There are many elements and aspects of our life that involve doubts and conflicts . It is common for us to ask ourselves how, when, why and what for, reflecting on many facets of our life and what happens around us. Where are we? Why do we live? Where are we going? What happens after death? Who am I? How should we live? Why is there love or hate? What do I feel and why?
Throughout history, a large number of reflections have arisen regarding these and other issues, whether they are more everyday or more transcendental. In this article we gather a series of phrases of reflection that can serve as inspiration and allow us to see how other people have visualized the world.
The Best Thinking Phrases
Below is a small collection of reflective phrases that have been made by people of all kinds and conditions throughout history, many of which have been uttered by world-renowned personalities.
1. Being deeply loved gives you strength, while deeply loving someone gives you courage
Lao Tse reflects the great power that love has in our lives.
2. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts
A phrase attributed to Marcus Aurelius, it reflects what we think and how we react to the world that allows us to become happy or not happy.
3. The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge
Stephen Hawking’s phrase that reflects that it is worse to erroneously believe that one knows something than to directly ignore it.
4. Sometimes we feel that what we do is only a drop in the sea, but the sea would be much less if it were missing a drop
Maria Teresa of Calcutta pronounced this sentence to make us reflect on the fact that we are all important .
5. Desire is only good as long as it is directed towards the action that satisfies it
Jorge Bucay’s phrase that indicates that wishing and dreaming is only useful if we dare to carry out actions that allow us to approach them.
6. It’s better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory will be yours
Buddha’s reflection that expresses the need to be able to overcome one’s limitations and fears and dare to be as we are.
7. Life is not about finding yourself, but creating yourself
George Bernard Shaw’s phrase that underlines the fact that we are not made in a pre-determined way but rather we forge ourselves through life.
8. The wise man does not say everything he thinks, but always thinks everything he says
Aristotle proposes to reflect before speaking, so that we are aware of what we are saying and its consequences.
9. If you know why you fall in love, you are not in love
Pavarotti’s phrase, which expresses that love is felt and not thought.
10. With morality we correct the errors of our instincts, and with love the errors of our morals
José Ortega y Gasset says that ultimately we are guided by what love, our feelings and emotions, dictate to us.
11. There is nothing good or bad, it is human thought that makes it appear that way
Shakespeare expresses that our evaluations of things are completely subjective , not being universal truths.
12. Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and putting one’s thoughts into action is the hardest thing in the world
Goethe expressed the great difficulty and value of exposing ourselves to putting into practice what we think and living according to what we believe.
13. It is easy to see the faults of others, but how difficult it is to see our own. We display the faults of others as the wind blows the straw, while we hide our own as the cheating player hides his dice.
Buddha’s phrase that expresses that we tend to criticize other people’s faults when we ourselves commit many others and do not see them.
14. In life, man is elastic and evolves. At the moment of death he is rigid and unchangeable. Plants in the sun are flexible and fibrous but they perish dry and cracked. That is why the elastic and flexible is associated with life and the rigid and immutable gives the manna to death
Lao Tse expresses the need to be flexible and able to adapt to changes, leaving rigidity aside and accepting new possibilities.
15. I have noticed that even people who say that everything is predestined and that we can’t do anything to change our destiny still look before crossing the street
Reflection on the non-existence of destiny as something written and invariable by Stephen Hawking.
16. Without reflection we go blindly on our way, creating more unwanted consequences and achieving nothing useful
Margaret Wheatley exposes us the need to reflect so that our acts serve for something positive .
17. In the end it is not the years in our life that count, but life in our years
Abraham Lincoln expresses that what matters is what we do with our life so that it is lived and fulfilled, more than the time we have for it.
18. It always seems impossible until it is done
Nelson Mandela says that we have to risk trying to achieve our goals even if no one else has done so before. It is only impossible what we do not try.
19. In life, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn
John Maxwell’s phrase that reflects that not succeeding in our companies does not mean losing or failing, but offers an opportunity to improve.
20. To live is to be born at every moment
Erich Fromm’s phrase indicating that we are constantly learning and adjusting our way of seeing the world.
