No matter what we tell our kids, the odds of becoming president of the United States are slim – 1 in 10 million, according to one estimate. But you don’t need to have your sights set on the Oval Office to benefit from the wisdom of former leaders.
Want to get a promotion, a raise, a new job — or just the courage to dream bigger and make a more audacious plan? The founding fathers and the chief executives who followed them have insight for you.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, here are 10 quotes from U.S. presidents to inspire you at work:
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington
“When I’m getting ready to reason with a man I spend one third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say — and two thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.” – Abraham Lincoln
“When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.’ – George Washington” quote=”‘It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.’ – George Washington”]
“Now I think, speaking roughly, by leadership we mean the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it, not because your position of power can compel him to do it, or your position of authority. A commander of a regiment is not necessarily a leader. He has all of the appurtenances of power given by a set of Army regulations by which he can compel unified action. He can say to a body such as this, ‘Rise,’ and ‘Sit down.’ You do it exactly. But that is not leadership.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman
“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.” – Ronald Reagan
“One voice can change a room. And if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” – Barack Obama
Tell Us What You Think
What’s your favorite inspirational quote? We want to hear from you. Talk to us in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.