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Quotations for Motivation #11 --- Self-Confidence

Updated on October 3, 2015

Quotations on Self-Confidence

Ordinarily when you say "I can't," it is when you really mean to say "I won't." And when you say "I won't," the real reason is "I can't."

—William M. Anderson, Sr., Christian Observer, Louisville, Ky., Aug. 21, 1907.

One of the most common improprieties of speech is “I can’t” for “I will.”

---James Milton Racer, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Oct. 27, 1904.

Self-consciousness of self-supporting efficiency begets the confidence that commands success. Efficiency knows no fear of the future.

---Ulysses S. Huggins, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Sept. 15, 1917.

Try to have confidence in yourself without conceit.

---Carl J.G. Brown, Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison, Kan., Jan. 12, 1923.

What the average person needs is to give one’s self a vote of confidence every morning.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 26, 1934.

The difference between confidence and overconfidence is just as great as the difference between confidence and no confidence at all. It’s one of those things where extremes are disastrous.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 2, 1939.

The man who lives in the past may do it because he has no confidence in the future—and that’s a perfect way to amount to exactly nothing.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 22. 1943.

When we brace ourselves for the worst by discounting it in advance, the blow becomes merely a tap.

—Clarence L. Cullen, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 27, 1913.

Don’t underestimate yourself. Others will do it for you.

—Tom Ethridge, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 15, 1970.

What you think of yourself doesn’t count unless you prove it.

—Wesley S. Izzard, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Dec. 28, 1955.

Self-confidence is a fine thing, if you keep it under control.

---Charles Joyner, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 16, 1940.

Self‑confidence is a wonderful thing to have‑‑as long as you keep it yourself.

‑‑‑Roberta Lyndon, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 19, 1941.

Men often conquer difficulties because they believe they can. Their confidence in themselves inspires confidence in others.

-‑‑R.B. Moore, San Antonio Register, San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 7, 1931.

The man who thinks he can’t win has already lost before he starts.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., Dec. 7, 1928.

Whoever does not admit that he is whipped is seldom ever whipped.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 10, 1927.

Few people ever survive a complete loss of faith in themselves.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 25, 1936.

Faith doubles your mental powers, gives you unending confidence, inspires every worthwhile activity. Faith inspires confidence, and confidence begets action. As soon as you realize you are not afraid to tackle anything, obstacles will melt away.

There are virtually no bounds to human possibilities. You can achieve almost any goal if you will tenaciously apply all your enthusiasm and energies toward that end.

We know that a lack of faith or confidence in our own abilities will put us in a rut and we develop the “What’s the use?” attitude. This will slow us down, perhaps wreck us, before we get anywhere in life.

I heard a great man say once, “Anything that we ought to do with our lives can be done if we keep faith in self and in God.”

---Chelsea H. “C.H.” Kelley, Williamson Daily News, Williamson, W. Va., Feb. 26, 1948.

A man’s achievement can never rise higher than his confidence.

Every time you acknowledge weakness, deficiency or lack of ability or of opportunity, or harbor doubt, you weaken your self-confidence, and that is to weaken the very foundation, the very possibility, of achievement.

You might as well expect to get over the Alps by sitting down, declaring the undertaking too great for you, that you can never accomplish it, that you are afraid of the avalanches and of getting lost, as to hope to attain success in life while holding to doubts and fears of your ability to do what you undertake.

To allow yourself to admit that you are inferior to any emergency confronting you is to invite defeat.

The moment you harbor a doubt of your ability, that moment you capitulate.

The positive man may have some unpleasant qualities, but he is the man wanted everywhere. He who is fearless with conviction born of the confidence of strength, is the one trusted to achieve in every line of endeavor.

The world stands aside for the man who has a fixed purpose, a mission, a calling to do that which he feels a throbbing compulsion within him to do.

One of the best ways to strengthen character and develop stamina generally is to assume the part you wish to play, to stoutly assert the possession of what you desire to have, to insistently affirm that you are what you wish to be.

No man achieves anything worthy until he learns the power of confidence—feels that he can accomplish if he will be strong enough and long enough.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., Aug. 15, 1908.

Many people wonder where is the border line between self-confidence and the big head; between self-confidence and an inferiority complex.

Here is the exact border line and we phrase it carefully because it is an exactitude.

Self-confidence is the certainty that no other person on earth is better than you are plus the certainty that you, yourself, are not better than any other person on earth.

