110 Thinking Quotes to Transform Your Mind

We give you over 100 quotes about thinking that can help you unlock positive and life-changing thoughts today.

Success starts with the way we think. But we often overlook the power of the mind. So we curated some inspiring and creative thinking quotes from people who have changed and are changing the world to remind us all of the value of thinking and how we can use it to our advantage.


How To Use The Best Thinking Quotes

How to use the best thinking quotes?
Great quotes are intensely shareable

Quotes offer a quick nibble for your brain. They can give you a burst of joy in your day or lead you to massive life-changing self-discovery. Using them well can be one of the best ways to influence the people in your life and to brighten your own existence.

  1. Thought quotes can be used to introduce any piece of writing, a chapter in a book or a new blog post. They help to give the reader an early insight into the theme of the writing, and they add a little depth from a well-known and highly respected source.
  2. Thought quotes can be used to fill out your social media channels. Great quotes are intensely shareable. Like songs and shared poetry, they also tell you something about the mood and character of the person who is sharing the quote.
  3. Thought quotes offer an opportunity to learn from history’s most brilliant minds. That doesn’t mean you should only pay attention to famous thought leaders. Sometimes the most genius of quotes can come from someone who is relatively unknown.

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

​​“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

In a world where information is given to us in a silver platter, people forget to think on their own. You might also be interested in our list of quotes about communication.

2. Thomas Edison

Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.

Like a lot of good author quotes, Edison humorously points out how people fail to try at thinking. 

3. Dr. Seuss 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

4. Leonardo da Vinci

“He who thinks little errs much…”

For more like this, check our out list of creativity quotes.

5. Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “The man who can make hard things easy is the educator.”

When we get into critical thinking, some of the best quotes are about education. But those are not the only quotes that lead us to ponder the great questions of life. Critical thinking is an important part of the human experience. It opens a greater wealth of discovery in how we view the world but also how the world functions.

6. Henry Ford

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” You might also like our essays about quotes.

7. Carl Jung

“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” 

8. Cindy Gallop 

“Fear of what other people will think is the single most paralyzing dynamic in business and in life. The best moment of my life was the day I realized that I no longer give a damn what anybody thinks.”

9. Mark Twain

Mark Twain
A.F. Bradley, New York, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

10. Kanye West

“I don’t care what people think, because people don’t think.” 

11. Helen Keller

“People don’t like to think, if one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.”

12. Benjamin Franklin 

“If we all think alike, no one is thinking.”

Franklin, one of the United States’ founding fathers, puts a premium on original thinking.

13. Rosa Luxemburg

“Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

14. Radia Perlman

“The kind of diversity that I think really matters isn’t skin shade and body shape, but different ways of thinking.”

This quote reminds us why we need to embrace diversity in our communities.

15. Georgia O’Keefe

“I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me, so natural to my way of being and thinking.” 

Thinking grants us the joy of creating a world of our own.

16. Aristotle 

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” 

Surveying the different values, beliefs and thoughts without adopting them is a useful exercise to constantly keep our own values, beliefs and thoughts in check. 

17. Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
Sass, Moscow., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking…”

If you like Tolstoy, check out our guide to the best Russian authors.

18. J. William Fulbright

“We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable things’ because when things become ‘unthinkable,’ thinking stops and action becomes mindless.”

19. Albert Einstein

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

There is no better way to understand thinking than through the words and life of history’s greatest minds. Einstein himself encourages us to move beyond our datasets and start exercising our imagination.

20. Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” 

21. Bell Hooks

“Critical thinking requires us to use our imagination, seeing things from perspectives other than our own and envisioning the likely consequences of our position.”

22. Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Right thinking comes with self-knowledge. Without understanding yourself, you have no basis for thought.”

To resolve conflicts around us, we must first seek clarity by understanding our true selves. 

23. David Foster Wallace

“Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.”

Learning what to pay attention to molds our thoughts on how we choose to experience life.

24. Neil Degrasse Tyson

“Knowing how to think empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think.”

25. Stephen King

“Don’t think. Just get your thoughts out there in all their disheveled, chaotic glory.”

The award-winning horror and supernatural sci-fi writer assures us that first drafts are supposed to have a lot of kinks. For more, check out our guide to the best-selling Stephen King books.

26. Oprah Winfrey

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

Fear of failure is what cripples our imagination of what we can achieve. The self-made billionaire stresses the need to break free from this fear.

