54 Maya Angelou Quotes To Inspire your Life

Maya Angelou quotes are inspiring. This collection is available for reading at any time, but it is especially useful during trying circumstances.

quotes by maya angelou


  • Maya Angelou Brief Biography
  • 54 Maya Angelou Quotes
  • Maya Angelou Quotes on Life
  • Maya Angelou Quotes on Love
  • Quotes by Maya Angelou on Change
  • Maya Angelou Quotes on Love on Courage

Who was Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. Her real name is Marguerite Annie Johnson. When she was only three, her parents divorced and she and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in a small town in Arkansas. There, she experienced the harsh realities of racial discrimination and poverty. Despite these challenges, she excelled in school and went on to attend college.

After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a waitress and a nightclub dancer. She also became involved in the civil rights movement. In the early 1960s, she moved to Ghana, where she worked as a journalist. While there, she met Malcolm X, who had a profound impact on her life.

In 1968, she returned to the United States and became a civil rights activist and writer. Her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1970 and made her an international literary star. She went on to write numerous bestselling books, including several volumes of poetry.

Maya Angelou was a remarkable woman who overcame many obstacles in her life. She was a talented writer and an important voice in the civil rights movement.

 Angelou continued to write and publish throughout her life, and her work includes numerous collections of poetry, essays, and memoirs. Angelou died in 2014 at the age of 86.  She will always be remembered as one of the most important figures in American history.

Maya Angelou Quotes

maya angelou-quotes
  1. “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

2. “‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.”

3. “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

4. “All great achievements require time.”

5. “Nothing will work unless you do.”

6. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

7. “When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time.”

8. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

9. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

10. “Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.”

11. “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” – Maya Angelou

12. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

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

14. “Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.”

15. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” – Maya Angelou

16. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

17. “While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.”

18. “I believe that every person is born with talent.”

19. “No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

20. “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”

21. “A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

22. “Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.”

23. “I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.”

24. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou Quotes on Love

maya angelou quotes

25. “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

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

27. “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

28. “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

29. “First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.”

30. “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.”

31. “I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.”

32. “To those who have given up on love: I say, “Trust life a little bit.”

33. “Success is loving life and daring to live it.”

34. “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.” – Maya Angelou

35. “You can never be great at anything unless you love it.”

36. “When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.”

37. “Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you’ve got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.”

38. “The love of the family, the love of one person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society.”

39. “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.”

40. “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 of you.”

Quotes by Maya Angelou on Change

Maya Angelou quotes on change

41. “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

42. “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

43. “Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

44. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” 

45. “Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.”

46. “When we decide to be happy we accept the responsibility to bring happiness to someone else.”

47. “Some people cannot see a good thing when it is right here, right now. Others can sense a good thing coming when it is days, months, or miles away.”

Maya Angelou Quotes on Love and Courage

Maya Angelou quotes on courage

48. “Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

49. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

50. “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

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

52. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” 

53. “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”

54.  “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.” – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is one of our favorite authors and her quotes are some of the best. Perhaps you’ve read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, or some of her other books. The quotes we’ve shared here are just some of her many inspirational thoughts. We hope they will help you, too, in the way she wrote them—to encourage, comfort and inspire.

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