There are many things the world needs more of – love, peace, peanut butter Magnums, tights that actually stay up – but one thing we have no shortage of whatsoever is motivational quotes. They’re everywhere. On our walls, on our fridges, decorating our notebooks and cluttering up our Instagram feeds. They are the hot air that powers Pinterest like a jet engine.
But of course, they’re not always helpful. There are only so many times you can be told to ‘be a unicorn!’ before you want to smash your phone screen with your non-existent horn – and of all the genuinely cool and inspiring things Audrey Hepburn did in her time on earth, that quote about believing in pink ain’t one of them.
So as your antidote to all the whimsical sunsets, we’ve dug up 13 truly awesome quotes from some truly awesome women. Go kick some ass today – like yourself, not a unicorn.
(The hooves would just be impractical.)
“Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”
Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to to earn a PhD in Chemistry
“However many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there.”
Nora Ephron, first lady of American screenwriting
“If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I’m going.”
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at four different Olympic Games.
“We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f***ing feminist and wear a f***ing Peter Pan collar. So f***ing what?”
Zooey Deschanel, your fringe icon and all-round comedy babe
“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”
Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, from her book Year of Yes
“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
JK Rowling, everyone’s favourite dream auntie
“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”
Zelda Fitzgerald, Jazz Age legend, from her Collected Writings
“Be brave and fearless [enough] to know that even if you do make a wrong decision, you’re making it for a good reason.”
Adele. You know Adele.
“Because you don’t live near a bakery, doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”
Hedy Lamarr, 1940s movie star and inventor, who developed the radio wave system that led to the modern creation of wi-fi (thanks Hedy!)
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist
“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature.”
Margaret Atwood, the Booker Prize-winning novellist, on (you guessed it) selfies
“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai, female education activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner.
What better motivation could you have before double Geography?