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1. Miracles can be made, but only by sweating.

Giovanni Agnelli (1921-2003) Italian business executive and president of Flat. Corriere della Sera (1994)


2. When the going gets tough the tough get going.

Anonymous. Associated with Joseph P. Kennedy.


3. If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.

Mary Kay Ash (1915-2001) U.S. entrepreneur, business executive, and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. New York Times (October 20, 1985)


4. Start with your own money and value your intuition. It’s all about endurance in the beginning. Your dream and passion to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failure.

Terri Bowersock (b.1956) U.S. furniture company entrepreneur. Advice to would-be entrepreneurs. Quoted in “Terri Bowersock: Furniture Franchiser,” Women to Watch, (Teresa O’Neil; 1996)


5. Whatever I am engaged in I must push inordinately.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. Personal memorandum (1868)


6. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) U.S. consultant and author. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948)


7. Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never led to good intention’s goal.

Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish novelist and playwright. Don Quixote (1615), pt. 2, ch. 43


8. Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.

  1. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) British novelist, poet, and critic. Heretics (1905)


9. To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.

Bernadette Devlin (b.1947) Irish politician. The Price of My Soul (1969), Preface.


10. Only undefeated

Because we have gone on trying.

  1. S. Eliot (1888-1965) British poet, dramatist, and critic. 1941. “The Dry Salvages,” Four Quarters (1943)


11. You have to believe in the impossible.

Howard Head (1914-91) U.S. inventor of metal ski. Sports Illustrated (September 1980)


12. If I have to intervene to help British companies-I’ll intervene-before breakfast, before lunch, before tea, and before dinner. And I’ll get up the next morning and I’ll start all over again.

Michael Heseltine (b.1933) British politician and publisher. Referring to his job at the time as president of the Board of Trade (British trade minister). Speech, Conservative Party Conference (October 7, 1992)


13. People are ambitious and unrealistic. They set targets for themselves that are higher than what you would set for them. And because they set them, they hit them.

Liisa Joronen (b.1944) Finnish C.E.O. of SOL (formerly Lindstrom). Fast Company (1997)


14. Few things are impossible of themselves; application to make them succeed fails us more often than the means.

Francois La Rochefoucauld (1613-80) French epigrammatist. Reflections: or, Sentences and Moral Maxims (1665)


15. If things were half as bad as some people persist in believing, I’d have retired with a bottle of Scotch and a pistol a long time ago.

Robert Maxwell (1923-91) British publisher, business executive and politician. Daily Mail (London) (June 1973)


16. I shall find a way or make one.

Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920) U.S. Arctic explorer. Inscription on an expedition hut (1902)


17. Perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.

Plutarch (46?-120?) Greek writer and philosopher. “Sertorius,” Parallel Lives (1st century A.D.) sect. 16


18. If you have great talents, industry will improve them: if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency.

Joshua Reynolds (1723-92) British painter. December 11, 1769. Quoted in Discourses on Art (R. Walk, ed.; 1975), no. 2


19. Perhaps there is no more important component of character than steadfast resolution. The boy who is going to make a great man…must make up his mind…to win in spite of a thousand repulses or defeats.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) U.S. president “Character and Success,” Outlook (March 31, 1900)


20. I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) U.S. president. “The Strenuous Life,” The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses (1900)


21. Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.

George Santayana (1863-1952) U.S. philosopher, novelist, and poet. The Life of Reason (1905)


22. The more you can do, the greater should be your patience to endure.

Seneca (4? B.C.-A.D. 65) Roman politician, philosopher, and writer. The Troades (1st century A.D.)


23. Battles in life are never won…Life’s a continuous business, and so is success, and requires continuous effort.

Margaret Thatcher (b.1925) British former prime minister. Quoted in New York Times (September 28, 1989)


24. If I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. I never yet started anything doubtingly, and I have always believed in keeping at things with a vim.

  1. J. Walker (1867-1919) U.S. business executive. The daughter of slaves, she was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire. Quoted in “Madam C. J. Walker, Historic Entrepreneur,” Women to Watch, (Susan McHenry; 1995)


25. Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) U.S. educator and political scientist. Up from Slavery (1901)


26. I fancy it is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) U.S. president. Speech (1914)


27. Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesman will henceforth ignore at their peril.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) U.S. president. Speech to Congress (February 11, 1918)


28. If you are capable of displaying energy, hold office, if not resign.

Zhou Ren (fl. 1st millennium B.C.)Chinese historiographer. Quoted in Analects (6th-5th century B.C.)