8 Memorable Maya Angelou Quotes to Kick-Start Your Best Life

For Dr. Maya Angelou's birthday, let the gift of her wise words spark personal growth

Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou, the inimitable and multitalented poet and author, would have been 89-years-old today. The world shines a little less brightly without this literary luminary’s light and wisdom to spark inspiration and renew lost confidence. But, as with all titans of thought, her wise words live on, encouraging us to live more boldly.

Angelou’s thought provoking messages are imbued with a timeless strength that stirs up the courage to create the best versions of ourselves—something she urged us all to do.

Here, we’ve gathered some lesser-known, but still memorable musings of the acclaimed and beloved poet, which can guide you toward personal growth, freedom, compassion, and a path capable of enabling you to live life to the fullest.

  1. “Try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity. Take up the battle, it’s yours. This is your life, this is your world. You make your own choices. Make it a better world just where you are.”
  2. “Life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you do dare, what you get are the marvelous returns.”
  3. “People often put labels on people so they don’t have to deal with the physical fact of those people. It’s easy to say, oh, that’s a honkie, that’s a Jew, that’s a junkie, or that’s a broad, or that’s a stud, or that’s a dude. So you don’t have to think: does this person long for Christmas? Is he afraid that the Easter bunny will become polluted? … I refuse that… I simply refuse to have my life narrowed and proscribed.”
  4. “Courage is probably the most important of the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently.”
  5. “We need the courage to create ourselves daily, to be bodacious enough to create ourselves daily — as Christians, as Jews, as Muslims, as thinking, caring, laughing, loving human beings.”
  6. “If you teach, you have to live what you’re teaching.”
  7.  “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
  8. “We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise!”