21. Our complexes are the source of our weakness, but often they are also the source of our strength
Sigmund Freud pushes us to face our complexes and see them as a source of learning and strengthening.
22. There are three sentences that prevent us from moving forward: I have to do it well, you have to treat me well and the world must be easy
Albert Ellis reflects on the dysfunctional beliefs we have that make our life and adaptation to the world difficult.
23. The search for excellence is motivating, the search for perfection is demoralizing
Harriet Braiker’s phrase that reflects that trying to reach perfection ends up exhausting the one who does it, as he can never reach his goal.
24. Do not waste your time, for out of this matter is formed life
Benjamin Franklin urges us not to waste time and to do what is important to us, having limited time.
25. Our reward is in the effort and not in the result: a total effort is a complete victory
Gandhi used this phrase to explain that what matters is not the goal but the path we use to reach it.
26. What we know is a drop of water, what we ignore is the ocean
Sir Isaac Newton says that we really know very little about the world, and even that knowledge can be totally wrong.
27. If you send reinforcements everywhere, you will be weak everywhere
This phrase is part of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”. It expresses the need to concentrate on something instead of devoting minimal effort to different aspects or domains.
28. Be like the bird that, stopping its flight for a while on too weak branches, feels how they give way under its weight and yet sings, knowing that it has wings
Víctor Hugo says that we must be aware of our strength and our great potential , which will lead us to reach our goals even if we do not have enough means at present.
29. If you cry because you have lost the sun, the tears will not let you see the stars
Rabindranath Tagore points out that we must not let ourselves be sunk by situations, but rather try to be aware that there are many possibilities and opportunities beyond the lost one.
30. If you don’t live dangerously, you don’t live. Life only flourishes in danger. Life never flourishes in safety.
Osho proposes that not taking risks can allow you to be safe, but not to enjoy the great opportunities that life has to offer.
31. We are only a race of advanced apes on a planet smaller than an average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us very special
Hawkings tells us that although we are only a small part of the universe, but a part capable of great things.
32. Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet and merge
Voltaire indicates with this phrase that luck is given not only by chance but by being prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.
33. Do you want to be rich? Then do not strive to increase your wealth but to decrease your greed
Epicurus’ phrase urging us to curb our ambition in order to enjoy what we have
34. To love is not only to want, it is above all to understand
Phrase by François Sagan that reflects the need to understand something or someone in order to truly love it .
35. The most common lie is that with which a man deceives himself. To deceive others is a relatively vain defect
Nietzsche indicates that man often deceives himself in order to facilitate his existence.
36. Stop thinking and finish your problems
Lao Tzu indicates that we must stop thinking about everything, since excessive reflection and concern is generally the origin of many of our current problems.
37. Happiness is achieved when what one thinks, what one says and what one does are in harmony
Gandhi emphasizes the need to be true to oneself.
38. Happiness is not the absence of problems, it is the ability to deal with them
Steve Maraboli’s sentence that indicates that contrary to what many people think being happy does not mean not suffering difficulties .
39. Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
The poet Yalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi refers in this sentence to the fact that although most people seek love, they do not realize that they often put up barriers that make it difficult to find it.
40. One wins and loses, goes up and down, is born and dies. And if the story is so simple, why do you care so much?
This phrase by Facundo Cabral refers to the unnecessary worrying about everything that happens, instead of accepting what comes.
41. I’ll go anywhere, as long as it’s forward
The famous explorer David Livingstone reflects the need to move forward and not get stuck in life.
42. True wisdom is in recognizing one’s ignorance
Socrates saw the recognition of one’s own limits as something worthy of wisdom, being against the pretension of knowledge of many supposed intellectuals.
43. Long is the way of teaching by means of theories; short and effective by means of examples
Seneca reflected on the best ways to learn and concluded that learning that is made meaningful through clear examples for the learners is much more effective than merely rote learning.
44. Everyone who enjoys believes that what matters from the tree is the fruit, when in reality it is the seed. Here is the difference between those who believe and those who enjoy
Friedrich Nietzsche points out that those who reflect and believe are able to see the basis of things and do not remain merely superficial.
