Michelle Obama was born on the 17th January 1964 and is an American author and lawyer, but is most well known as being the first lady of the United States during the two terms that her husband, Barack Obama spent in power. It is important to note that she was the first African-American First Lady.
She was raised in Illinois, graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, after which she began her career in law, working for the firm Sidley Austin. This was where she met Barack Obama. Following this job role, Obama held roles in various non-profit organisations, as well as positions at the University of Chicago.
Obama was ever-present during her husband’s presidential campaign, delivering inspiring and powerful speeches, one of particular note was the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which she followed up with another speech at the same event, in 2012. Even after the end of her husband’s presidential terms in office, she spoke at the 2016 convention in support of Hillary Clinton.
As a role model for women everywhere, Obama worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the poorest people in the nation, improving education, boosting fitness and nutrition. This inspirational icon to women around the world has challenged the status quo and continues to work for improvement to this day, as highlighted by her quotes below.
1. Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.
2. You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.
3. If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.
4. For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.
5. He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.
6. Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?
7. Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.
8. For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.
9. Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.
10. Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses… swapped back and forth and over again.
11. Everyone on Earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.
12. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
13. It hurts to live after someone has died. It just does. It can hurt to walk down a hallway or open the fridge. It hurts to put on a pair of socks, to brush your teeth. Food tastes like nothing. Colors go flat. Music hurts, and so do memories. You look at something you’d otherwise find beautiful—a purple sky at sunset or a playground full of kids—and it only somehow deepens the loss. Grief is so lonely this way.
14. Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.
15. Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.
16. One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.
17. We should always have three friends in our lives-one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.
18. Now that I’m an adult, I realize that kids know at a very young age when they’re being devalued, when adults aren’t invested enough to help them learn. Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances.
19. The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.
20. When they go low, we go high.
21. His money went largely toward books, which to him were like sacred objects, providing ballast for his mind.
22. At fifty-four, I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be.
23. You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but 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.
24. We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We had to be patient.
25. Even if we didn’t know the context, we were instructed to remember that context existed. Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.
26. It’s remarkable how a stereotype functions as an actual trap. How many “angry black women” have been caught in the circular logic of that phrase? When you aren’t being listened to, why wouldn’t you get louder? If you’re written off as angry or emotional, doesn’t that just cause more of the same?
27. The lesson being that in life you control what you can.
28. Hearing them, I realized that they weren’t at all smarter than the rest of us. They were simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority, buoyed by the fact that history had never told them anything different.
29. Bullies were scared people hiding inside scary people.
30. just do what works for you, because there will always be someone who think diffenrently.
31. Dominance, even the threat of it, is a form of dehumanization. It’s the ugliest kind of power.
32. When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. …It went back to my wishes for them to grow up 33. strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.
34. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.
35. This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time.
36. I have had to learn that my voice has value. And if I don’t use it, what’s the point of being in the room?
37. Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.
38. A happy marriage can be a vexation, that it’s a contract best renewed and renewed again, even quietly and privately—even alone.
39. Because people often ask, I’ll say it here directly: I have no intention of running for office, ever. I’ve never been a fan of politics, and my experience over the last ten years has done little to change that. I continue to be put off by the nastiness—the tribal segregation of red and blue, this idea that we’re supposed to choose one side and stick to it, unable to listen and compromise, or sometimes even to be civil. I do believe that at its best, politics can be a means for positive change, but this arena is just not for me.
40. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt.
41. I began to understand that his version of hope reached far beyond mine: It was one thing to get yourself out of a stick place, I realized. It was another thing entirely to try and get the place itself unstuck.
42. I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with us.
43. Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down, and trust your insticts. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourself with.
44. I grew up with a disabled dad in a too-small house with not much money in a starting-to-fail neighborhood, and I also grew up surrounded by love and music in a diverse city in a country where an education can take you far. I had nothing or I had everything. It depends on which way you want to tell it.
45. Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result
46. This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time. Maybe it stops you from swerving, from ever even considering a swerve, because what you risk losing in terms of other people’s high regard can feel too costly.
47. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise.
48. Life was teaching me that progress and change happen slowly. Not in two years, four years, or even a lifetime. We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We had to be patient.
49. Life was teaching me that progress and change happen slowly. Not in two years, four years, or even a lifetime. We were planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We had to be patient.
50. We all play a role in this democracy. We need to remember the power of every vote. I continue, too, to keep myself connected to a force that’s larger and more potent than any one election, or leader, or news story—and that’s optimism. For me, this is a form of faith, an antidote to fear.
51. I hate diversity workshops. “Real change comes from having enough comfort to be really honest and say something very uncomfortable.
52. The easiest way to disregard a woman’s voice is to package her as a scold.
53. I was deeply, delightfully in love with a guy whose forceful intellect and ambition could possibly end up swallowing mine.
54. Changing the big picture takes time.. and the best things to do is focus on the things that we can make in our lives if we’re doing all that. That becomes the collage of real change
55. It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.
56. What I knew from working in professional environments—from recruiting new lawyers for Sidley & Austin to hiring staff at the White House—is that sameness breeds more sameness, until you make a thoughtful effort to counteract it.
57. My most important title is still “mom-in-chief.” My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.
58. Here’s a memory, which like most memories is imperfect and subjective—collected long ago like a beach pebble and slipped into the pocket of my mind.
59. I wasn’t going to let one person’s opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself. Instead, I switched my method without changing my goal.
60. Focus on what you can control. Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff.