When I was in medical school trying to study and run a business things could get pretty tough grinding away at my laptop in libraries and coffee shops for long hours while everyone else was outside having fun. To get my mindset back on track I’d often turn to a motivational quote for a bit of inspiration. I found quotes so helpful in fact that I started a list of inspirational quotes that really resonated with me and I’ve slowly added to this list over the years.
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." Vince Lombardi
Okay so my favourite quote probably of all time is from legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. I’ve even picked up a book of his quotes and stories which I’ll dive into to help me get inspired and re-focus what I’m working on. To me this quote is about two things. Firstly it’s about finding that one thing to work on that gives you fulfilment, that good cause that if you put in the work will lead to personal victory for you. The second part of the quote is then about hard work and determination. Super bowl winning football teams put in an insane amount of practise and hard work and you can imagine how it might feel to have given everything and then lying exhausted but satisfied knowing all your hard work has paid off as the final whistle blows.
I apply this quote to everything I’m working on and it’s just awesome.
‘What the mind of man can conceive and believe, It can achieve.’ Napoleon Hill
This quote comes from Napoleon Hill’s 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich” and it’s all about the power of positive thinking. I’m a huge believer in the idea that if we put our mind to something we can do it but sometimes it’s easy to forget this and slip into a negative mindset when you’re studying for an exam or trying to build a business so this quote is a great reminder that if something is physically possible there is no reason why with focus and determination you can’t do it.
"Numbing the pain for a while will only make it worse when you finally feel it." - Albus Dumbledore.
This quote from Albus Dumbledore is an important reminder not to run from our problems and to get help rather than trying to hide or numb any pain.
"Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison
I’ll often think about this quote from serial inventor and businessman Thomas Edison when working on any business idea or project. An idea is worthless unless it’s executed on. Anyone can have an idea for a business or dream about being an F1 driver but very few people will actually do the work to make that idea or dream a reality. Whenever I have any idea I always think of this quote and then try and get to work on it.
"There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way." - Thich Nhat Hanh
When I was younger I used to be pretty guilty of thinking that if I became a surgeon or if I had x amount of money I would be happy. It was only when I achieved these things that I realized that happiness isn’t dependent external achievements or objects but happiness actually comes from within. Rather than looking to any external goals this quote reminds me that it’s important to enjoy the journey and to work on finding happiness in where you are right now even if things seem tough.
"I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends." - Abraham Lincoln
We’ve all encountered difficult people. As a doctor this might be an angry colleague or patient or an aggressive relative. I love this quote from Abraham Lincoln as it reminds me that soft-skills and kindness can often disarm even the most annoying people and win them over to your side.
‘The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.’ Nelson Mandela
When Nelson Mandela said this he was talking about the power of persistence. More specifically, the power to get up day after day and fight when you get knocked down. This quote was used in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies and is made even more powerful considering Mandela served 27 years in prison for his beliefs before becoming the first president of South Africa and dismantling the apartheid.
"When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor." - Elon Musk
Elon Musk slept on the floor of his Tesla factory when Tesla was struggling to solve some of their early engineering problems and this quote reminds me that if you believe in something you’ll push yourself to do it even if no-one believes in you or your idea. It’s a powerful quote for entrepreneurs from one of the best founders on the planet.
"It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius
Whatever you are working on whether it’s studying or trying to build a business it’s going to take a long time to see the benefit of your early efforts. This quote from Confucius is a great reminder that you need to remain consistent and show up every day as with time your work will compound.
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela
Starting a big project can seem daunting and so sometimes we put it off or don’t get started at all. This is another great quote from Nelson Mandela that reminds us to focus on doing rather than being put off by the size of a task or thinking it’s impossible.
"Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other." - Brian Tracy
It’s easy to slip into a negative mindset and overthink things. Brian Tracy is an author and motivational speaker who has analyzed some of the most successful people on the planet and this quote is a reminder to be optimistic rather than pessimistic when thinking about any situation.
"Don't spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door." - Coco Chanel
I really like this quote from French fashion designer and businesswoman Coco Chanel. While lots of quotes are about pushing through hard times this quote really resonates with me as it’s an important reminder that we have limited time and it’s important not to waste that time on projects, people or tasks that aren’t going to get you where you want. Sometimes ealy, fast strategic quitting is the best thing to do.
"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life." - Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma is a Canadian writer, best known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book series which is based on Sharma leaving his job as a lawyer. This resonated with me when I quit my job as a surgeon as, having got to the end of my surgical training I could see that I’d be doing the same job for the rest of my life and I wanted to chase some other dreams and take more of a risk.
"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark." - Howard Ruff
Now there is no way to confirm this quote from financial adviser and writer of the pro-hard money investing newsletter The Ruff Times Howard Ruff but the idea behind the quote is perfect.
