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50 Inspirational Success Quotes That Will Energize Your Days

“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”

Here's the plight of any guy who strives to "make it:" ceaseless hard work broken up by long stretches of time where failure seems all but inevitable. It happens to everyone, from professional basketball players to five-star generals to the inventors and innovators that have tectonically shifted human society. But these exceptional men and women powered through, and changed the world for the better—and here's what they had to say about it. Print these success quotes out. Tape them to your desk. And when the going gets tough, refer to them. You'll thank us. And if reading these success quotes has you wanting to life a better life, read up on the 50 ways to be a better man.


basketball chris cuomo

Some people just know how to play ball—on and off the court.

Bo Jackson

bo jackson success quotes
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James C. Dillard / Public Domain

"Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bear Bryant

bear bryant success quotes
Public Domain

"It's not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Tommy Lasorda

tomm lasorda success quotes

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."

Billie Jean King

billie jean king success quotes

"Champions keep playing until they get it right." You'll also want to check out these 20 Timeless One-Liners from History’s Extraordinary Women.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar[

kareem success quotes

"One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team."

Arthur Ashe

arthur ashe success quotes
Dutch National Archives / CC0 1.0

"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lou Holtz

lou holtz success quotes

"Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Michael Jordan

michael jordan successq quotes

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

John Wooden

john wooden success quotes
Public Domain

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Muhammad Ali

ali success quotes

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'"


thomas edison lightbulb geniuses

The lightbulb, the car, the telephone—we wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for these legends.

Thomas Edison


"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

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Henry Ford

"The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one's destiny to do, and then do it."

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Alexander Graham Bell

Public Domain

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

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Albert Einstein

albert einstein success quotes

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value."

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Dale Carnegie

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."

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Steve Jobs

steve jobs wore the same thing every day
Getty Images

"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."

Thomas J. Watson

thomas watson success quotes
Courtesy IBM

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that's where you will find success."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Bill Gates

success quotes bill gates
Paolo Bona/Shutterstock

"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."


woman film camera

If movies are uplifting, their creators are even more so.

James Cameron

Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

"If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success."

Kevin Kline

kevin kline success quotes

"People ask, 'What's the best role you've ever played?' The next one."

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington

"Success? I don't know what that word means. I'm happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody's eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me."

Martha Stewart

martha stewart success quptes

"I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing."

Bruce Lee

bruce lee celebrity deaths
Wikimedia Commons

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."

Dax Shepard

Dax Shephard

"Success is just a war of attrition. Sure, there's an element of talent you should probably possess. But if you just stick around long enough, eventually something is going to happen."

Robert Rodriguez

robert rodriguez success quotes

"When given an opportunity, deliver excellence and never quit."


Secondhand books, old books, used books, secondhand

Their words—on and off the page—permeate through history.

Henry David Thoreau

henry thoreau success quotes

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

Stephen King

stephen king success quotes

"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work."

Oscar Wilde

oscar wilde success quotes

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."

Mark Twain

mark twain success quotes

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Roald Dahl

success quotes
Hans van Dijk/CC BY-SA 3.0

"…[I]f you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be."

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Richard Yates

"If you don't try at anything you can't fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want."

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Maya Angelou

maya angelou success quotes

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."

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Joseph Conrad

joseph conrad success quotes
Public Domain

"I don't like work— no man does— but I like what is in the work— the chance to find yourself. Your own reality— for yourself not for others— what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means."

Samuel Beckett

samuel beckett success quotes
Public Domain

"There's only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best."

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Fine Arts

paint brush canvas office

Art imitates life; life imitates art—and the artist.

Pablo Picasso

pablo picasso success quotes

"Action is the foundational key to all success."

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Vincent Van Gogh

van gogh success quotes

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well."


Movies, movie quotes, quotable movies

The rugged code of a disciplined man can be applied to all facets of life.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

dwight eisenhower success quotes

"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office."

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Colin Powell

colin powell success quotes

"The most important thing I learned is that soldiers watch what their leaders do. You can give them classes and lecture them forever, but it is your personal example they will follow."

William McRaven

william mcraven success quotes

"Nothing so steels you for battle like failure. No officer I watched got it right every time. But the great ones know that when they fail, they must pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and move on…. If you can't stomach failure, then you will never be a great leader."

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George S. Patton

patton success quotes
Public Domain

"A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Politicians & World Leaders

politicians assaulting people congress 35th, smart word

The leaders of the world score their lofty perches for a reason.

Winston Churchill

winston churchill success quotes
Public Domain

"If you're going through hell keep going."

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Thomas Jefferson

thomas jefferson success quotes

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

Booker T. Washington

booker t washington success quotes

"You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals."

Margaret Thatcher

margaret thatcher success quotes

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."

Ronald Reagan

ronald reagan success quotes

"To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will."

Theodore Roosevelt

teddy roosevelt success quotes

"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."

Harry S. Truman

harry truman success quotes

"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama

president barack obama success quotes

"Focus your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little life of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential."

Nelson Mandela

nelson mandela success quotes

"It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."

Benjamin Disraeli

benjamin disraeli success quotes

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."

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