- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
Quotations for Motivation #18 --- Initiative
Quotations on Initiative
Most people have initiative, but many seem to lack finishitive.
—Roy E. Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, Oct. 14, 1976.
Some people are noted for their inertiative.
—Maury Democrat, Columbia, Tenn., Oct. 25, 1944.
Initiative is the driving force of life. One may be happy if he has only industry and integrity and intelligence; but he will never get very far in business unless he also has initiative. Initiative is to business success what gasoline is to an engine or coal to a locomotive. Men succeed in business because they originate and do things before being told to do them.
---Roger W. Babson, The Daily Star, Long Island City, N.Y., July 25, 1922.
To be an innovator, you have to be willing to fail. You cannot be an innovator if failure disturbs you. Some of the things I have done have failed and the people have said, "I told you it wouldn't work." And that's OK. Some of the other people have said, "That'd be good if you could bring it off, but you can't bring it off."
‑‑‑Walter Underwood, Shreveport Journal, Shreveport, La., Aug. 3, 1985.
Initiative is the ability of standing on your own two legs without depending upon anybody. You may have it in you to become successful, but do you also have the “something” in you which will bring your ability to the fore?
---Ray Griffith, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Jan. 16, 1919.
It is not the lack of opportunity, but of initiative, that robs the average man.
---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 19, 1927.
If we encounter a man with initiative, let us study the way he prepared for his task.
---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 7, 1929.
Opportunities are on every hand. But it takes eyes to see them—and initiative to grasp their import.
---George Matthew Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Oct. 2, 1933.
Initiative is the power to see and start something worthwhile.
---James E. Barrett, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 3, 1934.
Initiative‑‑You must train yourself to be a self‑starter and not fall into deadening routines.
‑‑‑Carlysle H. Holcomb, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 19, 1953.
There are two kinds of men who never amount to much: Those who never do what they are told, and those who never do anything else.
‑‑‑Wesley S. Izzard, Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo, Texas, Jan. 22, 1960.
If you do think the world owes you a living, you'd better put a little energy and initiative into the business of collecting.
‑‑‑Roberta Lyndon, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 13, 1939.
Destiny may deal the cards, but initiative can pick the deck.
‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., March 13, 1923.
Some people never get far in life because they never learned to use a self‑starter.
-‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 3, 1923.
True initiative is inspired common sense.
‑‑‑Gerson J. Brown, quoted in Success In a Nutshell, New York, N.Y., 1938.
Some are so anxious about their endings they never get around to making a beginning.
---Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 23, 1910.
Some of us suffer from over-sterilized initiative.
—Clarence L. Cullen, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 27, 1913.
Some men think they have arrived before they start.
‑‑‑Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., March 22, 1921.
The fellow who never begins anything is in no danger of becoming a quitter.
---Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Aug. 31, 1942.
Some men never get anywhere because they never start anywhere.
---Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Nov. 20, 1946.
Nearly every successful individual and every successful organization has exercised initiative. After all, aren’t there only two ways to win unusual success, namely, originating and doing something new, or doing old things uncommonly well? Initiative which leads anywhere must spring from knowledge. And knowledge usually can be gained only at the cost of brain-sweat. The need for initiating better methods and plans and policies leads to the exercise of initiative, and initiative, in turn leads to useful achievement. How much greater are the rewards to be won by the exercise of initiative when pessimism is giving place to optimism, and when good times promise to displaced bad times?
---B.C. Forbes, Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburg, Pa., April 25, 1922.
The supreme demand is for men who have demonstrated that they can do things. The call is for men capable of either hurdling or battling down obstacles. Employers rivet to themselves fellows who exhibit initiative, originality, men who are self-starters. For everything in life there’s a reason, even though the reason cannot always be unearthed. I must say, however, that at least nine out of every 10 men who have risen to positions of conspicuous importance in this country rose because they deserved to, because they laid solid foundations, because they fitted themselves to climb. As the world grows older, and as things are done on a larger and larger scale, the demand is to be, not for mediocrities, but for giants, for doers, for problem solvers, for obstacle-hurdlers, for men who have demonstrated that they possess initiative and originality, and possess, likewise, the energy, the determination, the stamina to transform their initiative and originality into achievement. Don’t remain content to be a mediocrity. Strive to become a real doer.
---B.C. Forbes, Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburg, Pa., Dec. 12, 1922.
