Motivation is an essential ingredient for success at whatever we do. While we should not rely on motivation to get work done, it’s usually responsible for that first spark of inspiration. It’s what leads us to endless hours of research on a new topic or to learn a new skill as quickly as possible. Our selection of motivation quotes are here to help just that.
We can either find motivation intrinsically (through personal desires) or extrinsically (for external rewards). Regardless of where your motivation comes from, don’t underuse its driving power.
Whether you’re personally looking for motivation or looking to motivate someone else, the following motivational quotes should help you light the much-needed spark.
Timothy Tebow is an American professional baseball player (with the Major League Baseball New York Mets), a former professional football star, and a broadcaster. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 for the University of Florida. He did this while playing in the 2006 and 2008 seasons on BCS Championship-winning teams.
Sometimes, even the negative things can be your motivation. Tebow’s motivation quote is a nod to the saying “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. If people or situations send negativity your way, turn that energy into your motivation to do better and be better.
Former American professional basketball player, Sheryl Denise Swoopes was the first player to sign in the WNBA. Swoopes is a three-time WNBA MVP and was named one of the league's top 15 All-Time players at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. She has won three Olympic gold medals, an NCAA championship, and a WNBA title.
For Sheryl, the fact that people thought she shouldn’t play basketball with guys became a source of motivation for her. When people underestimate you, it should be a motivation to work harder.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, Northeastern University instructor and the author of several books. Her books include 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, and 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do (all on amazon). Publishers have translated Morin’s books into 36 languages and her articles draw close to 2 million readers each month. Her TEDx talk, "The Mentally Strong Truth," quickly became one of the top 20 all-time talks with over 10 million views.
Morin currently travels the globe talking about mental strength to audiences. She believes spending time with negative people drains you of your motivation. Constant contact with people who tell you why you cannot do something or why you cannot achieve a goal will affect your level of motivation.
Hermann Maier is an Austrian alpine ski racer and gold medalist. Nicknamed the "Herminator", Maier ranks among the greatest alpine ski racers in history, with three World Championship championships, four overall World Cup championships, and two Olympic gold medals. His 54 World Cup victories rank third in the men's all-time list.
Maier is a believer in constant reinvention and constant re-motivation. In whatever we do, we need to take time out to find a source of motivation. Without motivation, things can seem unnecessarily difficult. Motivation will keep you going in the face of difficulties.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the Charlotte Hornets' main owner. He played 15 NBA seasons, winning six Chicago Bull championships in the process. His biography on the official NBA website incredibly states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Industry experts consider MJ as one of his generation's most effectively marketed athletes. Many also consider him as instrumental in popularizing the NBA globally.
MJ found that playing a game without motivation could be a waste of time. The moment he lost his motivation for a game, he moved away from the game. As individuals, if you no longer find motivation in a particular endeavour, perhaps it’s time to take a break to recover your excitement for that project.
Dennis runs a hair and skincare company. Along with his mother and sister, he named the beauty brand “Shea Moisture” after products made and marketed by his grandmother in West Africa. Dennis built his company into Sundial Brands (acquired by Unilever in 2017), selling hair and skin care products primarily for black women. He runs the $100 million New Voices Fund investing in coloured women-owned companies and is also the owner of Essence magazine.
Dennis finds motivation in his love of people which helped his company. His motivation quote shows that seemingly mundane things can be your source of motivation. You can find motivation in the small things, as long as they push you to do better.
Viola Davis is an American actress and the star of the popular Shonda Rhimes legal drama: ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ (amazon). Having received an Academy Award, Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards, she is the first black thespian to receive Acting's Triple Crown. In 2012 and 2017, Time magazine named her one of the world's most influential women.
For Davis, poverty was her motivation to be successful. She grew up poor and she decided to rise from that poverty. It also helped her appreciate the things she has now. This is an example of using something negative as motivation. With the right approach, even the negative things of life can push you to greatness.
James Ronald "Jim" Ryun is a retired American politician and Olympic track and field competitor generally considered the world's best middle-distance runner at its height. He won the 1500m silver medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics and is the last American to hold the mile-run world record. From 1996 to 2007, Ryun served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Republican Party 's 2nd Congressional District.
To start anything, you need motivation. Ryun believes that while habit is what eventually keeps you in the building, Motivation is what gets you through the door.
Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio is an American actor, director, and producer. He is the owner of a production company, Appian Way Productions. DiCaprio is also the founder of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an environmental awareness-centred non-profit organization. DiCaprio gained fame through his role as Jack alongside Kate Winslet’s Rose in the critically acclaimed James Cameron directed Titanic (amazon).
DiCaprio’s first big break came in the series Parenthood, in a role in which he had to analyze Joaquin Phoenix’s character in an earlier movie to play effectively. This willingness to study and emulate great actors has been his motivation throughout his career, as he stated in his quote. In effect, great people that are ahead can be sources of motivation for those of us coming behind.
Jeffrey Preston Bezos is an American internet entrepreneur, industrialist, and investor. He's perhaps best known as the chairman, CEO and president of Amazon's multi-national technology group. We came to know Bezos as the "richest man in modern history" after his net worth rose to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as "much wealthier than anyone else on the planet,". Adding $1.8 billion to his net worth as Amazon became the second corporation in history to cross a $1 trillion market cap. Some argue his leadership principles are at least partly key to his success.
When you know people are counting on you, you may feel better motivated. Because it’s no longer just about you. Your successes and failures are not just yours and that is good motivation to keep going.
David Caudwell is a British billionaire businessman who co-founded the retailer Phones 4u. He also invests in luxury, real estate and other businesses, as well as engages in numerous philanthropic activities. These include Caudwell Kids, a charity for girls, and Caudwell LymeCo, which supports people with Lyme disease in the UK.
John’s motivation to carry on and do better is the ability to keep supporting charities. Even after donating sizeable amounts of money, the awareness that he can do better and give more motivates him to do better.
Andre Romelle Young is best known as Dr Dre (amazon). He is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, record executive, and audio engineer. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics, while he is also the co-owner of Death Row Records.
For Dre, knowing that kids, both his and others’, are watching, motivates him to work on himself. Kids mimic what they see, and no one wants to be the one to set a bad example for a child in their life. Knowing that you have some influence over the life decisions a child makes is enough motivation to do the right thing.
Both small and big dreams feel achievable when you’re full of motivation. But don’t assume that motivation will always be there when you need it. Sometimes, you need to create the right environment to remind yourself of the things you want.
First, never forget the reason why you started something. Avoid distractions, and as the popular saying goes, “keep your eyes on the ball.” Your motivation may also change over time, especially as you reach the milestones that served as drivers for you. That’s okay, as long as you can always look around and find something worthwhile to keep you going.