21 Inspiring Dale Carnegie Quotes to Rescue Any Bad Day

Anyone who’s read one of Dale Carnegie’s bestselling books knows the man had a way with words. And even though the ultimate salesman, entrepreneur, and author died in 1955, to this day, sales pros young and old continue to flock to his advice when they need a boost. (Don’t believe me? Just take one glance at the always-hot #DaleCarnegie topic on Twitter and you’ll see that the tech generation still wants regular doses of Carnegie’s wisdom.)

So that’s why we’ve rounded up 21 of Carnegie’s greatest quotes—organized by subject matter so you can find what you need in a hurry. If you’re having a rough day or just need a little inspiration, look no further.

On building confidence

1. “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.”

2. “We can all endure disaster and tragedy, and triumph over them—if we have to. We may not think we can, but we have surprisingly strong inner resources that will see us through if we will only make use of them. We are stronger than we think.”

3. “Take the chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The ‘sure thing’ boat never gets far from shore.”

On recovering from failure

4. “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. No other element can do so much for a man if he is willing to study them and make capital out of them. Look backward. Can’t you see where your failures have helped you?”

5. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”

On enthusiasm

6. “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”

7. “Mix judgment with ambition and season it with energy. It makes a splendid recipe for success.”

8. “Enthusiasm is the dynamics of your personality. Without it, whatever abilities you may possess lie dormant; and it is safe to say that nearly every man has more latent power than he ever learns to use. You may have the knowledge, sound judgment, good reasoning faculties; but no one—not even yourself—will know it until you discover how to put your heart into thought and action.”

9. ”Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”

10. “Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.’ That is why dogs make such a hit. They are so glad to see us that they almost jump out of their skins. So, naturally, we are glad to see them. An insincere grin? No. that doesn’t fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it. I am talking about a real smile, a heartwarming smile, a smile that comes from within, the kind of smile that will bring a good price in the market place.”


On getting motivated

11. “We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do. It’s only when necessity faces us that we rise to the occasion and actually do the things that hitherto have seemed impossible.”

12. “You can get ahead in the world. But you will have to work, you will have to want tremendously to accomplish something, and then be willing to pay the price. Are you willing?”

13. “You can’t get anywhere in this world without wanting to do something.”

14. “The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.”

15. “Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.”

On not sweating the small stuff

16. “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

17. “Don’t fuss about trifles. Don’t permit little things—the mere termites of life—to ruin your happiness.”

18. “Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? How did they work out? Didn’t you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn’t most of them turn out all right after all?”

19. “Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. ”

20. “You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.”

21. “Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember, ‘Life is too short to be little.'”

Sources:, Dale Carnegie’s official Facebook page, and

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Vi-An Nguyen

Vi-An is an editor, writer, and holder of a fancy journalism degree from Northwestern University. She is an Associate Art Director at Penguin Random House, which is the world’s largest trade book publisher.