Est. read time: 5 minutes | Last updated: February 19, 2024 by John Gentile


Contents

Motivational

Get Going

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

-Mark Twain

There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do - and I believe that.

-Derek Jeter

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.

-Henry Ford

If you can dream it, you can do it.

-Walt Disney

The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.

-Jordan Belfort

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

-Napoleon Hill

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

-Carol Burnett

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.

-George S. Patton

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Perseverance

We suffer more in our imagination more often than in reality.

  • Seneca

I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.

-Muhammad Ali

Adversity introduces a man to himself.

-Albert Einstein

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

-Winston Churchill

Quality is not an act, it is a habit.

-Aristotle

The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.

-Rick Warren

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

-Samuel Beckett

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

-Confucius

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

-Thomas A. Edison

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

-Nelson Mandela

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

-Charles R. Swindoll

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

-Helen Keller

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

-Archilochus

The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.

-Ayn Rand

Comparison is the thief of joy.

-Theodore Roosevelt

Business & Leadership

Leadership

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

-John C. Maxwell

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

-Peter Drucker

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

-Warren Bennis

Don’t find fault, find a remedy.

-Henry Ford

If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.

-Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

-Steve Jobs

When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

-Ronald Reagan

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.

-Peter Drucker

Act like you’ve been there before.

-Vince Lombardi

What gets measured gets managed.

-Lord Kelvin

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

-Hanlon’s Razor

Starting Up

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

-Reid Hoffman

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-Teddy Roosevelt

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

-Steve Jobs

You need three things to create a successful startup: 1. Hire exceptionally great people. 2. Make something customers actually want. 3. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.

-Paul Graham

Strategy

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

-Alan Kay

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.

-Michael LeBoeuf

Our work is the presentation of our capabilities.

-Edward Gibbon

A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.

-Jeff Bezos

If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.

-Zig Ziglar

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.

-Warren Buffett

The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.

-Mark Twain

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.

-Thucydides

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

-Albert Einstein [Occam’s Razor]

Life

The young man, who does not know the future, sees life as a kind of epic adventure, an Odyssey through strange seas and unknown islands, where he will test and prove his powers, and thereby discover his immortality. The man of middle years, who has lived the future that he onced dreamed, sees life as a tragedy; for he has learned that his power, however great, will not prevail against those forces of accident and nature to which he gives the names of gods, and has learned that he is mortal. But the man of age, if he plays his assigned role properly, must see life as a comedy. For his triumphs and his failures merge, and one is no more the occasion for pride or shame than the other; and he is neither the hero who proves himself against those forces, nor the protagonist who is destroyed by them. Like any poor, pitiable shell of an actor, he comes to see that he has played so many parts that there no longer is himself.

-John Williams, Augustus

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

-Bill Watterson’s commencement speech at Kenyon College, 1990