The 50 Best Work And Passion Quotes Of All Time

in Finding Your Passion, Food For Thought, Reflections

Have you ever found yourself wrapped up in the fetal position, sucking your thumb, while a loved one desperately tries to pull on your suit jacket so you don’t miss your carpool? 

Have you become so bored with work that you’ve started keeping sandwich crusts under your keyboard, just to see how many ants you can attract?  Have you started thinking about work as simply…work?

Everyone needs a little career inspiration from time to time. 

Whether it’s to reframe your workplace goals, or to give serious thought as to why you’re working a specific job in the first place.  It’s nice to know that others have been there before, questioning, suffering, and wondering just as much as the rest of us sandwich-hoarding, ant-counting, schmucks.

So take a moment to read the “words about work” of those who have gone before, with grace and hilarity.  Perhaps then we can take a step back, pull our thumbs out of our mouths, put on our suit jackets, and get into that carpool with pride.

– Amanda Lowe, One Week Job Blogger

1.  To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.
 – Sister Mary Lauretta

2.  Trust not what inspires other members of society to choose a career. Trust what inspires you. – The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success

3.  You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances 
are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous.
 – Bob Black

4.  I believe you are your work. Don’t trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That’s a rotten bargain. – Rita Mae Brown

5.  Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood . . . Make big plans; aim high in hope and work. – Daniel Burnham, American architect (1846 – 1912)

6.  You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. 
- Mark Twain

7.  A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night. – Marilyn Monroe

8. I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. – George Burns

9.  I’m sick of people sittin’ in chairs stating their problems. Then we roll the videotape… then we have our experts on the topic… I’m in the ‘What’s next?’ phase of my career.  – Oprah Winfrey

10.  Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true. – Brian Tracy, American Author

11. If we resist our passions, it is more through their weakness than from our strength. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld, French Author

12.  The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else…The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! – Earl Nightingale, Motivational Speaker

13.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
 – George Bernard Shaw

14.  If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all. 
- Michelangelo

15.  Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. 
- Buddha

16.  If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. 
- Katherine Hepburn

17.  My mother said to me, “If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general, if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.” Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
 – Pablo Picasso

18.  Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures. – Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer

19.  Any human being is really good at certain things. The problem is that the things you’re good at come naturally. And since most people are pretty modest instead of an arrogant S.O.B. like me, what comes naturally, you don’t see as a special skill. It’s just you. It’s what you’ve always done. 
- Stephen Jay Gould, Evolutionary Scientist

20.  If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. – Michael Evans

21.  There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos. – Jim Hightower, Radio Commentator and Author

22.  He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. – Nietzsche

23.  Many of us have created lives that give very little support for experimentation. We believe that answers already exist out there, independent of us. What if we invested more time and attention to our own experimentation? We could focus our efforts on discovering solutions that work uniquely for us. 
- Margaret Wheatley, Author and Management Consultant who studies organizational behavior

24.  Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
 – Abraham Lincoln

25.  We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
- Carlos Castaneda, Peruvian born American Anthropologist and Author

26.  Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire.
 – Bobby Unser, Retired Car Racer

27.  People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.
 – Brian Tracy, Author

28.  A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.
 – Fats Domino

29.  What if “the hokey pokey” is REALLY what it’s all about?
 – Curtis Spencer

30.  There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.  – Federico Fellini, Italian Film Director (1920-1993)

31.  Would I ever leave this company? Look, I’m all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I’m being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I’m going wherever they value loyalty the most. – Dwight Schrute, from the television show ‘The Office’

32.  I am not young enough to know everything. – Oscar Wilde

33.  In fifty years, he never worked a day. To him, nine to five was odds on a horse. – Archie Bunker, from the television show ‘All in the Family’

34.  When you’re following your energy and doing what you want all the time, the distinction between work and play dissolves. – Shakti Gawain, Pioneering Author & Teacher in the field of Personal Growth

35.  I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. – Jerome K. Jerome, English writer and humorist

36.  Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

37.  Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. – D.H. Lawrence, English Novelist (1885-1930)

