165 Business Quotes in English That Will Inspire You

Bill Gates. Sheryl Sandberg. Oprah Winfrey. Larry Page.

Let’s take a closer look at 165 powerful quotes from successful people around the world to help you learn new phrases and get inspired.

Whether in life or business, the words of successful and innovative people can be deeply inspiring. They can improve your English and change your life.


1. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

Who said it: Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance

Vocabulary: “It’s about” is a way to highlight the importance of something. “Make it happen” is an expression that means to get things done or to do the work.

What the quote means: Ideas themselves aren’t important. The important thing is that you take action so the ideas actually come true.

2. “Always deliver more than expected.”

Who said it: Larry Page, co-founder of Google

Vocabulary: “Deliver” has several possible meanings. In the quote above, it means to do what you say you will do.

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What the quote means: If you do more than what is expected, it means that you do extra work. The final product or results will then be better than how people thought it would be.

3. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Who said it: Coco Chanel, founder of Chanel

Vocabulary: “Think for yourself” means your thoughts should be your own—not what someone else has said or told you to think.

What the quote means: By adding the word “aloud” at the end, the quote means it’s brave to have your own thoughts and say them to others.

4. “What would you do if you were not afraid?”

Who said it: Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook

Vocabulary: “What would you do if” is a way to ask about a possible scenario which may or may not ever happen.

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What the quote means: The quote implies (suggests) that fear often stops us from doing things we want to do. We become afraid of failure or a negative outcome. Sandberg is asking us to think about what it would be like to not have any fear—and what we might accomplish!

5. “Nothing will work unless you do.”

Who said it: Maya Angelou, author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

What the quote means: You must do work for something to happen.

6. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”

Who said it: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx

Vocabulary: “To be intimidated” means to be afraid of something, usually because it seems too strong, big or impossible. “Ensure” means you’re going to guarantee whatever it is you’re ensuring.

What the quote means: Don’t feel like you’re unqualified to do something. Your unique experiences can help you find new solutions and methods—which are different from everyone else.

7. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”

Who said it: Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post

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Vocabulary: “To run” something means to control or lead it. “Fearlessness” is the lack of fear or not being afraid.

What the quote means: This quote uses a simile —a figure of speech that compares one thing to something else using words such as “like.” In this case, muscles are compared to being fearless. When we exercise our weak muscles, they become strong. Likewise, if we practice being fearless, it only gets easier to be less afraid.

8. “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

Who said it: Andre Gide, author and recipient of the 1947 Nobel Prize in Literature

Vocabulary: “To lose sight” means you can no longer see something you could see before. It can also mean to lose focus. “Consenting” means agreeing to something.

What the quote means: The quote above means you have to be ready to move forward even when you may not know what’s going to happen. You have to leave behind what you know.

This quote applies to business because if you want to “discover new lands” (do something that no one else has done yet; start a new business), you must leave “the shore” (what you know). It may be scary at times, but in the end you’ll find or do something new, and it might be amazing!

9. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

Who said it: Oprah Winfrey, founder of Harpo Productions and the Oprah Winfrey Network

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What the quote means: This quote means that you should be around people who are going to encourage (motivate) you to do better. You should spend time with people who want to see you succeed.

10. “Sweating the details is more important than anything else.”

Who said it: Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsico

Vocabulary: “To sweat” something means to worry about it. This is because when we worry, we often sweat. “Sweating the details,” therefore, means to worry about the small details.

What the quote means: In order to be successful or grow a company, you need to look after all of the small details. It’s those small things that will make a difference.

11. “You shouldn’t blindly accept a leader’s advice. You’ve got to question leaders on occasion.”

Who said it: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

Vocabulary: To do something “blindly” means to do it without thinking or preparing.

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What the quote means: This quote says we should question advice that people give us—even if they’re a leader. We should think for ourselves and then make a decision, rather than just accepting what another person tells us simply because they’re “important.” (So it’s okay to have questions or doubts about the quotes listed here too!)

12. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Who said it: Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

What the quote means: Everyone has an idea as to how we should live and what we should do. This quote explains that we have only one short life, so we shouldn’t spend our time trying to be like other people. We should find our own life and do what makes us happy.

13. “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”

Who said it: Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group

Vocabulary: To “give up” means to stop trying.

What the quote means: We should always keep trying. Some days will be difficult, but if we keep up the hard work, things will eventually be good.

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14. “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”

Who said it: Anne Sweeney, former president of Disney Channel

Vocabulary: In this case, “terms” are rules or ways of doing things. “Define success on your own terms” means that there isn’t one definition for the word “success.” For some people, success might mean having lots of money, while for others it may mean building a product people love.

What the quote means: We should decide what success means to us personally, and then work towards achieving it so we can be happy and proud of our accomplishments.

15. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Who said it: Warren Buffet, founder of Berkshire Hathaway

What the quote means: When a person plants a seed, they cannot see the beautiful tree it would become, nor the people who would sit in its refreshing shade. But over the years, the seed becomes a big tree others can enjoy. Likewise, the things we do today could help someone else in the future.

16. “I’m not here to be perfect, I’m here to be real.”

Who said it: Lady Gaga, singer-songwriter and actress in “A Star Is Born”

Vocabulary: To be a “real” person means to be true to yourself. It means that what you think, what you say and what you do align with (support) each other.

What the quote means: You don’t have to be perfect, because nobody is. But it’s a wonderful thing to be real: to not pretend to be anything other than who and what you are.

17. “I’m not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.”

Who said it: Marilyn Monroe, actress known for playing blonde bombshells (attractive people, usually women)

What the quote means: When you have a lot of money, you’re usually considered successful. So it’s interesting that Monroe, a well-known actress, is saying here that money doesn’t matter as much to her as being wonderful—or being a great person—is.

18. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Who said it: Mae West, actress

What the quote means: Like Marilyn Monroe, Mae West is also an actress known for playing attractive women. In this quote, she is saying that it’s all right that you don’t live more than one life. What matters is what you do with that one life you already have.

19. “The only thing that feels better than winning is winning when nobody thought you could.”

Who said it: Hank Aaron, baseball player nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank”

What the quote means: When you win or succeed at something, it feels good. But you know what feels even better? It’s when you achieve success when everyone else said that you won’t.

20. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Who said it: Winston Churchill, British prime minister during World War II

Vocabulary: “Fatal” means something that can cause you to die.

What the quote means: Once you’ve succeeded, you don’t stop moving. The same goes for failure: even if failure hurts, it won’t kill you. Whether you succeed or fail, the important thing is to keep moving wherever it is you want to go.

21. “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Who said it: Walt Disney, world-renowned (famous all over the world) animator

What the quote means: This is a very straightforward quote from the man who created some of the best animated films you can watch on screen—and learn English from! If you’re able to think that you want to do something, it’s very possible that you can do it.

22. “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

Who said it: Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of “The Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books

Vocabulary: “Busy” means having a lot to do.

What the quote means: It seems rather counterintuitive (against common sense) to give a task to someone who’s already busy. What Wilder is saying here is that busy people likely know how to do things quickly without sacrificing quality, which makes giving them tasks a good idea.

23. “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Who said it: Ernest Hemingway, novelist and short story writer known for works such as “The Old Man and the Sea”

Vocabulary: To “trust” someone is to believe in them and/or their capacity to do something.

What the quote means: According to Hemingway, the only way to find out if someone is worth trusting is to, well, trust them. Whatever comes out of that trust, you will be either proven right or wrong.

24. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Who said it: John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States

What the quote means: A leader isn’t just someone who tells people what to do. A leader is someone who sets clear goals for the ones under them and gives them the tools and motivation to achieve their goals. Most importantly, according to Adams, how a leader acts must motivate those under them to be and do better.

25. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

Who said it: Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Vocabulary: “Halfway” means to be in the middle point between where you started and where you want to go.

What the quote means: Your belief in whether you can do something matters a lot in whether you can do it.

26. “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

Who said it: Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (also known as “FDR”)

Vocabulary: “Realization,” in this context, means the completion or end of something.

What the quote means: In case you’re wondering, Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt are fifth cousins. (In fact, Franklin D. Roosevelt is related to at least 10 other presidents!) Like his fifth cousin, FDR is saying that your beliefs matter. If you think you can’t do something today, then you probably won’t be able to do it tomorrow. But if you think you can do something, you will!

27. “Life is what we make it and how we make it – whether we realize it or not.”

Who said it: Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”

Vocabulary: “Make it” has several possible meanings. In this context, “make it” means the way you look at something.

What the quote means: Your life reflects the way you look at it. If you feel that life is good, good things are more likely to happen to you.

28. “The road to success is always under construction.”

Who said it: Lily Tomlin, actress and comedian

Vocabulary: “Under construction” means to be in the process of construction or being built.

What the quote means: The way to success isn’t as straightforward as successful people make it seem. Often, you’ll meet a lot of obstacles (things that get in your way). You can either try to go around those obstacles or make your own road to success.

29. “I’m not a self-made man. I’ve had a lot of help.”

Who said it: Stan Lee, comic book writer and publisher of Marvel Comics

Vocabulary: “Self-made” means to be successful through your own efforts.

What the quote means: If you’re familiar with superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man, Stan Lee is the man behind all of these memorable and successful characters. Despite his success, he has the humility to say that he succeeded largely due to the help of others.

30. “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.”

Who said it: Tony Gaskins, motivational speaker and author

What the quote means: There are two kinds of people: those who are employers and those who are employees. Employees are the ones who get hired to help build dreams (that is, companies), while employers come up with the ideas to make sure those dreams come true. Which one do you want to be?

31. “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

Who said it: Tony Robbins, author of books such as “Unlimited Power”

Vocabulary: To be “in it” means to give your all to something—time, energy and resources.

What the quote means: If you really want to succeed, you should be willing to risk everything.

32. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

Who said it: Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

What the quote means: The bad news about motivation is that it’s a feeling that doesn’t last forever. But you need motivation to succeed, so it’s something that you should get yourself to feel every day to do anything at all.

33. “If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”

Who said it: J.M. Power, author

Vocabulary: “Dreams” has a double meaning in this quote. It means both the images you see while you’re sleeping and the things you want to achieve.

What the quote means: In this quote, Power is saying that if you want something badly enough, it’s not enough to sleep and dream about it. You must do something first—starting with waking up!

34. “Be persistent and never give up hope.”

Who said it: George Lucas, creator of “Star Wars”

Vocabulary: To be “persistent” means to continue doing something against all odds or obstacles.

What the quote means: This is quite an appropriate quote from the man whose first “Star Wars” film was called “A New Hope!” But seriously, it has a straightforward meaning: don’t ever give up.

35. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

Who said it: Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist (a scientist who uses theories or ideas to understand how the universe works)

What the quote means: If you want to be truly happy, your happiness must depend on something under your control. People can leave your life and things can get damaged, but a goal is always yours to create and change as necessary.

36. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Who said it: Jimmy Dean, creator of the “Jimmy Dean” sausage brand

Vocabulary: “Destination” is the place you want to go.

What the quote means: Here, Dean is using a boat as a metaphor (a figure of speech that talks about or describes one thing using another) for your goal. You cannot do anything about unexpected events (the wind), but you can adjust your sails (important parts of your goal) to get to where you want to be.

37. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

Who said it: Will Rogers, vaudeville (type of theater entertainment) performer

Vocabulary: To “take up” means to take time, space or attention.

