150 Words of Encouragement: Inspiring Words and Phrases

Discover the best words of encouragement to use in your writing by reading our list of inspiring words. Elevate your writing and expand your vocabulary today!

Words of encouragement inspire readers and empower writers. Writers can become that driving force — if they learn to use handpicked words. Encouragement has various guises. You might encounter a wondrous mixture of gestures to this effect, verbal ones not being the least significant.

However, motivation (as individual an act as it may appear at first glance) is rooted in unconscious stereotypes human evolution has been perfecting since time immemorial. Subtleties take shape in cultural nuances; sadly, we often lack the knowledge to grasp them. If you’re interested in this, you’ll love our list of motivational words.

Psychologists have been theorizing about manifestations of enthusiasm for a long time, with no final conclusions whatsoever. For the sake of the argument, we’ll stick to one theory:

“Albert Bandura’s (1997) seminal theory on self-efficacy includes four sources of self-efficacy, one of which is verbal persuasion. Verbal persuasion (also known as social persuasion) refers to what people say to others regarding their belief about what others can or cannot do and can strengthen or dampen others’ beliefs about their capabilities.”

Y. Joel Wong

What Are Words of Encouragement?

Any upbeat word or phrase that makes us feel better is ultimately encouraging. Still, different cultures have different ideas of what constitutes encouragement. If you asked a modern American, you might get an answer like “You’ve got this!” This phrase signifies individual achievements.

By contrast, Chinese culture cherishes the collective approach. Traditional proverbs underlining perseverance are common. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is a powerful saying that has made it across the continents.

“It’s better to fix what you have than wait to get what you don’t have” is an omnipresent Arab proverb. Russians say that “everything is good in its time,” and the Japanese say that “the most important time in life is always the present.” Cultural diversity is a treasure trove indeed!

We bet we can conjure a fair share of words in English that can motivate people from different cultures. You might also be interested in our homophones word list.

Words of Encouragement Printable

Words of encouragement printable
AcceptFindMake hay while the sun shines
AccomplishFingers crossedMindfulness
ActFocusedNever say die
AdaptFollow your dreamsNoble
AdventureGet aheadOff to a great start
AdviceGet the ball rollingOn cloud nine
AmbitiousGive (something) a shotOptimistic
AttainGo the extra  mileOvercome
Be   home and dryGoodnessPath
Be over the moonGratitudePatience
BeginGrin from ear to ear Perfection
BelieveHang in therePerseverance
BelongHang onPerspective
BlissHave the world at one’s feetPut one’s heart (and soul) into something
Bounce off the wallsHeavy hitterRare
By all meansHonestyReflect
ClassyHopeRole model
Cool as a cucumberImproveSeriousness
CountIn full sailSkillful
Dark horseJumping for joyStrive
DecideKeep upSuccess
DeterminationKnowTake it/something one day at a time
DoKnow (oneself)Talent
Do the impossibleKnowledgeThere’s no time like the present
DreamLarger than lifeThrive
Eager beaverLearnTurn over a new leaf
enthusiasmLift upVanquish
ExcellenceLight at the end of the tunnelWish
ExcitementLiveWith bells on
ExhilarationLook on the bright sideWith flying colors
FateMagicThe sky’s the limit

Words of Encouragement from Ancient Greece and Rome

Ancient Greece left us with a philosophical legacy that is difficult to beat. Let’s face it: Romans had their moments, too! Aqueducts, anyone? That’s why it’s only fair to start with their wisdom. Check out our list of pretty words.