Unless you give your ideas a trial your mind is always cluttered up with thoughts that mean nothing to you in usefulness. Inasmuch as it is true without possible exception that as a man thinketh so is he, the man who never tests his ideas with action degenerates into a useless individual. Sometimes a man actually thinks he is a man of initiative because every morning he wakes up with new ideas in his head. That is not the test. Unless he tries out some of these new ideas he is not at all a man of initiative. There has been in circulation a long time the term “half-baked.” It is said of the man who lacks the courage or the nerve or the intelligence to bake his ideas well-done, clear to the tasting point, clear to the time when eating can be proof of the pudding, that he has a lot of half-baked ideas. You will note that the man with half-baked ideas has a lot of leeway in talking about his own ideas, in airing out his own ideas. He can say anything in praise about his own ideas because no single idea he entertains has ever been tested by action. The most reckless conversationalist in the world is the man talking about his own ideas who knows he will never put what he is saying to the test. That brings us to the ultimate tragedy in the mental processes of the man who never concretizes his thoughts. He loses all sense of distinction and discrimination as to thoughts. He cannot save his life tell the differences between an untested thought and a proved thought. He cannot be a sound thinker except by pure accident. Only haphazard chance can make him intellectual. Do not clutter up your brain with ideas you lack the nerve to test out. Do not let your mind be a storage warehouse for half-baked ideas. The best plan is to test out an idea before you introduce it into your conversations.
---Henry Arnold “H.A.” Stallings, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Sept. 1, 1942.
One of the most precious of all our inherited gifts is that of initiative. To a lesser or greater degree it belongs to us all. Often, however, it takes much to arouse it in some people. There it is, nevertheless—awaiting the spark to put it aflame. And that spark is usually interest, or encouragement. The worker who is interested in what he does, and who gets encouragement as he goes along, feeds that initiative without his being even conscious that it exists! Getting results from one’s work always inspires one to work harder and with a greater desire to excel and grow. It is natural for any human being to want to do the thing into which he can put all of his enthusiasm and all of his heart. The great successes in life are among those who do the thing that they want most to do. Initiative grows, like a snowball, gathering momentum as it rolls toward its goal. Nothing was more natural for Edison, thinking and tinkering, as a boy, with the crude instrument at hand, than to want to delve into the mysteries beyond his present understanding. And so he want from one idea to another—with greater initiative, and with greater and greater accumulated knowledge, until he stood forth in the world as one of the greatest benefactors in all the history of invention. Encourage initiative on the part of the chap who works in your organization, and you encourage growth inside of him and all about him—including your entire business organization. There are plenty of people who are standing around ready to do their part in the working out of a task—but few who are always ready to risk the start of a job to exercise their gift and opportunity of initiative. Those with initiative are the rulers and leaders, the happy warriors in the work of the world. Never let the spark that lights it go out.
---George Matthew Adams, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Oct. 2, 1940.
Initiative is the energy and attitude displayed in the initiation of action. The overtones of initiative imply that one is doing that which is right against that which is wrong. Leaders are often lonely men because they move out ahead of the crowd. Sometimes they are misunderstood and sometimes persecuted. Admittedly, tact and diplomacy are paramount when a [man] tries to initiate a program, but careful action will produce results when no action at all spells failure. Gaines S. Dobbins said that the inevitable price of leadership is criticism; but the problem arises only when the leader strikes back. This, it would seem, is quite true. People often resent the intruder who invades their established ways of life. The person who initiates a new plan, a new program, or a new project will not have to wait for criticism. It will come to him, for leadership invites criticism.
---W. Alvis Strickland, The Sunday School Builder, Nashville, Tenn., January 1961.
Self‑reliance and originality are the two qualities that unite with courage and determination to form that uncommon human quality, initiative. Initiative is not merely a refusal to follow custom. It is not only the breaking of precedent. More than that is involved in true initiative. It is thinking in terms of fundamentals, rather than of rules. It is not assuming that whatever is, is right. It is looking to find what is back of the custom one has been following, and if nothing but tradition is found there, it is stepping out into the open to find whether tradition is really justified in laying down the law. All initiative is really the result of first getting down to fundamentals, and thus learning to think straight. Analyze everything that comes your way whether you need to do it or not. Keep your head working even though you can slip by temporarily with the spark turned off. Remember that the auto that coasts down hill is not ready for an emergency as it is when the motor is still going. So with your mind. When you shut it off and let it go dead on you, watch out. That may be just the time when the possession of a little initiative can make or mar your future.
‑‑‑Dale A. Richardson, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., November 1926.
Initiative presupposes using your mind and then acting promptly on its advice.