What the quote means: Focus on today instead of thinking too much about yesterday.

38. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Who said it: George Eliot, author of “Adam Bede”

What the quote means: We often think that, once we’re at a certain point in our life or a certain age, that there are things we can no longer do. In fact, there are so many examples of people who have achieved things that they weren’t expected to achieve—like finishing school at the age of 70.

39. “Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Walk beside me; just be my friend.”

Who said it: Albert Camus, recipient of the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature

What the quote means: Camus is saying in this quote that you shouldn’t act like his leader (walking in front of him) or his follower (walking behind him). Instead, you should treat him as someone who is your equal or a friend.

40. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Who said it: Michael Jordan, basketball legend (very famous person)

What the quote means: It’s okay to fail, because everyone fails. But you should at least try to do something to achieve your goals. When you actually try to do something, your chances of succeeding are higher than when you don’t do anything at all.

41. “I have a dream.”

Who said it: Martin Luther King, Jr., minister and activist

What the quote means: This quote seems so simple, but it’s meaningful. To understand why, you have to know that he said it during a time when people who were not “white” were discriminated against (treated badly because of a certain quality they have).

Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the rights of those who are “black” (just like himself) to be treated equally. When he said “I have a dream,” he is saying that people like himself have the right to want things because they are human beings just like the “whites.” If you want to listen to more of the speech, you can watch it here.

42. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Who said it: Nelson Mandela, activist who was anti-apartheid (against apartheid or the separation of people of different skin colors)

What the quote means: Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela (who was “black”) believed that those who looked like him should be treated like human beings and equal to the “whites.” He also struggled against the status quo (the way things are) in his home country of South Africa, but he never stopped. He is saying that it’s okay to fail again and again—as long as you get up and fight after each failure.

43. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Who said it: Lao Tzu, Taoist philosopher

Vocabulary: A “journey” is the act of leaving one place to go to another.

What the quote means: If you want to do anything, you have to take that first step. Before you start work each day, you have to wake up in the morning. Before you write a novel, you have to fill out that first page. Before you become fluent in English, you should master the basics like vocabulary, grammar, etc.

44. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Who said it: Robert Louis Stevenson, author of books such as “Treasure Island” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

Vocabulary: “Reap” means to get and collect something, typically a harvest.

What the quote means: This is another metaphor in the form of a quote. You could say this quote is the opposite of “The ends justify the means.” Stevenson is saying that how you do something (the seeds that you plant) is more important than why you are doing it (the harvest you reap).

45. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”

Who said it: Helen Keller, writer and disability rights advocate (supporter)

What the quote means: This is a particularly meaningful quote coming from Keller, who is both deaf and blind. Because she cannot hear or see other things the way most people can, she has to rely on how she feels.

As a result, she looks at the world in a different way, and if anything, she may have a better understanding of what really matters than people who can see and hear.

46. “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”

Who said it: Etty Hillesum, writer of confessional (revealing personal thoughts) letters and diaries

What the quote means: When you look up articles on “how to rest” online, chances are you will come across the tip “take a deep breath.” Hillesum is simply saying that relaxation is sometimes the most important part of the day.

47. “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Who said it: Anne Lamott, author of “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”

Vocabulary: In this quote, “unplug” has two meanings. It talks about the literal meaning (removing the connection of your devices to their power source) and the figurative one (taking time out of your busy day to relax).

What the quote means: Sometimes, even though you feel tired or exhausted, you want to keep going because you feel that’s what everyone else wants from you. But if you want to keep working your best, you need to also take care of yourself and relax when you get the chance.

48. “Being happy never goes out of style.”

Who said it: Lilly Pulitzer, founder of womenswear company Lilly Pulitzer Inc.

Vocabulary: To “go out of style” means something is no longer cool or fashionable.

What the quote means: No matter the time or place, choosing to be happy will always be cool.

49. “A dead end is just a good place to turn around.”

Who said it: Naomi Judd, country music singer

Vocabulary: A “dead end” means a place or point where you can no longer move forward.

What the quote means: If you feel stuck at a certain point, you may want to try taking a few steps back instead of pushing forward. That may be the right path for you to take!

50. “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

Who said it: A.A. Milne, author of “Winnie the Pooh”

What the quote means: Don’t think that you aren’t brave, strong or smart enough. You are probably all of those—you just need to give yourself the chance to prove it!

51. “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

Who said it: Dolly Parton, country music superstar (extremely famous person or celebrity)

Vocabulary: To do something “on purpose” means to do something with intent and thought—as opposed to doing something “accidentally.”

What the quote means: This is another way of saying “Be true to yourself, no matter what.” Of course, in order to be true to yourself, you need to know who you are. What do you want? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Considering what you have, how can you achieve your goals?

Once you know your answers to these questions, you can easily create goals that suit who you are and what you want to become.

52. “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”

Who said it: Reba McEntire, country music superstar dubbed “The Queen of Country”

Vocabulary: “Backbone” in this quote means courage, while “funny bone” means a sense of humor. “Wishbone” is simply the ability and willingness to dream.

What the quote means: To be successful, you need to have a dream, the courage to achieve that dream and the willingness to laugh at yourself along the way.

53. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”

Who said it: Estée Lauder, founder of The Estée Lauder Companies

What the quote means: Success comes not from what you dream you should do, but what you actually do.

54. “Success is falling nine times and getting up ten.”

Who said it: Jon Bon Jovi, vocalist (singer) of the rock band Bon Jovi

What the quote means: This is similar to the Nelson Mandela quote “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” It’s fine to fail, as long as you get up and move on after every failure.

55. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Who said it: Truman Capote, author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Vocabulary: “Condiment” is what you put on food to add flavor to it, like salt and spices.

What the quote means: When you’re successful, that success feels so much better when you know you’ve experienced so many failures to get there.

56. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Who said it: Mark Twain, author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

What the quote means: This is similar to “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you want to succeed, just taking that first step is already a big thing.

57. “Being a successful person is not necessarily defined by what you have achieved, but by what you have overcome.”

Who said it: Fannie Flagg, actress and game show panelist

What the quote means: This has a similar meaning as “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” The bigger the obstacles you managed to get through, the better your success feels.

58. “You always look ahead, you never look back.”

Who said it: Ann Richards, 45th governor of the state of Texas

What the quote means: To Richards, the past or what has already happened doesn’t matter at all. You should always focus on the future.

59. “If I’d have done all the things I was supposed to have done, I’d be really tired.”

Who said it: Willie Nelson, country singer-songwriter

What the quote means: There are so many things to do in the world that no one can do them all. It’s better to choose a few things you’re good at and focus your energies on those instead of trying to stretch yourself thin (do too many things at the same time).

60. “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”

Who said it: Nido Qubein, businessman and motivational speaker

Vocabulary: “Circumstances” refer to a situation and the context surrounding it.

What the quote means: No matter where you are right now, you can always use that as a starting point for where you want to go.

61. “Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.”

Who said it: Les Brown, member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981

What the quote means: This is simply another way of saying “You can do anything if you really believe you can do it.”

62. “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

Who said it: William Faulkner, winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature

Vocabulary: “Contemporaries” refers to the people who live at the same time as you. “Predecessors” refers to the people who have lived before your time.

What the quote means: The most important part of this quote is the second part. When you say you want to be “better than yourself,” it means you should try to improve all the time.

63. “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Who said it: Jackie Robinson, former Major League League baseball player

Vocabulary: “Impact” is a noun that refers to the way something or someone affects others.

What the quote means: To Robinson, the value of a life is measured in how it affects others—whether in a good or bad way.

64. “The older you get, the more fragile you understand life to be. I think that’s good motivation for getting out of bed joyfully each day.”

Who said it: Julia Roberts, actress in films such as “Pretty Woman”

Vocabulary: “Fragile” means something that will break or get damaged easily.

What the quote means: The older you get, the more you feel the aches and pains of your body. As you get older, you realize how important it is to take care of your body and to have a more positive outlook on life.

65. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Who said it: Mary Anne Radmacher, writer and artist

What the quote means: Courage isn’t just about moving forward every chance you get. It doesn’t always call attention to itself or “roar.” (make a loud, rough sound) Often, it’s the willingness to get up again after every setback (failure or obstacle) and say “Okay, I failed this time, but I’ll try again tomorrow.”

66. “Real courage is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”

Who said it: Justin Cronin, author of “The Summer Guest”

What the quote means: As mentioned in the previous entry, courage doesn’t call attention to itself. It’s doing the right thing even when you know no one will praise you for it or write about what you just did on social media.

67. “It’s your life; you don’t need someone’s permission to live the life you want.”

Who said it: Roy T. Bennett, author of “The Light in the Heart”

Vocabulary: “Permission” is the act of allowing someone to do something.

What the quote means: You can do anything you want with your own life, no matter what anyone else says.

68. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

Who said it: Jack Canfield, creator of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”

What the quote means: Fear is the only thing keeping you from achieving what you want. Once you overcome or get over your fear, the possibilities are endless!

69. “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Who said it: Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor

What the quote means: You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control what you think about what happens to you. That is the first step to becoming a brave or courageous person.

70. “Life just doesn’t hand you things. You have to get out there and make things happen.”

Who said it: Emeril Lagasse, celebrity chef

Vocabulary: To “hand you things” means to give you things. Here, Lagasse is personifying (giving human qualities to) life by treating it as a being that has the ability to give you things.

What the quote means: If you want to get what you want, you cannot wait for things to happen to you. You have to be the one to go after what you want.

71. “I’ve been around a long time, and life still has a whole lot of surprises for me.”

Who said it: Loretta Lynn, country singer-songwriter

What the quote means: No matter how old you are, you’ll still see or experience things that will surprise you.

72. “If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”

Who said it: Beyoncé Knowles, pop superstar and former member of “Destiny’s Child”

What the quote means: When something is perfect, it means there’s nothing else about it you should change. So, why would you want to change something that’s already perfect? Knowles is saying that you should look at imperfections not as negatives, but as opportunities to learn and become better.

73. “You have two choices in life: you can either like what you do or dislike what you do. I have chosen to like what I do.”

Who said it: Barbara Bush, First Lady of the United States (1989-1993)

What the quote means: When you don’t like what you do, you feel miserable and unhappy. When you like what you do (or try to like what you do), things get easier.

74. “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.”

Who said it: Eudora Welty, author of “The Optimist’s Daughter” (1973 Pulitzer Prize winner)

Vocabulary: “Excursion” is simply another word for “trip.” It usually means a trip you take to relax and enjoy yourself.

What the quote means: Whether you have a positive or negative outlook on life, you put in the same amount of effort for both. So why not look at the bright side of life when doing so feels a lot better?

75. “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Who said it: Stephen King, bestselling horror author

What the quote means: Of course, no one can literally die over and over again. What King is saying here is that you should live your life to the fullest instead of just letting it pass you by—which isn’t much different from being dead.

76. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Who said it: Thomas A. Edison, inventor

What the quote means: When it comes to achieving anything, the importance of hard work and persistence cannot be said enough. It’s possible that you would’ve succeeded if you just took one more step or gave one last push towards your goal. So, keep moving!

77. “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Who said it: Babe Ruth, former Major League baseball player

Vocabulary: In baseball, to “strike out” means the batter (the player responsible for hitting the ball with a bat) is out because the batter failed to hit the ball following certain rules.

What the quote means: Even if there’s a chance you’ill lose (or “strike out”), you shouldn’t let it get in the way of you trying to get what you want.

