33 Short Quotes That Could Change Your Life In Less Than 20 Words

Published September 27, 2018

Whether it's the words of Gandhi, Lincoln, or Janis Joplin, these short quotes prove that brevity is the soul of wisdom.

Short Quotes
"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." — Pablo Picasso Wikimedia Commons

Joplin Quote
"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." — Janis JoplinWikimedia Commons

Lincoln Quote On Freedom
"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." — Abraham LincolnWikimedia Commons

Philadelphia Portrait
"Wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy." — Benjamin FranklinLibrary of Congress

Frederick Douglass
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." — Frederick Douglass Wikimedia Commons

Anne Frank
"In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." — Anne Frank Wikimedia Commons

Napoleon Bonaparte Portrait
"Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake." — Napoleon BonaparteWikimedia Commons

Shakespeare
"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." — William Shakespeare Wikimedia Commons

Bruce Lee Quote
"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." — Bruce LeeABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Ghandi Quote
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." — Mahatma Gandhi Wikimedia Commons

Benjamin Wade
"Go to heaven for the climate, and hell for the company." — Benjamin Franklin Wade Wikimedia Commons

Ella Wilcox
"Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes." — Ella Wheeler Wilcox Wikimedia Commons

Albert Einstein Vienna
"If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough." — Albert Einstein

Stowe Quote
"The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end." — Harriet Beecher StoweWikimedia Commons

Coretta Scott King Quote
"Hate... injures the hater more than it injures the hated." — Coretta Scott KingWikimedia Commons

Earhart Quote
"Anticipation, I suppose, sometimes exceeds realization." — Amelia EarhartWikimedia Commons

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote
"Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, 'It can't be done.'" — Eleanor RooseveltWikimedia Commons

Nightingale Quote
"I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse." — Florence NightingaleWikimedia Commons

Short Quotes
"Never give an order that can't be obeyed." — Douglas MacArthurWikimedia Commons

Short Quotes
"It is easier to do a job right, than explain why you didn't." — Martin Van Buren Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte Bronte
"I would always rather be happy than dignified." — Charlotte Brontë Wikimedia Commons

Jm Barrie
"To die will be an awfully big adventure." — J.M. Barrie Wikimedia Commons

Oscar Wilde Gutter
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." — Oscar Wilde Wikimedia Commons

Alfred Lord Tennyson
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." — Alfred, Lord Tennyson Wikimedia Commons

John Steinbeck
"Maybe everybody in the whole damn world is scared of each other." — John Steinbeck

Paulo Coehlo
"Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day." — Paulo Coelho Wikimedia Commons

Bernard Shaw
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." — George Bernard Shaw Wikimedia Commons

Jane Austen
"What are men to rocks and mountains?" — Jane Austen Wikimedia Commons

Lady Bird Johnson Portrait
"The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom." — Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" JohnsonWikimedia Commons

James Madison
"The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money." — James Madison Wikimedia Commons

Simone De Beauvoir
"All oppression creates a state of war." — Simone de Beauvoir Wikimedia Commons

John Kennedy
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." — John F. KennedyWikimedia Commons

John Adams
"To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do." — John Adams Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes inspiration can be hard to find. But these short quotes have more inspiration than you'll ever need — and all in just a few words each.

Maybe you're looking for the perfect way to start off that literary dissertation or impress everyone with your knowledge of historic leaders' most famous speeches. Even if you're just looking to wow your friends in casual conversation, look no further than these short quotes by some of the greatest minds in history.

In the gallery above, you'll find quotes by everyone from comedians like Charlie Chaplin to leaders like John F. Kennedy and literary legends like Jane Austen. Whatever the occasion may be, chances are that there are some short quotes for you to use in here.

And don't let their length fool you. Just because they're short doesn't mean these gems don't pack a punch. Men and women like John Adams and Charlotte Brontë may have been people of few words, but the impact of those words is often greater than that of their lengthier counterparts.

But while most of these famous figures would likely be flattered by you reciting their impactful words, others might not appreciate you taking the words of another. In the words of Oscar Wilde, who appears in the gallery above, "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

Since Wilde is no longer with us, go ahead and drop one of the short quotes above into everyday conversation without remorse. After all, he also once quipped, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." Ouch. We'll get some ice for that burn. Meanwhile, enjoy the quotes above.


After these short quotes, check out these inspirational quotes. Then, check out some of the most interesting quotes you'll ever read on any subject.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.