  1. Desire

Always desire to learn something useful. (Sophocles)

  1. Fate

Fate guides the willing but drags the unwilling. (Cleanthes)

  1. Hope

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. (Epicurus)

  1. Learn

Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, and stupid people already have all the answers. (Socrates)

  1. Life

Life is long if you know how to use it. (Seneca)

  1. Noble

For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories. (Plato)

  1. Perspective

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. (Marcus Aurelius)

  1. Quality

Quality is not an act, it is a habit. (Aristotle)

9. Rare

All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare. (Spinoza)

10. Strength

God always strives together with those who strive. (Aeschylus)

  1. Strive

You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. (Marcus Aurelius)

Words of Encouragement From the Oldest Civilizations: the Sinosphere and India

The Chinese believe that Dao (“The Way”) is the universe’s natural order. Cultivating the mind to become “a man of culture” must harmonize with the natural order. Similarly, Indian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism) deem nirvana the ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. These two oldest surviving cultures have influenced Asian countries’ faith through centuries.

However, indigenous religions still surface here and there (e.g., Japanese Shintō). From this vantage point, encouragement is a different concept altogether. Let’s see what these conformist societies have to say about the matter.

  1. Accomplished

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. (Laozi)

  1. Change

You are not here to change the world. The world is here to change you. (Shantideva)

  1. Cross

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. (Rabindranath Tagore)

  1. Excellence

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. (Confucius)

  1. Honor

You may abandon your own body, but you must preserve your honor. (Miyamoto Musashi)

  1. Kindness

Never by hatred is hatred appeased, but it is appeased by kindness. This is an eternal truth. (Buddha)

  1. Know

Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. (Laozi)

  1. Know oneself

If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. (Laozi)

  1. Knowledge

Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality. (Dalai Lama)

  1. Path

The obstacle is the path. (Zen proverb)

  1. Perfection

Perfection is the willingness to be imperfect. (Laozi)

  1. Right

Who you are is always right. (Deng Ming-Dao)

  1. Spirit

Though my body may decay on the island of Ezo, my spirit guards my lord in the East. (Hijikata Toshizō)

  1. Wish

Even the wishes of an ant reach to heaven. (Shintō proverb)

Literary Words of Encouragement

If you think it’s difficult to beat ancient wisdom, think about creative souls from all geographies who have indebted the world with their elusive wit. If you’re a fan of romance, you may find some encouragement in our round-up of famous poems about love.

However, we’re talking about prominent literature geniuses, the likes of whom we can only hope to glimpse in the future. Here are some of their notable words of encouragement, which transcend time and language barriers.

  1. Adapt

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (George Bernard Shaw)

  1. Admiration

There is innocence in admiration: it occurs in one who has not yet realized that they might one day be admired.” (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche)

  1. Advice

She generally gave herself very good advice, though she very seldom followed it. (Lewis Carroll)

  1. Attain

To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness. (Edgar Allan Poe)

  1. Beauty

There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty. (John Steinbeck)

  1. Begin

To begin, begin. (William Wordsworth)

  1. Blessed

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken. (Albert Camus)

  1. Courage

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. (Harper Lee)

  1. Creative

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. (Ayn Rand)

  1. Decide

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. (J.R.R. Tolkien)

  1. Do

How do you know you’re going to do something until you do it? (J. D. Salinger)

  1. Excitement

In the first few seconds, an aching sadness wrenched his heart, but it soon gave way to a feeling of sweet disquiet, the excitement of gypsy wanderlust. (Mikhail Bulgakov)

  1. Get ahead

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. (Mark Twain)

  1. Goodness

It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers. (Arthur Conan Doyle)

  1. Happiness

He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. (Alexandre Dumas)

  1. Heart

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

  1. Honesty

No legacy is so rich as honesty. (William Shakespeare)

  1. Laugh

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing. (Herman Melville)

  1. Light

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. (Anton Chekhov)

  1. Live

If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud. (Emile Zola)

  1. Patience

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience. (Leo Tolstoy)

  1. Strike

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking. (William Butler Yeats)

  1. Transform

Nothing is lost…Everything is transformed. (Michael Ende)

  1. Try

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. (Samuel Beckett)

  1. Value

Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. (Oscar Wilde)

Words of Encouragement From Prominent Originators

Inventive minds will always stand out, and there’s unbridled joy in discovering the threads that link our hectic world to its once-modern state. Let’s see how notable originators used to motivate contemporaries!