78. “Money and success don’t change people. They merely amplify what is already there.”

Who said it: Will Smith, actor

Vocabulary: “Amplify” means to increase the size of something or make it more obvious.

What the quote means: It’s often said that money and success change people. According to this quote, that isn’t necessarily true: those two things just make it more obvious who someone really is.

79. “Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.”

Who said it: Seneca, Roman philosopher

What the quote means: Whether you live to be 27 or 72 years old, what matters is what you do with the life you have been given.

80. “If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.”

Who said it: Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1933-1945)

Vocabulary: “Cease” is a more formal way of saying “stop.”

What the quote means: Unpredictable events aren’t “bad.” They’re things that make life more exciting.

81. “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.”

Who said it: Leo Burnett, founder of Leo Burnett Company Inc.

Vocabulary: “Curiosity” is the desire to want to know more about something.

What the quote means: What makes some creative people “great” (as opposed to just “good”) is their willingness to learn something new every day.

82. “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

Who said it: Soren Kierkegaard, theologian (someone who studies religioin) and philosopher

What the quote means: Let go of the need to control life and make it go the way you want. Instead, accept life as it is and enjoy the experience.

83. “Don’t settle for what life gives you. Make life better and build something.”

Who said it: Ashton Kutcher, actor

Vocabulary: “Settle” has several possible meanings. Here, it means to be content with something.

What the quote means: According to this quote, you should always aim to improve and make something that you and others can benefit from.

84. “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Who said it: Kobe Bryant, former player for the Los Angeles Lakers

What the quote means: “To rise,” in this context, means to overcome challenges that come your way. Bryant is saying that failures aren’t bad things, but opportunities to show what you’re capable of.

85. “I like criticism. It makes you strong.”

Who said it: LeBron James, basketball superstar

Vocabulary: “Criticism” usually means negative things said about something or someone.

What the quote means: Don’t take criticism personally (thinking it’s just about you as a person). Look at what the criticism is really telling you and use it as an opportunity to improve.

86. “You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.”

Who said it: George Clooney, actor

What the quote means: If you only pay attention to your own opinions, you won’t learn. You also need to listen to what others say, whether you agree with them or not.

87. “Life imposes things on you that you can’t control, but you still have the choice of how you’re going to live through this.”

Who said it: Celine Dion, singer dubbed the “Queen of Power Ballads ” (slow songs that are sung with a lot of emotion)

Vocabulary: To “impose” means to put something on you that you may not necessarily want.

What the quote means: No matter what life throws at you, you can choose to let it keep you down or move you forward.

88. “Live for each second without hesitation.”

Who said it: Elton John, pop singer and composer

Vocabulary: “Hesitation” is having doubts or second thoughts about something.

What the quote means: Live life the way you want it to without doubting yourself for a second.

89. “Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated.”

Who said it: Confucius, philosopher

Vocabulary: To “insist” means to say that something is right or acceptable even when it isn’t.

What the quote means: Don’t make life more difficult than it has to be.

90. “My mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Who said it: Tom Hanks, actor playing the character Forrest Gump in the eponymous (title and character name are the same) movie

What the quote means: Have you ever received a box of chocolates as a gift? Sometimes, you like all of the chocolates; other times, you dislike some of them. That’s how life is—some parts you like, others you don’t, but you have to live with it anyway.

91. “The healthiest response to life is joy.”

Who said it: Deepak Chopra, author

What the quote means: If you want to be truly happy no matter what happens to you, be positive (or try your best to be).

92. “Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.”

Who said it: Lillian Dickson, missionary and public speaker

What the quote means: You can do whatever you want with your life, but remember that you can only live life once.

93. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Who said it: Robert Frost, four-time Pulitzer Prize winner

What the quote means: Life will happen the way it wants to happen, whether you like it or not.

94. “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

Who said it: Charles Swindoll, pastor and author

What the quote means: How your life goes mostly depends on what you do rather than what happens to you.

95. “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”

Who said it: Victor Hugo, author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Misérables”

Vocabulary: “Honey” is a sweet substance that bees produce and is often used to flavor food.

What the quote means: When you have love in your life, it’s so much sweeter and better.

96. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

Who said it: Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and author

Vocabulary: “Tragic” means something full of sadness or sorrow.

What the quote means: When you have a sense of humor, even the most difficult problems life throws your way won’t get you down for long.

97. “Life is about making an impact, not making an income.”

Who said it: Kevin Kruse, history professor at Princeton University

What the quote means: Making a difference in the world and in the lives of others is more important than making as much money as you can.

98. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Who said it: Anais Nin, diarist (a person who writes diaries)

Vocabulary: To “shrink” means to get smaller. The phrase “in proportion to” indicates a relationship between two things.

What the quote means: The quality of life depends on how much (or how little) courage you have.

99. “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

Who said it: Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first person to walk on the moon

Vocabulary: “Finite” is the opposite of “infinite,”—that is, finite means something has an end.

What the quote means: When your heart beats, it means you are still alive. According to Armstrong, you should make sure every single one of those heartbeats matters. In other words, you should live your life to the fullest.

100. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Who said it: Mahatma Gandhi, nonviolent resistance (opposition) leader against British rule in India during the early to mid-20th century

What the quote means: Live as though every day is your last, but always keep learning.

101. “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.”

Who said it: Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

What the quote means: This has the same meaning as Julia Roberts’ quote “The older you get, the more fragile you understand life to be. I think that’s good motivation for getting out of bed joyfully each day.” It means that older people tend to value their life more since they move closer and closer to the day of their death.

102. “Every moment is a fresh beginning.”

Who said it: T.S. Eliot, poet

What the quote means: Every moment is a chance to start something new.

103. “When you cease to dream, you cease to live.”

