Great Quotes on Personal Development



Personal development is the process of achieving and expanding your full potential.

I’ve created a collection of some of the most empowering personal development quotes of all time.

The gang’s all here … Buddha, Covey, Emerson,  Gandhi, Robbins, Ziglar, and more.  It’s a cornucopia of personal development wisdom at your finger tips.

You are your best investment.

After all, you take you with you wherever you go.  Whether you are growing greater at your strengths, reducing your liabilities, or expanding what you are capable of, personal development is a path.

It’s a path of personal greatness, and a way to be YOUR best.

Explore and Expand What You’re Capable Of

What are the key patterns we see when we look across these personal development quotes?

Personal development is a journey, not a destination.

Dream big, develop yourself, unleash your potential, play well with others, play to your strengths, enjoy the process, share your unique gifts with the world, and grow your greatness by testing yourself, expanding yourself, learning and improving.

Personal Development Hot Spots

I’ve organized the personal development quotes into some key themes:

Character, Effectiveness, Emotional Intelligence, Empowerment, Influence and Impact, Learning and Growth, Productivity, Self-Awareness, Strengths, and Thinking.

There are lots of ways to slice and dice it, but I found this set to be particularly effective for both filtering and synthesizing personal development quotes.

One of the best ways to use this collection is to find three quotes you can use that either inspire you or empower you in some new way.

Top 10 Personal Development Quotes

  1. “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” — Bruce Lee
  2. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor Frankl
  3. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw
  4. “The only journey is the journey within.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
  5. “They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.” – Confucius
  6. “We must become the change we want to see.” — Mahatma Gandhi
  7. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Will Durant
  8. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  9. “What we think, we become.” – Buddha
  10. “What ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill


“A good criterion for measuring success in life is the number of people you have made happy.”
— Robert J. Lumsden

“A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.”
— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“A man who finds no satisfaction in himself will seek for it in vain elsewhere.”
— La Rochefoucauld

“Ability may take you to the top, but it takes character to stay there.”
— William Blake

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
— Bruce Lee

“Be humble always and identify with the common man; even when success and achievements want to make you proud.”
— Bishop Leonard Umumna

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
— Dr. Seuss
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
— Helen Keller

“Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
— Reinhold H. Niebuhr

“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance.  It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
— John D. Rockefeller

“I don’t have to be what nobody else wants me to be and I am not afraid to be what I want to be.”
— Muhammad Ali

“I praise loudly; I blame softly.”
— Queen Catherine II

“I studied the lives of great men and women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.”
— Harry S. Truman

“I will speak ill of no one and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
— Andrew Jackson

“Insist on yourself. Never imitate.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”
— Zig Ziglar

“I’ve never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.”
— Paul Harvey

“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.”
— Bruce Lee

“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.”
— Jim Rohn

“Let this be the criteria by which you measure all things: Is this an act of love?”
– Unknown

“Optimists are right.  So are pessimists.  It’s up to you to choose which you will be.”
— Harvey Mackay

“People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
— Vince Lombardi

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
— Jimmy Johnson

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
– James Oppenheim

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
— William Arthur Ward

“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”
– Confucius

“The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

“The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
– Socrates

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.”
– Confucius

“We are what we frequently do.”
– Aristotle

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
— John Dryden

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
– Confucius

“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
— Bruce Lee


“All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”
— Bruce Lee

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”
— Bruce Lee

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”
— Swedish Proverb

“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be.  What is once well done, is well done forever.”
— Henry David Thoreau

“Forget yourself and start to work.”
— Gordon B. Hinckley

“Fortunate is the person who has developed the self-control to steer a straight course towards his objectives in life, without being swayed from his purpose by either commendation or condemnation.”
— Napoleon Hill

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much.”
— Bessie Anderson Stanley

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength, but through persistence.”
– Buddha

“Life is a series of problem-solving opportunities.  The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you depending on how you respond to them.”
— Rick Warren

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”
— Dale Carnegie

“Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts.  This is the secret of success.”
— Swami Sivandanda

“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.”
— David Bly

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinary well.”
— Jim Rohn

“Success is every minute you live.  It’s the process of living.  It’s stopping for the moments of beauty, of pleasure; the moments of peace.  Success is not a destination that you ever reach.  Success is the quality of the journey.”
— Jennifer James

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
— Winston Churchill

“Success is not measured by what a man accomplished, but by the opposition he has encountered and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”
– Charles Lindberg

“Success is not so much what we have, as it is what we are.”
— Jim Rohn

“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
— Albert Schweitzer

“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person we become.”
— Jim Rohn

