heroic stories do for us. They show us the way. They remind us of the good we are capable of."

– Sam Raimi, Director

"To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization."

– Harriet Beecher Stowe

"You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things—to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals."

– Sir Edmund Hillary

“True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

“What the world needs now, more than ever before, are every day heroes who are ready, willing and able to make a difference.”
– Greg Hickman

"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost."
– Arthur Ashe

“When the first Superman movie came out I was frequently asked,"What is a hero?"… My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences… Now my definition is completely different. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
– Christopher Reeve

"A boy doesn't have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn't like pie when he seesthere isn't enough to go around."
– Edgar Watson Howe

“Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed,but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments.”
– Kevin Costner

“Explore your mind, discover yourself, then give the best that is in you to your age and to your world. There are heroic possibilities waiting to be discovered in every person.“
– Wilferd A. Peterson

"Few of us will do the spectacular deeds of heroism thatspread themselves across the pages of our newspapers inbig black headlines. But we can all be heroic in thelittle things of everyday life. We can do the helpful things,say the kind words, meet our difficulties with courage andhigh hearts, stand up for the right when the cost is high,keep our word even though it means sacrifice, be a giverinstead of a destroyer. Often this quiet, humble heroismis the greatest heroism of all."
– Wilferd A. Peterson

"Nothing is given to man on earth—struggle is builtinto the nature of life, and conflict is possible—the hero is the man who lets no obstacle prevent himfrom pursuing the values he has chosen."
– Andrew Bernstein

“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.”
– Bob Dylan

“When you feel the world is against you or you give up hope, you look at your heroes and say, "They were able to do it. They had hard times and a lot of opposition, but they got through it." Then you feel, "I can do it too."
– John Leguizamo

"We find a model for learning how to live in stories about heroism.  The heroic quest is about saying yes to yourself and, in doing so, becoming more fully alive and more effective in the world.  For the hero's journey is first about taking a journey to find the treasure of your true self, and then about returning home to give your gift to help transform the kingdom - and, in the process, your own life.  The quest itself is replete with dangers and pitfalls, but it offers great rewards:  the capacity to be successful in the world, knowledge of the mysteries of the human soul, the opportunity to find and express your unique gifts in the world, and to live in loving community with other people." P.1
– Carol Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within

"Even though most of these myths were created by people who lived in societies that were much less complex than our own, they address the fundamental questions each thinking person still asks:  Who am I?  What is the nature of the universe in which I live?  How do I relate to that universe?  What do I need to do in order to survive?  How much control do I have over my own life?  How do I balance my own desires with my responsibilities to my family and my community?  How can I lead a satisfying life?  How can I reconcile myself to the inevitability of death?"  p. xiv
– Donna Rosenberg, World Mythology

“The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world.” p.40
– Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces


"If one side—the heroic side—of the individual or the society desires a new beginning, the other, more ordinary side prefers the status quo and struggles against the birth. The Herods, the demons, the jealous or angry fathers—all are only too willing to murder the hero, to leave him unattended in the wilderness, or to place him in a basket and leave him to his fate on a river's current. In psychological terms a part of us, representing everything we have been taught about safety and the nest, resists this dangerous journey within."  p. 219 
– David Leeming, The World of Myth

"He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez


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"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go."

– Dr. Seuss

"I asked for wisdom…
And God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity…
And God gave me brains and the strength to work.
I asked for courage
And God gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for love
And God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors...
And God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.
My Prayer has been answered."

– Anon., of Islamic Extraction


"Never dull your shine for somebody else."
– Tyra Banks

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
– Arthur Ashe and Theodore Roosevelt

"Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."
– Nido Qubein

"Trust yourself, Then you will know how to live."
 – Johann Wolfgang van Goethe


"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."
– Mark Twain

"Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power."
– William James

“Alice came to a fork in the road.  ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde


"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
– e. e. cummings

"Your identity should be so secure that when someone walks away from you, they don’t take you with them."
– Unknown


“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

"Do you want to know who you are?  Don’t ask, act.  Action will delineate and define you."
– Thomas Jefferson

"There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: 'This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me… or leave me. Accept me… or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.' When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad, you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you."
– Stacy Charter

"Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice."
– Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford commencement speech

"It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question “who am I” except the voice inside herself."
– Betty Friedan

"I don't feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don't know what will be the end."
– Michel Foucault

"One isn't born one's self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people's ideas—and you have to work through it all."
– V. S. Naipaul, NY Times April 24, 1994

"The reward for conformity is that everybody likes you except yourself."
– Rita Mae Brown


"Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it."
– David Quammen


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"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."
– Eleanor Roosevelt


"It's not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not."
– Author unknown

"Whether you think you can or think you can’t- you are right."
– Henry Ford

"Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong."
– P.T. Mcintyre

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance."
– Bruce Barton

"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot."
– Truman Capote

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt."
– William Shakespeare


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"Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down."
– Eleanor Roosevelt

"Courage is one step ahead of fear."
– Coleman Young

"Courage is not the absence of fear,but rather the judgment that somethingelse is more important than fear."
– Ambrose Redmoon

"Courage is rightly esteemed thefirst of human qualities because it is thequality which guarantees all others."
– Winston Churchill

"Courage is going from failure tofailure without losing enthusiasm."
– Winston Churchill

"Each person has inside a basic decency andgoodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he isgiving a great deal of what it is the world needsmost. It is not complicated but it takescourage… to listen to his own goodness."
– Pablo Casals

"Hollywood, as everyone knows, glamorizesphysical courage… if I had to definecourage myself, I wouldn't say it's aboutshooting people. I'd say it's the qualitythat stimulates people, that enables them tomove ahead and look beyond themselves."
– Clint Eastwood

"If you are lucky enough to finda way of life you love, you haveto find the courage to live it."
– John Irving

"It takes courage to grow up andturn out to be who you really are."
– E E Cummings

"Life shrinks or expands inproportion to one's courage."
– Anais Nin

"The greatest test of courage on earth isto bear defeat without losing heart."
– Robert Ingersoll

"To see what is right, and not to do it,is want of courage or of principle."
– Confucius

"We gain strength, and courage, andconfidence by each experience in which wereally stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot."
– Eleanor Roosevelt

"Courage is not the absence of fear,but rather the judgment that somethingelse is more important than fear."
– Ambrose Redmoon

"To see what is right, and not to do it,is want of courage or of principle."
– Confucius 

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what."
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

"Wealth lost—something lost; Honor lost—much lost; Courage lost—all lost."
– Old German Proverb

"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."
– Billy Graham

"Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says… I’ll try again tomorrow."
– Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey


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"Your purpose doesn’t at all have to be something BIG, either. The value of your impact on others and on the world has nothing to do with its scale. There’s a saying I learned while living in Mexico: “Hay gente para todo.”  This means “there are people for everything”, and refers to the fact that in order for our world to function, we need people living and contributing at all kinds of different levels.
 If we each could find and inhabit the sphere where we’re supposed to be, and contribute what we were made to contribute, what a beautiful world it would be!"

– Susan Biali, M.D. 

"The purpose of life is to discover your gift.  The meaning of life is to give your gift away."
– David Viscott

"We can do no great things—only small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa

“I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, "aw shit, he's up!”
– Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on the Human Experience

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."
– Edward Everett Hale

"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
– William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

"Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic."
– Anonymous

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."
– Marian Wright Edelman

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
– Anne Frank

"A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back—but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."
– Marian Wright Edelman

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."
– Erma Bombeck

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
– Leo Rosten

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."
– Talmud (attributed)

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
– Albert Einstein

"Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander."
– Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C. 

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
– Theodore Roosevelt; From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
– Helen Keller

"Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills—against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence… Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation…
It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man (or a woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he (or she) sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

– Robert Francis Kennedy, speech at Day of Affirmation, University of Capetown, South Africa

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
– Mother Teresa

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
– William James


"Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
– Martin Luther King, Jr. 

