Personal Development

33 Expressions That Have Stood the Test of Time

Do you remember pearls of wisdom that you heard growing up? They were valuable lessons that were passed down from people who cared about you. In fact, I’m sure you imparted the same wisdom to others you know as well. Some of the expressions served as inspiration while others offered tried-and-true advice about attaining happiness, achieving success, and living a good life.

The fact is that even though the world is changing at a rapid pace, this wisdom is as true today as it was hundreds of years ago. As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, the French critic, said, “The more things change the more they are the same.”

Times may change, but your core values don’t.

Life-Changing Quotes to Think About

Here are 33 expressions that can serve as guideposts through life:

  1. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  3. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~ William Arthur Ward
  4. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
  5. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~ Milton Berle
  6. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Francis of Assisi
  7. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
  8. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit.’ Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” ~ Muhammad Ali
  9. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Nelson Mandela
  10. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius
  11. “The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.” ~ Dalai Lama
  12. “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” ~ Dr. Seuss
  13. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl
  14. “Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.” ~ Nathan W. Morris
  15. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” ~ Epictetus
  16. “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” ~ Warren Buffett
  17. “The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~ Anonymous
  18. “You cannot push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb.” ~ Andrew Carnegie
  19. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglass
  20. It is better to be alone, than to be in bad company.” ~ George Washington
  21. “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~ Robert Anthony
  22. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain
  23. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” ~ Plato
  24. “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” ~ Aesop
  25. “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.” ~ Dalai Lama
  26. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” ~ Jackson Brown, Jr.
  27. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden
  28. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
  29. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” ~ Mark Twain
  30. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot
  31. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa
  32. “May you live all the days of your life.” ~ Jonathan Swift
  33. “Moral character is the DNA of success and happiness.” ~ (Me) Frank Sonnenberg

The Best Advice You Can Give Others

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m sure you have favorite expressions of your own.

Some folks think that because we’ve progressed in so many areas, everything from the past should be abandoned. But as George Santayana, the philosopher, said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.

If you concur with that premise, what lessons are most meaningful to you? Do you live in conformity with those principles or are they hollow phrases? The point being, if you want others to abide by those tenets, the best way to inculcate them is to lead by example. So, identify expressions that are most meaningful to you and begin to pass the lessons down to people you care about. As the Dalai Lama said, “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.

What Are Your Favorite Expressions?

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.

Additional Reading:
35 Questions to Inspire Soul Searching
Living Life With a Purpose
10 Critical Rules for Living a Happy Life
40 Powerful Quotes That’ll Make You Think
25 of Life’s Most Important Lessons
To Be or Not to Be
25 Inspirational Quotes to Live By

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