Who said it: Malcolm Forbes, publisher of the magazine Forbes

What the quote means: Having dreams is what gives your life meaning and purpose. Don’t stop having them.

104. “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”

Who said it: Morris West, author of “The Devil’s Advocate”

What the quote means: Here, the “storm” represents all the bad things you imagine that life will throw at you, while the “sunshine” represents all the good things. It’s hard to enjoy the good when your attention is all on the bad, so enjoy as much sunshine as you can.

105. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”

Who said it: Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc.

What the quote means: The most important part of this quote is the last sentence, which pretty much sums it up—you can do anything you set your mind to.

106. “There are no mistakes, only opportunities.”

Who said it: Tina Fey, actress and comedian

What the quote means: Mistakes aren’t terrible things; instead, they’re opportunities to learn and answer the question “What could I have done better, and how can I do it better?”

107. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands—one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Who said it: Audrey Hepburn, actress and style icon (someone who has a strong influence on fashion trends)

What the quote means: Living life isn’t just about benefiting yourself. You should also try to help others whenever you can.

108. “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

Who said it: Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist (a person who writes essays) and philosopher

Vocabulary: An “experiment” is where you try out something to see if an idea is true or not.

What the quote means: Try everything. If it works out, then that’s great; if not, you still learned something!

109. “The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

Who said it: Aristotle Onassis, businessman and husband of Jacqueline Kennedy

What the quote means: If you want to succeed as a businessman, you should put something out into the world that no one else has ever heard of. At the very least, you should have an exciting new spin (interpretation) on an old product.

110. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Who said it: Peter Drucker, author of several books on management

What the quote means: No one can really predict the future. But when you act in such a way that a good future is guaranteed or more likely—well, you’re more likely to have a good future.

111. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Who said it: Vidal Sassoon, hairstylist and philanthropist (someone who makes big contributions to charities and similar organizations)

What the quote means: Since “success” starts with an “s” and “work” starts with a “w,” you will naturally find “success” before “work” in the dictionary. But in real life, you have to work in order to succeed; you cannot reverse the process.

112. “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”

Who said it: B.C. Forbes, journalist and founder of Forbes

Vocabulary: “Out of business” means a business is no longer operating because it has lost money.

What the quote means: You need to have an active role in the way your business is run if you don’t want it to lose it.

113. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Who said it: Ralph Nader, founder of Public Citizen

Vocabulary: “Function” has several possible meanings. In this quote, it means “purpose” or “goal.”

What the quote means: Good leaders train people to think for themselves. They don’t simply tell people what to do and not to do.

114. “The only thing standing between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.”

Who said it: Joel Brown, founder of Addicted2Success.com

What the quote means: To achieve your dream, you need to believe it is achievable. You also need to try to take the steps to get there.

115. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.”

Who said it: Colin R. Davis, conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra

What the quote means: This is similar to “The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” You put in the same amount of effort into both success and failure, so might as well take the steps that will lead to success!

116. “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”

Who said it: Sam Levenson, humorist and panelist for the CBS Series “This Is Show Business”

Vocabulary: “Watch the clock” means to keep track of time.

What the quote means: Instead of watching time go by, go out and do something!

117. “Success is not in what you have, but who you are.”

Who said it: Bo Bennett, author of “Logically Fallacious”

What the quote means: Success is defined by how you act towards yourself and others, not by how much money you have or the number of cars you own.

118. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Who said it: Wayne Gretzky, former ice hockey player

What the quote means: In ice hockey (the game Gretzky plays), the goal is to score by shooting a puck (a small, round and black object) toward the opposing team’s net.

Gretzky is using the puck as a metaphor for the opportunities you get in life. He is saying that you should take every opportunity you get, because there’s always a chance you will be successful. If you don’t take those opportunities because you’re afraid, then that’s the same as losing.

119. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

Who said it: Jim Rohn, businessman and author of “The Power of Ambition”

Vocabulary: “Fortune” can mean either “luck” or “wealth.” In this quote, it means wealth.

What the quote means: When you get a college or university degree, you can get into most jobs that require such a degree. But how your career will turn out afterward depends on how willing you are to keep learning and improving.

120. “The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.”

Who said it: George Washington, first President of the United States

Vocabulary: “Conflict” refers to a disagreement or fight between two sides. “Triumph” means “the state of having won.”

What the quote means: The more difficult the fight between two groups, the better it feels when that conflict is finally resolved.

121. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

Who said it: John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company

What the quote means: Always try to be better. Don’t settle for just “good” when you can be “great” (which is better than “good”).

122. “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”

Who said it: Chris Grosser, entrepreneur (someone who does business)

What the quote means: If you want to increase your chances of success, you shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Instead, you should make your own opportunities.

123. “To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.”

Who said it: J. Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company

What the quote means: To create a successful business, you should know everything there is to know about that business—how the business works, your competitors, how much people value your product, etc.

124. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

Who said it: Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States

What the quote means: This quote is simple but straightforward. You are more likely to attract good luck if you work hard enough.

125. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Who said it: Henry David Thoreau, author of “Walden”

What the quote means: You know how, when you are not looking for something, you end up finding it? It might help to treat success that way—rather than chasing after it, just do what you already do, be the best at it and success will come to you even if you aren’t looking for it!

126. “The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do.”

Who said it: Roy L. Smith, writer

Vocabulary: When someone asks you a question that starts with “what is the matter?,” they’re asking you if there’s a problem bothering you.

What the quote means: If you’re able to see (and solve) any issues with your business before they become obvious to your competitors, you’ve already won.

127. “I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them.”

Who said it: John Stuart Mill, philosopher

What the quote means: According to this quote, if you want to be truly happy, you should limit the things that you want.

128. “Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s not the end of the world, and in many ways, it’s the first step toward learning something and getting better at it.”

