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Top 100 Inspirational Quotations to Inspire Every Entrepreneur’s Success

Entrepreneurs, above all the ones who seem to live by their own rulebook, fascinate the world. We applaud their assertiveness in pursuing opportunity and clandestinely esteem their ability to take risks and go after whatever they want, an ability that most of us don’t seem possess. The ability to understand and see opportunity is critical for success as entrepreneurs.

In general the qualities that are evident in successful entrepreneurs are:

  • Discipline and control
  • Confidence and conviction
  • Open-mindedness
  • Initiative and drive
  • Creativity and ingenuity
  • Determination and sense of purpose
  • Strong people skills
  • Strong work ethics
  • Passion and enthusiasm

Favorite Inspirational Quotes for Entrepreneurs

Below are a hundred of my favorite inspirational quotes by successful entrepreneurs and businessmen to inspire your endeavors as entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs.

  1. Bill Gates: “If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.”
  2. George P. Shultz: “He who walks in the middle of the road gets hit from both sides.”
  3. Chester Barnard: “The responsibility of the executive is (1) to create and maintain a sense of purpose and moral code for the organization; (2) to establish systems of formal and informal communication; and (3) to ensure the willingness of people to cooperate.”
  4. 'The World on Time: The 11 Management Principles That Made FedEx an Overnight Sensation' by James C Wetherbe (ISBN 1888232064) J. Irwin Miller: “It is ridiculous ever to forget that you and your business are each implanted in the society of the moment…. We cannot ignore the world of our time. We had better understand it.”
  5. David Rockefeller: “One cannot expect to coast along and rise automatically to the top, no matter what friends you may have in the company. There may have been a time when, in large corporations, a person could rise simply because he had a stock interest or because he had friends in top management. That’s not true today. Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.”
  6. Martha Stewart: “I love the challenge of starting at zero every day and seeing how much I can accomplish.”
  7. Marshall Field: “Beware of a misfit occupation… . Consider carefully your natural bent, hether for business or a profession.”
  8. Michael Jordan: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
  9. Andrew Grove: “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”
  10. E. W. Scripps: “Do good to your friend to keep him, and to your enemy to make him your friend.”
  11. Robert E. Hannegan: “Ideals are the incentive payment of practical men. The opportunity to strive for them is the currency that has enriched America through the centuries.”
  12. 'Steve Jobs' by Walter Isaacson (ISBN 1451648545) Philip Caldwell: “Why kick the man downstream who can’t put the parts together because the parts really weren’t designed properly?”
  13. Rudy Giuliani: “Life needs penalties and rewards for people. You can’t control people with only penalties. You have to think how to create rewards.”
  14. Edward Francis Hutton: “If business is going to continue to sell through the decades, it must also promote an understanding of what made those products possible, what is necessary to a free market, and what our free market means to the individual liberty of each of us, to be certain that the freedoms under which this nation was born and brought to this point shall endure in the future … for America is the product of our freedoms.”
  15. Grover Whalen: “There is plenty of law at the end of a nightstick.”
  16. John J. McCloy: “Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.”
  17. P. T. Barnum: “Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.”
  18. William Mather: “Knowledge that puffs up the possessor’s mind is ever more of a pernicious kind.”
  19. Howard Schultz: “People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.”
  20. 'The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon' by Brad Stone (ISBN 0316219266) Hiroaki Aoki: “There are so many people with all kinds of lucky things happening to them and they don’t know how to use it.”
  21. Charles M. Schwab: “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
  22. George W. Bush: “Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.”
  23. Charles E. Wilson: “The thing that contributes to anyone’s reaching the goal he wants is simple wanting that goal badly enough.”
  24. Chauncey Depew: “The enjoyment of life would be instantly gone if you removed the possibility of doing something.”
  25. Charles F. Kettering: “The opportunities of man are limited only by his imagination. But so few have imagination that there are ten thousand fiddlers to one composer.”
  26. Bill Veeck: “I do not think that winning is the most important thing. I think winning is the only thing.”
  27. Anne M. Mulcahy: “It’s sometimes hard to make choices about where you invest; it’s equally hard to make choices about where you don’t invest and what you eliminate.”
  28. 'Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way' by Richard Branson (ISBN 0307720748) David Sarnoff: “The great menace to the life of an industry is industrial self-complacency.”
  29. Ray Kroc: “It’s easy to have principles when you’re rich. The important thing is to have principles when you’re poor.”
  30. Erastus Wiman: “Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much. It pleases him who gives and receives and thus, like mercy, is twice blessed.”
  31. N. R. Narayana Murthy: “You become a star not because of your title; you become a star because you are adding star value to the company.”
