Career Advice Success is Showing Up

Inspiring Career Quotes Deconstructed

Posted on: April 2, 2019

Career Advice Success is Showing Up

We’ve all heard the phrases: “the early bird gets the worm” and “choose a job you’ll love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” but what is the story behind these motivational quotes and why are we so drawn to them?

Before listing some of the more popular career and business-related inspirational quotes, it’s important to first understand why we respond to them.

While not everyone finds inspirational quotes “inspiring,” there are a number of people who do find a lot of value in them. Research suggests that on a very basic level motivational quotes make people happy and give them hope. Words of wisdom from popular sayings may even alter someone’s mood or outlook on life and prompt then into action. There’s nothing bad about that!

So, it’s no wonder there are a lot of job-related inspirational quotes in the universe. A career can be rewarding and fun, but it can also be stressful and hard at times. Sometimes, you just need to hear a few reassuring words to help you through.

Here’s a look at some popular motivational quotes relating to business and career advice that have stood the test of time.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Milton Berle, a famous comedian and actor who thrived during the Golden Age of television and film, coined this phrase. He began doing Vaudeville at age 12 and then on to Broadway, comedy, radio, television and film. He was known for his ability to adapt to the ever-changing world of Hollywood and was constantly looking for new opportunities in the business. The essence of this quote is that if you just stand around waiting for opportunity to present itself, you may be waiting awhile. Instead, go out and make things happen.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison

So many motivational quotes are attributed to American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison. During his time, he invented the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long -lasting electric light bulb, among others. If he had only attempted these inventions once or twice, they likely wouldn’t have happened. Edison did not believe in failure. It is said the he made 1,000 attempts at the long-lasting lightbulb before it worked. When asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times, he is credited with saying “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein

A famous German physicist, Albert Einstein was one of the greatest minds in history. It is said that some months before his death in April 1955 an editor of “LIFE” magazine named William Miller and his son visited him at his home for an interview. It was during this visit that Einstein is quoted as saying “try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” The quote evolved over time and is now used mostly without the word “man.” It’s meaning, however, is the same. Trying to be a success just for yourself is selfish. If you are striving to be of value, you are striving to help others.

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” — Warren Buffett

Many consider Warren Buffett the greatest investor of all time. It’s hard not to when you consider he’s amassed a net worth of more than $60 million. Buffett said in a Forbes interview a few years back: “ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself.” Buffett, who doesn’t drink alcohol and has never done drugs, often speaks about the importance of taking care of the body and mind.

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The origin of this quote is actually from the Bible, specifically the book of Isaiah, but King is widely credited for it because he said the phrase during many college rallies as part of the Civil Rights movement. The quote is about perseverance and pushing through the trials of life.

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

Powell was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving January 2001 to November 2004. At the time, he was the highest ranking African American government official in the history of the United States. This popular quote appears in the book about him by Oren Harari “The Leadership Secret of Colin Powell.” Here, Powell is saying that there are no “overnight successes” no “magic pill” to make you or your business thrive. Powell’s personal life is an inspiration to many. He was raised in South Bronx, N.Y., and was the son of a seamstress and a shipping clerk. He considered himself a “C average student,” but he continued his education and graduated from college. He got his master’s degree in business administration and then went on to serve in the military for 35 years where he rose to the rank of 4-star General.