Who said it: Jon Hamm, Golden Globe awardee for Best Actor in a Television Series — Drama

What the quote means: There’s nothing wrong with failing. Failures are opportunities to learn, grow and become better.

129. “You’re only human. You live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damned red velvet cupcake.”

Who said it: Emma Stone, actress

Vocabulary: “Velvet” is a type of soft fabric or cloth. In the quote, though, it refers to a cupcake flavor, which is like red velvet (hence its name).

What the quote means: Enjoy life as best you can. Don’t be afraid to indulge (allow yourself to enjoy) in sweet things like red velvet cupcakes now and then.

130. “Be nice to people on the way up, because you may meet them on the way down.”

Who said it: Jimmy Durante, comedian

Vocabulary: In this quote, “on the way up” means being on the road to success. “On the way down” means being on the road to failure. 

What the quote means: Durante is saying that, no matter how successful you are, you should still be nice and humble. Because once you’re no longer successful, the people you didn’t treat kindly when you were successful won’t be nice to you.

131. “The minute that you’re not learning, I believe you’re dead.”

Who said it: Jack Nicholson, retired actor and filmmaker

What the quote means: Life is all about learning. The moment you stop learning, you stop growing—and that is the same as being dead.

132. “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Who said it: Paulo Coelho, author of “The Alchemist”

What the quote means: When you improve yourself, you become kinder and more confident. As a result, you attract people who are like you, develop healthy relationships and feel better about the world.

133. “You only pass through this life once, you don’t come back for an encore.”

Who said it: Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll”

Vocabulary: An “encore” is an additional performance at the end of a concert.

What the quote means: Live your best as best you can. Life is not like a concert where you can try to do a great encore to make up for an average concert (or come back to life if you lived a boring, uneventful life).

134. “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”

Who said it: Anne Frank, author of “The Diary of a Young Girl”

What the quote means: When you think of weapons, you think of objects that are designed to hurt or injure people like guns. These weapons are often used to show power or to convince others that a certain belief or way of life is right.

In fact, in most cases, it’s kindness that moves people. This quote is especially poignant (touching) coming from Anne Frank, because she was one of millions of Jews who were killed during World War II. She suffered so much, and yet she chose to be kind to others.

135. “You’re not defined by your past; you’re prepared by it. You’re stronger, more experienced and you have greater confidence.”

Who said it: Joel Osteen, businessman and author

What the quote means: You can no longer do anything about your past. Whether your past was good or bad, you can choose to be better—stronger, more confident and more knowledgeable about how the world works.

136. “Football is like life: it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

Who said it: Vince Lombardi, football coach

Vocabulary: “Perseverance” has a similar meaning as “persistence.” It means to keep going in spite of everything in your way. “Self-denial” is denying or avoiding things that can get in the way of your success. “Sacrifice” is giving up one thing for a better thing. “Dedication” is devoting yourself completely to something.

What the quote means: This is another straightforward quote. Lombardi is simply listing all the qualities he thinks one should have to succeed in life—which are also the qualities necessary to succeed in football.

By the way, the “football” being talked about here is the American version of football. The “football” in other countries (where players have to kick a black-and-white ball toward a goal) is known as “soccer” in the United States.

137. “As you know, life is an echo: we get what we give.”

Who said it: David DeNotaris, author

Vocabulary: Have you ever shouted into a wide open space and heard your voice come back to you? That is an example of an “echo.”

What the quote means: If you do good things, good things will come to you. If you do bad things—well, you get the idea.

138. “Don’t allow your past or present condition to control you. It’s just a process that you’re going through to get you to the next level.”

Who said it: T.D. Jakes, author

Vocabulary: “Condition” has several possible meanings. In this quote, it means your current state or situation.

What the quote means: We have talked about a number of quotes saying that you shouldn’t let your past affect you. This one says that you shouldn’t let your present affect you as well. Instead, both should be seen as starting points to help you get to where you want to be.

139. “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”

Who said it: Gail Sheehy, author and contributor to Vanity Fair

What the quote means: This is a pretty self-explanatory quote. It sums up what some other quotes on this list have already said—that life is all about learning and becoming better versions of ourselves every day.

140. “Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.”

Who said it: H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”

What the quote means: Do you ever look at people who are considered the “best” and thought “wow, if only I could be like them?” Well, you don’t have to. If you’re already putting your best efforts into what you’re doing right now, you’re already off to a good start.

141. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Who said it: Viviane Greene, author of “Sparkles and Guns”

What the quote means: In this quote, both the “storm” and the “rain” are used as metaphors for the bad things happening in your life.

What the author is saying is that, rather than waiting for the bad things (the “storm”) to stop (because bad things will happen whether you want them to happen or not), you can accept them as they are and work around them (like dancing in the rain).

142. “I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive.”

Who said it: Joan Rivers, comedian

What the quote means: As I mentioned earlier, bad things happen whether you want them to or not. The good news is, the same thing goes for the good things! Whichever one happens to you, it just means that you’re alive and that you’re living life.

143. “Make each day your masterpiece.”

Who said it: John Wooden, basketball coach

Vocabulary: “Masterpiece” refers to your best work or creation.

What the quote means: Do your best every day.

144. “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

Who said it: James Cameron, creator of the “Avatar” film series

Vocabulary: “Ridiculously” is an adverb that comes from the adjective “ridiculous,” which means something that’s unbelievable in a funny way.

What the quote means: It’s okay to set goals like “I want to be a billionaire in five years.” Even if you don’t manage to achieve that, there’s a good chance you’ve done more things to get you a bit closer to your goal than most people—like putting your money into good investments.

145. “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

Who said it: Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist (a person who studies humans and their relationships with past and present societies)

Vocabulary: To be “unique” is to be unlike any other or to be one-of-a-kind.

What the quote means: No two people are exactly alike. Everyone is different in their own way. When you keep that in mind, you’ll understand other people better.

146. “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

Who said it: Aristotle, polymath (someone who is knowledgeable in several topics)

What the quote means: When you’re at your lowest, the last thing you want is to think of things that will make you even sadder, like “I’m not getting out of this” or “I just can’t do this anymore.” Instead, look at those “darkest moments” in a positive light and think “What can I learn from this? How can I get out of this?”

147. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Who said it: Dr. Seuss, children’s book author

Vocabulary: To “steer” means to move using a vehicle, like a car or ship.

What the quote means: With your brains, you can think of an answer to the question “Where do I go?” With your feet, you can walk to where you want to go. When you have both, you can go anywhere you want.

148. “May you live all the days of your life.”

Who said it: Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels”

What the quote means: May you make the most out of every day you are alive.

149. “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”

Who said it: Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tale author

What the quote means: When you were growing up, you’ve probably heard of fairy tales—stories about talking animals, witches and princesses who lived happily ever after. These stories may not be real, but they do tell an important truth—that no matter what obstacles are thrown your way, you can always overcome them.

150. “Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.”

Who said it: D.H. Lawrence, author of “Sons and Lovers”

What the quote means: Unlike money, life isn’t something that runs out when you “spend” it. You don’t live life by sitting in your house all day (or “saving” your life): you live life by going out there and experiencing what the world has to offer!

151. “Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Who said it: James M. Barrie, creator of “Peter Pan”

What the quote means: As you move along in your life, you meet people who are better than you in some way or see sights that will make you wonder at what Mother Nature is capable of. Experiences like these are a reminder that the world is much bigger than you, and that you have a lot of room to grow and learn.

152. “Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.”

Who said it: Charles Dickens, author of stories such as “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Christmas Carol”

Vocabulary: “Weld” means to join two things together using extreme heat.

What the quote means: People and things come and go in your life. Nonetheless, they all leave their mark on you. Through you, all of these things are “welded together” and shape the person that you are.

153. “Life is trying things to see if they work.”

Who said it: Ray Bradbury, fantasy and science fiction author

What the quote means: This is another straightforward quote. Life is about trying new things. They may or may not work for you, but the important thing is that you tried.

154. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but they don’t quit.”

Who said it: Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels

What the quote means: According to this quote, the difference between people who are successful and people who aren’t is their willingness to keep moving whether they succeed or fail.

155. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”

Who said it: Colin Powell, former Secretary of State of the United States

What the quote means: There are three things you need to succeed: preparation, hard work and the ability to learn from your mistakes.

156. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

Who said it: David Brinkley, newscaster (someone who reads news stories on TV or radio)

Vocabulary: A “brick” is a small, usually red block used to construct buildings.

What the quote means: In this quote, the “bricks” represent criticism thrown at the successful person. What sets that person apart from the less-successful ones is that, rather than taking the criticism personally, they take it as just another step (or a firm foundation) on their way to success.

157. “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”

Who said it: Thomas J. Watson, former chairman and CEO of IBM

What the quote means: Excellence isn’t something you wait for. It’s something you achieve by doing your best every single day—and you can start doing that right now.

158. “If you genuinely want something, don’t wait for it — teach yourself to be impatient.”

Who said it: Gurbaksh Chahal, businessman

Vocabulary: Being “impatient” means to lack patience or to not want to wait for something.

What the quote means: Normally, impatience is considered a bad thing. But in the world of business, you have to move fast and make decisions quickly. Chahal is saying that if you want something, you have to take steps to get it as soon as you can.

159. “Dream big and dare to fail.”

Who said it: Norman Vaughan, comedian

What the quote means: Set your goals high. Even if you fail, that’s okay, because you’re likely to have achieved more than other people in your position.

160. “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

Who said it: Beverly Sills, soprano (a female singer who sings at the highest possible vocal range)

Vocabulary: To be “disappointed” means to feel bad because your expectations were not met. To be “doomed” means to have a bad or unfortunate end.

What the quote means: If you fail, you can always try again. If you don’t try at all, nothing is going to happen to you—good or bad.

161. “Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Who said it: Gloria Steinem, journalist

What the quote means: Next time someone tells you to “stop dreaming,” give them this quote. While you’re dreaming, you’re probably also planning how to achieve your dream. Of course, you should also do what you have to do to make your dream come true!

162. “Someday is not a day of the week.”

Who said it: Denise Brennan-Nelson, children’s book author

Vocabulary: “Someday” refers to an undefined day in the future.

What the quote means: When you set a goal, it’s important to set a specific date when you want to achieve it. Instead of “I’m going to be rich someday,” say “I’m going to be rich 10 years from now.” (You may also want to define what being “rich” means for you, but that’s for another discussion!)

163. “Hire character. Train skill.”

Who said it: Peter Schultz, chemist

What the quote means: If you own a company, this is a good quote to keep in mind. Hire people whose character (mental and moral traits that distinguish a person) is aligned with that of your company, because character is difficult (if not impossible) to change. Skill (what a person can do), on the other hand, can be taught.

That’s not to say that skill isn’t important (it is!), but compared to character, it’s much easier to change.

164. “Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far.”

Who said it: Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of Resy

Vocabulary: “Hustle” refers to the willingness and ability to do whatever it takes to succeed in something.

What the quote means: Talent is important, but hustle and hard work can make up for the lack of talent. If you’re able to combine talent and hustle, you’re more likely to succeed than people who only have one of the two.

165. “Knowledge is power.”

Who said it: Sir Francis Bacon, advocate for the scientific method

What the quote means: The more you know, the more you can do.


We hope these quotes have helped you learn more English, challenged the way you think and encouraged you to be a better person—both in business and your personal life!

And One More Thing...

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.


FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:


FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.


FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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