  32. Roger Babson: “Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present.”
  33. Barry Goldwater: “To disagree, one doesn’t have to be disagreeable.”
  34. Jack Welch: “Getting every employee’s mind into the game is a huge part of what a CEO job is all about. Taking everyone’s best ideas and transferring them to others is the secret. There’s nothing more important.”
  35. Kirk Kerkorian: “I just lucked into things. I used to think that if I made $50,000 I’d be the happiest guy in the world.”
  36. 'Sam Walton: Made In America' by Sam Walton (ISBN 0553562835) Russell Simmons: “I don’t believe that people create their own visions. Rather, I believe that visions are actually God’s way of communicating with us.”
  37. Ted Turner: “I’ve never run into a guy who could win at the top level in anything today and didn’t have the right attitude, didn’t give it everything he had, at least while he was doing it; wasn’t prepared and didn’t have the whole program worked out.”
  38. J. Willard Marriott: “It’s the little things that make the big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”
  39. H. L. Hunt: “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.”
  40. Steve Jobs: “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.”
  41. Thomas Brassey: “Abstinence from enjoyment is the only source of capital.”
  42. William E. Simon: “Freedom is strangely ephemeral. It is something like breathing; one only becomes acutely aware of its importance when one is choking.”
  43. Henry J. Kaiser: “Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having put forth the best within you”
  44. 'Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry' by Michael Dell and Catherine Fredman (ISBN 0060845724) Richard DeVos: “The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.”
  45. Harvey Samuel Firestone: “Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.”
  46. Michael Dell: “Ignore the people who tell you it won’t work, and hire people who embrace your vision.”
  47. Steven Spielberg: “People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don’t have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.”
  48. Sam Walton: “Nothing else can quite substitute for a few wellchosen, welltimed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
  49. Owen D. Young: “We wake up to find the whole world building competitive trade barriers, just as we found it a few years ago building competitive armaments. We are trying to reduce armaments to preserve the world’s solvency. We shall have to reduce competitive trade barriers to preserve the world’s sanity. As between the two, trade barriers are more destructive than armaments and more threatening to the peace of the world.”
  50. Richard Branson: “Everyone needs something to aim for. You can call it a challenge, or you can call it a goal. It is what makes us human. It was challenges that took us from being cavemen to reaching for the stars”
  51. Colleen Barrett: “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.”
  52. 'Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul' by Howard Schultz, Joanne Gordon (ISBN B00AZ8DKWM) John D. Rockefeller: “The person who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed; you must have a larger ambition. There is no mystery in business success. If you do each day’s task successfully, and stay faithfully within these natural operations of commercial laws which I talk so much about, and keep your head clear, you will come out all right.”
  53. William S. Knudsen: “The young man who has the combination of the learning of books with the learning which comes of doing things with the hands need not worry about getting along in the world today, or at any time.”
  54. J. P. Morgan: “The wise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where he wants to go.”
  55. Lewis H. Brown: “We cannot possibly reconcile the principle of democracy, which means co-operation, with the principle of governmental omniscience under which everyone waits for an order before doing anything. That way lies loss of freedom, and dictatorship.”
  56. John W. Snyder: “It took thrift and savings, together with tremendous character and vision, to make our nation what it is today. And it will take thrift and savings, together with constant ingenuity and stamina, to conserve our remaining resources to enable us to continue to be a great nation.”
  57. Mary Kay Ash: “Every failure, obstacle or hardship is an opportunity in disguise. Success in many cases is failure turned inside out. The greatest pollution problem we face today is negativity. Eliminate the negative attitude and believe you can do anything. Replace ‘if I can, I hope, maybe’ with ‘I can, I will, I must.'”
  58. Charles H. Percy: “In our democracy we must have a partnership of labor, of business and of government.”
  59. Clarence Francis: “You can buy people’s time; you can buy their physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of their skilled muscular motions per hour. But you cannot buy enthusiasm … you cannot buy loyalty … you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds and souls. You must earn these.”
  60. 'How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It' by Mark Cuban (ISBN 1626810915) Warren G. Harding: “The success of our popular government rests wholly upon the correct interpretation of the deliberate, intelligent, dependable popular will of America.”
  61. Stephen Girard: “If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today.”
  62. John H. Johnson: “I believe the greater the handicap, the greater the triumph.”
  63. Donald Trump: “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.”