‑‑‑The Chautauquan, Chautauqua, N.Y., January 1913.
The trouble with most of us is that it takes so long to start to begin to get ready to commence.
---Chinook Opinion, Chinook, Mont., July 21, 1960.
If breathing required initiative, a lot of people would die of suffocation.
-‑‑Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Feb. 29, 1944.
Initiative is an opportunity factory. Ideas are what count. Your opportunity factory, initiative, will turn them out for you. The power plant in such a factory consists of mind. Don't be afraid of wasting this power. The more you use it, the more you have.
‑‑‑Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, June 1, 1930.
Some folks have as much initiative as an echo.
‑‑‑Maury Democrat, Columbia, Tenn., May 19, 1944.
Initiative is the power to overcome inertia, to break away and get going. The best motivator is one's own mind. Use your imagination to visualize your faith to achieve.
‑‑‑The Spirit of Rowan, Stuttgart, West Germany, Oct. 7, 1964.
Self‑initiative is the most delicate flower that grows and the easiest to kill.
‑‑‑Teton Valley News, Driggs, Idaho, May 8, 1941.
Initiative is the ability to start action without getting orders first.
Initiative is intelligence with the wings of imagination.
Initiative is the virtue that gives a man a head start on his competitors.
Initiative is one characteristic for which nothing can ever be substituted.
Initiative is the power to do your own thinking in an emergency.
Initiative is the spark of divinity within us.
Initiative is a combination of experience, judgment, and will power.
—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., April 29, 1930.
"Do the thing and you shall have power." –Emerson. It would be difficult to name a more destructive human habit than that of procrastination--putting off until tomorrow that which should have been done last week. Personal initiative is the only cure for procrastination.
Successful people in all walks of life are individuals who think and move on their own personal initiative. There are two forms of action: (1) that in which one engages from choice and (2) that in which one indulges only by force of necessity. ...
Doubtlessly by giving man absolute control over his power to think the Creator intended that men should use that prerogative through his own initiative.
That overworked alibi of the procrastinator--"I haven't had time"--probably has caused more failures than all other alibis combined. The man who gets ahead and make a place for himself ALWAYS FINDS TIME to move on his own initiative in any direction necessary for his advancement or benefit.
—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, May 8, 1956.
Initiative is a must. Unless a man can make himself work, his resourcefulness will be of little value. Initiative, however, without inner drive and energy is not enough. To continue enthusiastic momentum, we must rebuild it daily, and this rebuilding comes through constant review of the purposes we hope to achieve. Have the purpose you want to achieve always foremost in your mind. Make it an obsession. Make it your plan. Stimulate interest, acquire knowledge, develop dogged determination, cultivate belief, and strive for consistent enthusiasm. Enthusiasm can help you overcome any obstacle and to realize your full potential."
—Joseph E. Massey, Pathfinder, Bellevue, Wash., April 1969.
Through your own personal initiative you can create opportunity where and when you desire it, by following the habit of rendering more and better service than is expected of you, and by performing it in a pleasant mental attitude that will win the respect and friendship of those who can help you achieve success.
—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 12, 1956.
Initiative is the gift of being able to understand the work so that we can see the next step just ahead of the other man, and so get the matter which will make us become real men and women. It is that inner Self which, by means of Experience and Hope, makes us do the things as they should be done, and make us take advantage of every opportunity to go ahead and be a success as we should be. Nature endowed all of us with free will and intelligence, and if we do not use that intelligence properly, we are incapable of acting properly. This means of going ahead is what we term initiative--that knack or power to be just a minute ahead of the other person–that knack of always getting the right "punch," and so merit the approbation of our superiors and the consequent advancement our intelligence commands.
—L. Sumpter Augustin, The Bogalusa Enterprise and American, Bogalusa, La., March 4, 1932.
The chief characteristic of the man with initiative is a willingness to change the excellent for something better. He isn’t married to a plan, a scheme, a system. He progresses by the process of elimination–he knows everything that will not work, and he knows too that which will, and is always looking for something better.
—Elbert Hubbard, quoted in Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 15, 1905.
Initiative gets us under way–inspires us to venture and pioneer to attempt things which have never been tried, to accept responsibility and have courage to take consequences. .. Initiative is akin to inventiveness–that daring and inquisitive quality which has so profoundly affected our economic development. With all the progress we have made to devise ways and means to satisfy our physical needs and wants, we have barely scratched the surface of what may be achieved. In the realms of human relations almost at every level, in the application of moral ideals to the solution of daily problems, and in further discoveries of the secrets of nature we are only on the frontiers.
