50 Inspirational Quotes for ADDers to Live By

If I am completely honest with you, which I always am, doing this post today makes me feel like a bit of a rip-off artist.

For a couple of reasons. Firstly, doing a compendium of inspirational quotes is hardly an original idea. If you’re not an avid blog reader you’ll have to trust me when I say this topic has been done literally thousands of times before. Put it this way: an post about quotes is to blogging what a banana peel and an idiot are to slapstick comedy. Cliche.

The other reason it makes me feel like a swindler is a pretty obvious one, but I’ll point it out anyway. I am creating a post almost fully comprised of other people’s words. It’s like plagiarism – only justified through the use of proper punctuation.

So why do it?

You know me (you do by now, don’t you?) – I am eternally transparent and honest about what I am thinking and doing. I am also pretty upfront about why I write what I write. So here is the explanation.

There are no original ideas these days. Everything you read, whether through the medium of books, blogs, newspapers or the back of shampoo bottles – has all been thought of before. However, the ingenuity of literature comes not from the idea itself, but how its presented or dressed-up, if you will. Old ideas continue to be fresh and relevant when you put your own stamp on them.

Of course there are some original ideas hanging around in the creative jungle waiting to be snared, but I can’t think of any because… no one has thought of them yet. If you don’t quite follow me, close your eyes and try to imagine a brand-new, completely original colour – one that’s never been seen before. (I’ll give you a few minutes to scan your cerebrum…)

You see what I mean?

What we imagine or create is a combination of things we have already witnessed, but the way we combine those things is unique to ourselves.

So I can create my own rendition of a quotation-round-up post, but what about the fact that a bulk of the content, or in essence the storyline of this post, has been created primarily by the words of other people?

I have no excuse other than the fact that I love quotes. Apparently, so do a lot of other people, or bloggers at least.

To me, an inspirational quote is not merely a statement grazed from some famous person’s speech or an abridged form of a celebrated soliloquy. It is a concise, well-composed statement that powerfully articulates an important concept, one that is spoken by … anyone. Famous or not. I may have generated one of two inspirational “quotes” in my time. I’m almost certain that you will have too, whether or not you realize it. It’s not who says it that’s important, it’s what’s said.

The power of the inspirational quote is that, by employing a few carefully chosen and arranged words, it conveys a much bigger message in a single dose. Quotes can move you or simply make you laugh. They can motivate you, help you switch perspectives, or even shift entrenched emotional states. They can make you feel validated, vindicated, understood. They can innervate, intrigue, and inspire you to be in a different state, even if for just a moment.

Inspirational quotes make an effect on you, and they do it with very few words (“unlike me”, I’m thinking).

They are like self-help in a shot-glass. Like injectable therapy. The ultimate philosophy-hack.

That’s why they are wonderful for us ADDers. We like things with a kick – short, sharp, quick and powerful. We like short-cuts. We are drawn to metaphors that evoke vivid imagery. Many of us also have a love of language and play with words like they’re a form of linguistic Lego – quotes can be a fun and engaging way to inspire us.

But most importantly, there are times in life that we ADDers really need some inspiration. Or motivation. And certainly validation.

So without any further ado, firm in the belief that I have sufficiently defended my decision to “sell-out” with this cliché post, I present to you my top 50 quotes that every ADDer should live by.

Because this post will end up being a bazillion words, I have cataloged them according to the conditions for which they are most useful. You don’t need to read the whole post. Chances are good I have lost your attention already … (c’mon my ADD friend, don’t you realize I know you too?!)

Even if you don’t read the whole thing – make sure to skip to the comments at the end and share with me some of your favourite inspirational quotes. In fact, I even challenge you to create one or two of your own quotes and share them. If you’re worried about what other people will think, don’t – I have a quote for that too 🙂

Strength, Perseverance, and Overcoming Challenges

For those times when we feel like everything is impossible for us and are fed up with working so hard to do things that come easily to others. A few reminders that the daily trials and tribulations are what build our characters, give us strength and flexibility, and shape our determination.

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” Norman Vincent Peale

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”Art Linkletter

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” J. Willard Marriott

“The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.” Ben Stein

“It is not what happens to you that determines how far you go in life; it is what you do with what happens to you.” Zig Ziglar

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” Muhammad Ali

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche


Risking the Humiliation of Failure


For those times when by reaching for our dreams, living our adventures, or expressing our souls, we open ourselves up to the vulnerability and pain of possible failure, knowing that without that risk there can be no success.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”

“… often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.” Florence Scovel Shinn

“Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” James Bryant Conant

“I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” Michael Jordan

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

“You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George E. Woodberry

“I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”
Francis Ford Coppola


Being the Boss of Your Mind



As we reside in our minds, we must remember that we are also the CEO of them. We lead the direction our minds take, and everything in life is experienced through our state of mind.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” Zig Ziglar

“Never tell yourself … I can’t go on. If you do you’re licked, and by your own thinking too.” Norman Vincent Peale

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Warren Buffett

“You become what you think about.” Earl Nightingale

“Some people have a negative attitude, and that’s their disability.” Marla Runyan

“If I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

“Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.” Robert R. Updegraff

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” Albert Einstein

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Charles Kingsley

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

Giving Yourself the Present

To help us never forget our being while we’re so busy doing and thinking.

