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Inspirational Quotations for Adult Students, No. 1

Quotations that Motivate


When balancing school, work, and life becomes difficult for the adult student in your life, offer an inspirational quotation to keep him or her going. We have words of wisdom from Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and many others.

Wherever possible, we have provided the source of the quotation. We strive to provide sources for all quotations. If you can help, please leave a comment.

1. "It’s not that I’m so smart..." — Albert Einstein

"It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer."

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is said to be the author of this quote that inspires persistence, but we don't have a date or a source.

Stay with your studies. Success is very often right around the corner.

2. "The important thing is to not stop questioning.." — Albert Einstein

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

This quote, also attributed to Albert Einstein, appeared in an article by William Miller in the May 2, 1955 edition of LIFE magazine.

Related: The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner on the loss of curiosity and our ability to ask the right questions.

3. "The one real object of education..." — Bishop Mandell Creighton

"The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions."

This quote, which also encourages questioning, is attributed to Bishop Mandell Creighton, a British historian who lived 1843-1901.

4. "All men who have turned out worth anything..." — Sir Walter Scott

"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education."

Sir Walter Scott wrote that in a letter to J.G. Lockhart in 1830.

Take control of your own destiny.

5. "Beholding the bright countenance of truth..." — John Milton

"Beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies."

This is from John Milton in "The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates."

Wishing you delightful studies filled with the "bright countenance of truth."

6. "O! this learning..." — William Shakespeare

"O! this learning, what a thing it is."

This wonderful exclamation is from William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

O! indeed.

7. "Education is not filling a pail..." — Yeats or Heraclitus?

"Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire."

You will find this quote attributed with variations to both William Butler Yeats and Heraclitus. The pail is sometimes a bucket. The "lighting of a fire" is sometimes the "igniting of a flame."

The form most often attributed to Heraclitus goes like this, "Education has nothing to do with filling a pail, rather it has everything to do with igniting a flame."

We don't have a source for either, which is the problem. Heraclitus, however, was a Greek philosopher who lived about 500 BCE. Yeats was born in 1865. My bet is on Heraclitus as the correct source.

8. "...the education of adults of every age?" — Erich Fromm

"Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?

Erich Fromm was a psychoanalyst, humanist, and social psychologist who lived 1900-1980. More information about him is available at the International Fromm Society.

9. "...you, too, can be president of the United States." — George W. Bush

"To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States."

This is from George W. Bush's now famous commencement address at his alma mater, Yale University, on May 21, 2001.

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