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
— Robert Collier

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
— Booker T. Washington

“Success it the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals.”
— Paul J. Meyer

“Success often comes to those who dare to act.  It seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences.”
— Jawaharlal Nehru

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities.  They vary in their desire to reach their potential.”
— John Maxwell

“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty  in every opportunity.”
— Reed Markham

“The best rules to form a young man are: to talk little, to hear much, to reflect alone upon what has passed in company, to distrust one’s own opinions, and value others that deserve it.”
— Sir William Temple

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”
— Bruce Lee

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
— Steven Covey

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.”
— Henry Ford

“The secret of success is consistency of purpose.”
— Benjamin Disraeli

“The test of a successful person is not an ability to eliminate all problems before they arise, but to meet and work out difficulties when they do arise.  We must be willing to make an intelligent compromise with perfection lest we wait forever before taking action.  It is still good advice to cross bridges when we come to them.”
— David Schwartz

“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.”
— Vince Lombardi

“To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it.”
— Bunker Hunt

“To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.”
— Confucius

Emotional Intelligence

“Don’t let the negativity given to you by the world disempower you. Instead give to yourself that which empowers you.”
— Les Brown

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“Enthusiam is the steam that drives the engine.”
— Napoleon Hill

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
— Norman Vincent Peale

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse-sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”
— Dale Carnegie

“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.  It moves stones, it charms brutes.  Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.”
— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing … that’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar


“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
— Tony Robins

“Always bear in mind that our own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Anything in life worth having is worth working for.”
— Andrew Carnegie

“Do, or do not. There is no try.”
– Yoda

“Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being ‘wholly’ and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
— Bruce Lee

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”
— Grace Hansen

“Don’t dream it. Be it!”
— Richard O’Brian

“Follow your bliss!”
— Joseph Campbell

“Follow your dream as long as you live, do not lessen the time of following desire, for wasting time is an abomination of the spirit.”
– Plato

“Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong.”
— William Thackeray

“For every mountain there is a miracle.”
— Robert H. Schuller

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
— William Ernest Henley

“I don’t count the days, I make the days count!”
— Muhammad Ali

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
— Henry David Thorough

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
— Bruce Lee

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
— Winston Churchill

“If you can imagine it, you can create it.  If you can dream it, you can become it.”
— William Arthur Ward

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.  If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
— Nora Roberts

“In life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
– Confucius

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
– Seneca

“It takes a strong fish to swim against the current.  Even a dead one can float with it.”
— John Crowe

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”
— Winston Churchill

“Knowledge without follow-through is worse than no knowledge.”
— Henry Charles Bukowski

“Leap and the net will appear.”
— Julia Cameron

“Live out your imagination, not your history.”
— Stephen Covey

“May you live all the days of your life.”
— Jonathan Swift

“Never be afraid to tread the path alone.  Know which is your path and follow it wherever it may lead you; do not feel you have to follow in someone else’s footsteps.”
— Eileen Caddy

“People are always blaming circumstances for what they are.  I don’t believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“The history of the world is the history of a few people who had faith in themselves.”
— Swami Vivekananda

“The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.”
— Chinese Proverb

“The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.”
— Benjamin Disraeli

“There are two primary choices in life:  to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
— Denis Waitley

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
— Bruce Lee

“To move the world we must first move ourselves.”
– Socrates

“We will either find a way or make one.”
– Hannibal

“Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”
— Paul J. Meyer

Influence and Impact

“Dependent people need others to get what they want.  Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts.  Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”
— Stephen Covey

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
— Napoleon Hill

“Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.”
— Mark Twain

“Many hands and hearts and minds generally contribute to anyone’s notable achievements.”
— Walt Disney

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
— Oprah Winfrey

“Try to forget yourself in the service of others.  For when we think too much of ourselves and our own interests, we easily become despondent.  But when we work for others, our efforts return to bless us.”
— Sidney Powell

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”
— Confucius

Learning and Growth

“A master lives in the world of transformation, not the world of loss and gain.”
— Dr. John Demartini

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
— Chinese Proverb

“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.”
— Chinese Proverb

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”
— Herbert Otto

“Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous.”
– Abd El-Kader

“Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”
— Dale Carnegie

“Do not despise the bottom rungs in the ascent to greatness.”
– Publilius Syrus

“Don’t fear failure.  Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
— Bruce Lee

“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”
— Babe Ruth

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.”
— Rene Descartes

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”
— Napoleon Hill

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”
— Doug Firebaugh

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
— Muhammad Ali

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”
— George Patton

“I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind.”
— George Bernard Shaw

