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While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, another is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.
Henry C. Link
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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

This page is for quotes regarding work.

Positive views of work

The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
  • Work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind.
  • The phrase 'work-life balance' tells us that people think that work is the opposite of life. We should be talking about life-life balance.
  • It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life — those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest people.
  • Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success.
  • The greatest analgesic, soporific, stimulant, tranquilizer, narcotic, and to some extent even antibiotic — in short, the closest thing to a genuine panacea — known to medical science is work.

Negative views of work

  • It has become an article of the creed of modern morality that all labour is good in itself; a convenient belief to those who live on the wealth of others.
  • The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.
  • My young men shall never work. Men who work cannot dream, and wisdom comes to us in dreams.
  • Why is it easier to fire a person who does the work of ten than those ten whose work he does?
  • If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves.
  • Work is for people who can't fish.
    • Unknown

Alternative views on work

  • Work that is pure toil, done solely for the sake of the money it earns, is also sheer drudgery because it is stultifying rather than self improving.
  • Though thousands of people indulge themselves in it regularly, and even develop a taste for it, there is no doubt in my mind (and that of scientists whom I employ to prove it) that Work is a dangerous and destructive drug, and should be called by its right name, which is Fatigue.
  • I spent a busy day today, but got little done. This is because I am at last becoming perfect in the art of seeming busy, even when very little is going on in my head or under my hands. This is an art which every man learns, if he does not intend to work himself to death.
  • If you behave as if the meaning of our life consisted in being able to work so many hours a day, you rake away from all sick people the right to live and the justification for their existence.
  • Hard work is damn near as overrated as monogamy.
  • Don't sacrifice your life to work and ideals. The most important things in life are human relations. I found that out too late.


  • I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
  • The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
  • Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
  • You've achieved success in your field when you dont know whether what youre doing is work or play.
  • It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Worry is rust upon the blade.
  • When God wanted sponges and oysters, He made them and put one on a rock and the other in the mud. When He made man, He did not make him to be a sponge or an oyster; He made him with feet and hands, and head and heart, and vital blood, and a place to use them, and He said to him, Go Work.
  • Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted.
  • There's a time when you have to separate yourself from what other people expect of you, and do what you love. Because if you find yourself 50 years old and you aren't doing what you love, then what's the point?
  • Work — other people's work — is an intolerable idea to a cat. Can you picture cats herding sheep or agreeing to pull a cart? They will not inconvenience themselves to the slightest degree.
  • The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.
  • Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work.
  • To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.
  • No problem is insurmountable. With a little courage, teamwork and determination a person can overcome anything.
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
  • Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits.
  • Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.
  • Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
  • If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z, X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut.
  • Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
  • No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community.
  • People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.
  • The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get into the office.
  • The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.
  • The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
  • Lose this day loitering, 'Twill be the same story Tomorrow — and the next more dilatory. Then indecision brings its own delays, and days are lost lamenting overdays! Are you ernest? Seize this very minute! What you can do, or dream you can — begin it! Courage has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.
  • For every man who gets a dollar he didn't sweat for, someone else sweated to produce a dollar he never received.
  • Experience is an asset of which no worker can be cheated, no matter how selfish or greedy his immediate employer may be.
  • One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
  • Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
  • The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.
  • When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?'
  • I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.
  • Vision is where tomorrow begins, for it expresses what you and others who share the vision will be working hard to create. Since most people don't take the time to think systematically about the future, those who do, and who base their strategies and actions on their visions, have inordinate power to shape the future.
  • If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work.
  • I found it hard working really long hours when I was my own boss. The boss kept giving me the afternoon off.
  • You must always work not just within but below your means If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of strength in reserve.
  • For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
  • I won't take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth
  • When I was young I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures, so I did ten times more work.
  • Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream?
  • All work done mindfully rounds us out, helps complete us as persons.
  • The biggest mistake we could ever make in our lives is to think we work for anybody but ourselves.
  • Early to bed, early to rise Work like hell and advertise.
  • It's not true that the more sex that you have, the more it interferes with your work. I find that the more sex you have, the better work you do.
  • I don't believe people die from hard work. They die from stress and worry and fear — the negative emotions. Those are the killers, not hard work. The fact is, in our society today, most people don't understand what hard work is all about.
  • It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit.


Sorted alphabetically by first line
  • Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
    • Anonymous proverb, often attributed to Confucius.
    • Variant: If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life.
  • Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.
  • First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.
  • If a man does only what is required of him, he is a slave. If a man does more than is required of him, he is a free man.
  • Work makes one free,
    • Infamous slogan above the gate at Auschwitz concentration camp, previously famous as a book title by Lorenz Diefenbach

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