Today, John Lennon would have turned 72 years old. The impact of John and The Beatles is unparalleled, but the story of John Lennon is more than that of a Beatle. John didn’t settle into the position of a people-pleaser. As he was elevated to a level that few entertainers have ever been to, he kept a defiance about him—this manifested itself in his music, in his actions, and in his words. He was never afraid to speak his mind, and while it sometimes got him in trouble, it also led to some pieces of wisdom that can be applied to anyone’s life. Happy birthday, John. Here are 10 classic Lennon quotes.

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“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

“Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.”

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didnt understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

“You’re just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You’ve got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It’s all down to you, mate.”

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