38.  Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade.  Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still. – Robert Sternberg, American Psychologist and Psychometrician

39.  Passion kept one fully in the present, so that time became a series of mutually exclusive ‘nows.’ – Sue Halpern, Author

40.  They  may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carl W. Buechner, Author

41.  We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it. – Che Guavara

42.  Rest in reason; move in passion – Khalil Gibran, Lebanese American artist, poet and writer

43.  Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing…If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.  – Frank Sinatra

44.  If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins. – Benjamin Franklin

45.  I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day. – James Joyce, Irish Novelist

46.  If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time. – Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer

47.  I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it. – Lou Holtz, American football coach and author

48.  If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. – Brian Tracy

49.  One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar. 
- Helen Keller

50.  The belief that you can have a meaningful career is the first step to finding one.  – Sean Aiken, Author and Creator of the One Week Job Project

Did we miss any great quotes on passion and work? Share in the comments!

  • Jack Bobeck

    Great list! How about a Wayne Gretzky quote, “We miss 100% of the shots we never take”. So true in business and in life.

  • Carlo Alcos

    Nice one Jack. Can’t go wrong quoting the great one.

    I’m reading Josh Ritter’s series Making a Life in Music, and although he is specifically speaking of music but this can be applied to anything:

    “When you start out at the bottom all you have is your love and your music. You may harbor secret ambitions for other things past just making a living, but really, just to make music for people (and make a living doing it) would be enough. This is the feeling you have starting at the beginning. Hold on to it. And don’t just hold on to it, wear it on your sleeve, because starting at the beginning is something you have to embrace with an open heart if you want to achieve anything.”

  • Abbie

    will definitely be bookmarking this article to check back when i need some motivation 🙂

  • John

    “Passion and action are identical.” -Hermes

    For it is passion that defins our thoughts, and drives us to fulfill our purpose.

  • Youth Speaker

    I love this list of quotes. As a youth speaker I want to stay fresh. I love the quote about how I’m not young enough to know everything, brilliant. Thanks for posting can’t wait to watch this dvd as well.

  • Karen

    “I am learning to dance in the rain with passion!” 🙂

  • Deborah

    “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

  • Avon Rep.

    “Surround yourself with equally passionate people and you can not help but succeed.” – Alecia McKinney

  • Jyothylakshmy P U

    Love what you want…Do for it, Keeping mind and brain together…

    • Dims Mulia

      Living single seeing double sleeping triple

  • mercedesparker

    the work you do should be related to your soul or something else is just complete waste

  • Ash Cash™

    “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


  • ranjit

    these are really good.

  • db

    Most people don’t recognize success because it usually comes dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work! – Thomas Edison

  • db

    Great heights by men reached and kept are not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night. – Longfellow

  • jorelyn

    “Work multiply by love is equal to good experience, better learning and best living.”

  • Paul Alofs

    Hire for passion first, experience second and credentials third. Paul Alofs- Author of “Passion Capital: The World’s Most Valuable Asset”.

  • Jwala Bhapkar

    Very good idiom.

    Studies suggest that 89% of the people go to work because they have to. 11%
    like their work and enjoy working. Only .0.0028% are passionate about their
    work and these are the people who actually make a difference.

    The survey also suggests that people who loved their work were more
    successful and happy in their professional as well as personal life.

    The survey finally suggested that this had no bearing on the size or type of
    organization or the work characterisitcs. It ranged from cottage
    industries, freelancers or the 9 to 5 job goer.

  • Mustafa Alibaig

    very nice..

  • Lorna Barlongo-Sitoy

    It all started when you Examine yourself what you really want in life. Get educated and mastery on it and you will land in a working environment full of love and satisfaction.

  • Yasir

    First week in office can make and break your career. People make their first impression about you in these days and then judge everything about you based on that impression.

    As you have rightly written “Everyone needs a little career inspiration from time to time.”

    We have come up with the best inspiration for first week in office. Here is the best guide that you can possibly find:

    Sharing is caring, Do share it if you like it!