Quotes to Live and Lead By

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

I love quotes. A lot. It’s why nearly every article and every page starts with a quote – or two or three.

So, I figured it would be fun to share some of my favorites.

This collection is far from comprehensive, or inclusive. The actual number of quotes in my commonplace book is probably pushing the tens of thousands, with the number of “favorites” in the high triple-digits. (I’ve always been more of a both/and than an either/or kind of person anyway.)

And, I’ve got a ton of people to thank for all of them.

I can’t promise that this list will be updated regularly. In fact, the current version was mostly compiled in early 2015, and there’s been A LOT of learning since then.

But, it was true then, as it is now, that if I live and lead according to the ideas below – things tend to go pretty well.

In the future, I hope for this page to evolve into a dynamically updating resource. (Is that something you can help me with? Let me know!)

For now, what are some of your favorites? What’s one idea that, if you applied it starting today, would have the biggest impact on your life?


Quotes to Live and Lead By

  • “Success follows a predictable course. It’s not the brightest who succeed, nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is rather, a gift. The successful are those who have been given opportunities and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” – Malcolm Gladwell
  • “It is in no man’s power to have whatever he wants; but he has it in his power not to wish for what he hasn’t got, and cheerfully make the most of the things that do come his way.” – Seneca
  • “Do one thing every day that will make someone else happy” – Tom Clark
  • “Whenever you encounter a problem, shift your thinking until you see the opportunity.” – Leo Babauta
  • Discipline: a body of practices and habits that consistently delivers desired results without the expenditure of excess mental, physical, or temporal resources. Dad
  • “Something to remind yourself no matter what you’re working towards: you don’t have to do it all right now, you just have to start doing it.” – James Clear
  • “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple, the philosophy is kindness.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “You have to outwork everyone else. If you don’t, talent will not help you.”- Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte
  • “The world without spirit is wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.” Joseph Campbell
  • “Pessimists complain about the wind; Optimists expects it to change; Realists adjust the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
  • “Let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are.” – Brene Brown
  • “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” – Robert Frost
  • Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  • “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
  • Can’t I be both?” – Doug “Joe” Balchan, Jr.
  • “The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” – Van Gogh
  • Never confuse yourself with visions of a lifetime at once.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • Work diligently, diligently, work patiently and persistently, patiently and persistently, and you’re bound to be successful, bound to be successful.” – Satya Narayan Goenka
  • “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
  • “By drawing on wisdom that is balanced – ancient and new, Eastern and Western, even liberal and conservative – we can choose directions in life that lead to satisfaction, happiness, and a sense of meaning.” – Jonathan Haidt
  • A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. She’d
  • The Dexter Gate, between Harvard Yard and Massachusetts Avenue, the outside of which says “Enter to grow in wisdom,” while the inside bears the message, “Depart to serve better thy country and thy kind.”
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice.” – Zen master Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi
  • Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” – Mother Theresa
  • “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • You can have neither a greater nor a lesser dominion than that over yourself.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  • Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain
  • “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitley
  • “The general idea is simply that we need to exercise body, mind, soul, and spirit—and to do so in self, culture, and nature.” – Ken Wilber
  • Love is our highest word and the synonym for God.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you.” – Marcus Aurelius from Meditations
  • “There are seven days in a week and “someday” is not one of them. You need to start now.” – Benny Lewis
  • The great geniuses are those who have kept their childlike spirit, and have added to it breadth of vision and experience.” – Alfred Stieglitz
  • “Whenever anyone asked me how I’d done it, the answer was simple: I decided to be able to.” – Alexandra Heminsley
  • Use for yourself little, but give to others much.” – Albert Einstein
  • “With focus, motivation, and, above all, time, the mind can be trained to do extraordinary things.” – Joshua Foer
  • Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.” – Jim Collins
  • “Billionaires realize that the world is pliable. With enough pressure applied to an endeavor (either through effort, application of capital, or rouser of public support), sufficiently resourceful people really can change the world.” – Patrick Mathieson