Idealist Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old idealist quotes, idealist sayings, and idealist proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.     

H. L. Mencken

Among idealists and visionaries, there is no shortage of good intent, but there's often a shortage of discipline.     

Scott Belsky

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.     

Robert Anton Wilson

Idealists are not the good friends of the truths; they create their own truth.     

Mehmet Murat ildan

If you are not an idealist by the time you are twenty you have no heart, but if you are still an idealist by the time you are thirty, you don't have a head.     

Randolph Bourne

If you are an idealist, it does not matter what you do or what goes on around you because it isn't real anyway.     

Robert Penn Warren

To say that a man is an idealist is merely to say that he is a man.     

Gilbert K. Chesterton

A realist is an idealist who has gone through the fire and been purified. A skeptic is an idealist who has gone through the fire and been burned.     

Warren W. Wiersbe

Any idealist who tries to join the Peace Corps must realize he is not going to change the world overnight.     

Sargent Shriver

Idealists are either blind or clowns; because they think it is possible to have a beautiful world with asshole creatures like humans.     

M.F. Moonzajer

Only the broken-hearted idealist can become a cynic.      

Mark Clifton

All idealists imagine that the causes they serve are fundamentally better than any other causes in the world, and they refuse to believe that if their cause is to flourish at all it requires precisely the same foul-smelling manure that is necessary to all other human undertakings.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

Too often people view idealists as naive.     

Jacqueline Novogratz

An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.     

Sydney J. Harris

The idealist and dreamer will stubbornly go down with the ship. The serial innovator grabs the rudder and changes course.     

Larry Osborne

The true idealist pursues what his heart says is right in a way that his head says will work.     

Richard M. Nixon

The idealist regards facts as provisional.     

Mason Cooley

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.     

George Carlin

Idealist: a cynic in the making.     

Irving Layton

I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way.     

Carl Sandburg

Every materialist will be an idealist; but an idealist can never go backward to be a materialist.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.     

Henry Ford

The idealist walks on tiptoe, the materialist on his heels.     

Malcolm De Chazal

The idealists will always be in society, and we will survive.     

John Zorn

Being an idealist is not being a simpleton; without idealists there would be no optimism and without optimism there would be no courage to achieve advances that so-called realists would have you believe could never come to fruition.     

Alisa Dana Steinberg

You can't be idealistic in this world and not be crazy.     

John Zorn

The democratic idealist is prone to make light of the whole question of standards and leadership because of his unbounded faith in the plain people.     

Irving Babbitt

The idealist is incorrigible: if he is thrown out of his heaven he makes an ideal of his hell.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

An idealist who couldn't cope becomes cynical.     

Amy Ray

Sooner or later, many idealists transform themselves into disheartened realists who mistakenly believe that giving up is the same thing as being realistic.     

Seth Godin