45. You’re so small, you’re a blade of grass. Yes, but I have the whole Earth at my feet
Rabindranath Tagore says that no matter how small we may look, we have a lot of opportunities to take advantage of in our lives that can take us almost anywhere we want.
46. Our lives are defined by opportunities, even those we miss
This sentence by Scott Fitzgerald shows that we must think that both what we do and what we do not do is part of and shapes our lives.
47. All our lives began with human affection as the first support. Children who grow up wrapped in affection smile more and are kinder. They are usually more balanced
The Dalai Lama reflects the fact that we all need, especially in our first steps, human warmth and love.
48. If you are looking for different results, don’t always do the same thing
Albert Einstein reflects the need to vary what we do if we are to achieve different things. Persisting in the same attitudes will not change things .
- You might be interested: “What was Spinoza’s God like and why did Einstein believe in him?”
49. If you deceive me once, it is your fault; if you deceive me twice, it is mine
Anaxagoras indicated that we should not be naive and that we should be careful not to be taken advantage of.
50. Keep in mind that great love and great achievement require great risk
Achieving great goals requires effort, risk and sacrifice, as the Dalai Lama said.
51. Let’s thank the people who make us happy; they are the lovely gardeners who make our souls bloom
Proust makes us reflect on those who are close to us and make life happy.
52. I do not share your opinion, but I would give my life to defend your right to express it
Voltaire reflects on the right we should all have to be able to think what we want freely.
53. No person deserves your tears, and whoever deserves them will not make you cry
Gabriel García Márquez said this phrase, indicating that the one who deserves our affection will be the one who loves us and does not harm us unless it is necessary.
54. What is worrying is not the perversity of the wicked but the indifference of the good
Martin Luther King makes us reflect on the need for us to fight for what we believe to be just and not to turn a blind eye to injustice.
55. One does not have the right to love and hate something if one has not acquired a deep knowledge of its nature
Leonardo Da Vinci believes that we should not rush to appreciate or despise things without first making an effort to understand them
56. Happiness is interior, not exterior, therefore it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are
Being happy, as Pablo Neruda tells us , depends on how we feel about ourselves and the world.
57. I am not black, I am a man
Again, another phrase from Martin Luther King that makes us think of labels, prejudices, discrimination and segregation of people according to socially established categories, despite the fact that we are all people.
58. Only fools believe that silence is a void. It is never empty. And sometimes the best way to communicate is by being silent
Eduardo Galeano’s phrase that reflects that even the absence of communication is communicating something.
59. Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains
This sentence by Jean-Jacques Rousseau makes us reflect on the different aspects of our life that often chain us and make it difficult for us to be ourselves.
60. I love you not for who you are, but for who I am when I am with you
Romantic phrase of Gabriel García Márquez that reflects that love makes us see the world with another perspective, independently of how the loved person is.
61. I never think about the future. It comes too soon
Albert Einstein tells us that worrying too much about the future is useless because sooner or later it will come, whether we worry about it or not.
62. There is a secret to living happily with your loved one: don’t try to change it
The poet Dante Aligheri expresses the importance of not trying to change those we love and accepting them as they are.
63. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all
Oscar Wilde reflects the need to think autonomously without depending on the thoughts of others.
64. If I had observed all the rules, I would have gotten nowhere
Marilyn Monroe reflects that sometimes it is necessary to challenge the established in order to move forward.
65. No matter what you do in life, do it with all your heart
Confucius indicates in this sentence the need to put effort into everything we do.
66. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right
Henry Ford indicates the importance of believing in our own opportunities.
67. Mystery is the most beautiful thing we can experience. It is the source of all true art and science
Einstein makes us see that it is the unknown and mysterious of life that makes us move forward, finding new things to see and discover and new ways to try to understand them.
68. I didn’t miss. I just found ten thousand ways that don’t work
Phrase attributed to Thomas Edison in which he reflects that not getting it right is not a failure but rather that it serves to learn .
69. We all have a secret locked in the attic of our soul
Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s phrase that reflects that we all have secrets and parts that we reserve only for ourselves.
70. Think of all the beauty that is still around you and be happy
Despite what happens we can always find some beauty in life, as Anne Frank reminds us in this sentence.