At Good Good Good, we help you feel more hopeful and do more good.

For years — since launching our podcast, Sounds Good, and printing the first issue of the Goodnewspaper — we've been slowly collecting quotes about hope.

There's an interesting nuance to be found in the difference between hope and optimism – and there's power in pushing back against cynicism. (Despite how easy it is to feel cynical these days.)

We wanted to share our favorite short quotes about hope and optimism (and the difference between hope and optimism) — in the hopes they'll leave you feeling more hopeful, and empowered to use that sense of hope as fuel to help you do more good.

The best quotes about optimism:

“To be optimistic is to assume things will work out. To be hopeful is to realize things can work out if you work at them. Hope requires responsibility and agency; optimism relieves us of both. In rooting for your sports team, choose optimism. In rooting for democracy, choose hope.”
— Eric Liu

Illustration of quote about hope: To be optimistic is to assume things will work out. To be hopeful is to realize things can work out if you work at them. Hope requires responsibility and agency; optimism relieves us of both. In rooting for your sports team, choose optimism. In rooting for democracy, choose hope. — Eric Liu
Eric Liu quote about hopefulness / Centerfold Illustration for the Goodnewspaper

“Optimism doesn’t mean that you are blind to the reality of the situation. It means that you remain motivated to seek a solution to whatever problems arise.”
— The Dalai Lama

“I can't be a pessimist because I am alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I am forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.”
― James Baldwin

“Does saying “things are improving” imply that everything is fine, and we should all relax and not worry? No, not at all. Is it helpful to have to choose between bad and improving? Definitely not. It's both. It's both bad and better. Better, and bad, at the same time. That is how we must think about the current state of the world.”
Hans Rosling, Factfulness

“There's no difference between a pessimist who says, 'It's all over, don't bother trying to do anything, forget about voting, it won't make a difference,' and an optimist who says, 'Relax, everything is going to turn out fine.' Either way the results are the same. Nothing gets done.”
— Yvon Chouinard

→ Read the best Yvon Chouinard quotes about adventure, business, and sustainability

→ Read the best quotes about activism

“There's no difference between a pessimist who says, 'It's all over, don't bother trying to do anything, forget about voting, it won't make a difference,' and an optimist who says, 'Relax, everything is going to turn out fine.' Either way the results are the same. Nothing gets done.”— Yvon Chouinard

“I am essentially optimistic. Being alive is incredible. Life is extraordinary and beautiful. It can be hard and sad and terrifying, but it’s all we’ve got.”
— James Frey

“I choose to feel optimistic, because I don’t think I could get out of bed if I didn’t.”
— Kerry Washington

“All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism, for the record, it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
― Conan O'Brien

“While skepticism is healthy, cynicism, real cynicism, is toxic.”
― John Oliver

“Youthful cynicism is sad to observe, because it indicates not so much knowledge learned from bitter experiences as insufficient trust even to attempt the future.”
― Maya Angelou

“Optimism isn’t a belief that things will automatically get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better.”
— Melinda Gates

Quote: Optimism isn’t a belief that things will automatically get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better. — Melinda Gates

“I am very optimistic, and I always think positive, but within reason and never getting too far ahead of the game.”
— Luis Fonsi

“Hope confronts. It does not ignore pain, agony, or injustice. It is not a saccharine optimism that refuses to see, face, or grapple with the wretchedness of reality. You can't have hope without despair, because hope is a response. Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word.”
— Cory Booker

Quote: Hope confronts. It does not ignore pain, agony, or injustice. It is not a saccharine optimism that refuses to see, face, or grapple with the wretchedness of reality. You can't have hope without despair, because hope is a response. Hope is the active conviction that despair will never have the last word. — Cory Booker

“For me, finding hope is not some philosophical exercise or sentimental notion; it is a prerequisite for my survival.”
― John Green

→ Read more John Green quotes about hope

→ Read more quotes about hope

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it's unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there's no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope.”
— Noam Chomsky

Goodnewspaper quote: Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it's unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there's no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. — Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky quote about optimism / Centerfold Illustration for the Goodnewspaper