Obviously the most frequent transgression is in regard to the second certainty. Many people who possess the certainty that no person on earth is better than they are feel that this certainty guarantees that they, themselves, are much better than many other people on earth.

We direct attention to this because, without exception, the man who thinks he is better than any other person goes into a decline that is sustained until he grows beyond that feeling.

It is a point difficult to catch. John Smith may be better than Bill Jones according to the unanimous opinion of all who know the two men. One would say that there is not the slightest possibility or the least doubt that John Smith is a better man than Bill Jones. So far, so good.

The minute, however, John Smith takes this view about himself John Smith begins to be a different man. Because John Smith feels superior to another person, he begins to take on airs; he begins to treat other people differently; he falls into the absurd position of dealing one way with people he deems superior to John Smith and quite another way with people he deems inferior to John Smith; he counts on his reputation of being superior to other people rather than upon turning out work superior to the work of other people; he gets concerned about how many people are convinced he is superior to others.

In other words, the minute John Smith gets the idea he is superior to any other person that same minute he begins to lose the qualities that made him superior.

Boiled down we have this principle that holds without any exception: A feeling of superiority makes any man inferior.

Watch a lawyer who thinks he is better than some other lawyer. Watch a doctor who thinks he is a better doctor than some other doctor. Watch a merchant who thinks he is a better merchant than some other merchant. Watch a preacher who thinks he is a better preacher than some other preacher. Just as surely as you do this you can see for yourself these men take progressive steps in a continuous decline.

There is but one safe comparison, and that is yourself with yourself. You strive to be a better lawyer than you were a year ago; a better doctor than you were a year ago; a better merchant than you were a year ago; a better preacher than you were a year ago. Do that and you have a chance to grow. On the contrary, compare yourself with other people, and no matter whether you think the comparison in your favor or against yourself, you invariably start losing whatever fine qualities you possess.

Leave that comparison for others to make. Do not ever let yourself figure in a comparison that includes other people. Do not ever compare yourself with anybody but yourself.

Among capable men, a feeling of superiority is responsible for more failures than any other single factor.

Here is the proof. Any reader of this column can stop right now and name one or more men whom you rate much lower than you did five years ago because they developed a feeling of superiority.

If I really wanted to do any man irreparable damage, I would concentrate on persuading him to feel superior to other people. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he: the man who thinks he is superior thinks belittling thoughts.

Someone expressed the hope his enemy would write a book. Better than that is to hope your enemy will develop a feeling of superiority.

---Henry Arnold “H.A.” Stallings [Methodist], Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., May 16, 1941.

That is an old saying; so old that it dates back to the time of hand-to-hand fighting, when steel bit against steel and the “powder age” was unborn.

The methods of the occupations of peace and war have changed since then, but the same truths remain. Confidence still is “a sword in the hands of the soldier,” even though that sword has been beaten into a ploughshare.

Confidence is a psychological germ. Encouraged and given fertile ground it breeds and multiplies and erects fortifications. Starved and relegated to a barren field it falls an easy pretty to its natural enemies, the microbes of hesitation, suspicion and doubt.

Having already shattered the rules of metaphor and simile by calling both a sword and a germ, let us give it still another name.

Confidence is the muscle of achievement.
In other words, it is the psychological strength that makes achievement possible.

To the young man who is facing any difficult problem in his advance upon success it is the bridge between “can” and “do.”

Doubt weakens the attack. It fosters irresolution, and you know that saying, “He who hesitates is lost!”

Let confidence muscle you and give you the endurance to keep marching with the leaders.

---The Evening World, New York, N.Y., May 7, 1914.

Merit begets confidence, confidence begets enthusiasm, and enthusiasm conquers the world.

—Walter P. Cottingham, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 17, 1914.

The man who backs his ideas and plans with self-confidence always has the advantage over those who give up and quit at the first sign of defeat. Success doesn't crown the person who sells himself short through lack of self-confidence. But it does favor the person who knows what he wants, is determined to get it, and frowns at the word impossible.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Aug. 9, 1956.

The person who doesn't believe in himself–who sells himself short–repels both opportunity and those people who could be of great benefit to him. He generally settles for crumbs left by the more successful instead of demanding his due.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Nov. 9, 1956.

The climb of life is steep and hard, and the fellow who loses self-confidence is sure to fail in his effort. To succeed we must not look down, but we must ever look upward and keep our hearts full of self-confidence. We win in the climb of life by keeping our vision upward.

