clouds in blue sky above green ground, spell the word change and an arrow

Personal change, social change, change in our environment — change, as the quote goes, is the only constant in life. Yet managing change, choosing change, sticking with positive change — that can be difficult.

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We cannot advance without new experiments in living, but no wise man tries every day what he has proved wrong the day before.

— James Truslow Adams

The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.

— James Yorke

Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.

— Jane Addams

The new growth in the plant swelling against the sheath, which at the same time imprisons and protects it, must still be the truest type of progress.

— Jane Addams

Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.

— Jane Addams

It is always easy to make all philosophy point one particular moral and all history adorn one particular tale; but I may be forgiven the reminder that the best speculative philosophy sets forth the solidarity of the human race; that the highest moralists have taught that without the advance and improvement of the whole, no man can hope for any lasting improvement in his own moral or material individual condition; and that the subjective necessity for Social Settlements is therefore identical with that necessity, which urges us on toward social and individual salvation.

— Jane Addams

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

‎Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self esteem.

— Jillian Michaels

‎Transformation is not five minutes from now; it’s a present activity. In this moment you can make a different choice, and it’s these small choices and successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self-image and self esteem.

— Jillian Michaels

We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them.

— Joan Didion

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and the establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.

— John C. Calhoun

Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don’t want to believe that. But if you’re over age twenty-one, your life is what you’re making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.

— John C. Maxwell

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

— John Cage

The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.

— John F. Kennedy

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

— John F. Kennedy

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.

— John Kenneth Galbraith

Take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made a commitment to work for change. Know that this transformation will not happen right away. Change often takes time. It rarely happens all at once. In the movement, we didn’t know how history would play itself out. When we were getting arrested and waiting in jail or standing in unmovable lines on the courthouse steps, we didn’t know what would happen, but we knew it had to happen.

Use the words of the movement to pace yourself. We used to say that ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part. And if we believe in the change we seek, then it is easy to commit to doing all we can, because the responsibility is ours alone to build a better society and a more peaceful world.

— John Lewis, (1940-2020)

Contemplating the lace-like fabric of streams outspread over the mountains, we are reminded that everything is flowing — going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty – making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks both in solution and in the form of mud particles, sand, pebbles, and boulders. Rocks flow from volcanoes like water from springs, and animals flock together and flow in currents modified by stepping, leaping, gliding, flying, swimming, etc. While the stars go streaming through space pulsed on and on forever like blood globules in Nature’s warm heart.

— John Muir

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.

— John Wooden

To change who you are, change who you think you are.

— Jonathan Lockwood Huie

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.
When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess.
We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

— Joseph Campbell, “Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion” by Diane K. Osbon

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

— Joseph Campbell

Nothing ever stays the same, whether it be poems or humans.

— Joy Harjo

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, and every
Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

— Kalidasa, from the Sanskrit

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to change it.

— Karl Marx

A person needs at intervals to separate from family and companions and go to new places. One must go without familiars in order to be open to influences, to change.

— Katharine Butler Hathaway

The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change.

— Kenneth Kaunda

To build a world that works for everyone, we must first make the radical decision to love every facet of ourselves….

— Kimberlé Crenshaw

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

— L. C. Megginson, frequently attributed to Charles Darwin

And just when the darkness
became too much to bear
and the struggle too hard,
the light broke through
and the caterpillar emerged
a butterfly
delicate but unbroken,
wild and gentle,
finally free to spread its lovely wings
and fly away on the wind.

— L.R. Knost

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

— Leo Tolstoy

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

— Leo Tolstoy

People change and forget to tell each other.

— Lillian Hellman, Toys in the Attic, 1960

When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect — but do not believe him. Never put your trust into anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel laureate — may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical — always think for yourself.

— Linus Pauling

The universe is transformation.

— Louise Erdrich

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

— M. Scott Peck

The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.

— M. Scott Peck

As a single vote may be crucial in an election, so the whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual. . . . This is why the individual is sacred.

— M. Scott Peck

We frail humans are at one time capable of the greatest good and, at the same time, capable of the greatest evil. Change will only come about when each of us takes up the daily struggle ourselves to be more forgiving, compassionate, loving, and above all joyful in the knowledge that, by some miracle of grace, we can change as those around us can change too.

— Mairead Maguire

Keep constantly in mind in how many things you yourself have witnessed changes already. The universe is change, life is understanding.

— Marcus Aurelius

The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it.

— Marcus Aurelius

Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.

— Marcus Aurelius

I was born to be an editor, I always edit everything. I edit my room at least once a week. Hotels are made for me. I can change a hotel room so thoroughly that even its proprietor doesn’t recognize it…. I edit people’s clothes, dressing them infallibly in the right lines…. I change everyone’s coiffure — except those that please me — and these I gaze at with such satisfaction that I become suspect, I edit people’s tones of voice, their laughter, their words. I change their gestures, their photographs. I change the books I read, the music I hear … It’s this incessant, unavoidable observation, this need to distinguish and impose, that has made me an editor. I can’t make things. I can only revise what has been made.

— Margaret Anderson

Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change some else’s life forever.

— Margaret Cho

[A]ll change, even very large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about.

— Margaret J. Wheatley

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

We seek not rest but transformation.
We are dancing through each other as doorways.

— Marge Piercy

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have.

— Marge Piercy

You really can change the world if you care enough.

— Marian Wright Edelman
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