Quotes on Excellence

Below are some quotes on excellence, which is something all leaders should strive to obtain. To know how to use and implement quotes into your everyday life and leadership I suggest reading: How to use Quotes. You can also get a free copy of my quote book Characteristics and Qualities of a Great Leader when you subscribe to my blog. Find out more about my book by clicking here. I hope you enjoy these quotes:

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” ~Confucius

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” ~Steve Jobs

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” ~Vince Lombardi

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~Aristotle

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” ~Vince Lombardi

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” ~Ralph Marston

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” ~John W. Gardner

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” ~Colin Powell

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” ~Booker T. Washington

“The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” ~Pat Riley

“Excellence always sells.” ~Earl Nightingale

“No student ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him: it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.” ~Charles Kendall Adams

“Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.” ~Jose Ortega y Gasset

“Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.” ~Rick Pitino

“If you deliver excellence right now, that gives you the best shot at the best future you’ve got coming.” ~Robert Forster

“Excellence is a process that should occupy all our days.” ~Ted Engstrom

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Questions: Can you add to the list? What is your favorite quote on excellence?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” ~Ralph Marston

    I love this. There is so much that balances on attitude.

    • That’s a good one, thank you for commenting.

  • Pat Riley’s is my favorite quote on Excellence. We have it up in both my stores where the crew clocks in.

  • Those are “excellent” quotes! Reminds me of the words of Christ, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Good stuff, thanks, Dan.

    • What a powerful quote! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Excellent list. I love the Booker T. Washington quote.

    • Glad you enjoyed them. That’s a good one.

  • I love the first Vince Lombardi quote, it reminds me of one of my favorites: Only by asking for the impossible can we achieve the best possible.

    • That’s such a good one! Thank you for reading and adding to the list.

  • this is a great and inspiring list. My favorite is by Booker T. Washington.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • This is a great list. I haven’t heard most of them before so I got some good quotes to share with others.

    • Yes you do:) Share away! Thank you for sharing.

  • kentsanders

    Great list! Thanks for putting these together, Dan. For anyone who’s interested: Many times a day, I will clip blog posts (or in this case, the email I received with this blog post) to my Evernote account for future reference. In this case, I saved your email into a notebook called “Topics” where I keep material I will use for a class, speech, or lesson. Then I can easily find great quotes or material when I search. I love material like this post because it has lots of content I can use later on.

    What is your system for filing and compiling quotes for posts like this?

    • That’s a great idea Kent! I love Evernote and use it on a daily basis.

      I topically search online for quotes on the topic I’m sharing. I also look through some of the books I have to find good quotes. I’ve been needing to either use Evernote or paper filing to have all the quote topics in one place, it’s something I’ll eventually do.

  • I like that one by Vince Lombardi “if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” that’s good food for thought! great list of quotes!

  • Great quotes Dan. Excellence is one of the core values of the mission I work with and I’m glad for that. Pursuing excellence is something we must do if we want to have influence that is positive.

    • Thank you for sharing your wise thoughts with us.

  • Always enjoy your quotes Dan!

  • Loved the list; a really nice collection Dan :) I particularly liked Steve Jobs’ quote, but that could just be because I’m drawn to what he has to say in the first place haha

    • I also really like Steve’s quote. He was a brilliant person. Thank you for sharing.

  • Love these quotes. Jose Ortega’s especially. Absolutely nails it. Excellence has to be born from within, an interior want to, a sense of standard rather than a desire for results. It’s not about what is done, but the way it is done. It’s what separated Steve Jobs from the rest. So too Michelangelo, and Da Vinci and so on and so forth. There are plenty of companies out there making technological products, but none do it the way Apple chose to do it. Likewise there are plenty of painters through history, but none like Michelangelo or Da Vinci. I think when we begin to look past ‘what’ to ‘how’ we start to enter the realm of excellence, and thereby distinguish ourselves.

    • Great thoughts, a standard of excellence always wins! Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  • I like this one;

    “Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.” ~Jose Ortega

    • That’s a good one. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Awesome quotes bud!