What does it take to achieve your goals?
Is it months of planning? Is it gathering resources, coming up with a cool idea, or securing more funds?
While setting SMART goals is necessary, the most important ingredient for achieving them is the willingness to work hard.
But hard work is, well, hard. Because of this, it’s difficult to stay motivated and consistent. So we found the best way to connect you with successful people who shared the same struggle, across the world and across time.
In the following article, we’ll go over 140 quotes detailing what hard work means to all of these people, and what it could mean for you.
Table of Contents
10 Ultimate hard work quotes
Of the many quotes we’ve read, it was hard to pick our favorites, but these 10 stood out as the most motivating, poetic, and inspiring.
“It’s not the hours you put in your work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours.”— Sam Ewing, former American baseball player
“One’s age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful. Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place. At midday the sun may burn, and men labor under it; but the morning and evening should be alike calm and cheerful.”— Dr. Thomas Arnold, educator and historian
“Labour not unwillingly, nor without regard to the common interest, nor without due consideration, nor with distraction; nor let studied ornament set off thy thoughts, and be not either a man of many words, or busy about too many things.”— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Stoic philosopher
“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”— Joshua Waitzkin, American chess player
“Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.”— Hamilton Holt, American author
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”— Saint Augustine, theologian and philosopher
“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.”— Gordon B. Hinckley, American religious leader
“I can say the willingness to get dirty has always defined us as a nation, and it’s a hallmark of hard work and a hallmark of fun, and dirt is not the enemy.”— Mike Rowe, American television host and narrator
“If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger.”— Hubert H. Humphrey, former Vice President of the US
“Talent! There’s no such thing as talent. What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous hard work in the right way.”— Winslow Homer, American painter and illustrator
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If you want to check out more inspiring and motivational quotes, check out these articles:
Work ethic hard work quotes
What does it mean — and what does it take — to work hard? How worthwhile is it, and can anyone do it?
Many people over the centuries have tried to answer these questions. We’ve compiled what some of them had to say in the following quotes.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”― Anna Quindlen, American author and journalist
“If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”― Conan O’Brien, American television host and comedian
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”— Sam Ewing, former American baseball player
“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”— Ann Landers, American columnist
“To bring one’s self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy.”— Thomas A. Buckner, American baritone vocalist
“Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.”— Lou Holtz, former American football coach
“Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.”— Kevin Hart, American actor and comedian
“I always feel like it’s two key ingredients when it comes to following your dreams, making something happen that the average person deems difficult. If you truly believe it, that’s step one. Step two is, you know, the hard work that goes along with it.”— J. Cole, American rapper and record producer
“If you have a dream, it’s definitely achievable through hard work, through dedication, sacrifice, everything.”— Carli Lloyd, former American soccer player
“I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.”— Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US president
“We can do things the cheap way, the simple way, for the short-term and without regard for the future. Or, we can make the extra effort, do the hard work, absorb the criticism and make decisions that will cause a better future.”— Mike Rounds, US Senator
“There is no royal road to any learning, no matter what it is. There is no royal road to any righteous living, no matter who you are or what you are. There is no royal road to anything that is worthwhile. Nothing that is deserving of earning or of cherishing comes except through hard work. I care not how much of a genius you may be, the rule will still hold.”— J. Reuben Clark, American attorney
“Most men have worried about things which never happened, and more men have been killed by worry than by hard work.”— Grenville Kleiser, author
“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”— Alan Alda, American actor and author
“How long you can continue to be good at something is how much you believe in yourself and how much hard work you do with the training.”— Jason Statham, actor
“I’m proud of my hard work. Working hard won’t always lead to the exact things we desire. There are many things I’ve wanted that I haven’t always gotten. But, I have a great satisfaction in the blessings from my mother and father, who instilled a great work ethic in me both personally and professionally.”— Tamron Hall, American broadcaster
“Hard work opens doors and shows the world that you are serious about being one of those rare — and special — human beings who use the fullness of their talents to do their very best.”— Robin S. Sharma, Canadian writer
“Envy, propelled by fear, can be even more toxic than anger, because it involves the thought that other people enjoy the good things of life which the envier can’t hope to attain through hard work and emulation.”— Martha Nussbaum, American philosopher
“You can learn what you want to learn through hard work. And a good employer will teach you what you want to learn as long as you show the right attitude and behaviors.”— Gerald Chertavian, former CEO of Year Up
“The basic skills of leaders are always the same: be driven by a deeper purpose, be a human being, have a passion for what you do, and it’s also about hard work and ethics.”— Paul Polman, Dutch businessman and author
“I’m not afraid of hard work. I like it! It’s the other bit — the not working — I find more problematic. If I’m not busy, I just get antsy. I’ve been this way since I was a child. Sitting still is like torture for me.”— Pixie Lott, English singer-songwriter and actress
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A strong work ethic requires good day-to-day organization. Starting your day with a to-do list helps you stay on track, so check out these helpful templates:
Hard work and success quotes
Every process that requires hard work has an end goal — otherwise, what’s the use?
