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21 Influential Maya Angelou Quotes

Maya Angelou passed away today at the age of 86. Known for work as an educator, author and leader in the civil rights movement, the world was deeply impacted by her poetry and her beautiful smile. She touched the lives of many, and was one of the most influential people who ever lived. Here are 21 of her best quotes as a way of paying tribute to this incredible woman.

  1. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “Nothing will work unless you do.”
  4. “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
  5. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
  6. “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.”
  7. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
  8. “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
  9. “If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.”
  10. “If you get, give. If you learn, teach.”
  11. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
  12. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”
  13. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
  14. “I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”
  15. “There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”
  16. “All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”
  17. “During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.”
  18. “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.”
  19. “Once you appreciate one of your blessings, one of your senses, your sense of hearing, then you begin to respect the sense of seeing and touching and tasting, you learn to respect all the senses.”
  20. “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”
  21. “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.”

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