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Smart Quotes: 90 Clever Sayings to Think About

From ancient times to the present day, well-known and unknown personalities have dealt with life and human existence. In the process, many valuable and profound sayings have been uttered through the centuries, with many still being relevant in the present day.

Basically, anyone can invent an intelligent quote, write it down, and spread it. Especially in this day and age, the power of social media allows quotes of all kinds to be spread quickly and easily among a large audience.

However, decades and even centuries ago, people already dealt with the meaning of life and important human values. Among them are some personalities whose names you might recognize.

Smart Quotes for Every Occasion

Smart quotes for every occasion

To help you find the perfect quote for an occasion, we have collected some for you and organized them into different categories.

Among them you will find profound and serious quotes, but also funny and exhilarating ones. If it has to be short and sweet, there is also something suitable for birthdays.

Clever Quotes about Life

Life has its ups and downs, as well as quiet moments of contemplation when you think about the meaning of life. Even the intelligent people who came up with the following quotations have not necessarily found all the answers to life’s meaning.

However, their quotes can definitely give you a different perspective on life and motivate you to make the best of your life every day and to inspire you to believe in yourself.

  1. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
    (Lao Tzu)
  2. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
    (Napoleon Bonaparte)
  3. Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.
    (Franz Kafka)
  4. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
  5. It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
    (Henry David Thoreau)
  6. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.
  7. Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.
    (Arthur Helps)
  8. The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
  9. Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
    (George Bernard Shaw)
  10. Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  11. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
    (Henry Ford)
  12. A witty saying proves nothing.
  13. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
    (William Shakespeare)
  14. Holding onto your anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  15. He who has provoked the lash of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it.
    (James Boswell)

Funny Smart Ass Quotes

Funny Smart Quotes

Many clever quotes are very profound and make you think or cause some emotional reaction. If you are looking for entertaining, yet clever quotes to smile about, you are sure to find something in this selection.

These quotes work especially well on decorative items, mugs or even t-shirts. Of course, you can also send them to your friends if you want to make them laugh.

  1. The cunning of foxes is half the stupidity of chickens.
  2. A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.
    (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  3. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
  4. Life is a disease transmitted by sexual intercourse and always fatal.
  5. Every time we laugh, a problem somewhere dies.
  6. There are always two opinions: Mine and the wrong one.
  7. A word of kindness is seldom spoken in vain, while witty sayings are as easily lost as the pearls slipping from a broken string.
    (George Dennison Prentice)
  8. Life has no legs, but it can certainly give you a kick in the butt.
  9. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
    (Abraham Lincoln)
  10. What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.
    (Mark Twain)
  11. Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.
    (Francis Bacon)
  12. There are people who are living proof that complete brain failure does not necessarily lead to death.
  13. Life, it turns out, is infinitely more clever and adaptable than anyone had ever supposed.
    (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  14. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.
    (Mark Twain)
  15. Insomnia sharpens your math skills because you spend all night calculating how much sleep you’ll get if you’re able to 'fall asleep right now.'

Fancy a laugh? Try these funny sayings for any occasion.

Intelligent Quotes to Think About

Wise quotes to think about

Many famous researchers or writers have thought deeply about humanity and the Self. Many of these resulting quotes may also make you think about your life and your attitude towards things.

They may also motivate you to hold on to your desires and dreams, to fight for them and to overcome hurdles.

  1. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
    (Soren Kierkegaard)
  2. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
    (William James)
  3. An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  4. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
    (William James)
  5. I’m so smart, I read and understand Hegel.
    (Oscar Wilde)
  6. Watch your thoughts, they become words.
  7. Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
  8. The two most important days of your life are the day that you’re born and the day that you find out why.
    (Mark Twain)
  9. We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.
    (George Bernard Shaw)
  10. Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.
    (Elbert Hubbard)
  11. We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.
    (Abraham Lincoln)
  12. The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  13. A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation.
  14. In our lives, no one meets us by chance. Everyone is a part of our way. Whether as a companion, as a soul mate or simply as a lesson.
  15. If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
    (Henry Ford)

Smart Quotes for Birthdays

Smart quotes for birthdays

Some wise quotes are also suitable for birthdays. Especially when new stages of life are being reached, many people could use some inspiration for their next steps in life.

Some ask themselves if they are happy right now or what they want to achieve in the coming years of their lives. That’s where clever sayings in your birthday card come in handy.

