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Pay It Forward Quotes to Help You Live a Better Life

These Pay It Forward quotes show how the concept from the movie is the right way to live.

The movie Pay It Forward first premiered in 2000 starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment. The story is about a boy, Trevor, who is assigned a school project of finding a way to better the world.

He starts something called “Pay it Forward” where you do a favor for someone and then ask them to pay it forward to three people instead of repaying the favor so the movement will continue to spread.

While the movie gained a lot of attention, the idea of paying it forward has always been around. Many wise people throughout history have pointed to this concept as one of the things that life is all about. Keep reading these Pay It Forward quotes to see why.

Don’t forget to also check out these giving quotes that will make your heart melt.

Inspirational Pay It Forward Quotes

1. “If you can’t pay it back, pay it forward.” – Catherine Ryan Hyde

2. “I hope the fruits of my labor are ripe for many generations to come.” – Donovan Nichols

3. “For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis Assisi

4. “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

5. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

6. “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

7. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

8. “It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.” – Jackie Mutcheson

9. “One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

10. “Spread good energy. Pay it forward.” – Brittany Maynard

11. “A life lived for others, is the only life worth living.” – Albert Einstein

12. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan

Motivational Pay It Forward Quotes from the Movie

13. “I thanked him and there were some very specific orifices in which I was told to shove my thanks. He told me, ‘Just pay it forward.’ Three big favors for three other people. That’s it.” – Mr. Throsen

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14. “Is that what you want for your birthday? Everybody to pay it forward?’ – Chris Chandler

15. “You’re giving me a brand-new Jaguar, and you don’t want anything?” – Jay Mohr

16. “I just want to see if the world would really change.” – Trevor McKenney

17. “I guess it’s hard for people who are so used to things the way they are – even if they’re bad – to change. ‘Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.” – Trevor McKenney

18. “What did you tell my son to make him bring a homeless man into my house?” – Arlene McKenney

19. “Hey, you did good work. Look at me, I’m proud of you, Trevor. I’m proud of you. And anyway for what it’s worth, I’m grading you on the effort, not the result.” – Eugene Simonet

20. Trevor McKenney: “Are you saying you’ll flunk us if we don’t change the world?”

Eugene Simonet: “Well, no. But you might just scrape by with a C.”

21. Eugene Simonet: “I will always care — about you, always.”

Trevor McKenney: “Yeah. You’re my teacher. They pay you to.”

Pay it forward quotes about helping others

22. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

23. “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day, someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana

24. “A purposeful act or extension of kindness is never wasted, for it always resides in the hearts of all.” – Molly Friedenfeld

25. “Learning to pay it forward can add a tremendous sense of meaning and dignity to our lives. Simply put, it feels good to give to others, whether we get back or not.” – Greg Epstein

26. “‘Pay it forward’ has become a hackneyed concept, but I truly believe in it, and it gives me huge satisfaction to be able to help writers in a measurable way.” – Victoria Strauss

27. “If you stop for one second and do something, everyone is happy. You pay it forward, and it comes back to you twelve-fold.” – Mariska Hargitay

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28. “The greatest effects we have on the world are the ones we can never see.” – Chris Matakas

29. “I try to incorporate life’s lessons from everyone around me and pay it forward anytime I can.” – Andrea Michaels

Insightful Pay it forward quotes

30. “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:39

31. “Together, we can change the world, one good deed at a time.” – Ron Hall

32. “Kindness, no matter how small, still makes a huge impact.” – Unknown

33. “You don’t need much to change the whole world for the better. Start with the most ordinary ingredients. Start with the world you’ve got.” – Catherine Ryan Hyde

34. “Paying it forward doesn’t always require money.” – Unknown

35. “Be humble, be grateful, give back, share, pay it forward, chase your dreams, go for it, and take a moment to remember where it is all from.” – Justin Bieber

36. “Figure out what you’re good at and start helping other people with it; give it away. Pay it forward.” – Naval Ravikant

37. “Pay it forward with free compliments. They are returned in due time.” – David Chiles

38. “Just smiling at someone walking down the street can make the person’s day. It’s all about paying it forward.” – Mariska Hargitay

39. “Don’t stress about how much you can do – sometimes the little things make a huge impact.” – Unknown

40. “Paying it forward shouldn’t come with strings attached.” – Unknown

41. “There is no wrong way to perform an act of kindness.” – Catherine Ryan Hyde

More quotes about paying it forward

42. “When we’re stuck with cruelty, we can either decide that here is where it stops or inflict the same on others like it’s a rite of passage.” – Joyce Rachelle

43. “Early in our marriage, we knew that once the kids were gone, we would still be married and have to work on it. So, we decided to pay it forward. We worked in the first year like we wanted things to be in the fifth year. I’m so glad we did.” – Fawn Weaver

44. “I’m from Naples. I was born in a poor neighborhood and I always, in my heart, felt like it would be amazing to be able to adopt a child from Naples. I could give someone the opportunity I had. I would love to give back in that way and pay it forward.” – Giuliana Rancic

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45. “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

46. “Do I feel any pressure as the most decorated Winter Olympian in American history? None at all. The only pressures that I know I face are those of how to pay it forward: How can I continually make a positive impact in people’s lives, help others achieve their dreams, create their own Olympic mindset, creating champions within themselves.” – Apolo Ohno

47. “In a world like this, you pay it forward because more than likely, you didn’t deserve it when you got it the first time.” – Mindy McGinnis

48. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

49. “Parenting is the greatest pay it forward system on earth. We don’t owe our parent anything. We owe our children everything. The same was true for our parents. The same will be true for our children.” – Dan Pearce

50. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type… Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward.” – Brittany Maynard

What did you learn from these pay it forward quotes?

Spoiler Alert: At the end of the movie, Trevor is injured while defending a friend from bullies. He dies from his injuries. This seems like it would be a dark ending to what could be an inspiring movie but there’s more.

His mother and teacher hold a vigil for Trevor and hundreds of people show up who have been directly impacted by the Pay It Forward movement. It shows how one little act can multiply and spread far beyond yourself.

So now for the real challenge—take inspiration from the quotes above and find a way to Pay It Forward in your day. Choose to be the first person to start spreading the idea of paying it forward in your own area. And you can point people back to these Pay It Forward quotes and sayings to encourage them to do the same.

Stephanie Kirby
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