—D.W. Haskew, Panama City Pilot, Panama City, Fla., Sept. 5, 1935.

Does confidence pave the way to success, or is it success that develops confidence? Proper confidence is based upon ability to make good. There are any number of people who have confidence minus ability, and they are always terrible busts. We have seen a number of confident men who had little else, and what happened to them was quite enough. It is confidence plus ability that makes for success. There are a few occasions when success comes without confidence and in turn develops confidence, but these examples are not as frequent as the reverse types. Success and confidence in a way work together. Each helps out the other. Confidence helps to develop success and success in turn helps to increase one's confidence.

—Grantland Rice, New York Tribune, New York, N.Y., June 19, 1920.

No one ever found diamonds in mining a tunnel of can'ts.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., May 16, 1925.

It takes about as much energy to explain a "can't" as it does to accomplish a "can."

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Feb. 27, 1927.

Only faith in yourself will compel others to have faith in you.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., March 21, 1920.

Confidence means two things. It means that one is certain of his ability to perform an assigned task. Secondly, it means that one ENJOYS the work in the assurance that one can do it well, and so he is happy in his work.

—Wilfred G. Hurley, Intermountain Catholic, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 23, 1930.

Many of our mistakes come from an underevaluation of ourselves. If a fellow thinks he is incapable of something great, this very thing incapacitates him from doing the thing desired. The more complex civilization becomes, the more knowledge it takes to be a success. A man must plot his course. There must be a goal, a route, supply bases. Success is achieved; it is not accidental.

—Floyd Poe, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, April 27, 1955.

The very person who is declaring the lack of confidence to succeed in an undertaking does not stop to see that he is very confident of his ability to fail.

—Martha Harris Bogue, The Christian Science Journal, Boston, Mass., March 1903.

The men who do not believe in themselves are always marked "damaged goods" on the world's bargain counters.

—Moore Sanborn, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Jan. 15, 1906.

The man who thinks he can’t win has already lost before he starts.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., Dec. 7, 1928.

Half of the art of living is in believing you are living well.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, June 30, 1924.

Any man who has confidence in himself has the down payment on success.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Sept. 24, 1930.

Confidence and contentment are teammates.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 26, 1926.

As a man thinketh in his heart so shall it be written in his face.

—Ed Wood, Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville, Tenn., Jan. 17, 1930.

No one can discount your good opinion of yourself except yourself. But be sure you judge yourself correctly.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., March 9, 1948.

Self-confidence is the jewel set in the hoop of ability.

Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Pa., June 17, 1911.

Every day is a day of victory for the man who keeps faith with himself.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 12, 1941.

Confidence is necessary to the putting forth of your best powers. Perhaps all of us are capable of accomplishing more than we do accomplish. There are vast reserves of power within us which we have not drawn upon. There are reservoirs of strength and resources which are yet untapped. Without confidence in the possibilities that are within us these unutilized riches will never be called forth and made to serve the part for which they were ordained. ... Confidence in one's self is the indispensable basis of all successful effort. No man would ever have attempted a great thing unless he had believed that somehow he could do it. And having attempted it, no man would carry his effort through to completion, unless animated and inspired by strong hopes of ultimate success. Without this conviction the nerve of effort is paralyzed and the heart is taken out of the daily task. Work is done joyously, freely, victoriously and perseveringly, when there is behind it this firm conviction of success and reward at the end.

—Bryan W. Collier, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 8, 1917.

Would you recognize your other self if you met him on the street? He should be your best friend.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., March 9, 1948.

Self-confidence means bending the will to a certain end or purpose. Self-confidence is not chance, nor is it born of egotism; it begins with an intelligent examination of self. ... Self-confidence means perfect self-control, and begins with an intelligent examination of self. ... You must scrutinize your mind carefully. You must take stock, and be thorough and fearless about it. ... Timidity is a confession that you are too weak to make an honest effort. It means doubt, failure, and inefficiency, and if you have your mind crowded with these thoughts, how can you expect to bend your will in the direction of success?

—Irwin Ellis, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 4, 1912.

Courage is a necessary adjunct to climbing the ladder of opportunity. In sticking to the task in an everyday responsibility, one requisite is faith. The key to achievement is confidence. The great men of history have been men who believed in themselves. They believed in themselves and had imagination, which produced visions of greatness.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, April 6, 1924.


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