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Motivational Quotes for Getting Down to Business

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I have always been a motivational quote collector (and, yes, I spend way too much time on Every once in a while, I find one that resonates so sweetly, so fluidly, so melodiously, that it instantly sears itself in my memory. I’m not exactly sure why some qualify as “sear-worthy” while others simply drift away, but I’m thankful for the ones that stay. I like to think of them as gifts. One of them is usually displayed in my office somewhere (that, or a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip).

Probably most of the quotes that stay with me have helped me in some way — either to cope or to imagine possibilities or to work up the courage to get started. Most evoke the profound in such a simple, poetic way, it’s a wonder that they haven’t always been in existence, just waiting to be plucked from the air.

Allow me to share a few of my favorite quotes with you. This collection has to do with finding the motivation to get down to the real business of living your life with purpose. 

Let’s get down to business with some motivational quotes:

“If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re still right.”

The above quote is not the original (usually attributed to Henry Ford), but it’s my favorite iteration of it, since it always makes me do a double take. The change in perspective is so jarring, it reminds me that I always play an active role in determining the outcome. Whether it’s success or failure is up to me.

Here’s another one from tennis great Arthur Ashe:

“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

It’s one of my favorites because it serves as a constant reminder that my focus should be on the journey, not the destination. There’s no guarantee that I’ll ever reach my destination, but I don’t care. I’m headed there — but only as long as I make the choice to begin. What does it matter if I don’t think I’m completely prepared?

Here’s one from Leonardo da Vinci that’s so heavy with irony, it still astounds me:

“I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”

I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty sure that nobody has ever been offended by his masterpieces Mona Lisa, The Creation of Adam or The Last Supper. Apparently, he thought he could have done better. If he could, then so can I.

Abraham Lincoln had so many memorable quotes that I would guess you could think of several right away. This one might not be as famous, but it captures his worldview so perfectly and ties in so well with the others in this collection that I had to include it:

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”

If I were forced to write a recipe for success in life in 10 words or less, this would be it. I won’t worry about anyone else; I’ll just work on me. That’s all I can do — and all I need to do anyway.

If I need some motivation to begin, Friedrich Nietzsche might be able to help me find the right perspective to do so:

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

Am I so focused on the how that I have lost sight of the why? Did I ever have sight of the why in the first place? Let me take a quick inventory and then make a quick shift in perspective. Now I have the why. I no longer have to worry about how difficult the how might be. Armed with the why, I’m ready for it.

I’ll finish with a quote that summarizes this entire collection so succinctly that only eight words are needed. Sure, I could have done it with three words (“Just do it”), but this one is so much more fun:

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Ah, yes. Master Yoda. He sums it all up perfectly, doesn’t he? Eliminate the doubt. Steel your resolve. You will then take another step toward becoming a Jedi knight. May the Force be with you.

Jimmie Markham

Jimmie Markham brings a widely-ranging life and professional experience to his job as a communications manager at JSOM.  As an infantryman in the U.S. Army, he learned to “improvise, adapt and overcome” and that “no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  He’s been dealing with the unexpected ever since and, in doing so, has become a skilled and dedicated communications/marketing/customer-service and sales-support professional with nearly 20 years of experience using improvisational, critical-thinking, technical and people skills to advance the interests of external and internal clients. A BA in Art & Performance (creative writing emphasis) from UT Dallas helped polish his natural predilection and passion for the written word. Read more articles

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