Motivational Quotes for Teens

A Select Collection of Motivational Quotes for Teens

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Great thinkers throughout history have imparted insights that can provide inspiration for teens. From the value of hard work and optimism to the importance of time, itself, these quotes can help motivate any teenager.

Hard Work

"There's no substitute for hard work." - Thomas Edison

It took Edison more than 1,000 unsuccessful attempts over the course of a year before he produced the world's first commercially viable light bulb. So, the next time your teen wants to give up, tell her about the persistence and work ethic of one of our greatest inventors.

"There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs." -  Author unknown

Like Edison, this unknown author is talking about the importance of perseverance and putting in the effort to succeed. That's an important motivational thought for any teen.


"There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist." - Mark Twain

"Those who wish to sing, always find a song." - Swedish Proverb

A teen can find plenty of inspiration from Twain's eternally optimistic characters, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. And, there are plenty of references to singing in Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"—an optimistic trait the Swedish proverb alludes to. 


"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can send it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back." - Harvey Mackay

"Time ripens all things, no man is born wise." - Miguel de Cervantes

The importance of using your time wisely can be a great motivational thought for teens. MacKay wrote such well-known business books as "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," which explained how to use your time to outsell—and outperform—others, while Cervantes, Spain's greatest author, wrote about the ever-optimistic Don Quixote, a character who used his time to try to save the world.

Character, Change, and Discovery

"To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue... gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness." - Confucius

"There is nothing permanent except change." - Heraclitus

"There are two great days in a person's life—the day we are born and the day we discover why." - William Barclay

"There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live." - John Adams

Confucious, China's greatest philosopher; Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher; Barclay, a Scottish theologian, and Adams, our second president, who also helped sustain the Revolution with his brilliant negotiating skills, all talked about how life is an adventure—ever-changing, yet always providing an opportunity to learn, discover and strive to be your best self. That is certainly an important and serious thought to light a fire under any teen looking for motivation.