I think that if we hear the right combination of words, at the right time, from the right person, it can have a really profound impact on our lives.  I have spent the last few years working with people experiencing a quarter-life crisis and have hoarded countless quotes which I go back to again and again.  I […]



May 20, 2020

I think that if we hear the right combination of words, at the right time, from the right person, it can have a really profound impact on our lives. 

I have spent the last few years working with people experiencing a quarter-life crisis and have hoarded countless quotes which I go back to again and again. 

I have trawled through my old emails, phone notes, kindle clippings, pages of books and notepads to pick 25 (because ‘a quarter’… see what I did there?) of my favourite quarter-life crisis quotes.

This list is a combination of helpful, silly or profound snippets which have made my clients and I ponder or just smile. 

Some I will explain in a little more detail, others I’ll leave to do all the talking. 

As I said… I am a quotes hoarder. So if you have any quarter-life crisis quotes of your own. Please share. 


"If you don't like something, change it. If can't change it, change your attitude"

Maya Angelou


"The menu is not the meal"

Alan Watts

To me, this quote refers to the way us 20 somethings tend to obsess about the ‘life plan’ instead of actually living. It is like going to a restaurant and spending hours agonising over the menu rather than just ordering the damn thing and seeing if we like it! Same can be applied to career choices


This is a quote about probability.

If you want something but you are afraid to pursue it, you will be less likely to open yourself up to opportunities. This will decrease your probability of finding a path to what you want.

If you have an open-mind, you are more likely explore what you want, which will open you up to more possibilities thus increasing the probability of finding a path to what you want.



"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

Paolo Coehlo


 “The other day I calculated costs to buy a home and deduced I can afford a nice big garden gnome”


‘I’ll be happy when’ syndrome. You have to remember that THIS is life. This is it! You’ve made it! It is not in some distant place in the future when you own property, have a car, have a family and have ‘made it’ in your career. You are doing the living bit right now, so how can you start enjoying it more?


"It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living."



“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try”

Seth godin


I wrote a whole article about career comparison. It warrants its own space.


"Comparison is the thief of joy"

Teddy Roosevelt.


"Leap of faith yes, but only after reflection"

Søren Kierkegaard

I end a lot of my workshops with this one. It perfectly balances two approaches to life: The activists (leap of faith kind of people) and the theorists (the reflecty kind of people).

This quote reminds me that ultimately, everything is a leap of faith. No matter how much reflecting we do we will never know it is the ‘right decision’ until we jump. Reflecting can only help us leap in the right direction.


To me, this quote means: No matter how cold, wintery and grey this Monday morning is, what I do is more important than staying in my warm cozy bed. 


"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how"

Friedrich Nietzsche



“Find a way to get paid to play”

Alan watts



"There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing"



"You have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it. Create your own."

Morrie Schwartz

This is probably the quote I have sent to the most people. To me, this means that if what society is saying you ‘should’ be doing doesn’t suit you…let it go. Make your own rules and definitions of success. It’s hard, but it is within your power.


"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."

Kurt Cobain




“My five year plan has been going great, ever since I postponed it another eight”



"Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it."

Winnie the Pooh


"Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way"

Viktor Frankl

This is from Viktor Fankl’s book: A Man’s Search For Meaning (buy it… seriously).Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He survived many concentration camps including Auschwitz. He made the realisation that even in the most extreme circumstances we always have the ability to choose how we react.

Everything comes back to the way we think about ourselves, others and the world. Our thoughts become who we are. If you want to make a change in your life, start by making a change in your mind. 


"watch your thoughts, they become your words, watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become character"

Lao Tzu




‘When I was young I wanted to be married at 23. Lets all laugh together’


Oenone Forbat


This relates to the way we choose our path in life. If we don’t actively make a decision, our decision may be made for us. This might not necessarily lead to an unhappy life, it just means that you may not get the fulfilment you were looking for. Read Hunter S. Thompson’s monumental letter.


“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

Hunter S. Thompson



“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”

Charles Swindoll

I think I have probably pinched this from someone and re-worded it. This idea forms part of how I remain largely positive. It is the way I remind myself to get some perspective. It reminds me that just being alive and conscious makes life worth living.


"We might be the only creatures in the universe who are conscious enough to be able to look back at the world and see how beautiful it is. This is a miracle."



"Allow yourself to just be"

Barbara Conway & Dawn Garland

These words were passed down from my Nana to my Mum to me. Both of whom have always said: ‘remember to just be’. These words have meant a lot to me over my life. It is another reminder that sometimes, just existing is enough and everything else is a bonus.

Back in the days of sabre-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths, the humans who survived were the ones that focused on the negative. Having a negative bias was helpful because it meant we were more wary of any threats to our lives.

Nowadays we are unlikely to run into many beasts with fangs, and yet our brains are still wired in the same way. This means we still focus on the negative more than the positive. 

It is useful to remember this because we are able to train our brains to focus on the positive. This can be vital to overcoming a quarter-life crisis. Practices like gratitude and mindfulness are great tools for this re-training. 


"Our brain has a negativity bias, which makes it like velcro for the bad and teflon for the good"

Rick Hanson


"I’m confused, a total mess, terrified of rejection, but you’ll never know because my instagram’s perfection"


Instagram is a positive distortion of the way people want to portray their lives. Avoid comparing your internal world with anyone’s external world. .


“What I realized was that I would never get to happiness as long as I held on to the idea that as soon as I do this or get that or reach this benchmark I’ll become happy. In”

Mo Gawdat

I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed collecting them!

Let me know if any of them resonated with you particularly 

Or if you have your own quotes that help you get through difficult times 

Chloe Garland

[email protected]