I’ve found a lot of comfort in collecting encouraging quotes over the years, many of them written or uttered by some of my personal heroes. Here are some of my favorites (and I’ll probably be adding to this list from time to time).


“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — ‘No, you move.’ “–Captain America comics

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”–Edmund Burke

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.”–St. Catherine of Sienna

“Far better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”–Theodore Roosevelt

“No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”–Ronald Reagan

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”–Theodore Roosevelt

“By perseverance the snail reached the Ark.”—Charles Spurgeon

“I have one message to all: ‘Hang tough.’ And I mean by saying ‘hang tough,’ do your best every day. Whether it’s in school or at your job or wherever you are, do your best every day. You don’t have to know all the answers–no way. Don’t expect that of yourself. Just do your best. Satisfy yourself, so that at the end of the day, you can look yourself in the mirror after you’ve brushed your teeth and say honestly to yourself, ‘Today I did my best.’ And if you do that, you’re being honest and everything is going to be okay.”–Major Richard “Dick” Winters

“If a man has greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work.”–Beryl Markham

“The little bodies of children are the repositories of the greatness of a future age. And they must be encouraged, must eat from the tales of those who’ve gone before, and brandished their swords, and slayed dragons.”—Peggy Noonan, When Character Was King

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”–Winston Churchill

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.”–G.K. Chesterton

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay . . . small acts of kindness, and love.”–Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

“Live in such a way that men will recognize that you have been with Jesus.”–Charles Spurgeon

“The truth is this: the march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”–Robert E. Lee

“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”–St. Augustine

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lots of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”–Robert F. Kennedy

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”–Robert Heinlein

“God did not call me to be successful; he called me to be faithful.”–Mother Teresa