What does it take to achieve that goal? How does it feel to achieve it? The following quotes may answer these questions and more.
“Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.”— David Rockefeller, American banker
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”— Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”— Dwayne Johnson, American actor
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”— Vince Lombardi, American football coach
“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.”— Margaret Thatcher, former UK Prime Minister
“Focused, hard work is the real key to success. Keep your eyes on the goal, and just keep taking the next step towards completing it. If you aren’t sure which way to do something, do it both ways and see which works better.”— John Carmack, former CTO at Oculus VR
“Enjoy your sweat because hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but without it, you don’t have a chance.”— Alex Rodriguez, baseball shortstop
“It takes hard work, dedication, discipline, and a positive attitude to get to the top — in business or in sports.”— George Blanda, American football placekicker
“To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.”— Mark Sullivan, American author
“Overcoming fear is the first step to success for entrepreneurs. The winners all exemplify that, and the hard work and commitment they have shown underlines what is needed to set up a business.”— Richard Branson, British business magnate
“No great achiever — even those who made it seem easy — ever succeeded without hard work.”— Jonathan Sacks, former member of the UK House of Lords
“In a lot of ways, success is much harder than I thought it would be. I figured that you’d get here and then everything would be happily ever after. But, it’s hard work, almost harder once you’re successful because you’ve got to maintain it.”— Steven Wright, American comedian and actor
“The three ordinary things that we often don’t pay enough attention to, but which I believe are the drivers of all success, are hard work, perseverance, and basic honesty.”— Azim Premji, businessman
“At the end of the day, both men and women who become CEOs have shown tenacity and hard work to succeed in their careers. It takes not just skills but also extreme dedication and commitment. And regardless of gender, CEOs are measured by the same criteria — the growth and success of the business.”— Susan Wojcicki, former CEO of YouTube
“Super-success is not for everyone, and you will endure weeks and months and years of hard work, obstacles, failures, victories, pain, and any manner of ‘negative’ experiences to reap the rewards of success, drink from the golden goblet, own the brass ring.”— Dan Pena, American businessman
“Hard work most often leads to success, but it’s not every day, and it’s not every week. It will pay off at different times over the course of your career.”— Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest
“I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.”— Ron Conway, American venture capitalist and philanthropist
“Success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by a dint of hard work.”— Anna Pavlova, Russian visual artist
“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”— Margaret Thatcher, former UK Prime Minister
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”— Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State
“Nothing good comes in life or athletics unless a lot of hard work has preceded the effort. Only temporary success is achieved by taking shortcuts.”— Roger Staubach, American football quarterback
“There is never just one thing that leads to success for anyone. I feel it is always a combination of passion, dedication, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time.”— Lauren Conrad, American TV personality and fashion designer
“Temporary success can be achieved in spite of lack of other fundamental qualities, but no advancements can be maintained without hard work.”— William Feather, American writer
“No one succeeds without effort… Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance.”— Ramana Maharshi, Indian Hindu sage and jivanmukta
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”— Booker T. Washington, American educator and author
Hard work and dedication quotes
A day of hard work feels great when you complete it. Still, it’s only a matter of time before you grow tired.
