Top 100 Favorite Sayings About Life

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When it comes to sayings about life they all contain some grain of wisdom that for someone becomes a pearl. Sayings about life have been around for centuries and are handed down by spoken or written word generation after generation. Many are flip, some are caustic, and some are inspirational.

The all time greatest collection of sayings about life would have to be Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. It is the oldest and most widely used collection of quotes (and sayings about life) ever. (See From that source and dozens of other online resources, here are 100 of the sayings about life you may find most useful and most quotable.

Humorous Sayings about Life

One of the great things about humorous sayings about life is that they often take a few seconds to “get.” Some of course are very obvious, but the best humorous sayings about life make people laugh for five seconds and think for five minutes.

  1. “Love is like a brick. You can build a house, or you can sink a dead body.”- Lady Gaga
  2. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
  3. “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost
  4. “I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it.” – Jack Handey
  5. “I never gave anyone hell, I just told them the truth and they thought it was hell.” – Harry Truman
  6. “I think I’ve discovered the secret of life – you just hang around until you get used to it.” – Charles Schulz
  7. “Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it that often.”
  8. “Civilization had too many rules for me, so I did my best to re-write them.” – Bill Cosby
  9. “I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.” -  Calvin & Hobbes
  10. “The problem with being a pessimist is that even when you are right you don’t get to enjoy it.”
  11. “It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it’s one damn thing over and over.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay
  12. “A man wrapped up in himself makes a small package.” – John Ruskin
  13. “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?” – Tom Snyder
  14. “I try to be known more for my work than for anything else.” – Charlie Sheen
  15. “You can’t polish a turd.”
  16. “You can’t fly like an eagle if you are surrounded by turkeys.”
  17. “All I do is eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. There must be more to a cat’s life than that. But I hope not.” – Garfield
  18. “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
  19. “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.” – Mark Twain
  20. “I have always wanted to be somebody; perhaps I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

Inspirational and Motivational Sayings about Life

Some speakers and writers fear using inspirational or motivational sayings about life because they think it will trivialize the quote. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that we recognize sayings about life does not mean we are not moved by them.

  1. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
  2. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
  3. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
  4. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  5. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve missed the winning shot. I’ve failed over and over again. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
  6. “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  7. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Dr. Denis Waitley
  9. “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – Rosa Parks
  10. “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” – Immanuel Kant
  11. “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I am with you kid. Let’s go.’” – Maya Angelou
  12. “The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy.” – Angelina Jolie
  13. “Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes our hopes rise to the stars.” – Henry Ford
  14. “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
  15. “Perfect courage is to do without witnesses what one would be capable of doing with the world looking on.” – Rochefoucauld
  16. “One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men, but no machine can do the work of an extraordinary man.” – Elbert Hubbard
  17. “Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music. “
  18. “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off of your goal.” – Vince Lombardi
  19. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  20. “There are two ways to live your life, one as if nothing were a miracle and another as if everything were.” – Albert Einstein

Pragmatic Sayings about Life

Being practical, realistic, and matter-of-fact does not mean that sayings about life are boring. Quite the opposite, the mere fact that sayings about life can be very straight forward makes them all the more believable.

  1. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein
  2. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  3. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”  - Truman Capote
  4. “In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  5. “Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success. “
  6. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
  7. “Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.”  - Dr Phil
  8. “In times like these it is important to remember that there have always been times like these.” – Paul Harvey
  9. “Attack life, it’s going to kill you anyway.” – Steven Coallier
  10. “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”  - Anton Chekhov
  11. “Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.” – William Goldman
  12. “We are born wet, naked, and hungry. Then things get worse. “
  13. “If you stop struggling, then you stop life.” – Huey Newton
  14. “Power does not corrupt, it’s fear of losing that power.” – Seth Czerepak
  15. “We are drowning in information but starving for knowledge.” – John Naisbitt
  16. “Old is always fifteen years older than you are now.” – Randy Voorhees
  17. “If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance.” – Derek Bok
  18. “The man who says that something cannot be done should not interrupt the man who is doing it.” – Chinese Proverb
  19. “I’m generally a very pragmatic person: that which works, works.” –  Linus Torvalds
  20. “A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” – Marilyn Monroe

Ironic and Pun-ish Sayings about Life

It is not true that puns are the lowest form of humor. Sayings about life that use puns are often the best of a speech. They urge the listener to think about what is being said and pay attention to the message. Ironic sayings about life are great thought starters.

  1. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
  2. “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”  -  Abraham Lincoln
  3. “Gravity is a myth; earth sucks.”
  4. “I’m on a seafood diet. Every time I see food, I eat it.”
  5. “Families are like fudge. Mostly sweet with a few nuts.”
  6. “Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids! “
  7. “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” – Reba McEntire
  8. “Great writing is just a dictionary out of order .”
  9. “Not all who wander are lost.” – Bumper sticker
  10. “Once you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.”
  11. “We were so poor when I was growing up we couldn’t even afford to pay attention. “
  12. “The primary responsibility for a child’s education is apparent. “
  13. “My only skill is knowing driving directions, but they tell me that’s not going to get me anywhere in life.”­
  14. “Did you hear about the man who got his finger stuck in his computer? He was trying to insert his thumb drive.”
  15. “I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one.” – Marilyn Monroe
  16. “A tragic irony of life is that we so often achieve success after the chief reason for which we sought it has passed away.” – Ellen Glasgow
  17. “Certainly, it seems that there’s a good deal of irony in the world. I mean, if you live in a world full of politicians and advertising, there’s obviously a lot of deception.” – Kenneth Koch
  18. “I love the irony. I’m perceived as being really young and yet I have the clinical condition of an old man.” – Michael J. Fox
  19. “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson
  20. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley

Sayings About Life and Relationships

Ah, what has not been said about relationships and love? Sayings about life that speak to romantic love are among the most memorable while sayings about life that speak to other relationships are often the most quotable.

  1. “Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  2. “Where there is love there is life.” – Indira Gandhi
  3. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” – A. A. Milne
  4. “To live is like to love – all reason is against it and all healthy instinct for it.” – Samuel Butler
  5. “Life is a quest and love a quarrel.”  – Edna St. Vincent Millay
  6. “A friendship may develop into love, but rarely love into friendship.”
  7. “Marriage is more about being the right person than finding the right person.”  - Seth Czerepak
  8. “First marry the one you love, but then love the one you marry.”
  9. “If one person ‘wins’ an argument, both people have lost it.”
  10. “Don’t go out searching for the right kind of mate, become someone who will attract the kind of mate you are looking for.”  - Seth Czerepak
  11. “Never ruin a good apology with excuses.” – Ben Franklin
  12. “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  13. “Love gives not based on deserving but on need.” – Chosen Potter
  14. “It is better to understand a person’s motives than to criticize their actions.”
  15. “People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered; love them anyway.”
  16. “It’s not the men in your life that count; it’s the life in your men.” – Mae West
  17. “Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”  - Mae West
  18. “Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times.” – Rita Rudner
  19. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
  20. “The best proof of love is trust.” – Joyce Brothers

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