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” William Feather

“I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Thomas Merton

Going With the ADHD Flow

For when we are finally ready to give up being normal, and ready to be wonderfully, gloriously, successfully ADD.

“Work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill

“To be upset about what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” Ken Keyes, Jr.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” Denis Waitley

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw


The Positive Symptoms

The yin and yang of ADD – reminders that not all the symptoms are always bad all of the time. To help us remember that sometimes a strength can come as a side effect of a “deficit”

“When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.” Napoleon Hill

“It’s always fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” H.G. Wells

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” Plato

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“Some say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” John Lennon.


Dancing to Your Own Drumbeat



No matter what other people think or how they may judge you or how you live your life – remember that you are the leading actor in the starring role of your life; they are merely supporting characters. There is no shame in authenticity but conformity for the sole purpose of fitting in, even when it goes against your true character, is negligent to the soul.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires…courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
George S. Patton

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
Paul Gauguin

“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.”Paulo Coelho


I hope you enjoyed – let me know your thoughts and share your own inspiration in the comments below!

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56 comments on “50 Inspirational Quotes for ADDers to Live By

  1. Your thoughts.. There is no such thing as luck,everything is influenced by something or someone meant to do it. Its just that sometimes things happen unexpectedly.

  2. Came across this while looking for quotes on google… i love this ! I also admire the fact that you personally reply to each comment, and in a caring and positive mannor. It’s refreshing to see such a polite writer! And i have ADD…. for so long i thought i was just so lazy, unproductive, messy, procrastination to the very last moment ..all by choice and lack of character. Finally i feel not so alone. I am so so excited to have found your page! hope you don’t mind my off topic comment. Thank you !

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Chelsea! I do like to reply to each comment, I’m always so grateful when people take the time to make comments! My only regret is that I don’t always get around to replies quick enough. I’m glad you have found it helpful and are coming to a new understanding of yourself. So many of us know what it’s like to feel lazy or like we aren’t trying hard enough and it’s just not true! You are definitely not alone!

  3. “The greatest risk a person can take is to not take risks.”-Me
    “Things that happened in the past only happened in your mind, so forget your mind and you’ll be free.”-Biff Rose and m. Paul Williams

  4. I love finding new inspirational quotes to help boost my adrenaline. Now I have 50 more. Thanks man, these quotes really helped and inspired me. I think my very own personal favorite of all time is,

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

  5. I give my inspirational quote as a teacher:
    I give my life to share my knowledge. I give my heart so as to do my job. I am young, even when I am old so I can give to those who are around me. I cannot give up doing what I am suppose to do. I am liked sometimes, mostly at the end because of what i give. But normally nobody likes me, unless I become a clown. Nobody cares if I am down, or sad or broken, because I am a knowledge giver, I am your future. I can fade away and no one will miss me. When something is bad, you remember me. When I do my job with all my heart, you expect this from me…I cannot hide, I cannot run, I have to stand strong, even when I am weak… BECAUSE I am your teacher. I am your life for now and which is to come…

  6. One of my favorite classics is:
    Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim –

     Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you. (Ovid)

  7. “That which you put your attention on, grows in your awareness.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

    This is why “we” accomplish more when focusing on our strengths than by ruminating on our mistakes or flaws. This applies in many situations for ADDers such as avoiding spending 90% of your time/worrying on the 10% of the things you don’t do well. Or procrastinating and avoiding because of hyperfocus on the problems or mistakes doing the same/similar thing in the past instead of seeing mistakes as an opportunity to learn how to do it differently and successfully the next time. And so it goes……

    1. I love this statement Glen, and it has only been recently that I have come fully understand how true that statement really is. Thanks for sharing!

  8. “Don’t be normal. Sadly, normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you financed, in order to get to the job that you don’t really like, but that you need, to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

    Live mindfully, realize reality, and many of our problems simply go away.

    22 Most Inspirational Quotes on Life.

    1. Thanks Muthu – love this one from your latest post too!

      People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
      – Zig Ziglar

      Thanks for stopping by, I will certainly stop by “your place” more often!

  9. Ha, sorry to hog the comments, but I couldn’t go without sharing my favorite quote of all time. The more people that hear this the better in my opinion.

    “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – This is to have succeeded.”

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. Oh, forgot to say that a favorite of mine, which I think really speaks to us ADDers and helps support the overall message your blog tries to convey is by Lao Tzu – “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”.

