Some of My Favorite Quotations From Maya Angelou


The following are but a sample of the inspiring passages from Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou:


  • The onus is upon us all to work to improve the human condition. Perform good deeds, for that is truly the way to battle the forces of entropy that are at work in the world. THe composite of all our efforts can have an effect. Good done anywhere is good done everywhere.
  • Together, we may be able to plan a less painful future. Separate, we can only anticipate further ruptures and deeper loneliness.
  • I am truly grateful: for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love -- for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence... And I'm grateful to know it exists in me, and I'm able to share with so many people.
  • 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.
  • The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination.
  • There is no failure as long as you learn from your experience, continue to work, and continue to press on for success.
  • You have been paid for. Each of you, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Red -- whatever pigment you use to describe yourselves -- has been paid for. But for the sacrifices made by some of your ancestors, you would not be here; they have paid for you. So, when you enter a challenging situation, bring them on the stage with you; let their distant voices add timbre and strength to your words. For it is your job to pay for those who are yet to come.
  • Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future... Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us... A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.
  • It is always about the work. In the latter years of your life, your happiness and your self-esteem will be dteremined by the mountains you surmounted, the valleys you climbed out of, and the life and/or career that you forged for yourself.
  • We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.