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5 presidential quotes that'll inspire your career goals

These presidential mantras serve as inspiration whether you’re looking for a job or seeking to advance in your career.

5 presidential quotes that'll inspire your career goals

You don’t make it to the highest office in American politics without turning a life-affirming phrase or two. A person’s ideology may make them a qualified presidential candidate but how they articulate their beliefs gets them elected.

We’ve combed through the annals of history to find some of the more noteworthy quotes voiced by our nation’s most powerful elected officials, focusing especially on those relevant to one of the most perpetually important aspects of American life and politics: the workforce. Whether you’re looking for a job or to advance your current career, these presidential mantras could all dutifully serve as inspiration.

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.” —Barack Obama, 44th president

Okay, we may be cheating a bit as Barry O. dropped this truth bomb three years before he was first elected in 2008 while giving a commencement speech at Northwestern University, but surely its inclusion is merited. Of course money is important, but so too is pursuing your passion and enjoying how you make the means to live the life you wish to lead.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.” —Ronald Reagan, 40th president

Reagan's still a darling among today’s class of Republicans, young and old. Here, Reagan described his own management style in a 1986 interview with Fortune magazine. Regardless of personal politics, the quote raises the importance of surrounding yourself with great talent, a principal any entrepreneur should hold dear.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams, 6th president

It doesn’t matter your job, as sure as the sun will rise each day, so too will your career present you with challenges of varying degree. But it’s not about the size of the obstacle. Rather, as Adams championed here, it’s about how you handle such difficulties. 

“If hard work is not another name for talent, it is the best possible substitute for it.” James Garfield, 20th president

Direct from The Works of James Abram Garfield, this quote should serve as a reminder that hard work is paramount to success. It’s only natural sometimes to get worn down, especially if you happen to work alongside someone who seems to have a natural knack for everything they do. That’s okay. You don’t need inherent talent to be the best at what you do if you outwork everyone in the building.

“Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president

Eisenhower made this remark in 1957 at the opening of the NATO meetings in Paris. It was true then. It’s true now. When you land a raise, the accomplishment is in how you get there. So it is as well when you accept a new job or make any other advancement in your career.