—Jesse P. Bogue, Saints' Herald, Independence, Mo., Feb. 9, 1959.
No great success was ever made in the rut, in the routine. No great success was ever made, outside the army, by merely following orders. Anybody who is not hopelessly dumb can follow orders. Big success comes not through experience, but through the courage of initiative. Initiate! Take responsibility. Judgment grows strong by exercise.
—Grove H. Patterson, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 19, 1930.
Men seem to fall into five classes: (1) Those who have and exercise initiative by doing the right thing, at the right time, without being asked; (2) Those who do the right thing when told once; (3) Those who do the right thing when told more than once; (4) Those who do the right thing only when they feel that it is absolutely necessary; and (5) Those who never do it.
—John K. Edmunds, Amo Servitum, Los Angeles, Calif., October 1970.
Webster defines initiative as "the power of commencing." Winning in the game of life requires the courage to begin. Initiative is the bridge across the Rubicon which separates the impotent wish to do things from the actual doing of them.
—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, April 11, 1932.
Initiative is the keystone in the triumphal arch of success. Initiative may be defined as the capacity to start and carry forward lines of thought and action.
—John W. Harbeson, The Journal of the National Education Association, November 1926.
Inspiration takes plodding feet and wings them with the pinions of initiative that they may conquer altitudes where swifter feet have failed.
—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., June 28, 1923.
Initiative is using something you know at the right time and in the right way.
—H.S. Mobley, Ochiltree County Herald, Perryton, Texas, March 22, 1928.
It is better to err on the side of initiative than inactivity.
—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., June 10, 1922.
Genius: Initiative set on fire.
—Paul H. Gilbert, El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas, May 19, 1958.
Initiative–You must train yourself to be a self-starter and not fall into deadening routines.
—Carlysle H. Holcomb, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 19, 1953.
Next to initiative is the willingness to do the right thing when you are told once.
—Elbert Hubbard, quoted in Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 4, 1905.
A man is only half a man if he only does what he is told to do.
—John A. Widtsoe, Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, Feb. 9, 1928.
Quick thinking, intelligent planning, decisive acting constitute initiative.
Confronted in your daily work by unexpected problems, how do you react to them?
Do you attack them boldly and confidently? Or do you wait for someone else to instruct you what to do?
Do you, indeed, in your daily work, give alert thought to the devising of methods to get more satisfactory results? Or are you content with accurately following the directions given you?
To be able to follow directions accurately is itself a good thing. But it is far better to be able to originate improvements yourself. Then you are an initiator, not merely an imitator of others.
And it is to the initiators that the big rewards of endeavor go. ...
How can you grow in the power of initiative?
It is largely, though not wholly, a matter of practice in constructive thinking. Study the work you are now doing, with reference both to the methods you use and to results. Ask yourself if there is not some way in which, of your own accord, you can bring about some improvements.
Do not try to achieve too much at once. Be satisfied at first with working out a betterment in some detail, however petty. Then promptly act to realize that betterment.
The outcome may show that you have been thinking feebly or overhastily. The expected improvement may turn out to be no improvement at all. Do not let that discourage you .
Keep on trying to think constructively. Learn from your failures. When you have decided on a new attempt let action quickly follow decisions.
In time, unless your intelligence is much below average, your thinking will begin to bear abundant fruit. And meanwhile you will have acquired the valuable habit of independent, confident doing, without which no man need hope that he will travel far along the highway of success.
—H. Addington Bruce, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 6, 1919.
Self-initiative is one of the easiest of human attributes to kill in many people. The law of life is the law of struggle. The plant, growing in stony soil, struggles in the dust and heat to live. The lower animals of the jungle, driven by hunger, hunt down their prey, overcome it and kill it. Remove the necessity and most men at once lose the desire and the art of creating for themselves a sustenance. They easily become dependent upon someone else to furnish it.
Once the mainspring of self-initiative is destroyed, it may never return. Ambition may be killed, and when ambition no longer moves men to dare and to do, the individual becomes as the engine with no motive fuel in it--dead. The individual will then wait for someone else to bring his living to him. He has lost the art of hunting for his means of sustenance.
Labor and toil, overcoming resistance, is the law of our lives. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" was thundered in the ears of our first parents by the Almighty Himself at the dawn of human existence, and it is a divine law that has never been repealed. (See Genesis 3:19.) If we would eat, we must work. If we would accumulate any of this world's goods, we must labor and toil and overcome disappointments and adversities.