Waiting till the last minute is never a good idea. I’m a huge advocate of being organised and planning as it reduces stress and keeps you ahead of people who don’t plan. For finances investing in yourself and have a healthy buffer in your bank account is the way to build your own ark.
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.” Lance Armstrong
I like this quote from Lance Armstrong because it’s a reminder that pain is only temporary. I’ve failed exams and lost football games and had worse things happen to me and when theses setbacks do occur they can seem like the end of the world but with time they seem less and less painful and important.
"You must be the change you wish for in this world." - Mahatma Gandhi
This is an awesome quote from Mahatma Gandhi as it reminds us that we are responsible for creating change. If you don’t like your current situation instead of complaining what can you do to change it yourself. The quote reminds me about accepting responsibility and focusing on the things that I can affect rather than things outside of my control.
"A person can be as great as they wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done." Vince Lombardi
This is another of my favourite quotes from Vince Lombardi. It’s a perfect reminder that if you really want to achieve something you need to sacrifice somethings. This often means working when your friends are out partying, not drinking if you’re training for sporting event, saving instead of spending money on a holiday or new car and delaying gratification if you want to achieve a goal.
"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects." - Albert Einstein
This quote is great reminder from Albert Einstein that happiness comes from within. Specifically this quote is a reminder that no external person or object will make you happy. If you buy some new clothes they might make you feel good for a little while but ultimately that will fade whereas if you build core confidence and happiness through experiences that feeling will last way longer.
"I never dream of success. I worked for it." - Estee Lauder
There is a huge difference between a dreamer and a doer. If you really want success, then you need to stop dreaming and start doing.
“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success.” -James Cameron
This is a great quote from film-maker James Cameron that always reminds me to shoot for big lofty goals as even if we don’t achieve them at least you have made an attempt and by pushing to reach big goals you’ll learn lots along the way and probably achieve more than people who simply set low goals or who don’t challenge themselves at all. So be bold and go big or go home.
"Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein
This is my favorite Albert Einstein quote as sometimes we tend to split creativity from intelligence and academia. As a doctor and entrepreneur I love solving problems for people and that often requires creative and diffuse thinking.
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking.” -Steve Jobs
We often see people in the media or people around us and think I want to be like them. Equally it’s easy to fall into the trap of following the career path your family wants for you. While you don’t need to know precisely where you want to be heading this quote from Steve Jobs is a perfect reminder to make sure you follow your own path and aren’t living someone else’s life.
"If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough." -Oprah Winfrey
This quote from Oprah is a really great reminder to practice gratitude and be grateful. There will always be someone who is better than you at something and there is always something more you could accomplish or buy or whatever but instead of focusing on what we don’t have we’re much more likely to be happy if we focus on what we do have.
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." - Henry David Thoreau
Whatever you are doing the journey is way more important than the end result. Having raised tens of millions of dollars the most fun comes from building a company and everything you lear along the way rather than any funding announcement published in TechCrunch or selling the company.
"Champions keep playing until they get it right." - Billie Jean King
Our small daily habits compound over time to help us achieve big results but it can be easy to forget this and skip going to the gym or put off studying. This quote from Tennis legend Billie Jean King reinforces the importance of repetitive practise. Tennis players will practice the same shot thousands and thousands of times before a game to build that muscle memory and get it right but this level of dedication and consistency is what separates those who are the best in the world from everybody else.
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.” -John Lennon
Sometimes we can focus so much on work and the day-to-day that we forget to actually enjoy and appreciate things and life can just pass us by. I’ll often consider this quote from John Lennon when I’m planning my week to make sure I’m leaving time for fun and I’m enjoying what I’m working on.
"Do it with passion, or not at all." - Rosa Nouchette Carey
This quote is pretty self-explanatory from Children’s author Rosa Carey. I often think of it when I’m working on a project and if I’m not giving it my all I’ll ask myself why.
“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.” William Ward
I find this quote from motivational writer William A Ward really helps drive me on if I need a bit of fire when working on something. It brings in that competitive edge and I found it really useful when working long hours in the library when studying for medical finals and when building my businesses.
"Instead of wondering when your vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from." - Seth Godin
This is a great quote from Seth Godin. 99% of people work for the weekend and their vacations. If you can build a life where you wake up excited to go to work and you have the free time you want then you have pretty much won at life.
‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...’ Jack Kerouac
This is one of my favourite quotes from beatknic author Jack Kerouac. I’d highly recommend reading all of his books but this quote from “On The Road” is one of my favourite quotes of all time. For me I don’t want to live a mundane boring life and I quite like people who are weird and fun and exciting. It reminds me to embrace challenges and to do things differently to create your own adventures while surrounding yourself with people who want the same thing.