"It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.”
– Washington Irving


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Endings—Letting Go

"Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you."
– Unknown

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
– C.S. Lewis

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
– Alexander Graham Bell


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"The moment in-between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place."
– Barbara de Angelis


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"Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react."
– John Maxwell


"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."
– Babe Ruth

"The difference between failing and falling is whether you get up."
– Multiple sources


"Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul."
– General Douglas MacArthur

"There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained."
– W.E.B. Dubois 

"The wonderful thing about saints is that they were human. They lost their tempers, got hungry, scolded God, were egotistical or impatient in their turns, made mistakes and regretted them. Still they went on doggedly blundering toward heaven."
– Phyllis McGinley

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
– Winston Churchill 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
– Winston Churchill

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

"Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear."
– Dan Millman

"Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion."
– Morihei Ueshiba Quotes from The Art of Peace 

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
– Wayne Gretzky

"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."
– Ben Okri

"Success is to measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
– Booker T. Washington

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
– Christopher Reeve

"A gem is not polished without rubbing, nor a man perfected without trials."
– Chinese Proverb

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind
Some come from ahead and some come from behind
But I’ve bought a big bat.  I’m all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me."

– Dr. Seuss

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
– Abraham Lincoln

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"The deepest human defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become."
– Ashley Montagu

"Those who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed."
– Lloyd Jones (adapted)

"If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down."
– Mary Pickford

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
– Thomas Alva Edison

"We seem to gain more wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antitheses of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just on the other side of failure."
– Leo F. Buscaglia

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed.  They won because they refused to be discouraged by their defeats."
– B. C. Forbes

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Goals & Planning

"Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk."
– J. C. Penney

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."
– Michaelangelo

"Goals are dreams with deadlines."
– Diana Scharf Hunt

"Great minds have purposes, others have dreams."
– Washington Irving

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."
– Henry David Thoreau

"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
– Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander of allied forces in WW II and President of the United States

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now."
– Alan Larkin, How to Get Control of YourTime and Your Life

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
– Benjamin Franklin

"A goal without a pan is just a wish."
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself."
– Leonardo da Vinci Quotes

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, because they become actions.
Watch your actions, because they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

– Unknown

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
– Rumi

“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

"We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives."
– George Leonard Quotes

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business."
– Michael J. Fox

"They all have excellent resumes, so what I am trying to find out is how they will behave under pressure."
– Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

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"The gift of friendship… a willingness to listen… a pair of helping hands… a whisper from the heart. That someone cares and understands."
– Unknown Source

"Friendship is like a bank account. You can't continue to draw on it without making deposits."
– Unknown Source

"You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you'd experience. You have rejection and you have to learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it."
– Taylor Swift

"Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life."
– Pythagoras (BC 582-BC 507) Greek philosopher and mathematician

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit."
– Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) Greek philosopher

"False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade."
– Christian Nevell Bovee (1820-1904) American author y lawyer

"Friendship is a living thing that lasts only as long as it is nourished with kindness, empathy and understanding."
– Unknown Source

"The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters."
– Friedrich Nietzsche

"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer

"Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how."
– Unknown Source


"The loss of young first love is so painful that it borders on the ludicrous."
– Maya Angelou


"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
– Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American writer

"People are so fearful about opening themselves up. All you want to do is to be able to connect with other people. When you connect with other people, you connect with something in yourself. It makes you feel happy. And yet it's so scary - it makes people feel vulnerable and unsafe."
– Toni Collette

"Be true to your work, your word and your friends."
– Henry David Thoreau

"Never allow someone else to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
– Mark Twain


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"Welcome to being the parent of a teenager.  Prepare for a large amount of eye rolling, emotional outbursts, and thoughts of running away.  And that’s just the parents."
– Unknown

"Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories."
– John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) 

"To bring up a child in the way he should go—travel that way yourself."
– Josh Billings

"Making the decision to have a child—it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."
– Elizabeth Stone

When parents say 'Because I said so.' you know you made a good argument.

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"Your ability to learn faster than your competition is your only sustainable competitive advantage."
– Arie De Gues

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
– Alvin Toffler

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth."
– Aristotle

"It has always seemed strange to me that in our endless discussions about education so little stress is laid on the pleasure of becoming an educated person, the enormous interest it adds to life. To be able to be caught up into the world of thought—that is to be educated."
– Edith Hamilton

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows."
– Epictetus

"In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
– Eric Hoffer

"Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave."
– Lord Brougham

"All I really need to know… I learned in kindergarten."
– Robert Fulghum

"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."
– Chinese Proverb

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