Quite often, of course, discouragement looms before us; but if we are strong we shall overcome it and brush it out of the way. The mighty arm of the prize fighter develops only through a daily practice of punching a heavy bag; through overcoming resistance, through struggle. So is life. Daily struggles make us strong. We overcome by constant practice of punching, and we develop physical and moral strength.
The fainthearted fall by the way. The world is kept moving on by the survival of the fittest. Becoming the fittest is attained only through strong resolution to dare and to do; to take heart; to fight out opposition and win. No man should depend upon his neighbor for that which he himself may accomplish.
—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., Nov. 30, 1938.
Oftentimes the secret of success is daring, the willingness to venture, to try new fields, new plans, new experiments. Every success was once a thread. At one time it might have fallen on one side or the other of the line that marks the boundary between success and failure. The chances are often even. The biggest successes are achieved by men who have something of the spirit of the adventurer, men who possess the urge to try new fields, to sail unchartered seas and explore trackless jungles. Such lives are interesting. Around the next corner always lurks the possibility of success or failure. The adventure, the uncertainty, the chance lures them on. Their lives are interesting, thrilling, adventurous and colorful.
—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., May 4, 1932.
Unless an employee has quite marked initiative and originality, if he says long enough in one place, he will become a mere machine for carrying out instructions, doing what he is told to do, but never originating anything, never starting anything himself, never developing originality, resourcefulness or new ideas. This is especially true when he is in a position that does not call for the development of his initiative. ...
If you feel paralyzed by the mere thought of deciding things, of beginning anything of your own accord, make up your mind that if you ever are to amount to anything you must strangle this habit of dependence on others. The only way to do this is to form the counterhabit of starting out every morning with the grim resolution not to allow yourself during the day to waver, to wait for somebody to show you the way.
—Orison Swett Marden, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., May 18, 1918.
Initiative is the power to perceive what action is needed and the courage and faith to act. If forming habits belongs largely to the first third of life, initiative and achievement belong to the second third of life. We must choose our way, renounce that part of life which we are not going to make our own, watch opportunities, seize them with vigor and courage, and make our lives tell.
The great inhibitors of initiative are doubt and fear. Fear, and doubt of results, are qualities that the successful, creative character does not harbor.
Life demands of us the upbuilding of character and the use of brains. We must have mental habits as well as physical and moral ones. Character and an active intellect moving hand in hand achieve the successful life.
Try not to let a day escape when you are not adding to your stock of information and noting down your perceptions. First, each one of us needs to choose some particular subject upon which we intend to be well-informed. Whoever chooses a given subject and daily adds to one's information will some day see the open opportunity before which all that quiet labor may become achievement, success.
Not only must we build a mentality by constantly gaining information and adding to our stock, but we must keep it all bright by use.
Learning is like love. It grows by divisions; it is kept bright and living by use. your information into practice. Move forward to each new enterprise with courage and resolution. Remember of what nature He was who said: "Fear not! I am with you!" Every good thing that we will or desire or set forth to attain must carry with it that promise.
Out of courageous pushing of our roots down into life, out of the unwearying effort to grow, is born the fine fruit of living.
—Louise Collier Willcox, Delineator, New York, N.Y., February 1916.
Initiative is self-mastery, concentration, vision and understanding.
It is the will power to do a job that needs to be done without waiting to be told how, to rely on your own judgment.
Initiative is the motive power of action, the impelling force that gives you the courage and determination to start, to commence, to begin in a given direction and to keep going to the finish.
Initiative is the ability to focus one's attention and energy at any time or place, the ability too surmount doubt, indecision, regret, worry and fear.
It is self-reliance cloaked with modesty--patience plus persistence.
It is alertness, presence of mind, readiness to adjust one's sense of direction, knowing how to apply theory to practice--the ability to overcome inertia.
Initiative is the ability to adopt one's self to the unexpected, impinging the ego against any combination of events, against luck, faith, precedence, custom and prejudice.
It is positive--never negative. It is purpose and practice combined with the ability to use common sense or reason. It is the knack of analysis based on logic.
It is the ability to master one's passions, likes, dislikes, habits, and inclinations when you feel they are wrong.
It is the capacity to profit by training, experience, talents and education and organize them in such a way that they will accomplish the most good.
Initiative is the power of mind over matter. It means being resourceful and energetic and the aptitude for looking ahead and picturing the results of your actions.
It is inspiration combined with imagination.
—Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, Sept. 13, 1944.