Sometimes, our problems can seem so big.

It’s often our perspective that can make our challenges so difficult to handle because it makes us feel as if they’re surrounding us from all sides. They’re beside us, at our desk, in our bed at night, and everywhere else we ever are. This increases our stress level, worsens anxiety, and often makes us feel overwhelmed and unable to act effectively.

But the world isn’t against us, we just can’t see beyond our problems when we’re knee-deep in them. That’s when we need to take a moment to expand our mind and gain a sense of perspective. This can be invaluable for not only overcoming our challenges but also for unlocking our creativity and creating new ideas we can use to move our life forward.

Nothing helps us gain a sense of perspective and think bigger like reflecting on the vastness of the world and the universe at large. It has a special ability to instantly give us a sense of perspective that both makes our problems seem smaller but also helps us think bigger.

And no one helps remind us of the vastness of the universe (and what this means for your life) better than Neil deGrasse Tyson. Here are 15 of his best quotes to help you think big, expand your mind, and gain perspective.

15 Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes to Help You Think Big, Expand Your Mind and Gain Perspective 2

Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. I don’t know of any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.

Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.

Those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I’m small but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe, and the universe is connected to me.

Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.

Humans aren’t as good as we should be in our capacity to empathize with feelings and thoughts of others, be they humans or other animals on Earth. So maybe part of our formal education should be training in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were ‘reading, writing, arithmetic, empathy.’

Passion is what gets you through the hardest times that might otherwise make strong men weak, or make you give up.

I have a personal philosophy in life: If somebody else can do something that I’m doing, they should do it. And what I want to do is find things that would represent a unique contribution to the world — the contribution that only I, and my portfolio of talents, can make happen. Those are my priorities in life.

There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.

Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes - There is no greater education that the one that is self-driven

Do you realize that if you fall into a black hole, you will see the entire future of the universe unfold in front of you in a matter of moments and you will emerge into another space-time created by the singularity of the black hole you just fell into?

Everyone should have their mind blown once a day.

The universe is almost 14 billion years old, and, wow! Life had no problem starting here on Earth! I think it would be inexcusably egocentric of us to suggest that we’re alone in the universe.

The only way you can invent tomorrow is if you break out of the enclosure that the school system has provided for you by the exams written by people who are trained in another generation.

Kids should be allowed to break stuff more often. That’s a consequence of exploration. Exploration is what you do when you don’t know what you’re doing.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.

There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water in all the world’s oceans. This means that some molecules in every cup of water you drink passed through the kidneys of Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Abe Lincoln or any other historical person of your choosing. Same goes for air: There are more molecules of air in a single breath of air than there are breaths of air in Earth’s entire atmosphere. Therefore, some molecules of air you inhale passed through the lungs of Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Socrates or any other historical person of your choosing.