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personal growth polywork

19 quotes to inspire your personal growth journey

The Texas Tech University researcher and associate professor of counseling Dr. Christine Robitschek defines personal growth as “a person’s global inclination to intentionally improve one’s self in different areas of his or her life.” Easy enough, right? But personal growth is a paradox: yes, it’s entirely about the individual and initiated wholly from within, but as Robitschek determined through her studies, it cannot be done alone. Relying on outside resources is a key factor in actually advancing oneself towards a goal, which as Robitschek found, means “actively seeking out things or people to help you grow as a person.”

Depending on your goals—improving your physical well-being, focusing on your mental health, increasing your career satisfaction, etc.—those resources can include therapists, classes, self-help books, or specially-designed personal growth training manuals. And when the process gets hard (spoiler alert: it will get hard), you can lean on the advice and encouragement from the countless people who have gone down the road of self development before you—and in many cases, people who are still on that lifelong journey today.

Here are 19 quotes from writers, entrepreneurs, public figures, and other experts on why personal growth matters and how to take steps towards your full potential.

Quotes to get you started on your personal growth journey

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth of the atomic age—as in being able to remake ourselves.”— Mahatma Gandhi, a twentieth-century lawyer, activist, and leader of India’s independence movement

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”— George Bernard Shaw, a nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish playwright  

“The swiftest way to triple your success is to double your investment in personal development.”— Robin Sharma, a Canadian writer, speaker, and leadership expert

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”— Oprah Winfrey, a world-renowned media personality and talk show host

“We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be.”—Glennon Doyle, an author, activist, podcast host, and founder of the women-centric nonprofit Together Rising

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”— Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple

“The foundation of success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”— Arianna Huffington, an author, businesswoman, and co-founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global

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Quotes for when growth feels painful

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”— Abraham Maslow, the twentieth-century psychologist who developed the famous hierarchy of needs theory

“If you’re never able to tolerate a little bit of pain and discomfort, you’ll never get better.”— Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the co-founder of the nonprofit Character Lab

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.”— Jen Sincero, a best-selling author and motivational speaker

“The belief that you cannot change leads to a victim mentality. If you are determined by nature to be what you are, then there is nothing you can do about your lot in life. Conversely, the belief that you can change leads you to take responsibility for your life. You may have been born with certain constraints, but you can change those constraints, allowing yourself to improve and grow.”―Benjamin Hardy, an organizational psychologist and author whose work focuses on growth and transformation

Quotes on growing at your own pace

“When we choose growth over perfection, we immediately increase our shame resilience. Improvement is a far more realistic goal than perfection.”— Brené Brown, a social worker, writer, and podcast host

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”― Henry Ward Beecher, a nineteenth-century American minister and abolitionist

“Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Your life is about growing yourself and investing in yourself and reaching your true potential. You are not in competition with anyone else.”— Jay Shetty, a British author, speaker, life coach, and former monk

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Quotes about being—and staying—self-motivated

“I think in life you should work on yourself until the day you die.”— Serena Williams, an American tennis icon

“There are three things, to my account, that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.”— Matthew McConaughey, American actor

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.”— Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

“When you become stagnant and aren’t improving by the day, you are only moving toward your failure.”― Pooja Agnihotri, a New York marketing executive and business writer

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”— Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States