10 Great Quotes About Change

quotes about change

Often, quotes can be a source of inspiration – or illumination! Here I’ve chosen ten quotes about change and growth that I enjoy, and I’ve added a few words about each. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, too.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

This has been one of my favorite quotes since childhood. It’s known as “The Serenity Prayer” and reminds me that, while I can’t control everything, I can and should have an influence on some things.

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

– Ellen Glasgow

Change for the sake of change isn’t a good thing. If you find yourself constantly looking for “change” then try focusing on “growth” instead.

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.

– Francis Bacon

Here, Bacon is saying that if we don’t choose to change things for the better, they’ll naturally tend to get worse. A good example of this is the proverb a stitch in time saves nine.

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.

– Margaret Mead

It’s so easy to feel small and helpless as one of seven billion people in the world. But your actions can and do make a difference.

All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every newborn baby, that there is an active will toward health, an impulse towards growth, or towards the actualization.

– Abraham Maslow

You might be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This quote ties in with that, emphasizing that we all have an innate impulse to grow and to improve – even if that impulse gets stunted by society.

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

– Gail Sheehy

This is one of the reasons why I find change and growth so tough! True growth can be scary and uncomfortable – it means stepping well outside your comfort zone.

Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.

– Julia Cameron

This is another reason why growth is difficult. Sometimes, you might feel like you’re not making consistent progress: you make mistakes or back-slide. That’s normal, though; don’t beat yourself up about it.

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

– Calvin Coolidge

Perhaps you think about change a lot … but are you actually doing anything? It’s all too easy to read about getting fit or getting out of debt, but it’s a lot harder to take action. The problem is, without action, you’re not going to get anywhere.

Life is about growth. People are not perfect when they’re 21 years old.

– Bill Walton

I’m still pretty young (26) – but I sometimes get frustrated that I’ve not accomplished as much as I’d like, and that I’m not always the person who I want to be. This quote reminds me that I’ve got plenty of years of growth ahead of me.

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.

– M. Scott Peck

M. Scott Peck wrote the bestseller The Road Less Traveled, an inspiring, if tough, book about emotional and spiritual growth. He emphasizes that we need to work to grow, even when it’s tough, otherwise we can’t reach our full potential.

Have you got any great change quotes to add? Did one of these resonate with you? Let us know in the comments below…

30 thoughts on “10 Great Quotes About Change”

  1. Great quotes on change and growth Ali .#9: “Life is about growth. People are not perfect when they’re 21 years old.” – Bill Walton

    I gotta agree with ole Bill on this one. You can change the age to 31 and still be correct.

  2. While the Serenity Prayer has always been a sorce of solace and inspiration. I have always seen it attributed to St Francis of Assisi.
    At least that is what the one on my desk says. Great list,

  3. Great quotes and insightful commentary on each, Ali!

    You asked for our quotes. Here’s one by Viktor Frankl: “There are only two races: the decent and the indecent.” Perhaps not so much inspiring as insightful. What separates us (race, religion, political ideology, etc) are trivial. What matters, really matters, is the kind of people we make of ourselves.

    Thanks for a great article, Ali!

  4. Very good list. Thanks for sharing. I want to share my favorite which is
    “If we can read this message, we are more fortunate than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot or are not allowed to read”. The author is unknown but it was a message written for Christchurch earthquake 2011. It is not about change but it definitely helps me put into perspective many situations.
    Thank you.

  5. Good list Ali!

    Here’s more quotes about growth:

    “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” Albert Einstein

    “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” John F. Kennedy

  6. Great timing Ali, I’ve just been blogging about the quotes I have embroidered onto vintage doilies and framed.
    Here’s one I haven’t stitched but is on my wall at work:
    “We owe almost all our knowledge not to those who have agreed but to those who have differed” CC Colton

  7. Dearest,
    Your comment on #9 really has put a smile in my heart.
    You are 26 and haven’t accomplished a lot of what you have wanted OR become the person you wish to be!!
    Oh Heavens! You are so far behind my sweetness, you may as well just forget about ever catching up now, at 26 years old!
    Gee, I was all done around the time I turned 15, and I thought I was behind!
    Okay, in all serious now, because I truly do
    understand and have not forgotten how I felt about my own life and circumstances, in similar ways,before 26 and even now, at 48.
    Honestly,I am still growing and learning and I wouldn’t wish to complete the process until my ride is complete.
    Be grateful for all there is you wish for. Without anything to want or hope for, what’s the point? And it’s not always having what we want, but wanting what we have!
    LOL! 26…..Slow Down!

    1. Haha, thanks, Michaela! I’m sure that I’ll look back in 20 years — or 10 — and realise just how young I was at 26 … I think I need to learn patience! ;-)

  8. NIce list. I also like, “Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy.” ~ Gandhi. I think it reminds us that we are in control of our happiness and that we need to take action to achieve it.

  9. I love these quotes! Number 1 is my favorite though I must say. Some one told me that when I was going through a rough time and I always just thought “the only person you can change is yourself.”

  10. I love quotes, they are so simple, powerful and can be used as affirmations or even more empowering as declarations to help install the mindset for success. I actually enjoy writing my own quotes which I am looking forward to sharing. There is always a place for a quote which reminds us of the simplicity of life which so often gets forgotten about. Every blog should share some to bring us to the level of greatness through simplicity. Have a great day.

  11. I’ve been a fan of Scott Peck for a while so that was my pick. Here’s one from Winston Churchill to add to the list:

    “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”

  12. Absolutely wonderful post, Ali! I think they’re well chosen and the personal thoughts you put in after each is a great touch…thanks for the inspiration…

    Virtually Yours,

  13. I don’t know if this one ties in exactly, and I don’t know who said this, but I once saw this quote on a graffit wall that says “Be the change you want to see in the world”
    It gives me my motivation to carry on when i want to give up, and to muster energy to persist through problems

  14. Great list of inspiring quotations…I also loved the fact that you chose to put some clarifications of your own on the end of each. They come in handy when we encounter stepping stones and challenges along the way of change.

    All in all, we must understand that change is difficult, takes conscious planning, is timely, requires action, change of thinking and habits….but is required.

    Either you actively handle your change or change will actively handle you……

  15. Great list and comments – thanks. I also believe it is a great idea to come up with your own, if it is for the sake of refining your understanding. As we develop, we find our own gems along the way…

  16. I really enjoyed this well put together list of inspiring quotes. I am a high school student and these quotes really give me some motivation. I especially like the quote you selected by Margaret Mead, as it applies to me the most. I talk about change all the time and how I would like to see things happen in the world that surrounds me. However, I know these words are meaningless unless I intend to put them to action. I try and start small with what I can do, such as volunteering to make a difference in someone else’s life, even if it is one person. At least it’s someone being changed for the better. Thank you for sharing these very inspiring quotes.

  17. I love this post!

    I particularly love #9 – I’m 26 as well and keep wishing I’d done more. But I only graduated from uni 4.5 years ago – it’s not like everything ends in 4.5 years’ time (touch wood!)

    We’ve still got our future ahead of us, and plenty of it, and that quote is a great reminder of that. Thanks!

  18. “All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is the only law of life, just as you breathe to live.” Swami Vivekanada

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