27. Rita Levi

“I tell young people: Do not think of yourself, think of others. Think of the future that awaits you, think about what you can do and do not fear anything.”

28. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”

Surely, humankind has no shortage of remarkable ideas. But it is turning these great ideas into reality that is most challenging.

29. Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus
Hans Holbein the Younger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.”

This quote covers an idea prevalent in many of the best philosophy books. Overthinking can prevent us from executing our plans. 

30. Bruce Lee

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

31. Andy Warhol

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.”

Sometimes, we just have to start doing something rather than thinking too much about it.

32. Napoleon Bonaparte

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.”

33. Amy Winehouse

“Life’s short. Anything could happen, and it usually does, so there is no point in sitting around thinking about all the ifs, and buts.”

Overthinking is futile as life is full of surprises. Things could go differently from how we played them in our head. 

34. Daniel Kahneman 

“Nothing in life matters quite as much as you think it does while you are thinking about it.”

35. John Keats

“The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing — to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.”

36. Annie Besant

“Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act.”

If what you think of doing will just sit around in your head, better not think of it at all.

37. Marilyn Monroe

“The more I think of it, the more I realize there are no answers. Life is to be lived.” 

38. Vivian (in Oscar Wilde’s The Decay of Lying) 

“Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any disease.”

39. Harold Walker

“Worry is thinking that has turned toxic. It is jarring music that goes round and round and never comes to either climax or conclusion. 

40. Lao Tzu

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.”

41. Winston Churchhill

Winston Churchhill
Central Office of Information, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

42. Edward Rickenbacker

“I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through–then follow through.”

43. Celine Dion

“It’s the moment you think you can’t, that you can.” 

Whenever you doubt yourself, think of this quote and push forward.

44. Robert Schuller

“The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.” 

45. Queen Latifah

“Life is so much bigger, grander, higher, and wider than we allow ourselves to think.”

46. Albert Camus

“In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners.”

The most intelligent people should appeal not only to their genius but also to their moral virtues when taking a stand.  

47. Hannah Arendt

“If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to ‘demand’ its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant.

As Arendt’s work shows, several factors help us determine good and bad. But you must think deeply about the circumstances at hand. 

48. Jane Goodall

“True wisdom requires both thinking with our head and understanding with our heart.”

A clever brain must be combined with a kind heart to achieve great understanding.

49. Norman Vincent Peale

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

The best way we can start changing is reframing our thinking. 

50. William Shakespeare

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

51. Marcus Aurelius

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

52. Maya Angelou

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”

53. Zig Ziglar

“One small positive thought can change your whole day.”

That quote is short and sweet, but it gives you some things to ponder about the power of positive thinking. If you like Zig Ziglar’s ideas, check out our guide to the best self–help books.

54. Herman Hesse

“Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.”

We can succeed if we put our mind and body to our goals.

55. Joe Frazier

“There’s one thing I don’t ever think about: losing … Instead, I think about how I’m going to win, and how I can do it the quickest way.”

Research has shown that imagining your victory helps one succeed. 

56. Pearl Zhu

“Strategic Thinking helps to bridge between where you are and where you want to be.”

57. Adrienne Rich

“Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you…”

Addressing a group of female students, Rich was encouraging young women to claim education through active thinking instead of merely receiving an education.

58. George Orwell

“If people cannot write well, they cannot think well. And if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”

59. Arthur Schopenhauer

“A truth, an insight, which you have slowly and laboriously puzzled out by thinking for yourself could easily have been found already written in a book; but it is a hundred times more valuable if you have arrived at it by thinking for yourself.”

60. John Locke

John Locke
Godfrey Kneller, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”

61. Coco Chanel

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

62. Voltaire

“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.”

Sometimes, the best way to help other people develop is to let them think and act on their own.

63. Montesquieu

“The less men think, the more they talk.”

This thinking quote reminds us of Shakespeare’s famous quote: “The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”

64. Kahlil Gibran

“In much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.”

65. Abraham Lincoln

“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”

Thinking of others’ objectives help us empathize with them.

66. Sylvia Plath

“My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.”

For more quotes like this, check out our round-up of famous poems

67. CS Lewis

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” 

68. Pope John Paul II

“For many years I myself was deeply enriched by the beneficial experience of university life: … to all those learning to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better.”

69. Maria Montessori

“We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit.”

70. Richard Dawkins

“Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.”

