orange flowers photo

45+ Exceptional Helen Keller Quotes on Life, Happiness, and Overcoming Adversity

American author, Helen Adams Keller was born on June 27th, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. At the young age of 19 months, Keller permanently lost her sight and hearing from an unknown illness, turning her into a disruptive and wild child. Looking back on her youth, she often stated that March 3rd, 1887 was a day that entirely changed her life, for it was the day Anne Mansfield Sullivan came to be her teacher. By giving objects to Keller and then signing into her hand what their names were, Sullivan aimed to teach Keller to connect objects and words. Within a month, Keller had finally learned her first word, water, and from there, her education went swimmingly. By 1898, Keller entered the Cambridge School for Young Ladies to prepare herself to enter college and within a year she began school at Radcliffe College. She excelled in her academics, graduating cum laude in 1904 as the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Primarily defining herself as an activist and author, she published her first book The Story of My Life in 1903 while attending Radcliffe. Keller was a major activist during her years for many causes such as the women’s suffrage movement, civil rights, and the labor union movement. She served as an early member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), worked for the American Foundation for the Blind for over 40 years, and sat on the first board of directors for the American Braille Press. Not to mention, when the American Braille Press became the American Foundation for Overseas Blind, Keller was made the counselor of international relations.

She saddened many with her death on June 1st, 1968, but she left behind a large legacy to be remembered by. Being a deaf-blind person herself, she provided hope to many in the disabled community worldwide, touring over 35 countries, publishing 14 books and a plethora of articles, writing and delivering over 475 speeches, and receiving numerous awards such as: the French Legion of Honor (1953), the Lions Humanitarian Award (1961), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), being elected into the Women’s Hall of Fame (1965), and receiving a variety of honorary degrees from around the world. Gain some inspiration by reading the best Helen Keller quotes below on life, happiness, and overcoming adversity. Discover a favorite Helen Keller quote to adore and some great inspirational quotes or enlightening sayings to share with friends or family.

Helen Keller Quotes
Los Angeles Times

Motivational Helen Keller Quotes on Life and Happiness

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends.”

“If we do not like our work, and do not try to get happiness out of it, we are a menace to our profession as well as to ourselves.”

“I take happiness very seriously. It is a creed, a philosophy and an objective.”

“There is joy in self-forgetfulness. So I try to make the light in others’ eyes my sun, the music in others’ ears my symphony, the smile on others’ lips my happiness.”

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

“As selfishness and complaint pervert and cloud the mind, so sex with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.”

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all – the apathy of human beings.”

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

“Faith is a mockery if it does not teach us that we can build a more complete and beautiful world.”

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into light.”

“I believe in the immortality of the soul because I have within me immortal longings.”

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”

“The chief handicap of the blind is not blindness, but the attitude of seeing people towards them.”

“Relationships are like Rome — difficult to start out, incredible during the prosperity of the ‘golden age’, and unbearable during the fall. Then, a new kingdom will come along and the whole process will repeat itself until you come across a kingdom like Egypt… that thrives, and continues to flourish. This kingdom will become your best friend, your soul mate, and your love.”

“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.”

“Knowledge is love and light and vision.”

“Four things to learn in life: To think clearly without hurry or confusion; To love everybody sincerely; To act in everything with the highest motives; To trust God unhesitatingly.”

“It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.”

“Long before I learned to do a sum in arithmetic or describe the shape of the earth, Miss Sullivan had taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand.”

“It is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.”

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.”

“I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower – the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.”

“I am thankful that in a troubled world no calamity can prevent the return of spring.”

“Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

Encouraging Helen Keller Quotes on Courage and Overcoming Adversity

“I am younger today than I was at twenty-five. Of course, the furrows of suffering have been dug deeper, but so have those of understanding sympathy and inner happiness. Whatever age may do to my earthly shell, I shall never grow cynical or indifferent—and one cannot measure the reserve power locked up in that assurance.”

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”

“We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.”

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

“The world is not moved only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

“Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.”

“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world – the company of those who have known suffering.”

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”

“The infinite wonders of the universe are revealed to us in exact measure as we are capable of receiving them. The keenness of our vision depends not on how much we can see, but on how much we feel.”

“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me… if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me…”

“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

Famous Works by Helen Keller for Further Reading

More Quotes:

About the author
Katee is a lover of language and is in awe of the power it holds. Read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.