Since we were kids, the guidance counselor told us we had to have positive thoughts. If you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything, right? Well, contrary to what her choice in haircuts made us think at the time, she actually had some valid points. Let’s take a look back at these positive thinking quotes from the historical and global “guidance counselors.”
1. Bernard Baruch on Newton’s Genius.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” – Bernard Baruch
Think about how many people observed the phenomenon of gravity before Sir Isaac Newton made the scientific and mathematical connection that changed the world forever. Isaac Newton was continually lost in thought. He had plenty of opportunities to be negative, but he knew that the only way to find the answers was to stay positive.
2. Barbara Sher on Taking Action.
“Doing is a quantum leap from imagining.” – Barbara Sher
You must have positive thoughts at the core of our being. Yet, all the positive thinking in the world means nothing if you never take those thoughts into positive action. Positive action is the force that can change the world. It can change things in your life and those you directly impact, and they can change the rest of the world. All of us are connected through 6 degrees or less.
3. E. Joseph Cossman on Getting Ahead.
“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves.” – E. Joseph Cossman
We must refuse to get lost in the pursuit of being better than everyone else. The material world will get us lost in the cycle of chasing the next dollar, the next upgrade. Our purpose is greater than that. We must focus on our own thoughts and our own goals, so that we can be the best version of our own self.
4. Joseph Campbell on Finding a Happy Place.
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
You must be able to go deep inside yourself. You can find that special place inside that is focused completely and solely on joy. Unlock the joy inside your mind so that it will burn out all the pain and negative energy in your life. In order to truly have positive thought and energy, you must release all that negative that is locked away.
5. Jesus on Anxiety.
“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” – Jesus
Anxiety is poison. If you allow poison to affect your mental well-being, you will not maintain the positive thinking that will guide you on a positive path. Jesus clarifies the concept of living in the moment on a daily basis. Each day brings enough anxiety and trouble on its own, do not add your laundry list for tomorrow to today’s chaos.
6. Gandhi on the Ocean of Humanity.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Our fellow man is the our most dangerous threat when attempting to stay positive. We can’t go a single day or watch a single newscast without seeing all the terrible things in the world. Focus instead on all the positive things that are out there in the world. Chances are, you see more good on a daily basis that goes completely unnoticed.
7. Gandhi on Changing the World.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Quite possibly the most famous positive thinking quote in history, this line is more than just a great email signature quote. Take this to heart, and become the very change that you are looking for in the world. If only a handful of people pursued greatness in the way that they desire to see it, the world would be changed forever.
8. Buddha on the Power of the Mind.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” – Buddha
Whatever thoughts you keep are what you will be in life. If you fill your mind with only positive thoughts, you will manifest positive outcomes. On the other hand, if you allow negative thoughts to overrun your mind, you will bring about terrible things. You must drive those dark corners out be infusing more sunshine in your thinking.
9. Einstein on Nature’s Enlightenment.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
All mathematical discoveries have come from a deep connection with nature. Einstein looked at the simple way a flower bloomed. He read about Fibonacci’s inspiration in discovering the existence of his sequence in nature. He read about the presence of the Golden Ratio in Nature. All of this beauty, unlocks incredible discovery.
10. Einstein on Asking Question.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Einstein knows the importance of positive thinking. You cannot be lost in the failures you had before this moment. You can’t be lost in what you might be in the future. You must live in this moment, the day you have. And most importantly, you must always be full of questions about life and where you can make a difference. That’s hope.
11. Shakespeare on What We May Be.
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare
Unlocking your full potential depends on prioritizing. The first priority is yourself. Having the right mindset and the right approach toward living is the best way to begin the process of becoming the best you. Right now, you can be filled with positive energy and begin the rest of your life on a positive note. All it takes is a mindset.
12. MLK on Love.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The most basic positive force is love. Love is the most powerful force in the world. Whether you look to George Lucas, Christ, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Buddha, or any other creative mind in history, you will find that the key to all their success and anyone’s true success is the presence and pursuit of love.
13. The Dalai Lama on Positive Action.
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” – Dalai Lama
The positive vision is the first and foremost step in accomplishing any positive action. Positive vision is developed in the mind’s eye by centering all of your thoughts and all of your energy on positive thoughts. When you develop that vision as part of your life, you will only take positive actions and bring about positive things.
14. Willie Nelson on Replacing Negative Thoughts.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
You must shine a flashlight deep into the recesses of your mind. When the light hits the darkness, the darkness will flee. Darkness cannot defeat light. Once you have filled your mind with light, you will be managing positive results in every situation in your life.
15. William James on Life Worth Living.
“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James
Your life is worth living. When you realize that simple fact, it will become the fact that drives your life. You can have anything in life that you want to have, you must manifest that, which begins with positive thinking. Maintain the truth of your personal value to you, your family, and this world.
16. Joyce Meyer on a Positive Life.
“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer
There are people who achieve what we define as success in one aspect of their lives. Those people are not truly successful, because they do not have the positive mindset that determines true success. True success begins with positive thinking and manifests in a complete life, not just finances or fame.
17. Harvey Mackay on Changing Behavior.
“Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.” – Harvey Mackay
We have to differentiate between what books tell us and what positive thinking is in reality. Maintaining true positive thought is not just a tagline. You can’t just memorize a set of chants or set aside 5 minutes for meditation. You have to change your entire mentality, your entire way of life.
18. Ralph Waldo Emerson on Staying Positive.
“Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It’s the best part of the day.” – George Allen, Sr.
That whole getting up early is the tough part. However, if you are centering your efforts on staying in the positive space, it won’t matter about time of day. In fact, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of sunrises. Sip your coffee while the birds sing their morning songs and you might just find that positivity multiplies.
19. Emerson on What Lies Inside.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have a past and you have a future. Those are important parts of your story. Your story is what you can put in books but what defines you is the present. You can make your story by living your now. Bring the inner you to the surface and your story becomes more than just a series of events.
20. Maya Angelou on the Power of Change.
“The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.” – Maya Angelou
If you are lost in the negative space, it is time for a change. Change can be so small in practice, but it can completely flip your life upside down and turn you inside out. There might be nothing that changes in your financial status, your relationship status, or your general well-being, but everything will change in an instant.
21. Aldous Huxley on Improving the Universe.
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
You have power over one thing: You. You can choose to make positive changes and have positive thinking, or you can choose to ignore that one power you have. Use the power you’ve been given. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to the universe. You can manifest anything you want. Start now.
(Read this next: 30 Life-Changing Positive Quotes)