  64. Allen Klein: “In every job, relationship, or life situation there is inevitably some turbulence. Learn to laugh at it. It is part of what you do and who you are.”
  65. E. R. Squibb: “Adam and Eve ate the first vitamins, including the package.”
  66. W. Clement Stone: “Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.”
  67. Oprah Winfrey: “What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.”
  68. 'Oprah: A Biography' by Kitty Kelley (ISBN 0307394875) Max Ehrmann: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
  69. David Sarnoff: “Work and live to serve others, to leave the world a little better than you found it and garner for yourself as much peace of mind as you can. This is happiness.”
  70. Aristotle Onassis: “The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows.”
  71. Priscilla Presley: “Being considered beautiful at a young age sends confusing signals. You think people only like you because of your beauty.”
  72. Lloyd Blankfein: “If you’re on a beach and a tsunami hits, you’ll drown whether you’re a small child or an Olympic swimmer. Some things will go bad no matter how good you are.”
  73. Michael Bloomberg: “I think if you look at people, whether in business or government, who haven’t had any moral compass, who’ve just changed to say whatever they thought the popular thing was, in the end they’re losers.”
  74. Edward Filene: “Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.”
  75. John Hancock: “The more people who own little businesses of their own, the safer our country will be, and the better off its cities and towns; for the people who have a stake in their country and their community are its best citizens.”
  76. 'A Better India: A Better World' by NR Narayana Murthy (ISBN 067008283X) Lee Iacocca: “The most successful businessman is the man who holds onto the old just as long as it is good, and grabs the new just as soon as it is better.”
  77. Paul G. Hoffman: “With intelligence and humility and dedication as our ammunition, we can wage the peace throughout the world with a strength beyond armies, destroying nothing except hate and greed and distrust.”
  78. David Packard: “You shouldn’t gloat about anything you’ve done; you ought to keep going and find something better to do.”
  79. Walter Hoving: “A rather important contemporary problem: too many unintelligent intellectuals.”
  80. Soichiro Honda: “Many people dream of success. To me success can only be achieved through repeated failures and introspections. In fact, success represents 1% of your work that results from the 99% that is called failure.”
  81. J. W. Marriott, Jr.: “Motivate them, train them, care about them, and make winners out of them… they’ll treat the customers right. And if customers are treated right, they’ll come back.”
  82. Jeffrey Immelt: “The most important thing I’ve learned since becoming CEO is context. It’s how your company fits in with the world and how you respond to it.”
  83. Thomas J. Watson: “The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.”
  84. 'Grinding It Out: The Making Of McDonald's' by Ray Kroc (ISBN 0312929870) Anil Ambani: “Concentration can be cultivated. One can learn to exercise will-power, discipline one’s body and train one’s mind.”
  85. Alfred E. Perlman: “After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.”
  86. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.: “Giving is the secret of a healthy life. Not necessarily money, but whatever a person has of encouragement, sympathy and understanding.”
  87. Stan Randall: “The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.”
  88. Katharine Graham: “To love what you do and feel that it matters — how could anything be more fun?”
  89. E. H. Harriman: “Every man should make up his mind that if he expects to succeed, he must give an honest return for the other man’s dollar.”
  90. Leo Burnett: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
  91. John Joseph Bernet: “Men are more important than tools. If you don’t believe so, put a good tool into the hands of a poor workman.”
  92. 'Nuts!' by Kevin Freiberg, Jackie Freiberg (ISBN 0767901843) Dhirubhai Ambani: “Think big, think fast, think ahead. Ideas are noone’s monopoly.”
  93. M. Russell Ballard: “Attitude is an important part of the foundation upon which we build a productive life. A good attitude produces good results, a fair attitude poor results, a poor attitude poor results. We each shape our own life, and the shape of it is determined largely by our attitude.”
  94. Frank Lane: “Time is money, especially when you are talking to a lawyer or buying a commercial.”
  95. Peter Schutz: “Three people were at work on a construction site. All were doing the same job, but when each was asked what the job was, the answers varied. “Breaking rocks,” the first replied. “Earning my living,” the second said. “Helping to build a cathedral,” said the third.”
  96. Henry Ford: “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward.”
  97. Warren Buffett: “We never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow’s obligations. When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night’s sleep for the chance of extra profits.”
  98. George L. Brown: “Life is too short to be unhappy in business. If business were not a part of the joy of living, we might almost say that we have no right to live, because it is a pretty poor man who cannot get into the line for which he is fitted.”
  99. James Cash Penney: “The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.”
  100. Roberto Goizueta: “The moment avoiding failure becomes your motivation, you’re down the path of inactivity. You stumble only if you’re moving.”

