"The only constant in life is change," the Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously observed in the late 6th century BCE. Dealing with change is nothing new; it comes with the territory of being human. Yet, in the midst of 21st-century upheavals and uncertainties, change can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Fortunately, Heraclitus isn't the only deep thinker who had something memorable to say on the subject. Below are 45 quotes about change from a diversity of authors. Their words reflect the nature of change and the swirl of feelings surrounding it—from fear to exhilaration. In this collection, you'll find gentle reminders that change will keep happening and reassurance that you can handle it. As these quotes also convey, when you face it and embrace it with a positive mindset, change can enrich your life in unexpected ways.


Quotes on the Nature of Change

No, you can't escape change. But these quotes may help you better understand its character and its force.

1. "All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change." -Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

2. "You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it." -Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

3. "Change is freedom, change is life." -Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

4. "And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves." -Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

5. "Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody." -Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

6. "The world doesn't change in front of your eyes, it changes behind your back." -Terry Hayes, I Am Pilgrim

7. "Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it." -Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

8. "It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime." -Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner


Quotes on the Fear of Change

Think change is scary? As these quotes drive home, you're not alone. And feeling less alone might help you feel less afraid and better able to handle whatever change throws your way.

9. "Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change." -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

10. "We can't have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same." -Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

11. "When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about." -Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

12. "Change isn’t always for the worst; the shell that forms around a piece of sand looks to some people like an irritation, and to others, like a pearl." -Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

13. "When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back." -Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

14. "We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow." -H. G. Wells, The Time Machine

15. "The changes we dread most may contain our salvation." -Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder

16. "You can’t save others from themselves because those who make a perpetual muddle of their lives don’t appreciate your interfering with the drama they’ve created. They want your poor-sweet-baby sympathy, but they don’t want to change." -Sue Grafton, T Is for Trespass

17. "Some people will always fear change. But we can't indulge them." -Veronica Roth, Allegiant


Quotes on Making Change Happen

Just because you can't avoid change doesn't mean you have to be at its mercy. As these quotes reinforce, you can take charge of change—if you're willing to do the work.

18. "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." -Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

19. "If you're serious about changing your life, you'll find a way. If you're not, you'll find an excuse." -Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass

20. "Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way." -Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

21. "They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world... I think that’s crap. I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing." -Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes

22. "You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

23. "You cannot change what you are, only what you do." -Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass

24. "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." —Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

25. "And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time." -Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

26. "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." -Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala

27. "Today I am in control because I want to be. I have my fingers on the switch, but have lived a lifetime ignoring the control I have over my own world. Today is different." -A. S. King, Please Ignore Vera Dietz


Quotes on Changing Your Outlook

Sometimes, you can't change where you are or what happened. But as these quotes make clear, you can always change your perspective. And seeing things differently might be exactly the change you need.

28. "Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you've changed, by believing. Once you've changed, other things start to follow. Isn't that the way it works?" -Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard

29. "What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it." -Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

30. "Words are where most change begins." -Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

31. "There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future." -Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters

32. "I have come to believe that while the past is unchangeable, our perceptions of it are malleable." -Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding

33. "Change is one thing. Acceptance is another." -Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

34. "Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life—this I know for sure." -Oprah Winfrey, What I Know for Sure

35. "It is not possible to control the outside of yourself until you have mastered your breathing space. It is not possible to change anything until you understand the substance you wish to change." -Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

36. "Some changes happen deep down inside of you. And the truth is, only you know about them. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be." -Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes

37. "I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." -Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Quotes on Embracing Change

Change can be a wonderful thing! These quotes capture a bit of change's magical qualities. May they inspire you to seize opportunities to change yourself for the better—and to constantly see the best in change.

38. "The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket." -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

39. "Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." -Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

40. "A change is as good as a rest." -Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

41. "We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming—well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate." -Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses

42. "If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies." -Wendy MassThe Candymakers

43. "You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." -Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

44. "You’ve changed me forever. And I’ll never forget you." -Kiera Cass, The Elite

45. "Can’t say it often enough—change your hair, change your life." -Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice