10 Top Personal Development Quotes

Quotes provide quick and practical access to a wealth of human knowledge spanning over huge volumes of literature in every discipline. Personal development quotes serve us as little pearls of wisdom, distilled from an ocean of material which in practical terms is inaccessible to one individual lifetime.

Their true power is not only expediency but also their ability to leave a mark in us, help us ponder, inspire us and motivate us.

Personal development literature, most particularly, is ripe with quotes and snippets of wisdom that come from the finest minds and authors who have contributed in making this world a better place. I would like to share with you some of the best of these personal development quotes here.

I have selected some power-packed personal development quotes that are closely related to some of the core topics in the field – Life Purpose, Changing Perspective, Creating your Destiny, Overcoming Fear and Self-Empowerment.

Life Purpose

A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for. ~ Marcus Aurelius (Tweet this)

Marcus Aurelius - a man's true

Marcus Aurelius was what is known by scholars as one of the Stoic philosophers. Having been a Roman emperor, he was also the most powerful man of the time. A man of great integrity, knowledge and practical wisdom, his writings remain of practical relevance even till present day.

The quote is simple but telling. It reminds us that we all have a purpose and doing the things we ‘were made for’ is a ‘true delight’. Another way of saying ‘true delight’ would be ‘authentic, exciting, joyful’.

My take on this quote is “Do more things that excite you since these are closer to your life purpose. There is no higher joy than that!”.

We all have something that we are meant to do. Your genius will shine through, and happiness will fill your life, the instant you discover your higher purpose you will then direct all your energies towards it. ~ Robin Sharma (Tweet this)

robin sharma - we all something

The above quote needs very little comments. It is clear, straightforward and most of all so true!  It once again highlights the power of knowing and living your life purpose which is one of the most important steps in self-actualization, hence personal development. The interesting point made by the author is how knowing your life purpose will compel you to direct all your energies towards it. This can be seen in people who are so driven by their purpose that they seem to be compelled and obsessed to carry it out.

Changing Perspective

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. ~ Wayne Dyer  (Tweet this)

Wayne Dyer - if you change (1)

This is a classic quote from Wayne Dyer, author of ‘The power of Intention’ and ‘Change your thoughts, Change your Life’ (amongst other best-selling titles).  The quote is a crystallization of a deep and far reaching truth in personal development. Our biggest stumbling block is our own mind. Our mind is full with pre-conceptions, beliefs and limiting thoughts that skews our perspective on life. Our view of the world is always filtered and conditioned by our perspective. This conditioning can be quite deep and any real transformative change will always start from changing one’s perspective and hence reconditioning the mind.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. ~ Eckhart Tolle (Tweet this)

Eckhart Tolle - the primary cause

I consider Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth so seminal and important that any line you pick from the book is worthy of a timeless quote. Seriously, if you never read the book you must not stop at reading just the quotes. The quote reinforces a point that is a common truth and a central part of Buddhist philosophy. Basically that our minds (and its identification with its thoughts) is the cause of our suffering and unhappiness. It is never the situation itself.

A big perspective changer is then the misidentification with thought and mind, knowing that the conditioning of the mind is an illusion. Suffering can be turned into peace and strength by looking at life from your stillness rather than from the ceaseless ruminations of your mind.

Self-Mastery and Self-Empowerment

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ~ Lao Tzu (Tweet this)

Lao Tzu - knowing others is

Lao Tsu’s Tao TeChing, is the ultimate distillation of human wisdom. There is no book in the human history that conveys so much wisdom in such so few words (the book has only 80 verses).

The above excerpt is simple, elegant and powerful. The central message is that one of the highest goals in life is self-mastery. “Knowing yourself is true wisdom…..mastering yourself is true power”. A personal development interpretation of this line could be – if you want to develop yourself, get to understand yourself (inner motivations, purpose, talents) and follow the path to self-mastery.

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz (Tweet this)

Don Miguel Ruiz - don't take anything

A key to self-empowerment is reclaiming back the power lost to others. What this means is not falling victim to the need for other’s approval or being hurt by others’ words or action by taking things personally. As the quote tells us the words and actions of others is a projection of their own reality. It shouldn’t be reflected into our own reality and hence why we shouldn’t be taking it personally. This realization empowers you to be more immune to others’ opinions which in turn empowers you even further to be your true self and reach your own potential.

The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance. ~ Alan Watts (Tweet this)

Alan Watts - the only way

Such a beautiful quote from philosopher Alan Watts. Fear of change and resistance to change is one of the most common blocks to personal development. We naturally fear what we don’t know or can’t make sense of and this limits us in many ways. Embracing change, accepting it, moving and dancing with it is the ONLY way to make sense of it. There is profound wisdom in this thought. When we try to make sense of it through the rationalization of our mind, we are bound to fail. When we trust and accept it from our heart, we are leaving open the only path where we make sense of it by becoming that change.

Creating your Destiny

You have to begin to tell the story of your life as you now want it to be and discontinue the tales of how it has been or of how it is. ~ Esther & Jerry Hicks (Tweet this)

Esther & Jerry Hicks - you have to

Esther Hicks is known internationally for her work as a medium and channeller of the so-called group consciousness ‘Abraham’. Through her work as a medium she has brought forward a lot of teachings regarding the subject of manifesting your destiny. In this quote she brings to our attention a simple but much needed attitude towards life – that of rewriting the narrative of our life according to how we want it and NOT how it is or has been. This has powerful connotations. If you want to move forward and get unstuck from the status quo of your self-limiting patterns you need to rewrite the script and change your perspective. That script should focus on where you want to be and not where you are now or where you are coming from.

Be the change you want to see in this world. ~ Mahatma Gandhi (Tweet this)

mahatma gandhi - be the change

This is perhaps the most quoted saying by the spiritual leader Gandhi. It carries a compelling truth on so many levels – personal, political and spiritual. One of our biggest blind spots is that we do not see how the world and people around us are a projection of ourselves. If we want to change that, then we need to change ourselves. More importantly we need to BE the change we want to bring forward, rather than expecting it will come by itself or by waiting that others will change it for us.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. ~ Dalai Lama (Tweet this)

Dalai Lama - happiness is not

His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is most famous for communicating the most basic truths in the simplest and most elegant form. This quote is an example of this. Happiness is not something pre-packed that can be achieved by acquiring something or reaching somewhere. It is only a result of your own actions. That is to say that no one is responsible for our own happiness but ourselves. It comes from how we relate to, and make meaning of, our external reality. Realizing this responsibility we have towards ourselves is liberating, encouraging and most of all empowering.

I hope these personal development quotes inspires and motivates you to the extent of helping you lead a humble yet empowering life.

About the Author

Gilbert Ross is a researcher, blogger, philosopher and online media expert. He teaches personal development topics through workshops and the online media, particularly about positive life transformations and unfolding the human potential.

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