  1. Accept

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. (C.G. Jung)

  1. Act

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! (Thomas Jefferson)

  1. By all means

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. (Vincent Van Gogh)

  1. Confidence

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. (Marie Curie)

  1. Consent

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

  1. Count

Don’t count the days. Make the days count. (Muhammad Ali)

  1. Creativity

Creativity is intelligence having fun. (Albert Einstein)

  1. Enthusiasm

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)

  1. Esteem

If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. (Abraham Lincoln)

  1. Exhilaration

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory. (George S. Patton)

  1. Find

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. (Thomas A. Edison)

  1. Hang on

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

  1. Invention

Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born. (Nikola Tesla)

  1. Love

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

  1. Motivation

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

  1. Reflect

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. (Nelson Mandela)

  1. Sail

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. (Louisa May Alcott)

  1. Seriousness

Repetition is the reality and the seriousness of life. (Søren Kierkegaard)

Small Minds Think Alike: Words of Encouragement for the Digital Age

By tracking the progress of humanity through powerful words alone, we arrive at the present. Chaotic, uncertain times always manifest their key points in language, and so encouragement needs to follow suit.

The context in which we need to be motivated is digitalization, which affects how we communicate — with brute force. Let’s observe the words used to keep us afloat in this discourse.

  1. Achieve

Leaders think they can achieve anything these days.

  1. Adventure

Life is an adventure, so we may as well enjoy it!

  1. Ambitious

She’s so ambitious! Her classmates regularly pale in comparison.

  1. Attractive

The prospect of taking an extended break suddenly became attractive to Maria.

  1. Believe

You need to believe in yourself if you want to learn to drive.

  1. Belong

“You belong here with me,” he said with a cheeky smile.

  1. Bliss

Romance can help you achieve divine bliss, or so I believe.

  1. Booming

The team is booming following the success of their previous project.

  1. Classy

There’s something classy about him, even though he reeks of nicotine all the time.

  1. Determination

Anne met her sister’s accusing stare with determination.

  1. Dream

We dream about nothing but the renovation of our dilapidated house.

  1. Eager

She’s eager to join the competition. That’s the spirit!

  1. Earnest

They’re both very earnest, and they come across as trustworthy.

  1. Faithful

Nothing spoke courage more than a couple of faithful friends by his side.

  1. Flourishing

Anyone who can flourish under pressure will rise to the top, as the manager thinks.

  1. Focused

You’ll be able to stay focused once you stop thinking about the neighbor’s wife.

  1. Fulfill

John thought he could fulfill his mission with the help of his brother.

  1. Gratitude

I feel much better now that my son expressed his gratitude for the costume I’d spent the entire night making.

  1. Greatness

His greatness as a journalist goes without saying.

  1. Humility

His humility and calmness make him appear a man from the past century.

  1. Imagine

Just imagine how splendid the outing will be!

  1. Improve

I’m sure you can improve if you keep learning.

  1. Ineffable

His sense of humor is ineffable. It’s simply impossible to rival!

  1. Inspire

My husband truly inspires confidence.

  1. Joyful

Such a joyful event is certain to cheer you up.

  1. Keep up

Keep up the excellent work!

  1. Lead

As long as you lead the way, we have nothing to fear.

  1. Lift up

Edgar was trying to lift up his spirit with another glass of brandy.

  1. Magic

If he does his magic again, we’re in for a good meeting.

  1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a contemporary concept of working overtime without suffering burnout.

  1. Nurture

Nurturing a sense of responsibility is what keeps them afloat.

  1. Optimistic

Come rain or shine, Scott always manages to stay optimistic.

  1. Overcome

The doctor says she will be able to overcome agoraphobia if she sticks to their sessions.

  1. Passionate

He’s so passionate in his endeavors that he can hardly fail this one, no matter how difficult it may appear!

  1. Peaceful

My roommate and I have a peaceful coexistence.

  1. Perseverance

Her perseverance and endless energy motivate the entire team.

