John Steinbeck is widely regarded as one of the greatest American authors. A good deal of his work was a social commentary, depicting the hardships of life with a stark reality. The beauty of Steinbeck, though, was his ability to paint hope; show these glimmers of brilliance and pride and perseverance through characters so down-trodden that the most sensible solution would have been to give up.

“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

We can’t help but feel pride and strength in our own ability to overcome adversity when reading these words. Take time to really look over past hardships and how far you’ve come, how many achievements you’ve gathered, the sheer will not to give up. This act, whether writing it down or simply meditating on your progress, can improve your mood so much better than focusing on the negative aspects of your current situation. It reminds you that any problem can be overcome.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

When life gets difficult, it’s easy to wallow in the problems. Even small things, like not getting a parking spot and running late for work, can change your whole mood for the day. In most situations, it helps to remind yourself that these negative things make the good turns of life all that much better. If everything was perfect always, you’d take it for granted.

“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” – John Steinbeck

Most of the problems in life are caused by strife with other people. The old adage about putting yourself in the other guy’s shoes really is true. When you have a better understanding of other people’s struggles, you’re more apt to accept their moods and disposition.

These are only three of Steinbeck’s quotes but they offer a great wealth of wisdom on living your best life, no matter which part of the journey you’re on.