50+ Great Maya Angelou Quotes to Inspire, Empower, and Encourage

If you are looking for inspiration, empowerment, wisdom, or encouragement, you can't do much better than these great quotes from Maya Angelou!

Maya Angelou was so many things—memoirist, actress, producer, and more. But, two of the most renowned aspects of her life were her poetry and her civil rights activism.

Born in St. Louis at the end of the Roaring Twenties, Maya Angelou rose to international prominence with the first of her seven-volume autobiography series, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. To learn more about one of the greatest people of the twentieth century, check out her mini biography here:

A short biography before we get to the awesome Maya Angelou quotes in a sec!

Though she’s passed away, her motivational wit and wisdom lives on in the collection of quotes by Maya Angelou we’ve curated below.


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Here are the best, most inspiring Maya Angelou quotes to know:

You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

Maya Angelou

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.

Maya Angelou

Nothing will work unless you do.

Maya Angelou

Only equals can become friends.

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: Here’s How to Support Black Lives Matter (5 Simple but Effective Actions)

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.

Maya Angelou

I respect myself and insist upon it from everybody. And because I do it, I then respect everybody, too.

Maya Angelou

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

Maya Angelou

The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.

Maya Angelou

There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.

Maya Angelou

A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.

Maya Angelou

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: 25 Small Acts You Can Do to Have a Great Impact

I got my own back.

Maya Angelou

I do my best because I’m counting on you counting on me.

Maya Angelou

Determine to live life with flair and laughter.

Maya Angelou

If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.

Maya Angelou

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.

Maya Angelou

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

Maya Angelou

Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

Maya Angelou

Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.

Maya Angelou

Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: 25+ Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Equality, Change & the Rule of Law

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

Maya Angelou

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.

Maya Angelou

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.

Maya Angelou

Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.

Maya Angelou

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

We are only as blind as we want to be.

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: 35+ Inspiring Quotes About Volunteering & the Joy of Serving Others

We need much less than we think we need.

Maya Angelou

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

Maya Angelou

Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: How to Build Resilience (and Sustain It!) in 5 Easy Steps

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Maya Angelou

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Maya Angelou

That is one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou, but you have to see her perform the entirety of “Still I Rise” in this YouTube video:

This is what I am learning, at 82 years old: the main thing is to be in love with the search for truth.

Maya Angelou

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: 21+ Growth Mindset Quotes to Know for Success, Happiness & Fulfillment

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Maya Angelou

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.

Maya Angelou

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Maya Angelou

I know why the caged bird sings.

Maya Angelou

If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?

Maya Angelou

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.

Maya Angelou

Related Read: 45+ Best New Year Quotes to Help Ring in a Happier, Healthier 2021

Those are our 50-something favorite Maya Angelou quotes for now, and we hope they inspire, embolden, encourage, enlighten, and empower you! Got any questions, feedback, or other good quotes from Maya Angelou we ought to include above? Let us know in the comment section, and thanks for reading!

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Christian Eilers
Written By Christian Eilers
is a writer and expert on the topics of education, entrepreneurship, career advice, travel, and culture. On the Goodwall Blog, he covers topics including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career development, climate action, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Kyiv, Ukraine after living in Warsaw, Poland for the past 4 years. At his desk, you're sure to find Pickwick, his Devon Rex cat, either attacking his fingers as he types or the monitor as the mouse pointer moves around.

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