It’s important to know how to overcome this obstacle — how to become tireless, persistent, and determined. The following quotes may help you out in that regard.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”― George Herman Ruth, American baseball pitcher
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”— Pele, former Minister of Sports of Brazil
“All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”— Pope Paul VI, former head of the Catholic Church
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”— Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives
“That was my way of getting through difficult times of low confidence — hard work.”— David Beckham, former English football player
“The dream doesn’t lie in victimization or blame, it lies in hard work, determination, and a good education.”— Alphonso Jackson, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
“A lot of people mistake habit for hard work. Doing something over and over again is not working hard.”— Shannon Sharpe, American football tight end
“I think people really underestimate the power of just wanting to do it, and hard work, and competitive spirit, and preparation.”— Joe Burrow, American football quarterback
“Respect and consistency, as hard work during the week is the only way to earn your place.”— Gennaro Gattuso, Italian football coach
“The simple truth is that in order to become good, you have to be obsessed. You have to put in an awful lot of time and hard work and couple that with desire and unflagging perseverance.”— Yngwie Malmsteen, Swedish guitarist
“We truly believe with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, we can become the best at what we do. No one wants to become mediocre.”— Andy Biersack, American singer
“Stay focused and stay determined. Don’t look to anyone else to be your determination – have self-determination. It will take you very far.”— Justice Smith, American actor
“I’ve always been someone who has been very driven. I think my circumstances, how I grew up, hard work and work ethic are absolutely vital to any success that people might have, regardless of what they might be doing.”— Jerry West, American basketball shooting guard
“I sometimes compare starting a business to having a child. You have a moment of profound inspiration, followed by months of thankless hard work and waking up in the middle of the night.”— Andrew Yang, American businessman and attorney
“Hard work — I mean, does anybody use that term anymore? Laziness doesn’t fly. It’s all in the practice. It does take work and it ain’t easy — but man, the rewards!”— Susan Powter, Australian motivational speaker and nutritionist
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”— Walter Elliot, former Secretary of State for Scotland
“It’s perseverance that’s the key. It’s persevering for long enough to achieve your potential.”— Lynn Davies, Olympic athlete
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”— Michael Jordan, American businessman and former basketball player
“Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”— Thomas Carlyle, essayist and historian
“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”— Napoleon Hill, American author and con artist
“The most important characteristics you need to succeed in business are resilience, determination, and persistence.”— Karren Brady, member of the House of Lords of the UK
“The most essential factor is persistence — the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”— James Whitcomb Riley, American writer and poet
Short hard work quotes
Often, less is more. This saying is not wrong for quotes, either — and some have managed to capture the essence of hard work in a few words.
Without wasting time, let’s see some short hard work quotes.
“The only genius that’s worth anything is the genius for hard work.”― Kathleen Winsor, American author
“Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.”— Horace, Roman poet
“There is no substitute for hard work.”— Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman
“Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.”— Booker T. Washington, American educator and author
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”— Peter Drucker, australian-American consultant and educator
“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”— Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist
“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”—Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman
“Power means happiness; power means hard work and sacrifice.”— Beyonce Knowles, American singer-songwriter and businesswoman
“Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit.”— Helena Rubinstein, Polish-American businesswoman
“No ethic is as ethical as the work ethic.”— John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist and author
“Work is the sustenance of noble minds.”— Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Stoic philosopher
“Everyone is looking for the hack, the secret to success without hard work.”— Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI
“We live in the kind of society where, in almost all cases, hard work is rewarded.”— Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and writer
“Hard work doesn’t start during the game. Hard work starts the night before.”— Ken Griffey Jr., American baseball outfielder
“There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success.”— Heather Bresch, former CEO of Mylan
“If the power to do hard work is not a skill, it’s the best possible substitute for it.”— James A. Garfield, 20th US President
“We should celebrate when optimism and hard work triumph over cynicism, lethargy, and fatalism.”— Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
“I instilled in my children the importance of good values in business: hard work, determination, integrity, and optimism.”— Henry Sy, Filipino businessman and investor
“There’s no lotion or potion that will make sales faster and easier for you — unless your potion is hard work.”— Jeffrey Gitomer, American author
“The only constant I can find is hard work.”— Paul Dano, American actor
“I’ve always been taught that hard work doesn’t fail.”— Zach LaVine, American basketball player
“What I am suggesting is hard work and it can be slow work, but the rewards are well worth it.”— Jesse Helms, former US Senator
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”— Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the US
“Persistence and endurance will make you omnipotent.”— Casey Neistat, American YouTuber
“The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.”— Napoleon Bonaparte, former Emperor of the French
Motivational hard work quotes
Hard work demands persistence, and persistence demands motivation.
So, here are some quotes to keep you going and remind you what you’re working for.