“Hope will never be silent.”
— Harvey Milk

→ Read more Harvey Milk quotes about hope

“Hope is contagious!”
— Greta Thunberg

“I’m a bubbling brew of emotions, but mostly, I’m an optimistic person.”
— Carlene Carter

“It is in col­lec­tiv­i­ties that we find reser­voirs of hope and optimism.”
— Angela Davis

“Being truthful about the state of our nation and world does not equal losing hope. Hope sees truth and still believes in better. That which dismisses or does not seek truth, but grins, saying "It will be okay," is naivete, not hope.”
Bernice King

Quote: Being truthful about the state of our nation and world does not equal losing hope. Hope sees truth and still believes in better. That which dismisses or does not seek truth, but grins, saying "It will be okay," is naivete, not hope. — Bernice King
Bernice King quote about Hope / Centerfold Illustration for the Goodnewspaper by Morgan Harper Nichols

“Understanding that this is America shouldn’t evoke hopelessness. Hope and truth are connected. Hope is not naïveté. It is bearing witness to truth, still believing in better and yielding the energy to contribute to better.”
Bernice King

→ Read Bernice King's quotes about hope, love, and her father, Martin Luther King Jr.

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”
― Stephen Colbert

“Can we overcome apathy? Yes, but only if we have hope.”
Jane Goodall

“I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they're empowered to take action.”
Jane Goodall

Quote: I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they're empowered to take action. — Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall quote about Hope / Centerfold Illustration for the Goodnewspaper by Megan Burns

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”
— Dorothy Day

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
— Walt Disney

“No one wants to follow a pessimist… You can be skeptical, you can be realistic, but you can’t be cynical. If your boss is Eeyore, do you want to work with someone like that? Oh, bother.”
— Bob Iger

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
— John Lewis

Goodnewspaper Quote: Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. — John Lewis
John Lewis quote about Hope and optimism / Centerfold Illustration for the Goodnewspaper by Morgan Harper Nichols

→ Read the best quotes about good news

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.”
Winston Churchill

“Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists adopt the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.”
— Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

“Pessimism: We have a problem, but we can't solve it.
Optimism: We have a problem, and we can solve it.
Responsibility: We have a problem. Can I help solve it?
Initiative: We have a problem. Here's how I'm solving it.”

— Adam Grant

“I don't believe in pessimism. If something doesn't come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it's going to rain, it will.”
― Clint Eastwood

“Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.”
― Howard Zinn

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
— Barack Obama

→ Read Desmond Tutu's quotes about hope and light

“I guess I do have a childlike sense of fun, and although I still have my dark days, I’m generally an optimistic person. The way things have gone in my life, sure, I could have been a bitter person. But I just find bitter people really un-fun, you know? And who wants to be that person?”
— Drew Barrymore

“What I am trying to cultivate is not blind optimism … but radical hope.”
— Junot Diaz

Quote: What I am trying to cultivate  is not blind optimism …  but radical hope. — Junot Diaz

“A single individual is enough for hope to exist. And that individual can be you.”
— Pope Francis

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
— Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

“When we remember the stories of people power overcoming oppression in the past, it serves as the grounds for hope that it can happen again. For this reason, I define hope not as a feeling but as a conviction, based on the knowledge of all the ordinary people who have won against injustice before.”
Andre Henry

“History and data have convinced me that change, from the bottom up, is possible. I’m hopeful because I believe history is a story we’re writing together, not something happening to us — which means we all get a say in how the story ends.”
Andre Henry

“This conviction that we can win isn’t static. It’s a flame that must be fed and tended. We tend our hope by setting boundaries about how we consume news content that makes us feel despair.”
Andre Henry

“A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.”
— Aldous Huxley

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it — always.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

“Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.”
― Thomas Friedman

“You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down.”
― Charlie Chaplin

“But I do think it’s important that we stay hopeful about our capacity to overcome that bigotry. And I am persuaded that hopelessness is the enemy of justice; that if we allow ourselves to become hopeless, we become part of the problem. I think you’re either hopeful, or you’re the problem. There’s no neutral place. Injustice prevails where hopelessness persists. And if I’ve inherited anything from the generation who came before me, I have inherited their wisdom about the necessity of hope.”
Bryan Stevenson

“When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”
― Paul Hawken

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
— William Arthur Ward