I hope this won't feel too "soft" a topic, but I believe a lot can be learned from good quotes (I collect them), so perhaps we could collect good quotes into this thread.

Here are two quotes from my favorites:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'Press on,' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
- Calvin Coolidge (30th President of the United States)

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
- Annie Dillard (U.S. author, poet, and Pulitzer prize winner in 1975 for nonfiction)

Do you have a favorite quote? Please share it!

gpeden's picture

"Should Work" is not "Does Work" - we are getting paid for Does Work.

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geovrakas's picture

 A principle in business is that you cut costs to survive, but you innovate to prosper. —Robert Porter Lynch


newicz's picture

Here are a handful of my favorites -- some more well-known than others:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin in serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All things be ready if our minds be so." -William Shakespeare, Henry V

“Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time.” – Harry Truman 

"Behind most great deeds can be found simple hard work. Work is mundane, boring, sweaty, and sometimes painful. People just admire the magic. I'm lying on the sofa in pain, my forearms are aching, my body is bruised, but my mind is content, for I'm starting to make magic." -Stevie Haston
"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." -Bruce Lee
"When people say try, they are thinking of the outcome instead of the process of learning. A warrior doesn't try because he's focused on his effort, and effort is something applied, not tried." -Argo Ilgner
"Everest does not get smaller and the North Pole does not get warmer. It is we who must transform, and that takes work. If the process was easy, we'd all be world champions." -John Long

smholland10's picture

I have 3:

1) When I was an apprentice chef, my first chef would say to me:

    "A man who says he hasn't made a mistake, has never had children and questioned his reasons"

2) From the same era and because Peter Finch was from Oz:

     'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"" The anger and tone Finch put into this speech and the role in Network make this a memorable quote.

3) Something I use with my clients when coaching them on business transformations:

  "When you want people to buy into the transformation you have to remember WIIFM. What's in it for me, cause if there's nothing in it for me then should I buy in to it... and keeping my job is not enough inspiration"

smholland10's picture

 @TIMBRYCE: "If you tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you tried to do nothing and succeeded" is not Anonymous, it is attributed to Richard Martin Stern, an American novelist who died in 2001.

mdave's picture


"Indecision is the cornerstone of flexibility." -- Origin unkown via parent. Most effective when being semi sarcastic.

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

Lorne Michaels, Producer/Creator of "Saturday Night Live":

"The show doesn't go on because it's ready, it goes on because it's 11:30."

Reportedly said in the context of someone complaining that they wanted to make something perfect before releasing it. 


jrb3's picture
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Fictional and fun, from Howard Tayler's "Schlock Mercenary" web-comic and its in-story book "The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries".  For me, having experience as a consultant deepens the enjoyment ... and the surprise at how helpful some of these can actually be!

  • Only you can prevent friendly fire.
  • A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.
  • An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.
  • If you can see the whites of their eyes, somebody's done something wrong.
  • If the price of collateral damage is high enough, you might be able to get paid to bring ammunition home with you.
  • Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.
  • The longer everything goes according to plan, the bigger the impending disaster.
  • Everything is air-droppable at least once.

Fair warning for science-fiction junkies:  serious time-sink dead ahead!  :-D 70 Maxims

gpeden's picture

 The Dude: "Just take it easy man." Walter: "I'm perfectly calm dude." 



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gpeden's picture

 The Dude: "Just take it easy man." Walter: "I'm perfectly calm dude." 



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jonno12131's picture

"Excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution. It represents the wisest option among many alternatives." - Aristotle.

I saw that on a TED talk recently and it just stuck. Absolutely timeless and very aspirational.

donm's picture
Training Badge

"People live down to your expectations, not up to them. Always expect more than you think is possible, and more often than not, they will deliver."

And the corollary:

"When my people try and fail, it is usually the fault of unreasonable expectations and I am the one to blame."

These have served me well so far. I have no idea if I've heard them before, or just come to the conclusions myself.

And I 100% disagree that "good enough" usually is. I have found it seldom to be good, and even more rarely to be enough. "'Good enough' is the covert way of saying 'I quit.'" That's an original from me that I just made up.

svibanez's picture

DONM, thank you for sharing "'Good enough' is the covert way of saying 'I quit.'"  Until now, my favorite "good enough" maxim was "Good enough isn't."  I like yours better - it addresses the need to overcome "good enough" rather than just point out the obvious.


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donm's picture
Training Badge

You're welcome to it Steve. Just remember to send me a check if you make millions off the posters. ;)

jdabramson's picture
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In Scrum, we believe that idle work is far more wasteful and economically damaging than idle workers. Idle work is work that we want to do (such as building or testing something) but can’t do because something is preventing us.

Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process

 By Kenneth S. Rubin

JMSmithPM's picture

 "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable"

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dave75's picture
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 My favourites are:


Now I think, speaking roughly, by leadership we mean the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

mfculbert's picture

"They great aren't great cuz at birth they can paint. The great are great cuz they paint a lot!"
    Macklemore - Ten Thousand Hours 

Yes - it is a rap song about Malcom Gladwell's Outliers. 

roger_reiss's picture

One whimsical:

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done,and why. Then do it." - Robert Heinlein

One more on topic:

"That which we allow, we encourage."




tlbeckner's picture
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 "What is self-discipline? It is the rejection of instant gratification in favor of something better. It is the giving up of instant pleasure and satisfaction for a higher and better goal."

From "The Daily Guru"


"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

Arthur C. Clarke


Prior Proper Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance



"You can do what I cannot do, I can do what you cannot do, and together we can do great things."

Mother Teresa


"The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."

Niccolo Machiavelli


"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Because your character is what you really are; while your reputation is merely what others think you are."



"Solve the problem yourself or accept a fate you may not like... from this perspective, the ethic of personal responsibility gains appeal."

Noel M. Tichy


"Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance."

George Bernard Shaw













's picture


"Machines Need to be Productive. People Need to be Effective."

-Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry (authors of Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life)

etapbeta's picture
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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

-George Bernard Shaw


VPfreedude's picture

"My self worth isn't tied up in this company; my net worth is"

Paraphrased from the book "Last Man Standing - The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase " I have found myself coming back to that notion/quote more and more as my career progresses.

brian.skinner's picture

We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.