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Effort Quotes: TAoL’s BEST Quotes on Giving 110%

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.

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My TOP 27 Effort Quotes

These effort quotes come from The Art of Living's growing central library of thoughts, anecdotes, notes, and inspirational quotes.

Here are my top 27 effort quotes of all time...

1. "Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up." - David Goggins

David Goggins: Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.

David Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker, and author - best known for his memoir Can't Hurt Me.

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2. "Skill in any performance whether it be in sports in playing the piano in conversation or in selling merchandise consists not in painfully and consciously thinking out each action as it is performed but in relaxing and letting the job do itself through you. Creative performance is spontaneous and ‘natural’ as opposed to self-conscious and studied." - Maxwell Maltz

Maxwell Maltz was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of the best-selling and highly influential Psycho-Cybernetics (1960).

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3. "It is hard to fail. But it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt: It is hard to fail. But it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

Theodore Roosevelt overcame was a sickly childhood to embrace a famously active lifestyle and the 26th presidency of the United States.

This growth mindset quote is one of many (including one of my favourite passages of all time) that captures his proactive approach to adversity.

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4. "I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." - Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan: I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.

Michael Jordan is the NBA’s “greatest basketball player of all time”.

A master of learning from every mistake, his growth-oriented attitude to failure was immortalised in the legendary "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career" Nike commercial.

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5. "Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions." - James Allen

James Allen: Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.

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6. "He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly." - James Allen

James Allen: He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.

James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.

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7. "Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”" - James Allen

James Allen: Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”

James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.

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8. "Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them." - Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill: Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.

Napoleon Hill was an American self-help author. He is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich (1937), which is among the 10 best-selling self-help books of all time.

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9. "A quitter never wins and a winner never quits." - Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill: A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.

Napoleon Hill was an American self-help author. He is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich (1937), which is among the 10 best-selling self-help books of all time.

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10. "Action cures fear." - David J. Schwartz

David J. Schwartz: Action cures fear.

David J. Schwartz was an American motivational writer and coach, best known for authoring The Magic of Thinking Big in 1959.

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11. "Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories." - David J. Schwartz

David J. Schwartz: Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories.

David J. Schwartz was an American motivational writer and coach, best known for authoring The Magic of Thinking Big in 1959.

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12. "The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem." - T. Harv Eker

T. Harv Eker (born June 10, 1954) is an author, businessman and motivational speaker known for his theories on wealth and motivation and his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

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13. "If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy." - T. Harv Eker

T. Harv Eker (born June 10, 1954) is an author, businessman and motivational speaker known for his theories on wealth and motivation and his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.

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14. "Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama XIV

Dalai Lama XIV: Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.

Dalai Lama XIV is the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

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15. "Before you begin scrambling up the ladder of success, make sure that it is leaning against the right building." - Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey (October 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012) was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. His most popular book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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16. "Happiness is a mental habit, a mental attitude, and if it is not learned and practiced in the present it is never experienced. It cannot be made contingent upon solving some external problem. When one problem is solved, another appears to take its place. Life is a series of problems. If you are to be happy at all, you must be happy – period! Not happy “because of”." - Maxwell Maltz

Maxwell Maltz: Happiness is a mental habit, a mental attitude, and if it is not learned and practiced in the present it is never experienced. It cannot be made contingent upon solving some external problem. When one problem is solved, another appears to take its place. Life is a series of problems. If you are to be happy at all, you must be happy – period! Not happy “because of”.

Maxwell Maltz was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of the best-selling and highly influential Psycho-Cybernetics (1960).

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17. "A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances." - James Allen

James Allen: A particular train of thought persisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to produce its results on the character and circumstances. A man cannot directly choose his circumstances, but he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his circumstances.

James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement.

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18. "Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can't, cannot." - David J. Schwartz

David J. Schwartz: Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can't, cannot.

David J. Schwartz was an American motivational writer and coach, best known for authoring The Magic of Thinking Big in 1959.

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19. "The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today's work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future." - Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer and a developer of courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.

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20. "If you don't give anything don't expect anything. Success is not coming to you. You must come to it." - Marva Collins

Marva Collins: If you don't give anything don't expect anything. Success is not coming to you. You must come to it.

Marva Collins was an American educator best known for founding Westside Preparatory School.

This quote is a reminder that the only person responsible for your life is you. If you want to succeed, apply yourself.

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21. "Do all the work you can do, every day, and do each piece of work in a perfectly successful manner; put the power of success, and the purpose to get rich, into everything that you do." - Wallace D. Wattles

Wallace D. Wattles was an American New Thought writer whose writing has been widely quoted and remains in print in the New Thought and self-help movements.

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22. "Abraham Lincoln's principle for greatness can be adopted by nearly all. This was his rule: Whatsoever he had to do at all, he put his whole mind into it and held it all there until that was all done." - Russell H. Conwell

Russell H. Conwell was an American Baptist minister, lawyer, and writer best known for founding Temple University and his inspirational lecture, Acres of Diamonds.

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23. "The Four Agreements are: 1. Be impeccable with your word; 2. Don’t take anything personally; 3. Don’t make assumptions; and 4. Always do your best." - Miguel Ruiz

Miguel Ruiz is a Mexican author of Toltec spiritualist and neoshamanistic texts.

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24. "God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now." - Miguel Ruiz

Miguel Ruiz is a Mexican author of Toltec spiritualist and neoshamanistic texts.

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25. "For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life." - Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman (born January 10, 1938) is an American author and radio talk show host best known for his best selling book, The 5 Love Languages, and its follow up series.

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26. "Remember, to know and not to do is really not to know." - Kerry Patterson

Kerry Patterson is an American author best known for co-authoring several New York Times bestsellers, including Crucial Conversations

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27. "I don't stop when I'm tired. I stop when I'm done." - David Goggins

David Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker, and author - best known for his memoir Can't Hurt Me.

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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