Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.
—Warren Bennis (1925–2014) American Business Academic, Author
In every power, of which taste is the foundation, excellence is pretty fairly divided among the sexes.
—Jane Austen (1775–1817) English Novelist
Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.
—John W. Gardner (1912–2002) American Activist
Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
—Lowell Thomas (1892–1981) American Writer, Businessperson, Journalist, Radio Personality
Build up virtue, and you master all.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
From time to time there appear on the face of the earth men of rare and consummate excellence, who dazzle us by their virtue, and whose outstanding qualities shed a stupendous light. Like those extraordinary stars of whose origins we are ignorant, and of whose fate, once they have vanished, we know even less, such men have neither forebears nor descendants: they are the whole of their race.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
To enjoy enduring success we should travel a little in advance of the world.
—John D. MacDonald (1916–86) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
It is those who have this imperative demand for the best in their natures, and who will accept nothing short of it, that holds the banners of progress, that set the standards, the ideals, for others.
—Orison Swett Marden (1850–1924) American New Thought Writer, Physician, Entrepreneur
A masterpiece is something said once and for all, stated, finished, so that it’s there complete in the mind, if only at the back.
—Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) English Novelist
Excellence in any department can be attained only by the labor of a lifetime; it is not to be purchased at a lesser price.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
It is quality rather than quantity that matters.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
Try to be the best of what you are, even if what you are is no good.
—Ashleigh Brilliant (b.1933) British Cartoonist, Author
Today, and every day, deliver more than you are getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra mile, and enjoy all the rewards you receive. You deserve them!
—Og Mandino (1923–96) American Self-Help Author
There is one single thread binding my way together…the way of the Master consists in doing one’s best…that is all.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
Virtue and genuine graces in themselves speak what no words can utter.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
Men have various subjects in which they may excel, or at least would be thought to excel, and though they love to hear justice done to them where they know they excel, yet they are most and best flattered upon those points where they wish to excel and yet are doubtful whether they do or not.
—Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773) English Statesman, Man of Letters
In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
—Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970) French General, Statesman
It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
—Wendell Berry (b.1934) American Poet, Novelist, Environmentalist
The moral sense is the first excellence of well-organized man.
—Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
The love of fame is almost another name for the love of excellence; or it is the ambition to attain the highest excellence, sanctioned by the highest authority, that of time.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.
—Harvey Samuel Firestone (1868–1938) American Industrialist
I start where the last man left off.
—Thomas Edison (1847–1931) American Inventor, Scientist, Entrepreneur
Whatever task you undertake, do it with all your heart and soul. Always be courteous, never be discouraged. Beware of him who promises something for nothing. Do not blame anybody for your mistakes and failures. Do not look for approval except the consciousness of doing your best.
—Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965) American Financier, Economic Consultant
There is a moral excellence attainable by all who have the will to strive for it; but there is an intellectual and physical superiority which is above the reach of our wishes, and is granted to only a few.
The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
Example is leadership.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) French Theologian, Musician, Philosopher, Physician
The foundation of lasting self-confidence and self-esteem is excellence, mastery of our work.
—Brian Tracy (b.1944) American Author, Motivational Speaker
I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming.
—Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
We do not do well except when we know where the best is and when we are assured that we have touched it and hold its power within us.
—Joseph Joubert (1754–1824) French Writer, Moralist
Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
—John W. Gardner (1912–2002) American Activist