“If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.”
— Lord Chesterfield

“If you aren’t making any mistakes, it’s a sure sign you’re playing it too safe.”
— John Maxwell

“If you learn only methods, you’ll be tied to your methods, but if you learn principles you can devise your own methods.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”
— Thomas Watson, Sr

“In order to succeed you must fail so that you know what not to do the next time.”
— Anthony J.  D’Angelo

“It is true that the mental aspect of kung-fu is the desired end; however, to achieve this end, technical skill must come first.”
— Bruce Lee

“It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.”
— Roger Babson

“I’ve always tried to go one step past wherever people expected me to end up.”
— Beverly Sills

“Never walk away from failure.  On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.”
— Michael Korda

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
— T.S. Eliot

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
– Confucius

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
— African Proverb

“So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can.  Because that’s where you will find success. On the far side of failure.”
— Thomas J.Watson, Sr.

“Success is a journey, not a destination.”
— Ben Sweetland

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

“The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.”
— Robert Cushing

“The highest reward for one’s toil is not what one gets for it, but what one becomes by it.”
— John Ruskin

“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”
— Lloyd Jones

“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
– Proust

“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.”
— Dale Carnegie

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

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth — not going all the way, and not starting.”
– Buddha

“Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
— Marcus Washling

“To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
– Shakespeare

“To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
— Bertrand Russell

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
— Mark Twain

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
— Ronald Osborn

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success; we often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never makes a mistake never made a discovery.”
— Samuel Smiles

“We must never be afraid to go too far, for success lies just beyond.”
— Marcel Proust

“We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made of us.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?”
— Robert Schuller


“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
— Bruce Lee

“Art calls for complete mastery of techniques, developed by reflection within the soul.”
— Bruce Lee

“For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice.  No paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.”
— John Burroughs

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
— Samuel Johnson

“If you don’t have daily objectives, you qualify as a dreamer.”
~ Zig Ziglar

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.  If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you.  Whatever good things we build end up building us.”
— Jim Rohn

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.”
— Andrew Carnegie

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
— Bruce Lee

“Make a success of living by seeing the goal and aiming for it unswervingly.”
— Cecil B. De Mille

“Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going!”
— Jim Ryun

“Never let your work drive you.  Master it and keep it in complete control.”
— Booker T. Washington

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.”
— Charles Kendall Adams

“Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work.”
— Booker T. Washington

“Obstacles are those frightful things you can see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
— Henry Ford

“One must have strategies to execute dreams.”
— Azim Premji

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.”
— Earl Nightingale

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
— Colin Powell

“Sometimes our best is simply not enough.  We have to do what is required.”
— Winston Churchill

“Success equals goals … all else is commentary.”
— Brian Tracy

“Success is 20% skills and 80% strategy.  You might know how to read, but more importantly, what’s your plan to read?”
— Jim Rohn

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
— Michael Althsuler

“The merit in action lies in finishing it to the end.”
— Genghis Khan

“The path to success is to take massive determined action.”
— Anthony Robbins

“The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had means, time, influence, and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has.”
— Hamilton Wright Mabie

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The seat of freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work, and in that work, does what he wants to do.”
— George Robin Collingwood

“Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”
— J.C. Penny

“We are either progressing or retrograding all the while; there is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life.”
— James Freeman Clarke

“What we hope to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.”
— Samuel Johnson


“After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.”
— Bruce Lee

“Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better.”
— Bruce Lee

“Heed the still small voice that so seldom leads us wrong, and never into folly.”
— Marquise du Deffand

“In learning to know other things, and other minds, we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves, and are to ourselves better worth knowing.”
— Philip Gilbert Hamilton

“Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do.”
– Menander

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
– Aristotle

“Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world.”
— Miguel de Cervantes

“No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.”
— Taoist Proverb

“Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves.”
— Zig Ziglar

“Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been erected to a critic.”
— Jean Sibelius

“The easiest person to deceive is one’s own self.”
— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”
– Thales

“The only journey is the journey within.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

“To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.”
— Bruce Lee

“To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat.”
– Plato

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”
— Bruce Lee

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.”
– Talmud

“When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.”
— Sun Tzu

“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.”
— Hecato


“Exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don’t think of retiring from the world, until the world will be sorry that you retire.”
— Samuel Johnson

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
— Bruce Lee

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”
— George Burns

“I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it.  Whether you’re a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it.  If you do, you’ll win — if you don’t you won’t.”
— Bruce Jenner

“I refer to my hands, feet and body as the tools of the trade. The hands and feet must be sharpened and improved daily to be efficient.”
— Bruce Lee

