61+ Leo Tolstoy Quotes That Will Change Your Thinking

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No one is as universally beloved as Leo Tolstoy. The Russian writer and thinker was adored in his own time and continues to be revered by many today. His work has transcended generations and continues to inspire people worldwide.

While Tolstoy is best known for his novels, he was also a prolific essayist and thinker. His quotes on society, love, life, war, and humanity are just as insightful as his fiction. Here are some of our favourite Leo Tolstoy quotes.


Leo Tolstoy Quotes About Life

  • All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. – Leo Tolstoy
  • He was afraid of defiling the love which filled his soul. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Spring is the time of plans and projects. – Leo Tolstoy
  • We lost because we told ourselves we lost. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbour — such is my idea of happiness. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them. – Leo Tolstoy
  • I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to be the guide to feeling. – Leo Tolstoy
  • When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be. – Leo Tolstoy
  • But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable. – Leo Tolstoy
  • All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If you want to be happy, be. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels? – Leo Tolstoy
  • If you love me as you say you do, make it so that I am at peace. – Leo Tolstoy
  • I have learnt that all men live not by care for themselves, but by love. – Leo Tolstoy
  • It’s much better to do good in a way that no one knows anything about it. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life. – Leo Tolstoy
  • To love life is to love God. Harder and more blessed than all else is to love this life in one’s sufferings, in undeserved sufferings. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. – Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes On Humanity

Few authors have inspired as much admiration and respect as Leo Tolstoy. His novels, which include War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are considered masterpieces of Russian literature, and his writing style has been enormously influential. As a thinker and moral philosopher, Tolstoy also had a great deal to say about the human condition, offering wisdom and insight that is still relevant today. Here are some of Leo Tolstoy’s most memorable quotes:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” This quote highlights the fact that many people want to make the world a better place, but they are not willing to change themselves first. For the world to change, we must first change ourselves.

“If you want to be happy, be.” This simple statement reminds us that happiness is a choice. We often allow our circumstances to dictate our level of happiness, but Tolstoy reminds us that we have the power to choose how we feel.

“People do not live their lives fully because they are afraid of death.” Death is inevitable, yet so many of us live in fear of it. This quote encourages us to embrace life and make the most of every moment instead of wasting time fearing something that is out of our control.

“Love is life. All else is mere illusion.” Tolstoy believed that love was the most important thing in life, and this quote.

  • People try to do all sorts of clever and difficult things to improve life instead of doing the simplest, easiest thing-refusing to participate in activities that make life bad. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness. – Leo Tolstoy
  • They’ve got no idea what happiness is, they don’t know that without this love there is no happiness or unhappiness for us – there is no life. – Leo Tolstoy
  • An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person. – Leo Tolstoy
  • There is only one enduring happiness in life – to live for others. – Leo Tolstoy
  • One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken. – Leo Tolstoy
  • “The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.” – Leo Tolstoy
  • I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six. – Leo Tolstoy
  • It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness. – Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes On Happiness

  • Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed. – Leo Tolstoy
  • All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war. – Leo Tolstoy
  • In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you. – Leo Tolstoy
  • I often think that men don’t understand what is noble and what is ignorant, though they always talk about it. – Leo Tolstoy
  • The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Boredom: the desire for desires. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Because of the self-confidence with which he had spoken, no one could tell whether what he said was very clever or very stupid. – Leo Tolstoy
  • The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand. – Leo Tolstoy
  • It’s hard to love a woman and do anything. – Leo Tolstoy
  • I felt a wish never to leave that room – a wish that dawn might never come, that my present frame of mind might never change. – Leo Tolstoy
  • I longed for activity instead of an even flow of existence. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Society in itself is no great harm, but unsatisfied social aspirations are a bad and ugly business. We must certainly accept, and we will. – Leo Tolstoy
  • “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” – Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Quotes About God

  • Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them. – Leo Tolstoy
  • There is one evident, indubitable manifestation of the Divinity, and that is the laws of right which are made known to the world through Revelation. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If you’re not enjoying your work, you should either change your attitude or change your job. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Anything is better than lies and deceit! – Leo Tolstoy
  • A truly wise man is always joyful. – Leo Tolstoy
  • The only thing that we know is that we know nothing and that is the highest flight of human wisdom. – Leo Tolstoy
  • There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth. – Leo Tolstoy
  • There are no conditions to which a person cannot grow accustomed, especially if he sees that everyone around him lives in the same way. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Man cannot possess anything as long as he fears death. – Leo Tolstoy
  • Something magical has happened to me: like a dream when one feels frightened and creepy, and suddenly wakes up to the knowledge that no such terrors exist. I have wakened up. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed. – Leo Tolstoy
  • He soon felt that the fulfillment of his desires gave him only one grain of the mountain of happiness he had expected. – Leo Tolstoy
  • If there was no suffering, man would not know his limits, would not know himself. – Leo Tolstoy
  • And you know, there’s less charm in life when you think about death–but it’s more peaceful. – Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy had a lot to say about society, love, life, war, and humanity. He also had some interesting things to say about happiness and God.

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