Giving a speech? Need inspiration? Want to appear brilliant? Here are quotes from some of the great thinkers, business people, and philosophers of our time.

Goals & Purpose

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Motivation will almost always beat mere talent. – Norman R. Augustine

Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down. – Unknown

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. – Henry Ford

We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow. – B.J. Palmer

The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. – Benjamin Mays

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. – Pearl S. Buck

As one person, I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person. – Paul Shane Spear

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. – Benjamin Franklin

Success will not lower its standard to us. We must raise our standard to success. – Rev. Randall R. McBride, Jr.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. – Robert Byrne

Success is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Arbitelle

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. – F.D. Roosevelt

If you have the will to win, you have achieved half your success; if you don’t, you have achieved half your failure. – David Ambrose

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I cannot give you a formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure – which is: try to please everybody. – Herbert Bayard Swope

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it. – Arnold Toynbee

The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication. – Cecil B. DeMille

The secret of success is consistency of purpose. – Benjamin Disraeli

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt

Your goal should be out of reach but not out of sight. – Anita DeFrantz

A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives. – Jackie Robinson

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. – Tom Brokaw

Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. – Helen Keller

Character & Strength

Try not to be a man of success, but rather to be a man of value. – Albert Einstein

Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. – Henry Ward Beecher

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt

Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue. – Francis Bacon

Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning; but give me the man who has the pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing. – George Eliot

After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. – Italian proverb

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln

What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside you. – Wayne Dyer

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were. – Cherie Carter-Scott

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week. – Mario Cuomo

Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. Courage is what counts. – Sir Winston Churchill

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing. – Abraham Lincoln

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. – Albert Pike

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. – Sam Ewig

The art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of our great men. – Captain J.A. Hatfield

Rule your mind, or it will rule you. – Horace

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him. – Sidney Greenberg

Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday is a canceled check; Tomorrow is a promissory note; Today is the only cash you have, so spend it wisely. – Kim Lyons

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life. – Sandra Carey

How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Money mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever. – David Norris

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened; vision cleared; ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller

Genius is seldom recognized for what it is: a great capacity for hard work. – Henry Ford

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King Jr.

What we do on some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline. – H.P. Liddon

Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never mended well. – Benjamin Franklin

He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. – Henry Ward Beecher

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. – Roy Disney

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. – John Bunyan

There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. – Proverbs 11:24,25

Potential & Risk

Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all that he can. – Henry Drummond

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carol Buchner

A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. – Arthur Golden

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. – Marie Curie

What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? – Robert Schuller

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. – Malcolm Forbes

Not every successful man is a good father. But every good father is a successful man. – R. Duvall

The real contest is always between what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing. You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else. – Geoffrey Gaberino

It’s never too late to be who you might have been. – George Elliot

The mind is like a parachute – it works only when it is open. – Unknown

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton

I used to sit on the banks with a raft and watch the water roll lazily by. One day I pushed my raft into the shallows of the water and found the water moved swifter than I thought. My raft was actually a boat. Then, after some time, I rowed my little boat into deeper water. There were great storms, mighty winds, tremendous waves, and sometimes I felt so alone. But I have noticed my little rowboat is now a mighty ship manned by my friends and loved ones; and beautiful calm seas, warm sunny days, and nights filled with comfortable dreams always double after a storm. Now, I could never go back and sit on the bank. In fact, I search for deeper water. Such is life when lived. – B. D. Gulledge

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T.S. Eliot

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. – John Maxwell

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn

You must do the very thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. – John Wooden

Action & Achievement

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome. – Samuel Johnson

The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation… The hand is the cutting edge of the mind. – Jacob Bronowski

It is time for us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever, the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it. – Vince Lombardi

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. – Confucius

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Anonymous

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. – Henry Ford

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison

Talk doesn't cook rice. – Chinese Proverb

To achieve the impossible, one must think the absurd; to look where everyone else has looked, but to see what no else has seen. – Unknown

I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do. – Helen Keller

If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it. – George B. Shaw

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. – Dale Carnegie

Success is your dreams with work clothes on. – Unknown

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work. – Richard Bach

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. – Tim Notke

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. – Helen Keller

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. – Beverly Sills

The freedom to do your best means nothing unless you are willing to do your best. – Colin Powell

Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work. – Booker T. Washington

Sometimes our best is simply not enough... We have to do what is required. – Sir Winston Churchill

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. – Samuel Johnson

None of the secrets of success will work unless you do. – Unknown

You shouldn’t gloat about anything you’ve done; You ought to keep going and try to find something better to do. – David Packard

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything. – Samuel Johnson

Perseverance & Will

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

Victory belongs to the most persevering. – Napoleon

To make our way, we must have firm resolve, persistence, tenacity. We must gear ourselves to work hard all the way. We can never let up. – Ralph Bunche

I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. – Christopher Reeves

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. – Vince Lambardi

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Sir Winston Churchill

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. – General George Patton

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. – Seneca

According to aerodynamic laws, the bumblebee cannot fly. Its body weight is not the right proportion to its wingspan. Ignoring these laws, the bee flies anyway. – M. Sainte-Lague

It is when the well is dry that we know the price of water. – Benjamin Franklin

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it. – George Hala

A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits. – Richard Nixon

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times. – Anonymous

The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. – Charles Lindbergh

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top. – Arnold Bennett

Leadership & Greatness

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. – John C. Maxwell

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook. – William James

Empowerment is all about letting go so that others can get going. – Kenneth Blanchard

If you are to be, you must begin by assuming responsibility. You alone are responsible for every moment of your life, for every one of your acts. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen. – Robert L. Schwartz

Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. – Colin Powell

I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep. – Talleyrand

Outstanding leaders appeal to the hearts of their followers – not their minds. – Unknown

If there is anything I would like to be remembered for it is that I helped people understand that leadership is helping other people grow and succeed. To repeat myself, leadership is not just about you. It’s about them. – Jack Welch

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. – Barbara Johnson

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

He that would govern others, first should be the master of himself. – Philip Massinger

Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top. – J.C. Penney

If you aren’t making any mistakes, it’s a sure sign you’re playing it too safe. – John Maxwell

There are countless ways of achieving greatness, but any road to achieving one’s maximum potential must be built on a bedrock of respect for the individual, a commitment to excellence, and a rejection of mediocrity. – Buck Rogers

There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it. – Monta Crane

The man who keeps busy helping the man below him won’t have time to envy the man above him. – Henrietta Mears

A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see. – Leroy Eims

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in other people the convictions and the will to carry on. – Walter Lippmann

The more extensive a man’s knowledge of what has been done, the greater will be his power of knowing what to do. – Benjamin Disraeli

Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility… in the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have… is the ability to take on responsibility. – Michael Korda

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others. – Robert Louis Stevenson

The price of greatness is responsibility. – Winston Churchill

This article was written by: Issues I Face

Photo Credit: Dino Reichmuth