21 Quotes From Maya Angelou That Will Inspire You Today


By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

A very prominent figure among authors and poets in America and worldwide, Maya Angelou is highly decorated and has won many awards over her long and illustrious career. During the Clinton presidential inauguration in 1993, she recited “On The Pulse Of Morning” and became the first poet to do this since 1961. She received the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and ten years later was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Angelou was a titan in her field and has made her presence felt in different areas of literature ranging from memoirs to screenplays. She has also worked as a journalist and has performed on stage multiple times. Her career as an activist is inspirational to all who hear about it. She was a force to be reckoned with during the Civil Rights Movement and she collaborated with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Throughout her life, Angelou fought for women and people of colour and never swayed away from her quest for equality. She passed away on the 28th of May, 2014 when she was 86 years old but her legacy will continue forever.

Here are some of the best excerpts from Maya Angelou. These words are filled with power and insight and are sure to change your life.

Inspirational Quotes From Maya Angelou

  1. “Nothing will work unless you do”

As the old saying goes ‘God helps those who help themselves’. If you want something in this world, you’ll have to put in the work for it. 

  1. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

We don’t start out knowing everything and that’s completely okay. The important thing is that you learn as you go. 

  1. “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

The most pointless emotion is probably hate. Nothing but sorrow can come of it. 

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

Opening your heart to another person is actually difficult. Vulnerability isn’t easy for anyone. 

  1. “I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.”

Sometimes it helps to know that there’s another person depending on you to get things right. It gives you the motivation to do your best. 

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

Life is full of pitfalls and challenges. The important thing is getting up every time you fall down. 

  1. “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.”

There is no greater achievement than winning the love of the people around you. 

  1. “I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Always stay humble. There’s so much in this world that we don’t know so it is better to use every opportunity that you can to gain more knowledge. 


  1. 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.”

Words are wind but the memory of an emotion can last forever. Be careful how you treat people.

  1. “When you know you are of worth — not asking it but knowing it — you walk into a room with a particular power.”

Remember that you hold your own value as a person and always walk with your head held high.

  1. “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.

Nothing ever comes easily. Bravery is a skill just like any other and you need to practise it to get better at it. 

  1. You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

Life isn’t about money. There’s no point if you get paid well but you hate your job so much that it makes your life a living hell. 

  1. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

The potential we have is endless. We just need to tap into it at the right time. 


  1. “I was told many years ago by my grandmother who raised me: If somebody puts you on a road and you don’t feel comfortable on it and you look ahead and you don’t like the destination and you look behind and you don’t want to return to that place, step off the road.”

Nobody can force you to do anything in this world and it isn’t right for them to attempt it. Don’t be afraid to say no if you aren’t happy with something. 

  1. “If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Courage is all you need. Face your fears and never try to hide your light from the world.

Read: 25 Nikola Tesla Quotes Proving How Great Genius He Really Was

  1. “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.

When you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll be good at it. Some amount of compromise will be necessary but you’ll find that you don’t mind at all. 

  1. I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.

There’s nothing more important than your self respect. See your value for what it is and then make sure everyone else does. 

  1. I got my own back.

Nobody will be there more for you than you yourself. 

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  1. 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.”

Whatever your values are, it takes courage to stick to them even in the most trying of times. 

  1. “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”

Let things change you for the better. Learn and grow as much as you can. Never let anything bring you down. 

  1. “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.”

It’s a step by step process. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all right in one go. 

Read: 24 Beatles Quotes Which Show Why Their Music Nearly Sparked A Revolution

Accept your past for what it is and take lessons from it. You’ll be a better person in the future. 

Keep these words in mind every day of your life and try to live by them. Things will definitely change for the better.

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