67 Most Inspirational Quotes EVER

Here at ExchangeGain, we’re all about “actionable inspiration” (as opposed to that fleeting, vapid tripe that too often passes for motivation.)

Still, even the most inspired and active among us keep our fuel tanks filled with the wisdom of those who have come before. Throughout my life, I’ve collected quotes that mean something special to me – sometimes in my head, sometimes on scraps of paper at the bottom of my sock drawer, and sometimes bookmarked on my favorite websites or triple-underlined in my favorite books.

With this list, I’d like to share my favorite 67 quotes of all time. Starting with the mother of all motivational quotes, from the father of all motivators:

Keeping the Fire Stoked (and the bathtub full)

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily. –Zig Ziglar


The Most Helpful Advice I Know

Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. – Dale Carnegie

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The secret to success is constancy of purpose. – Benjamin Disraeli

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Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford

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Don’t Lose Perspective

The most important things cannot be measured. – W. Edwards Deming

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 (a statistician!)

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. – Benjamin Disraeli

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The Urgency of Action!

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

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Screw it, just do it! – Richard Branson

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Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

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

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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 safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. – Mark Twain

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb

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Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe

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How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. –Anne Frank


Making a Difference

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

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A good deed is the best prayer. – Mexican proverb

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We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. – Chuck Palahniuk

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. –Booker T. Washington

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Do Work That Matters … to You!

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.  – Robert Frost

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. –Farrah Gray

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Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. – Steve Jobs

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Take Pleasure in Hard Work

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it. ― Margaret Thatcher

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

Choose Your Attitude

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Vivian Greene

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. – Charles Swindoll

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You’re never fully dressed without a smile. – Charles Strouse

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Everything happens for a lesson. – Jane Coiné

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Live your life as an exclamation, not as an explanation. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

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Believe in YOU

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. – Theodore Roosevelt

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If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. –Henry Thoreau

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When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. – George Addair

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Fall seven times and stand up eight. – Japanese Proverb

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Make Your Destiny

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. –Stephen Covey

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The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. – Mark Twain

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What Really Matters

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou


When I was 5 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 didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. –John Lennon


Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.  – Booker T. Washington


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. –Maya Angelou


The Power of an Unfettered Mind

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. – Gloria Steinem

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You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

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Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. –Pablo Picasso

Dream big and dare to fail. – Norman Vaughan

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Sports as a Metaphor for Life

Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. – Vince Lombardi

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You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

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I’ve missed more than 9000 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. –Michael Jordan

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. – Babe Ruth

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And Other Truly Inspiring Wisdom

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. – Aristotle

Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thou shalt progress. –Maimonides

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Choose your friends wisely. You are who you hang around. – My mother.

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Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

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The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it. – Chinese Proverb

It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot

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I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear. –Rosa Parks

You can’t teach give a sh!t. – Unknown

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If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. –Oprah Winfrey

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – Dalai Lama

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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. – Henry Ford

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. –Benjamin Franklin

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Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. And watch your character for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. – Margaret Thatcher


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Copyright: rastudio / 123RF Stock Photo

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • Mark Hauler

    My favorite is a stanza by the British poet John Dryden: “Although I may be wounded, I am not finished yet; I’ll lay me down and bleed a while, then rise to fight again.”

    We all face challenges and occasional defeats in our lives, but the winners are those who are able to rise up and continue to fight for their cause – whatever that may be.

  • lifeisntbroken

    What a great resource! Thanks for taking the time to compile this.

  • There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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