  1. Proud

You should be proud of your achievement no matter what the boss may say.

  1. Role model

She’s working hard to become a role model to her daughter.

  1. Satisfying

This meal is so satisfying that I think I’ll never go to another restaurant!

  1. Skillful

He is a skillful coach, and we’re happy to have him with us.

  1. Splendid

She looks splendid in that blue coat.

  1. Success

The CEO is fired up! He’ll make this crazy undertaking a success!

  1. Swimmingly

Everything is going swimmingly, so stop worrying.

  1. Talent

His talents are wasted on this meager project.

  1. Thrive

My sister seems to be thriving in her new role.

  1. Vanquish

Vanquish that uncertainty with your outstanding wit.

  1. Versatile

She’s a versatile writer destined for success.

  1. Wonder

The wonders of the Great Pyramid of Giza left us in awe.

Encouragement With Style: Use Idioms!

To tweak your writing, use finely tuned, illustrative expressions that draw readers in. To this end, idioms may be the best option, so let’s look at some ideas!

  1. Be home and dry

The project is finally over. We’re home and dry!

  1. Be over the moon

He’s over the moon with his new car.

  1. Bounce off the walls

He’s bouncing off the walls in expectation of his girlfriend’s arrival. Ah, to be young!

  1. Cool as a cucumber

Everyone was panicking, but Maria was as cool as a cucumber!

  1. Dark horse

I had no idea she was this knowledgeable. She’s a dark horse indeed!

  1. Do the impossible

Wouldn’t it be fun to do the impossible? Let’s give it a try.

  1. Eager beaver

Nobody works more diligently than Mark. He is such an eager beaver.

  1. Fingers crossed

Just be your usual self, and everything will be fine. Here, fingers crossed.

  1. Follow your dreams

I don’t believe it’s impossible to follow your dreams. If you are persistent, anything is possible.

  1. Get the ball rolling

Why are you already depressed when we have yet to get the ball rolling?

  1. Give (something) a shot

You’ll never know how the project will turn out if you don’t give it a shot in the first place.

  1. Go the extra mile

Robyn is always ready to go the extra mile for her friends.

  1. Go-getter

The employer is only interested in go-getters as they want their teams to be actively involved in the company’s development.

  1. Grin from ear to ear

He may look silly, grinning from ear to ear, but I am happy his mood has improved.

  1. Hang in there

I know you’re having a difficult time, but hang in there! The business trip will be over in a day.

  1. Have the world at one’s feet

After ten years of continual education, Anna has the world at her feet.

  1. Heavy hitter

Judging by his previous experience, he’s a heavy hitter!

  1. In full sail

Our idea is in full sail thanks to everyone’s support. Way to go!

  1. Jumping for joy

When he heard his sister had won the match, he was jumping for joy.

  1. Larger than life

Looking at the actress close up, John thought she was larger than life.

  1. Light at the end of the tunnel

I think you’re being overly sensitive. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so calm down first.

  1. Look on the bright side

“Life of Brian” features one of my all-time favorite songs, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

  1. Make hay while the sun shines

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make hay while the sun shines.

  1. Never say die

His never-say-die attitude has helped him move on after his wife left him for the postman.

  1. Off to a great start

With so many resources, we’re off to a great start.

  1. On cloud nine

Maria was on cloud nine when her next-door neighbor asked her out.

  1. Put one’s heart (and soul) into something

If you put your heart (and soul) into the task, you can never fail.

  1. Take it/something one day at a time

As things stand now, we have no other choice but to take things one day at a time.

  1. The sky’s the limit

I feel like I’m invincible today. The sky’s the limit!

  1. There’s no time like the present

Even though you’re afraid of what the boss may say, there’s no time like the present.

  1. Turn over a new leaf

After leaving his job and his girlfriend, Mark decided to turn over a new leaf.

  1. With bells on

I’m coming to your place shortly — with bells on!

  1. With flying colors

He passed the exam with flying colors and is over the moon!

Looking for more? Check out our list of high-frequency words for writers!