“Most of us understand that your future is not promised to you. It is constructed day by day, through the choices you make. Your future is earned, little by little, through hard work and action. If you don’t act accordingly, that dream dissolves.”― Chanel Miller, American writer and artist
“Instead of thinking about where you are, think about where you want to be. It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.”— Diana Rankin, author
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”— Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State
“There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting.”— Hope Hicks, former White House Communications Director
“If you’re not willing to put in the hard work, to endure and fail, there’s no point. You win only if you’re willing to do whatever it takes.”— Hidilyn Diaz, Filipino weightlifter
“The American Dream is still alive out there, and hard work will get you there. You don’t necessarily need to have an Ivy League education or to have millions of dollars of startup money. It can be done with an idea, hard work, and determination.”— Bill Rancic, American entrepreneur
“Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.”— Steven Wright, American comedian and actor
“I do not believe in excuses. I believe in hard work as the prime solvent of life’s problems.”— James Cash Penney, American businessman and entrepreneur
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand, to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”— Gail Devers, Olympic athlete
“Whatever you go into, you have to go in there to be the best. There’s no formula. It’s all about passion and honesty and hard work. It might look glamorous, but it takes a lot of hard work.”— Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter
“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.”— Franz Kafka, novelist and short story writer
“Young people are threatened by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire.”— Pope John Paul II, former head of the Catholic Church
“Without struggle, no progress and no result. Every breaking of habit produces a change in the machine.”— George Gurdjieff, philosopher
“A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perseverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough.”— Robert Kraft, CEO of the New England Patriots
“Most of the time you will fail, but you will also occasionally succeed. Those occasional successes make all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.”— Dean Kamen, American engineer and inventor
“Know that even when you want to give up or throw in the towel, in the end, it will all be worth the hard work.”— Ashton Eaton, American track and field athlete
“Confidence comes by practice. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing happens without hard work.”— Seve Ballesteros, Spanish professional golfer
“Hard work eliminates fear. That’s how I think.”— Romelu Lukaku, Belgian footballer
“I’m working hard. I’m putting in the hard work. I’m sacrificing. I ain’t asking for no handouts. I’m going to earn everything I’m given.”— Max Holloway, American mixed martial artist
“I’ve heard of nothing coming from nothing, but I’ve never heard of absolutely nothing coming from hard work.”— Uzo Aduba, American actress
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”— Winston Churchill, former UK Prime Minister
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”— Mario Andretti, Italian-American motorsports racing driver
“Stay focused and stay determined. Don’t look to anyone else to be your determination – have self-determination. It will take you very far.”— Justice Smith, American actor
Hard work and luck quotes
Hard work and luck are both common attributing factors to success, but which one carries more weight?
Perhaps these quotes about luck and its relationship with hard work hold the answer:
“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”— Harry Golden, American writer and newspaper publisher
“Inspiration is one thing and you can’t control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means, work hard. Keep up the good work.”— Kevin Eubanks, American jazz guitarist and composer
“If the power to do hard work is not talent, it is the best possible substitute for it. Ambition by itself never gets anywhere until it forms a partnership with work.”— James A. Garfield, 20th US President
“Kids are meant to believe that their stepping stone to massive money is ‘The X Factor.’ Luck is great, but most of life is hard work. We do not celebrate people who have made success out of serious hard work.”— Iain Duncan Smith, Member of Parliament of the U.K.
“I don’t rely on feng shui. I believe hard work brings us good luck and success.”— John Gokongwei, Filipino banker and businessman
“My success was due to good luck, hard work, and support and advice from friends and mentors. But most importantly, it depended on me to keep trying after I had failed.”— Mark Warner, US Senator
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”— Stephen King, American author
“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work — and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”— Lucille Ball, American actress and comedienne
“Hard work pays off — hard work beats talent any day, but if you’re talented and work hard, it’s hard to be beat.”— Robert Griffin III, American football quarterback
“I’m not a believer of luck. I think opportunity and hard work becomes luck.”— Prabal Gurung, American fashion designer
“I would always contend that talent is an element, but over the long run, ultimately, a minor part of it all; it is mostly hard work.”— Pat Metheny, American jazz guitarist and composer
“Nothing replaces hard work. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”— Ed Schultz, American television host
“There is no substitute for hard work. There is a little luck along the way, but there is no substitute for really super-hard work, first in, last out.”— Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management
“Luck is great, but most of life is hard work.”— Iain Duncan Smith, Member of Parliament of the U.K.
“With a growth mindset, kids don’t necessarily think that there’s no such thing as talent or that everyone is the same, but they believe everyone can develop their abilities through hard work, strategies, and lots of help and mentoring from others.”— Carol S. Dweck, American psychologist
Work hard — and smart — with Plaky
If you’re a hard worker, you probably have a lot on your plate. Whether you’re improving your business or working towards your own career goals, the key that lets you focus on the work ahead of you is to stay organized.
In this regard, it’s beneficial to use software that helps you improve your organization — like Plaky.
Plaky gives you a clear overview of your work and its progress so that you’re sure you’re headed in the right direction. It improves your planning and helps you stay on track and make sure all that hard work pays off.
It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re working towards — and what you need to be doing now — when work is hard. That’s why some outside help is never unwanted, and Plaky is just the right fit for this task.
Working hard can be a mess — it’s easy to get flooded in trying to keep track of everything you do. If you want a tool that will help you stay organized and focus on just working hard, sign up for Plaky’s free account.