We all need a little inspiration every now and then. The ability to find that extra spark, both personally and professionally, can make the difference between being ultra-productive and having “just another day at the office.”

Inspirational quotes are used by managers, supervisors and co-workers to give that extra edge, a much-needed boost or offer a unique perspective. Creative thinking can be fueled by these quotes, which is why the motivational poster has become a staple at firms all over the globe.

Why do motivational quotes tend to inspire us? A recent study suggested many different reasons, including our innate instinct to connect with wise people. This instinct is thought to have evolutionary roots when primitive man – wary of survival on a daily basis – sought the advice and counsel of “tribal elders.”

Whatever the reason, motivational quotes have been around since before written history – and they’re definitely here to stay. Military generals, legendary martyrs, all-star athletes, famous authors, religious figures, business leaders, entrepreneurs and others have compiled an all-encompassing list of quotes for practically any business situation.

We’ve selected some of the best quotes, and categorized for your convenience. Open your mind and optimize your workday productivity with this motivational inspiration!

Motivation, Inspiration, Confidence

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Mae West

“The extreme leader is a generator, a powerful force for action, for progress, and an enthusiastic believer in people and in their capacity to do the awesome.”

Steve Farber

Farber’s business leadership mentoring has inspired countless entrepreneurs.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

The Great One, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer, knew a thing or two about taking shots.

“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.”

Marcus Aurelius

One of the ancient world’s most quotable authors, Marcus Aurelius favored an active, inquisitive and curious life, and this quote encapsulates a great deal of his theories.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

Winston Churchill

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Oscar Wilde

Curiosity as a Business Catalyst

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein

Einstein considered his natural curiosity just as much responsible for his achievements as his prodigious intelligence.

“Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

Tony Robbins

Robbins, one of the world’s foremost motivational speakers, offers plenty of useful quotes on his popular website.

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”

Stephen Hawking

Prudent Business Planning & Finding Your Purpose

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Warren Buffett

This quote summarizes Buffett’s conservative, long-term approach to investing.

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”

Neil Armstrong

A look at Mr. Armstrong’s accomplishments can lead to one conclusion: “Mission accomplished, Neil!”

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Mark Twain

Twain, also known as the curmudgeon Sam Clemens, offers a rare uplifting quote about ultimately discovering your purpose.

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

Drew Houston

Houston’s quote is a study in good planning and confidence in your plan. Many “angel investors” thrive by this creed; they may fail 99 times out of 100, but that one success can mean life-changing wealth.

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