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Chris Gardner Quotes

Christopher Paul Gardner

Chris Gardner quotes: on homelessness, happiness, the secret to success, and more.

“The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.”

“The secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.”

“Do something that makes you happy and makes you feel good about yourself.”

“Find something that you love. Something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. Forget about money. Be happy.”

“Life is short. Follow your passion.”

“If you’re passionate about something, you can develop the abilities.”

“There is no Plan B for passion.”

“Passion is not something you have to talk about. People feel it.”

“I’ve said that if you’re not doing something that you’re passionate about, you’re compromising yourself every single day. Passion is everything. In fact, you’ve got to be borderline fanatical about what you do.”

“Do whatever it takes. If you have a goal, if you have a dream, go after it. Don’t let anything stand in your way. You may get tired, you may get frustrated, you may get discouraged, but do whatever it takes to keep going towards your goals.”

“It can be done but you have to make it happen. You want something, go get it. Period. If you don’t take the necessary steps to make them happen, dreams are just mirages that mess with your head.”

“Claim ownership of your dreams.”

“Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me.”

“No matter what you accomplish, when you’re doing something you’re truly passionate about, the opportunities are always going to be bigger.”

“If you believe you can do it, you will.”

“Sometimes the only way we can discover our true power is by living through the crisis we feared.”

“It’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to quit.”

“I say to people all the time, it is okay to fail. Some of the greatest successes in the history of America started out as failures.”

“Every finish line is the beginning of a new race.”

“Walk that walk and go forward all the time. Don’t just talk that talk, walk it and go forward. Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides; baby steps counted too. Go forward.”

“Baby steps count, as long as you are going forward. You add them all up, and one day you look back and you’ll be surprised.”

“Your struggle is not an excuse, it’s your ammunition.”

“You won’t find magic potions here. No matter how enticing they may seem, promises of quick fixes mostly set us up for failure and do more to deter us than empower us.”

“It’s your responsibility to pursue what matters.”

“You got a dream, you got to protect it.”

“Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kinds of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you no one can take from you or tarnish.”

“People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it.”

“You can only depend on yourself. The cavalry ain’t coming.”

“Hunker down, strap in, and hold on. Hold on baby!”

“Commit to Plan A. We all have dreams and goals, but what is your plan?”

“Decide to be world-class. Strive to be the best you can be in what you are doing and be persistent.”

“I am strong because I’ve been weak. I am fearless because I’ve been afraid. I am wise because I’ve been foolish.”

“One of the things young people always ask me about is what is the secret to success. The secret is there is no secret. It’s the basics. Blocking and tackling.”

“You can blame outside factors or make excuses about why things didn’t work out, but that doesn’t change anything.”

“I also often hear people say that the deck is stacked against them because of racism, sexism, or other oppressive ‘isms.’ But once you let go of the blame and excuses, you’ll see that you can alter your position on your own.”

“Don’t wait for the perfect time to start making changes to your life; the time is now.”

“If you’re having a hard time recognizing your gifts, look to someone else you know who’s been resourceful. You may be surprised by how your own strengths rise to the surface by watching someone else.”

“You know how mountains get moved? Everyone who can move a couple, move a couple. Those who can move rocks, move rocks. Those who can move boulders, move boulders. That’s how mountains get moved. If every one of us did everything we could, I believe we would be in a different world.”

“Then again, what seems like nothing in the eyes of the world, when properly valued and put to use, can be among the greatest riches.”

“Many have forged a path to greatness lit only by a vision in their minds.”

“Change is necessary. Change is scary.  With status quo, you know what you’ve got. With change, you don’t know what you might end up with. There is however, two true things about change: it is absolutely necessary for personal growth and it’s going to happen. Either you pick the time to instigate change in your life, or time and change will pick you.”

“Strong people stand up for themselves. Stronger people stand up for others. The irony is that while sleep sometimes brings nightmares, it’s the reality of my waking hours that can cause me the greater fear.”

“Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first.”

“No matter how much money is involved or no matter how easy it is for you to do, if you’re not happy, you are nothing more than a slave to your talent and money.”

“The money thing will come. I know so many people who have so much more money than I. They are miserable. It is so important to be happy.”

“The balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account.”

“Do something that makes you feel your work is significant and meaningful. If you just want to make money, that’s a whole different trip. I can’t help you with that.”

“Probably the hardest question I get asked is, ‘How do I choose between passion and practicality?’ I can’t answer that. I had to do both. I was passionate about pursuing a career in financial services. But I was also passionate about feeding my child. I hold one thing dearer than all else: my commitment to my son.”

“Your net worth can fluctuate, but your self-worth should only appreciate. Have self-worth. Never confuse your net worth with your self-worth. Who you are and your values, should never be negotiable, compromised and should never settle.”

“Now I know a lot of us would rather skip over whatever happened back in the day, because it’s painful or obsolete (as some would say), because there’s nothing to do to change it, other than to let it go or get over it. But if we do that, we risk losing our knowledge of what really makes us happy: the pure essence of joy that we knew as children. And if we don’t take the time to reclaim the dreams that we may have left back there in the thorny and golden past, we will be poorer for it.”

“We all have the power of choice in determining who we ultimately become.”

“I was homeless but I wasn’t hopeless. I knew a better day was coming.”

“I didn’t grow up in a household where dinner conversation was, ‘How did the market do today?’ I went through pain as a child so my children wouldn’t have to.”

“I was Chris Gardner, father of a son who deserved better than what my daddy could do for me, son of Betty Jean Gardner who said that if I wanted to win, I could win.”

“We all understand genetics. You get your eyes from your dad, your mom’s nose, there’s nothing you can do about that. But your spiritual genetics you can choose, pick, embrace and commit to. That’s what I did.”

“Though my mom had too many of her own dreams denied, deferred and destroyed, she instilled in me that I could have dreams. And not just have dreams but had a responsibility to make them reality. My mom taught me from a very early age that I could do anything I wanted to do.”

“I just wanted to make a million dollars. But I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t play ball, so I said to my mother, ‘How am I going to make a million dollars?’ And she said to me, ‘Son, if you believe you can do it, you will.’”

“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled.”

“Still a dreamer, yet more of a realist than ever before, I knew this was my time to sail. On the horizon I saw the shining future, as before. The difference now was that I felt the wind at my back. I was ready.”

“I initially moved to San Francisco to become a research associate for one of the top young heart surgeons in the country. Everything that I learned in that position is that skills, talent, and expertise are transferable.”

“I am very, very conscious of time. I always wear two watches. People ask me, ‘Why do you do that?’ Because I was late once and it cost me a huge opportunity.”

“As busy as I am wherever I am, I try to get out and walk the streets, to remember how far I’ve come and appreciate every baby step of the way.”

“This part of my life, this little part is called happiness.”

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves every day to count our blessings.”

“Always, always pursue happiness.”

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.