People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
—Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) Scottish-American Industrialist
Too great a preoccupation with motives (especially one’s own motive) is liable to lead to too little concern for consequences.
—Katharine Whitehorn (b.1928) English Journalist, Writer, Columnist
People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
—Zig Ziglar (1926–2012) American Author
Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.
—Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832) English Angelic Priest, Writer, Collector
Acting was a way out at first. A way out of not knowing what to do, a way of focusing ambitions. And the ambition wasn’t for fame. The ambition was to do an interesting job.
—Harrison Ford (b.1942) American Actor
Hunger, love, vanity, and fear. There are four great motives of human action.
—William Graham Sumner (1840–1910) American Polymath, Academic, Historian, Sociologist, Anthropologist
The light of lights looks always on the motive, not the deed, the shadow of shadows on the deed alone.
—William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) Irish Poet, Dramatist
I am not sending messages with my feet. All I ever wanted was not to come up empty. I did it for the dough and the old applause.
—Fred Astaire (1899–1987) American Actor, Film Personality, Theater Personality, Choreographer
Each individual should work for himself. People will not sacrifice themselves for the company. They come to work at the company to enjoy themselves.
—Soichiro Honda (1906–91) Japanese Inventor
Two purposes in human nature rule. Self-love to urge, and reason to restrain.
—Alexander Pope (1688–1744) English Poet
We can do whatever we wish to do provided our wish is strong enough. But the tremendous effort needed – one doesn’t always want to make it – does one? … But what else can be done? What’s the alternative? What do you want most to do? That’s what I have to keep asking myself, in the face of difficulties.
—Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
Anxiety and conscience are a powerful pair of dynamos. Between them, they have ensured that I shall work hard, but they cannot ensure that one shall work at anything worthwhile.
—Arnold J. Toynbee (1889–1975) British Historian
Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
Hope is a vigorous principle; it is furnished with light and heat to advise and execute; it sets the head and heart to work, and animates a man to do his utmost. And thus, by perpetually pushing and assurance, it puts a difficulty out of countenance, and makes a seeming impossibility give way.
—Jeremy Collier (1650–1726) English Anglican Theater Critic, Theologian
What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
One of the reasons it has seemed so difficult for a person to change his habits, his personality, or his way of life, has been that heretofore nearly all efforts at change have been directed to the circumference of the self, so to speak, rather than to the center.
—Maxwell Maltz (1899–1975) American Surgeon, Motivational Writer
Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.
—William Sloane Coffin (1924–2006) American Presbyterian Clergyman, Peace Activist
To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.
—Eric Hoffer (1902–83) American Philosopher, Author
The peril of the hour moved the British to tremendous exertions, just as always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas.
—Erwin Rommel (1891–1944) German Military Leader
The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
—Richard Bach (b.1936) American Novelist, Aviator
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
Poverty, frost, famine, rain, disease, are the beadles and guardsmen that hold us to common sense.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
There is nothing that fear and hope does not permit men to do.
—Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues (1715–47) French Moralist, Essayist, Writer
Some people are molded by their admirations, others by their hostilities.
—Elizabeth Bowen (1899–1973) Irish Novelist, Short Story Writer
There is something that is much more scarce, something finer far, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
—Leo Buscaglia (1924–98) American Motivational Speaker
Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition… I have no other so great as that of being truely esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
A team that has character doesn’t need stimulation.
—Tom Landry (1924–2000) American Sportsperson
Motivation is the fuel necessary to keep the human engine running.
—Zig Ziglar (1926–2012) American Author
We would frequently be ashamed of our good deeds if people saw all of the motives that produced them.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld
We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.
—Anne Frank (1929–45) Holocaust Victim
What all men are really after is some form, or perhaps only some formula, of peace.
—Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) Polish-born British Novelist
All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street, folks will say, “There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived”.
—Ted Williams (1918–2002) American Sportsperson
Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet