Do you have a favorite quote about determination or perseverance? We've rounded up the best self-determination quotes that offer intrinsic motivation that'll give you the determination to succeed and achieve any individual goal or life dreams. Here's some success inspiration to get you going. Good luck!
You don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for.
1. "I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it." —Estée Lauder
2. “Those at the top of the mountain didn't fall there." —Unknown
3. "I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” —Thomas Jefferson
4. "You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else." —Chris Evert
6. "Enjoy life, study hard, play hard, be kind to other people, set high standards, and don't be afraid to say 'No.'" —Nia Long
7. "Someday is not a day of the week." —Janet Daily
8. "I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich." —Jim Carrey
9. “People do not lack strength, they lack will.” —Victor Hugo
10. “I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” —Helen Keller
Without determination, you will almost certainly fail. Everything is stacked against you. People say no and seem to move mountains into your path.
If you want to succeed and make your dreams come true, you must look at that mountain and visualize a tunnel under it, a path over it or a way around it. You have to persevere, to rally your courage, not just once, but day after day after day after day.
Imagine a gymnast getting on the bars to practice over and over again, falling, getting up, making her way back to try, try again. She does this 10, 20, 40 hours a week.
When an athlete doesn’t win, she thinks, "I'm going to practice more. I'm going to try a different way. I'm going to do it again." You can apply that philosophy to the times when you feel ignored or dismissed at work. When you don’t get the resources for which you asked, find a different way around that mountain.
Negotiation skills will help you build resilience.
Resilience and determination are negotiation skills. Negotiations are any conversations when you have to agree on something with another person. And oftentimes you want very different things: You want another resource for your project, but your boss wants to keep headcount low. You want to turn in that report in two weeks, but the project lead wants it in one week. You want to scope a project to be sure it’s thorough, but the salesperson wants it tomorrow.
Here are three ways to build grit in the face of resistance, to find the courage to keep going and to stick with it, even when you want to give up.
• What you think: Be determined.
12. “When the will is ready the feet are light.” —Proverb
13. “A vow is fixed and unalterable determination to do a thing when such a determination is related to something noble which can only uplift the man who makes the resolve.” —Mahatma Gandhi
14. “If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford
15. “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” —Beverly Sills
16. "We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history." —Sonia Johnson
18. “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
19. "Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough." —Og Mandino
20. “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ―William Faulkner
21. "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try." —Author Unknown
22. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” —George Lorimer
24. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." —Thomas A. Edison
25. “My father was a CPA, so I knew the law of averages. I knew that if I kept asking, a yes had to come.” —Cathy Hughes
Cathy Hughes is the African-American entrepreneur who founded the media company Radio One (now known as Urban One). When the company went public in 1999, she became the first African-American woman to head a publicly traded corporation. As of 2014, the company under the previous name Radio One (until May 2017) was the ninth-highest earning African-American business in the United States.
When she started out, Hughes was a divorced single mother with a dream. She brought her young son with her to the office and he slept and napped under her desk as she worked late into the night.
When she needed a bank loan to purchase her first radio station in Washington, D.C., Cathy got 31 rejections. It was bank #32 that gave her the loan. Can you imagine being so determined, having a belief strong enough to take you to another bank and another bank and yet another bank, 31 times?
Compare that to the last time you asked for more resources and gave up when you got one “no.”
Cathy’s interview on How I Built This was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.
Determination lives or dies in your mind, in your belief in both yourself and your dream.
• What you say: Ask questions when you get a no.
27. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” —Henry Ford
28. “The important thing is not to stop questioning." —Albert Einstein
29. “Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.” —Euripedes
30. “A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” —Francis Bacon
31. “Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.” —Ernest Gaines
32. “The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.” —Ruby Dee
33. “The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering.” —David Whyte
• When you don’t get what you ask for, find out why.
There are always reasons that you can’t even imagine. Sometimes it’s the timing. The bank just made four loans to businesses like yours, it has to do with a quota and not you. Imagine if Hughes had thought, “My idea isn't good; that’s why they said no.”
Every single person is living a life just as complex as yours. It’s a concept called "Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has A Story."
Once you understand that everyone is living their own story, you can get curious about what’s in it for them, what motivates them, how they’re measured by their boss and how you can help them succeed.
Asking questions to find out more about why you got a no is the key to successfully negotiating a yes for the next time, or even changing a no into a yes when you find out more. Often, as you ask questions, you start to see that you can adjust things in your proposal.
There are two softeners that open the door for women to ask questions without seeming defensive:
- "Can I ask you a few questions to be sure I understand?" Faced with this question, most people will happily answer your questions.
- "Help me understand." Most people are happy to help.
• What you do: Try again.
35. "Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don't give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people." —Tena Desae
36. “Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long." —Walt Disney Company
37. “I think I benefited from being equal parts ambitious and curious. And of the two, curiosity has served me best.” ―Michael J Fox
38. “It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses.” ―George Eliot
39. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You only have to be right once and then everyone can tell you that you are an overnight success.” —Mark Cuban
40. “Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.” —Coco Chanel
41. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” —Robert F. Kennedy
42. “Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” —Gena Showalter
44. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J. K. Rowling
45. “It's failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” —Ellen DeGeneres
46. “We are all failures—at least the best of us are.” —J.M. Barrie
47. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” —Napoleon Hill
48. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” —Johnny Cash
49. “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” —Eloise Ristad
50. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” —Confucious
51. “Failure is success if we learn from it.” —Malcolm Forbes
53. “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." —Neil Gaiman
54. "Never say, 'oops'. Always say, 'Ah, interesting'." —Anonymous
55. “We’re born with success. It is only others who point out our failures, and what they attribute to us as failure.” —Whoopi Goldberg
56. “I’ve probably earned the right to screw up a few times. I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.” —Emma Watson
57. “Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave." —Mary Tyler Moore
58. "While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior." —Henry C. Link
59. "The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake." —Nelson Boswell
Your current situation is not your final destination. You don’t have to decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, you only have to decide what you’re going to do next.
Determination is a state of mind — a vision to get to the finish line, regardless of the mountains that pop up along your route.
Have patience and learn from your mistakes.
61. "It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." — Madeleine Albright
62. "Admitting to a mistake means refusing to use other people as scapegoats to avoid responsibility but rather courageously owning up to every single one of them." —T. Whitmore
63. “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday." —Alexander Pope
65. "You will only fail to learn if you do not learn from failing." —Stella Adler
66. "Mistakes fail in their mission of helping the person who blames them on the other fellow." —Henry Haskins
67. "Don't carry your mistakes around with you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones. Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience." —Unknown
68. "It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." —Bill Gates
69. "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." —James Joyce
70. "We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us." —L.M. Montgomery
71. "By seeking and blundering we learn." —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
72. “Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.” —Anonymous
74. “There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.” —Melanie Koulouris
75. "You don't learn from successes; you don't learn from awards; you don't learn from celebrity; you only learn from wounds and scars and mistakes and failures. And that's the truth." —Jane Fonda
Failing is simply your first attempt at learning. If you are a sales person who lost a sale, what happens if you allow yourself to think, "Oh no! I lost the sale, I must be a horrible salesperson!” You have to think, “Well, what did I do this time that I can learn from? What can I do differently next time? I've had success in the past that I can draw from.”
Successful people all have an awful lot of self-determination, and that's how they achieve each goal. In order to find success with whatever the job at hand is for you, persistence and determination, a sense of direction, patience and hard work will get you there. If you're determined, you can be one of those successful people, too.
What's your favorite quote on determination? Where do you get your success inspiration?
Melissa Hereford is a negotiation expert who will teach you to respond clearly, calmly, and effectively so you can get more of what you want, all while building stronger relationships. Get your free negotiation script at MelissaHereford.com.