These clever quotes are not always deadly serious and profound about the meaning of life. Some are also a little playful or simply clarify your relationship with the birthday child;

  1. Every man is born an original, but sadly, most men die copies.
    (Abraham Lincoln)
    Always remain original. As you are and I have known you for years, you are perfect. All the best!
  2. Every day has the magic to become a special one.
    Yours today especially. Congratulations!
  3. Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.
    May you always remain young in spirit! Happy Birthday!
  4. Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.
    (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
    Good that I have you for that, my favorite idiot. Happy birthday!
  5. Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator.
  6. The secret of happiness is to count the highlights of life instead of birthdays.
    (Mark Twain)
    We have already experienced so many of these together and I hope there will be many more.
  7. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
    (Henry Ford)
    May all your wishes and dreams come true, no matter how arduous the road. Happy Birthday!
  8. No wise man ever wished to be younger.
    (Jonathan Swift)
    I hope you can see it the same way and do not mourn your youth but look forward to what lies ahead. Happy birthday!
  9. We are always the same age inside.
    (Gertrude Stein)
    Today I took time for you to celebrate this special day with you. So let’s have a good time! Happy Birthday.
  10. Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.
    (Theodore Roosevelt)

Short Smart Quotes

Short Intelligent Quotes

Sometimes you need it to be as short and to the point as possible. Maybe you want to immortalize the quote on something where space is limited, or you want to create an image from it and send it to your friends.

Short sayings definitely have their advantages and don’t even have to sacrifice content and meaning.

  1. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
    (Oscar Wilde)
  2. I know that I know nothing.
  3. Every man dies. Not every man lives.
    (William Wallace)
  4. Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
  5. Whatever you are, be a good one.
    (Abraham Lincoln)
  6. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
    (Leonardo da Vinci)
  7. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
    (Oscar Wilde)
  8. The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
    (Henry Ford)
  9. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
    (William James)
  10. There is no substitute for hard work.
    (Thomas Edison)
  11. Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.
  12. The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  13. What many people do not realize is that the word "excuse" is not an eraser.
  14. Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.
  15. Love is a serious mental disease.

Sassy Smart Quotes About (lack of) Intelligence

Cheeky smart quotes about (lack of) intelligence

Many clever minds have dealt with human existence and its limits in the past century. In particular, physicist Albert Einstein seems to have had his difficulties with much of humanity and its limited intelligence.

  1. To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
  2. When people ask me stupid questions, it is my legal obligation to give a sarcastic remark.
  3. I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.
    (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
  4. We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
  5. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
  6. Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.
  7. Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.
    (John Stuart Mill)
  8. The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct.
    (Marcus Tullius Cicero)
  9. An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
    (Victor Hugo)
  10. It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
    (George Bernard Shaw)

Smart Quotes about Work

The following smart quotes about work can inspire you to work smarter.

  1. If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
    (Benjamin Franklin)
  2. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
    (Francis of Assisi)
  3. It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
    (Henry David Thoreau)
  4. Ordinary people think merely of spending time, great people think of using it.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  5. Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.
    (Franz Kafka)
  6. The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
    (Mark Twain)
  7. All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.
  8. To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.
    (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
  9. It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.
  10. Great acts are made up of small deeds.
    (Lao Tzu)

Where You Can Use Smart Quotes

Where you can use smart quotes

You can actually use clever quotes at any time and in any context. For example, they can simply be encouraging for you personally.

Maybe you have a bulletin board where you pin clever quotes for your own motivation and reinforcement. The right quotes can be a great boost when you want to be more self-reflective about your life, or build your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Likewise, you can also pass these quotes on to others to support them, build them up, or simply make them think.

However, some quotes are also appropriate if you want to teach someone an important lesson. This could be young, inexperienced people, people you are at odds with, or toxic people, for example.

The possibilities for using these wisdoms and quotes are many and depend on the content and meaning of the sayings. For example, you can use positive, motivational quotes for postcards or wall art, or you can write them in greeting cards for birthdays, weddings or other important occasions.

The Origin of Clever Quotes

The origin of clever quotes

Most of our clever quotes are from well-known, deceased personalities who still contribute an important part to society through their works and achievements. Some names are giants in their fields of study or politics and are certainly worth knowing.

Some people whose sayings and wisdom you will read include:

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): German poet and writer, best known for his works "Faust," "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice," or "Erlkönig."
  • Mark Twain (1835-1910): American writer whose best-known works include the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
  • Oscar Wilde (1854-1900): Lyricist, playwright, and critic who was considered highly controversial in his time.
  • Albert Einstein (1879-1955): One of the most important physicists and natural scientists of modern times.
  • Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908): Humorous poet and illustrator, best known for his stories about Max and Moritz.
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): 16th President of the United States, particularly significant in the fight against slavery in the US.
  • Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): Well-known German philosopher and university teacher.
  • Henry Ford (1863-1947): Prominent industrialist and giant of the American automotive industry.
  • Laozi (6th century BC): Legendary Chinese philosopher.
  • Socrates (470-399 BC): One of the most famous Greek philosophers of Antiquity.

Another well-known figure from whom much wisdom and wise quotes comes is Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

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