In Quotes: The Wisdom of Michelle Obama at 60


Larry Marano/Shutterstock © Michelle Obama Pic: Larry Marano/Shutterstock

Big birthday wishes to Michelle Obama, she of the inspirational quotes and one of the world’s most well-known Capricorns, who turns 60 years young on 17 January 2024.

It’s often said that wisdom comes with age, but it’s fair to say that the former first lady has had it in spades for decades now!

Here, My Weekly celebrates some of her best-loved, most sage lines.

Michelle Obama quotes: 20 pearls of wisdom

On success and failure

  1. “Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”
  2. “Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
  3. “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
  4. “Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you.”

On helping others

  1. “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you.”
  2. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.”
  3. “There’s grace in being willing to know and hear others.”
  4. “You cannot take your freedoms for granted.”
Michelle Obama, London 2019 Pic: Richard Isaac/Shutterstock

Pic: Richard Isaac/Shutterstock

On the power of women

  1. “Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.”
  2. “Strong men, men who are truly role models, don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”
  3. “Don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.”
  4. “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”
Michelle and Barack Obama, Washington DC, 2016 Pic: Shutterstock

Michelle and Barack Obama, Washington DC, 2016 Pic: Shutterstock

On being true to yourself

  1. “When they go low, we go high.”
  2. “When I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”
  3. “Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you.”
  4. “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values — and follow my own moral compass — then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”
Michelle Obama in Austin, USA 2019 Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock

Pic: Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock

On leadership

  1. “Lead by example with hope, never fear.”
  2. “Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility.”
  3. “Try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar.”
  4. “I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be.”

Which of these Michelle Obama quotes is your favourite? Find us on Facebook, X and Instagram and let us know!

Also read words of wisdom from Karren Brady and Helen Mirren, or quotes from celebrities on ageing without apology.


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Leisa Millar

I'm a digital editor with experience of writing and editing for some of the UK's best-known women's lifestyle titles - and I'm delighted to count "The People's Friend" and "My Weekly" among them! A busy mum of three young children, I also host a parenting podcast called The SEN Mums' Career Club.