Spring is traditionally a time of renewal, but for many people--especially business owners--it's hard not to be pessimistic. The economy is shaky, our governments seem inadequate, and our health and lives remain in jeopardy. What's worse, there's the ever-present fear in the midst of this crisis that the light at the end of the tunnel might be an optical illusion.

Nevertheless, there will be a time when all of today's difficulties will be a memory and, for many (and I hope most) of us, we'll think back on these days as a time when we all pulled together and saw things through not just to the end but to the new beginning. It may take some time, but renewal delayed is never renewal denied.

With that in mind, here are some quotes from great leaders and thinkers about the inevitability of hope and renewal:

  1. "Change is supremely inconvenient, uncomfortable and naturally scary. Yet we only move through life through the process of change, reinvention and renewal, and so bravery is our quintessential rebel for pushing us past our own limiting beliefs and behaviors. Bravery is feeling the fear, immersing yourself into it and through it so you can come out the other side." -- Christine Evangelou
  2. "Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time." -- Tom Robbins
  3. "Every day is a renewal, every morning the daily miracle. This joy you feel is life." -- Gertrude Stein
  4. "Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there's not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago." -- Steven Hall
  5. "God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever." -- Vance Havner
  6. "Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the cosmos. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach
  7. "Hope is not pretending that troubles don't exist. It is the trust that they will not last forever, that hurts will be healed and difficulties overcome. It is faith that a source of strength and renewal lies within to lead us through the dark into the sunshine." -- Liz Chase
  8. "I really think that's the key, part of the spiritual renewal that America needs to have, the notion that we really can have confidence in a better tomorrow." -- Carol Moseley Braun
  9. "If you are renewed by grace, and were to meet your old self, I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his company." -- Charles H. Spurgeon
  10. "Our democracy must be not only the envy of the world but the engine of our own renewal. There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America." -- William J. Clinton
  11. "Our words can lead us down a path of renewal and increased personal fulfillment." -- Sandra Marinella
  12. "Recovery is an important word and a vital concept. It means renewal of life and energy. Knowing how and when to recover may prove to be the most important skill in your life." -- James E. Loehr
  13. "Renewal is not just innovation and change. It is also the process of bringing the results of change into line with our purposes." -- John W. Gardner
  14. "Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling." -- Deborah Day
  15. "The cyclone ends. The sun returns; the lofty coconut trees lift up their plumes again; man does likewise. The great anguish is over; joy has returned; the sea smiles like a child." -- Paul Gauguin
  16. "The founder of Dell found ways of delivering Hewlett Packard's most profitable products for much lower prices but forgot to deliver their quality so within a few years had fallen behind again. Ideas need constant renewal. A great idea will never be perfect and will never work perfectly in all markets and all seasons." -- Max McKeown
  17. "The single overriding objective in wellness is creating constant personal renewal where we recognize and act on the truth that each day is a miraculous gift, and our job is to untie the ribbons. That's the Law of Esprit: living life with joy." -- Greg Anderson
  18. "There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself." -- Pope Francis
  19. "There is a cleansing from winter darkness the moment we sink our fingers into spring's fresh earth." -- Toni Sorenson
  20. "There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves." -- Thomas Merton
  21. "To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival." -- Wendell Berry
  22. "Transitions are a part of life, allowing for perpetual renewal. When you experience the end of one chapter, allow yourself to feel the emotions of loss and rebirth. A bud gives way to a new flower, which surrenders to the fruit, which gives rise to a seed, which yields a new sprout. Even as you ride the roller coaster, embrace the centered internal reference of the ever-present witness." -- David Simon
  23. "The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." -- Barack Obama
  24. "True, it's not over till it's over. And even when it's over, it just begins again." -- Kate McGahan
  25. "Truth has no continuity. It is the mind that wants to make the experience which it calls truth continuous, and such a mind shall not know truth. Truth is always new; it is to see the same smile, and see that smile newly, to see the same person, and see that person anew, to see the waving palms anew, to meet life anew." -- Jiddu Krishnamurti
  26. "We don't even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome." -- Isabel Allende
  27. "We say that flowers return every spring, but that is a lie. It is true that the world is renewed. It is also true that that renewal comes at a price, for even if the flower grows from an ancient vine, the flowers of spring are themselves new to the world, untried and untested. The flower that wilted last year is gone. Petals once fallen are fallen forever. Flowers do not return in the spring, rather they are replaced. It is in this difference between returned and replaced that the price of renewal is paid. And as it is for spring flowers, so it is for us." -- Daniel Abraham
  28. "When this ultimate crisis comes... when there is no way out - that is the very moment when we explode from within and the totally other emerges: the sudden surfacing of a strength, a security of unknown origin, welling up from beyond reason, rational expectation, and hope." -- Émile Durkheim
  29. "When we complain of having to do the same thing over and over, let us remember that God does not send new trees, strange flowers and different grasses every year. When the spring winds blow, they blow in the same way. In the same places the same dear blossoms lift up the same sweet faces, yet they never weary us. When it rains, it rains as it always has. Even so would the same tasks which fill our daily lives put on new meanings if we wrought them in the spirit of renewal from within--a spirit of growth and beauty." -- Helen Keller
  30. "When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth." -- Bell Hooks
  31. "Whether we know it or not, our lives are acts of imagination and the world is continually re-imagined through us." -- Michael Meade