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24 Powerful Quotes About Reflection for a Life Full of Meaning

by Lois R. Earles
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Oftentimes, people go about their lives without focus or thinking long term. If you’ve lived like that for a while, you might feel lost, like you don’t have any direction in life. In that case, you should take some time to reflect on your decisions and think about the past.

Once you’ve done that, you can continue living with your newfound purpose. It will guide you through the rest of your life. To help you on your path to wisdom, here are a few quotes about reflection that should steer you the right way.

24 Inspiring Quotes About Reflection

Quotes About Reflection for When Times Are Rough

#1. “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” — Leonardo da Vinci

#2. “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many —  not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens

#3. “A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.” —  George Santayana

#4. “Take time daily to reflect on how much you have. It may not be all that you want but remember someone somewhere is dreaming to have what you have.” ― Germany Kent

#5. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Quotes About Reflection to Help You Learn from Your Mistakes

#6. “I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.” — Dolly Parton

#7. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” — Confucius

#8. “It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.” —  Samuel Johnson

#9. “If we learn to reflect on a paramount strategy and recognize the proper tactics, we may come to find out how we can rule the stormy waves of our lives since action and reflection have to unite in braving the tortuous windings and turnings of the paths ahead.” ― Erik Pevernagie

#10. “Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of the errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive. As the man looks back to the days of his childhood and his youth, and recalls to his mind the strange notions and false opinions that swayed his actions at the time, that he may wonder at them; so should society, for its edification, look back to the opinions which governed ages that fled.” ― Charles MacKay

#11. “Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.” — Confucius

#12. “Usually, when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we eliminate is the thing we need the most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that we can make changes for the better.” ― Sarah Breathnach

#13. “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” — Margaret J. Wheatley

#14. “Reflection goes hand-in-hand with assessment and leads to long-lasting growth and change.” ― Melissa Steginus

Quotes About Reflection as a Source of Wisdom

#15. “It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero

#16. “Sleep seems to hammer out for me the logical conclusions of my vague days, and offer them to me as dreams.” ― D.H. Lawrence

#17. “Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.” — John Locke

#18. “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” — Peter Drucker

#19. “If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.” ― Michel de Montaigne

#20. “Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer

#21. “Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.” — John Locke

#22. “Time and reflection change the sight little by little until we come to understand.” — Paul Cezanne

#23. “Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution.” — Sophocles

#24. “There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge… observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.” — Denis Diderot

Conclusion

When you’re having a tough time accepting yourself and finding reasons to go on in life, reading the words of wise people can help you. On the other hand, change requires some time before it actually starts taking effect. In addition, you can’t expect it to magically happen — you have to try and implement the change in your everyday life.

Even if you find answers now, don’t presume this newfound wisdom and contentment is going to last forever. Life will inevitably throw you off balance, and you may be lost again. In case that happens, these quotes about reflection will still be here to help you find clarity and eventual peace.

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