Helen Keller

How is it possible that a woman who was blind and deaf from the age of 1 1/2 can be so full
of encouragement and love of life?  How is it that we who don't suffer her afflictions don't see
life in as positive a light as she did?  Her beautiful words and motivational perspective are hard
to match, and her love of life shines as a model for us all.  If I can feel half as positive about
life as her words speak, I'll be a very happy person indeed.  Thank you, Helen.
Read more about Helen Keller here.

  thinkers home

True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge--broad deep knowledge--is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low.  To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

I believe in the immortality of the soul because I have within me immortal longings.
It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts.  Healthy questions keep faith dynamic.  In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have a deep-rooted faith.  One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief.  Those who have a faith which is not shaken have won it through blood and tears--have worked their way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns.

When indeed shall we learn that we are all related one to the other, that we are all members of one body?  Until the spirit of love for our fellow people, regardless of race, color or creed, shall fill the world, making real in our lives and our deeds that actuality of human brother and sisterhood--until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.


I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but my chief duty is to accomplish
humble tasks as though they were great and noble.  The world is moved along,
not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes,
but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.



Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

The hands of those I meet are dumbly eloquent to me.  I have met people so empty of joy
that when I clasped their frosty fingertips it seemed as if I were shaking hands
with a northeast storm.  Others there are whose hands have sunbeams in them,
so that their grasp warms my heart.  It may be only the clinging touch of a child's hand,
but there is as much potential sunshine in it for me as there is in a loving glance for others.

When one door of happiness closes another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.



Never bend your head.  Always hold it high.  Look the world straight in the face.

(to a five-year-old blind child)

I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light
but who see nothing in sea or sky, nothing in city streets, nothing in books.
It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense,
and feeling, and mind, than to be content with the mere act of seeing.
The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence,
and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.


Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are,
we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow people.
It then appears that we are among the privileged.


Believe, when you are most unhappy,
that there is something for you to do in the world.
So long as you can sweeten another's pain,
life is not in vain.


My friends have made the story of my life.
In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations
into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk
serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation.


Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Be of good cheer.  Do not think of today's failures, but of the success
that may come tomorrow.  You have set yourselves a difficult task,
but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in
overcoming obstacles.  Remember, no effort that we make
to attain something beautiful is ever lost.

Join the great company of those who make the barren places of life fruitful with kindness.
Carry a vision of heaven in your hearts, and you shall make your name,
your college, the world, correspond to that vision.  Your success and happiness lie within you.
External conditions are the accidents of life, its outer wrappings.  The great, enduring realities
are love and service.  Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulty.


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