35 Profound, Crowbar-esque Quotations to Pry Your Mind Open and Inspire You

I don’t know about you, but I love reading quotations. I recognize that often times quotes can become over-used and platitudinous, but that’s why I’m constantly looking for fresh ones.

A great quotation, for me, can be a bite-size chunk of wisdom, the breeze of an unknown wind, a glimpse into a mind of genius, or an idea-seed that will prompt me to grow and re-invent myself and my view of the world.

Sometimes, reading quotations becomes almost therapeutic for me. I can lose myself in them — each one a miniature story — and alleviate the worries and stress that tend to accumulate in my mind.

And that’s why I want to share a few quotations with you. Here are 35 quotes that really speak to me in one way or another. Maybe they’ll speak to you as well.

“Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.”
― Robert Frost


“This is the real secret of life  ― to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
― Alan Wilson Watts


“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
― T.S. Eliot


“There is no passion to be found playing small ― in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
― Nelson Mandela


“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large ― I contain multitudes.”
― Walt Whitman


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde


“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”
― Terence McKenna


“Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.”
― Gertrude Stein


“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
― Albert Einstein


“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
― Sigmund Freud


“Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”
― Boris Pasternak


“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
― John Steinbeck


“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence – whether much that is glorious – whether all that is profound – does not spring from disease of thought – from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”
― Edgar Allan Poe


“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. 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. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. 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.”
― Maya Angelou


“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”
― Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha


“Before you talk, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.”
― Ernest Hemingway


“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”
― Allen Ginsberg


“Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.”
― Golda Meir

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”
― Carl Sagan


“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.
“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”
― Shel Silverstein


“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”
― Emily Dickinson


“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
― Pablo Picasso


“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself; I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
― Groucho Marx


“Earth’s crammed with heaven… But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”
― Elizabeth Barrett Browning


“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
― Ezra Pound


“Let the labyrinth of wrinkles be furrowed in my brow with the red-hot iron of my own life, let my hair whiten and my step become vacillating, on condition that I can save the intelligence of my soul ― let my unformed childhood soul, as it ages, assume the rational and esthetic forms of an architecture, let me learn just everything that others cannot teach me, what only life would be capable of marking deeply in my skin!”
― Salvador Dalí


“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
― Zora Neale Hurston


“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
― Mark Twain


“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
― C.G. Jung


“Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.”
― Charles Baudelaire


“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


“To be nobody but
yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― E.E. Cummings


“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
P.S. I hope you enjoyed these quotes. Stop back again sometime or sign up for free updates to receive a weekly dose of mind-refinement.


If this essay resonated, you'll enjoy my Dead Honest Newsletter, my list of Cage-Melting Books, and following me on on Facebook and Instagram.

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About Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a Lover of God, healer, mentor of leaders, writer, and music maker. The best way to keep up with his work is to join nearly 7,000 people who read his Substack newsletter.

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10 years ago

Enjoyed reading this collection. Some of them have been my all time fav. too. Esp the first one 🙂

Jordan Bates
10 years ago
Reply to  Jyo

Ah, I love the first one too, Jyo. Great to hear that you enjoyed these and have seen some of them before!

10 years ago

Love these! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Jordan Bates
10 years ago
Reply to  Maddie

You’re welcome, Maddie! 🙂

8 years ago

How important it is to always keep ur soul burning,to keep the flame blazing inside..these quotes are doing the same for me…

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