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
— Thomas Edison

“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
— Albert Einstein

“Practice all movements slow and fast, soft and hard; the effectiveness of Jeet Kune-Do depends on split-second timing and reflexive action, which can be achieved only through repetitious practice.”
— Bruce Lee

“The happiest life is that which constantly exercises and educates what is best in us.”
– Hamerton

“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
— Henry Van Dyke


“A fresh mind keeps the body fresh. Take in the ideas of the day, drain off those of yesterday. As to the morrow, time enough to consider it when it becomes to-day.”
— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness.”
— Zadok Rabinwitz

“All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”
— Orison Swett Marden

“All successful men and women are big dreamers.  They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.”
— Brian Tracy

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms.  Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
— Muhammad Ali

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”
— Bruce Lee

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
— Bruce Lee

“Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat.  Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weakness … on your powers, instead of your problems.”
— Paul J. Meyer

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
— Albert Einstein

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”
— Albert Einstein

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
— Henry Ford

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
— Albert Einstein

“Is is in the small decisions you and I make every day that create our destiny.”
— Tony Robbins

“It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief.  And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
— Claude M. Bristol

“It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.”
— Charles F. Kettering

“No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.”
— John Stuart Mil

“No man is ever whipped until he quits — in his own mind.”
— Napoleon Hill

“Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving his goals. Nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.”
— Thomas Jefferson

“Our greatest battles are that with our own minds.”
— Jameson Fran

“Real difficulties can be overcome; It is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.”
— Theodore N.Vail

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
— Les Brown

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”
— Doug Larson

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”
— Abraham Lincoln

“The biggest temptation is to settle for too little.”
— Thomas Merton

“The difference between success and mediocrity is all in the way you think.”
— Dean Francis

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
– Michelangelo

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”
— Marcel Pagnol

“The revelation of thought takes men out of servitude into freedom.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The spirit of the individual is determined by his dominating thought habits.”
— Bruce Lee

“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am.  Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.”
— Dennis Waitley

“Thoughts and ideas are the source of all wealth, success, material gain, all great discoveries, inventions and achievements.”
— Mark Victor Hansen

“’What is’ is more important than ‘what should be.’ Too many people are looking at ‘what is’ from a position of thinking ‘what should be’.”
— Bruce Lee

“Whatever we think about and thank about, we bring about.”
— Wayne Dyer

Be sure to share your favorite personal development quotes with me … that’s how the collection gets stronger.

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  1. Oh my gosh, J.D.,

    This must have taken you considerable time to gather. Thank you for all your hard work.

    I’m putting you on notice. I’ll be including many of these quotes in my journal and on my blog. You’ve not only inspired me but you’ve also saved me tons of work.

    “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” — Napoleon Hill


  2. @ Yvonne — Yes, this one did take me a bit longer than I expected.

    I wanted it to be a great collection of personal development quotes. I thought it would be a significant contribution to the community, if I could do a good job and organize it well.

    Personal development is such a timeliness, personal, and powerful topic. I wanted to do it justice.

    Eventually, I decided, I could at least put together an initial collection, so that it is out there, and I can improve it over time. I think it was a good first step, although I see lots of room for improvements. Meanwhile, I think it includes enough breadth and depth that most people should come across at least a few personal development quotes that they had not seen before.

    I hope that it’s the gift that keeps on giving, both as a timely reference, and as some timely inspiration.

  3. J.D.! this is just stupendous! I remember a few of your earlier quote-posts ( I have them safely tucked in my “Action Folder” to read at will, which is rather often)

    But this one is truly a labor of love! Thank you so much for putting it together. I am going to enjoy it for a long, long time. A special thanks for the full post via email! That is very gratifying for me.

    Hugs! You’re simply the best, you know? And one of my most favorite bloggers. Happy Sunday!

  4. 7. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” I thought this one should be attributed to Aristotle instead?

  5. @ Vidya — Thank you.

    I think this is a very special collection. It too me a while to choose the right categories to frame the quotes. I wanted both the frame of categories as well as the quotes to be useful.

    I also think personal development is such a special topic for so many people. It’s such a powerful thing and I love the fact that anybody can choose to better themselves. I hope this collection helps to inspire exactly that.

    It’s all about standing on the shoulders of giants 😉

    @ Catherina — Thank you.

    A lot of people attribute the quote to Aristotle, but I believe it’s actually Will Durant’s write up about Aristotle’s insights. I think Wikiquote might have some info on this.

  6. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to create such a great list like this…definitely going to bookmark this one for future reference 🙂

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