Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928. Before she came to international attention for her memoirs, she was a singer, a dancer and an actress performing in clubs and theaters. She also worked as a correspondent, editor, and school administrator during her time in Africa.
In the 1960s, Angelou became active in the Civil Rights Movement. She helped Malcolm X establish a civil rights group and also worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1969, her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published.
Since then, she published more autobiographies, books of essays and poetry, composed songs, worked in plays, movies, and shows – attaining what many artists hope to achieve in a lifetime. She was a prolific lecturer as well, something she continued doing in her 80s.
As an author, she received a Pulitzer Prize nomination, a Tony Award nomination as an actress, and even won Grammys. With a career that spans decades, she received more than 50 honorary degrees. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Angelou was respected as a spokesperson for women and black people. Her contribution in civil rights, education, and art only shows that she never held back on her beliefs, dreams, and passion. After all, her mission in life is not only to survive, but to thrive.
Here are 36 Maya Angelou quotes inspiring you to live life and to live it well.
If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?
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.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Nothing will work unless you do.
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.
We need much less than we think we need.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
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.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world but has not solved one yet.
If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.
Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.
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.
Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.
A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.
Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
We are only as blind as we want to be.
Determine to live life with flair and laughter.
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.
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
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.
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.
I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.
Share these 36 Maya Angelou quotes to inspire your friends and loved ones.