71. Jane Nelsen

“Parents will learn that children ‘hear’ better when they are invited to think and participate instead of being told what to think and do.” 

72. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“People spend a lifetime thinking about how they would really like to live. I asked my friends and no one seems to know very clearly.”

Some think too long about how they want to spend their lives that they end up with less time in trying out anything worthwhile.

73. Maryam Mirzakhani

“…I do believe that many students don’t give mathematics a real chance. I did poorly in math for a couple of years in middle school; I was just not interested in thinking about it.”

74. Beyonce

“If you don’t take the time to think about and analyze your life, you’ll never realize all the dots that are all connected.”

75. Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey
All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“There’s a difference in thinking you are a champion and knowing that you are.”

76. Ada Lovelace

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.”

77. Carl Sagan

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

To be a true scientist, one must think scientifically rather than simply know science.

78. Rosalind Franklin

“My method of thought and reasoning is influenced by a scientific training—if that were not so my scientific training will have been a waste and a failure.”

79. Sir William Bragg

“The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.”

80. Nikola Tesla

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”

81. Marie Curie

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty.”

82. Hedy Lamar

“I think the brains of people are more interesting than the looks.”

While her face can launch a thousand ships, Lamar, as the inventor of the Wi-Fi technology, valued genius the most, inspiring the world to shift away its attraction from the superficiality of physical beauty.

83. Terry Pratchett

“I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.”

Pratchett adds humor to the much-used metaphor of thinking out of the box. If you want to write like him, check out our guide to the best comedy writing books.

84. Robert Greene

“Many a serious thinker has been produced in prisons, where we have nothing to do but think.”

85. A. A. Milne

“The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. A second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. A first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”

86. Friedrich Nietzsche

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

Walking can help us think more clearly while also our physical health.

87. Henry David Thoreau

“To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” 

88. Steve Jobs

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

89. René Magritte

“If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but of thinking of the question that is raised.”

90. Terry Heick

“Critical thinking is certainly a ‘skill’ but when possessed as a mindset–a playful and humble willingness–it shifts from a labor to an art. It asks, ‘Is this true? By what standard?”

91. Erik Pevernagie

“If we do not hesitate to set sail for the deep waters of our thinking and take the time to cultivate the right words that we need to conceive and express what we feel, we can avoid many misconceptions.”

92. Joan Didion

“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

Writing helps crystallize our thoughts and exposes the gaps that show what we truly do not know and should find out. 

93. David McCullough

“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.”

94. Don Delillo

Don Delillo
Thousand Robots Thousandrobots (talk)., CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don’t know what I think about certain subjects, even today until I sit down and try to write about them. Maybe I wanted to find more rigorous ways of thinking.”

95. Banksy

“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”

Thinking a lot works for some but only when it helps provide clarity to their thoughts and propels action.

96. Jacinda Ardern

I am a thinker, and I do muse over things a lot and am constantly assessing whether I am doing enough or what I should be doing more of to make sure I am not letting anyone down.”

97. Elon Musk

“I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

98. Theodore Levitt

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” 

99. Safran Catz

“I like to say it’s an attitude of not just thinking outside the box, but not even seeing the box.”

This is another witty touch to the metaphor on thinking outside the box. 

100. Kevin Trudeau

“If you continue to think the way you’ve always thought, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.” 

101. Todd Stocker

 “Busyness chokes deep thinking.”

102. Shinzo Abe

“Think about the present starting from the future.”

103. Louise Hay

“Every thought we think is creating our future.” 

104. James Borg

“Your past, present and future are moulded by your thoughts. Remember – your thinking is your life’s autobiography.

105. Helen Mayhew

“Habits that you have had for years can be maintained only by thinking about them in the future in the same way you thought about them in the past.”

106. John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy
Cecil Stoughton, White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

Many of the best thinking quotes come from influential leaders. These can give you a sense of the speaker’s greatness, but often they give you a sense of your own possibilities. If these great leaders can talk of failures and missteps, you too might achieve greatness.

107. Giancarlo Esposito

“When you’re speaking Spanish, you’re thinking in a different way.”

Aside from increased job opportunities, learning a different language can help you think differently and connect more deeply with new cultures and people.

108. Malala Yousafzai

“The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.

This quote shows that challenging the status quo requires a lot of courage and thinking. 

109. Jane Austen

“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”

Like many famous writer quotes, Austen’s work is also deeply rooted in philosophy.

110. Virginia Woolf

“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.”


  • Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.