Recommended Reading: Biographies and Ideas for Entrepreneurs

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Inspiring Quotations about Prison from Nelson Mandela from his Autobiography

Nelson Mandela's Prison in Robben Island

In the winter of 1964, Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island, off the coast from Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. It was here in a prison that Mandela would spend eighteen of his twenty-seven years of prison sentence before he would be freed just prior to the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

The racist regime in South Africa cramped Nelson Mandela to a small cell. The ground was his bed. He had a bucket for a toilet and he was forced to do harsh labor in a quarry.

Contact with friends, family, and well-wishers was limited: Mandela was allowed one visitor a year for thirty minutes. He could write and receive one letter every six months.

Despite the trying times, Robben Island became the crucible which transformed him. Out of his intellect, charm, and decorous disobedience, Mandela in due course bent the most atrocious of prison officials to his will, took up to command his jailed comrades and developed into the master of his prison.

Eventually in the late 1980s, the South African President FW de Klerk and the African National Congress (ANC) initiated large-scale political reforms by relaxing apartheid laws and revoking the ban on black rights party. Nelson Mandela was freed on 11-Feb-1990. He emerged from the jail as a mature leader who would fight and win the great political battles that would create a new democratic South Africa.

Inspiring Quotations from Nelson Mandela from his Autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”

'Long Walk to Freedom' by Nelson Mandela (ISBN 0030565812) Here are seven inspiring quotations from ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, Nelson Mandela‘s autobiography, which was recently made into a biopic with an inspiring performance from British actor, producer, and musician Idris Elba.

  • “In my country we go to prison first and then become President.”
  • “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.”
  • “Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one’s commitment.”
  • “I always knew that someday I would once again feel the grass under my feet and walk in the sunshine as a free man.”
  • “It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”
  • “When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.”
  • “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

Recommended Reading

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16 Inspiring Quotes from Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom”

Nelson Mandela

'Long Walk to Freedom' by Nelson Mandela (ISBN 0030565812) Nelson Mandela is celebrated around the world for his personal struggle against apartheid, a system devised by the National Party controlled by the minority white in South Africa to oppress the black majority. He led the decades-long struggle to replace the apartheid regime with a multi-racial democracy and advocated for reconciliation in spite of being imprisoned for 27 years.

After becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994, Mandela was the driving force behind the peaceful transition of one of the most racist societies in modern times to a nonviolent and democratic society where acceptance reigns and there were no recriminations. He was one of the world’s most respected political leaders of his time.

Nelson Mandela shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last white President of South Africa, “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

Here are sixteen inspiring quotations from ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, autobiography of Nelson Mandela, which was recently made into a biopic with an inspiring performance from British actor, producer, and musician Idris Elba.

  • “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
  • “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
  • “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
  • “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
  • “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
  • “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but its lowest ones.”
  • “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
  • 'Long Walk to Freedom' by Nelson Mandela (ISBN 0030565812) “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
  • “You may succeed in delaying, but never in preventing the transition of South Africa to a democracy.”
  • “The authorities liked to say that we received a balanced diet; it was indeed balanced—between the unpalatable and the inedible.”
  • “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”
  • “A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”
  • “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
  • “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
  • “Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”
  • “There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
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