  11. WOW – I am an avid reader of your blog posts, not only because I love what you have to say, but also because (surprise surprise) I HAVE ADD! But, when I saw the title of this week’s article I gotta admit, I was pretty skeptical I’d make it through the full fifty!! However, I’m pleased to say that I managed it and then some. I love what you said about quotes being like self help in a shot glass, this is so true, and I couldn’t help thinking that many of the ones you listed spoke directly to me in regards to where I am right now. I love all of these, (especially the quote about the turtle sticking his neck out ha), but I think my favorite has to be “Defeat is not the worst of failures, not to have tried is the true failure” – George E Woodberry. Great post, thanks for sharing these with us!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Turtle – I must admit that I was a bit skeptical that I would make it to the end myself! It is funny how at any given point in life, quotes can seem like they are talking to you directly. Its almost freaky, actually. There have been times in life when I am struggling with something, then I will read something in a book or an email will come a long that seems to be speaking about exactly what I am experiencing. I think the universe has a way of conspiring, you know?

  12. I love these thoughts, your honesty and how you get your thoughts across! Thank you so much for what you do and how you do it — for sharing. 🙂

    My favorite quote? It is impossible to pick just one!! But I’ll go with this…
    “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. ~ Anon”

    And one that I coined myself 🙂 “I have given up the rights to my own feelings and hidden my authenticity in an attempt to tone myself down and be more acceptable to others. ~”

    1. Love that quote of yours Amaltais! It’s sad, but oh so true. Somehow we allow not only our actions to be judged but we even allow our feelings to be judged. And that seems to be a right we willingly give up, even when no one has demanded it.

    2. Hey A, I love that first quote, when I studied CBT the underlying philosophy was based on the philosopher Epictetus’ theory that it is not so much the things that happen to us in life that causes problems but what we make of those things. I wonder if that quote was also derived from him? I love your quote and thank you so much for sharing your own – so potent! That is a huge problem for us ADDers – feeling this need (sometimes encouraged by others) to tone ourselves down. And what do we sacrifice in the meantime?

  13. “Some say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. I like this because to many people believe that they are the only ones that try to dream up new ideas and will be judged as a “dreamer”. I feel like this all the time, but if you sit back and think about it and talk to other people, you find that everyone does it. New ideas and and goals would never be made if we never allowed ourselves to dream. Simple words and a little simple comfort.

    1. Keep dreaming Eddie, all the great inventors and innovators were judged at some point in their lives. What people are really judging is their own lack of imagination. Glad you know that you’re not the only one!

  14. “I need to take an emotional breathe, step back and remind myself who’s actually in charge of my life.” Judith M. Knowlton

    LOVE IT! We get caught up in the everyday stuff and just need a gentle reminder every so often…..

    1. “Dancing to your own drumbeat” – I Love this!
      I every so often need to be reminded of the importance of being true to myself!! Sometimes I find myself dancing to the drumbeat of those around me!!

      “Your present circumstances do not determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start!
      Nido Qubein

      1. I haven’t heard that one before Angie but I adore it. And so true! Its weird that we don’t often think about it that way though, we assume that how things are right now is how they are always going to be. Yet at the same time we know that life is always changing so why is it that despite this, we still assume that we know how things will turn out? Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Too right Leanne – haven’t heard that one before but it certainly is a good one. Sometimes it feels like we are trying to do many things but we forget that we are the CEOs of our lives and have the ability to choose what we do. Thank you for sharing.

  15. “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not becausethey never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” – William Feather
    Each day should be lived with this quote surrounding you to appreciate what you have rather than looking for something you don’t have nor need in the end.

    1. I totally agree Carla. For me, stopping to enjoy things in the moment is without doubt my biggest challenge but also the most euphoric experience when I can actually do it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. “The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” H.G. Wells
    Love it !!!!! That is how my life goes!!!!
    I also Love “It is what it is” I don’t know where it came from but its one I say lots.

    1. I love “it is what it is” too, Suzanne. Never figured out where it comes from but I have noticed that we (Canadians anyway) seem to say it a lot. It really sums up a lot though – go with the flow, be in the moment, deal with whatever is at hand and don’t worry about the fairness of it all – I could go on! Actually, I think this is a prime example of the power of quotes – they say a lot of different things in just a few words. Thanks for coming by!

  17. “Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”
    J. Willard Marriott
    Love this one! Great post and a lot of great quotes!

  18. O.k., just one more…..for now!

    Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
    ― John Lennon

    This quote really hits home with me. I am a planner trying to learn how to “live”. I’m too busy keeping my eyes on the end goal and not enough time appreciating and accepting where I am now. I’m working on it.

  19. I have to admit that I am a sucker for quotes! I feel like each quote I love was written just for me, like a set of instructions for “life”. I also have to admit that I think some of the most inspirational quotes come from Dr.Suess! Yes, my life manual was written by Dr.Suess, and I’m o.k. with that. Here’s one of my favorites:

    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
    ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

    Love it!!!

    1. Hi Rikki – I love Dr. Seuss too. One of the greatest philosophers from the last century in my opinion 🙂 One of my favourites from him is

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

      Thanks for reminding how awesome Dr. Seuss is!

  20. “You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

    I’ve read this before, but today it kind of struck a different note with me. I had a quick flash of watching a hockey game and yelling at the tv when the players just keep passing the puck back and forth. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve yelled, “Just shoot it!” I’ve never thought about life in the same scenario. Thanks for that!

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