Team breakdowns happen, no matter how well the team works together. It is almost a law of nature. A good team might have a slump, or the hard work may not be paying off like it used to. Whether you are leading the team or one of its members, sometimes it can be hard to know what to say to keep the team motivated.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the advice and inspiration of some of the world’s greatest thought leaders? We’ve got you covered! Creators, innovators, producers, diplomats, and entrepreneurs have all hit the same pitfalls and figured out ways beyond them. Accumulating wisdom through experience, trial and error, and tons of failures prior to success, they passed it on through interviews, sound bytes, and their own writings.
Here are thirty productivity quotes to help keep you and your team motivated and inspired for all your projects:
Not limited to artistic pursuits, creativity is also about thinking outside the box and coming up with adaptable solutions to unique problems. Invention, innovation, and inspiration all come from creativity. Here are some quotes from some of the world’s most creative minds.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” — Pablo Picasso
Picasso was an innovator in the art world, known for his surrealist style. His paintings sell for millions today, and his unique vision is celebrated around the world by art connoisseurs. Who better to inspire creativity than one of the greatest artists to ever live?
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
Stephen King is easily one of the most widely-read authors today, known mostly for horror with a helping of coming of age tales and a dash of fantasy for good measure. More recently, he has written about writing, but his advice extends far beyond the literary craft.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” — Robin Williams
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” — Neil Gaiman
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
“If you have time to whine, then you have time to find a solution.” — Dee Dee Artner
From school teacher to productivity teacher, author Dee Dee Artner took her classroom experience into the boardroom, authoring books that teach people to be productive. Her focus is on building positivity and personal responsibility in communication for effective sales and marketing. She teaches people how to build a mindset for success.
There have been many great inventors and innovators in our world, but even the ones who got sole credit for their achievements had the support of a team. A good team optimizes strengths and minimizes weaknesses in its members for the highest production of the best quality. Teams are like tapestries, requiring support from all team members to keep the whole team strong. What do the world’s great philosophers and entrepreneurs have to say about teamwork?
When the student asked, “I am very discouraged. What should I do?” Zen master Soen Nakagawa replied, “Encourage others.”
Nothing feels better than showing compassion for another, and the Buddhists recognized this early on. Many Buddhist practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and martial arts, encourage teamwork and compassion for others. Corporations have been using retreats with such activities for team-building and to recharge employees on the job, and many even have organized activities on-site or areas centered around these practices.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge an argument an exchange of ignorance.” – Robert Quillen
“Being aware of a single shortcoming within yourself is far more useful than being aware of a thousand in someone else.” — Dalai Lama
The spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the 14th Dalai Lama rose to prominence during the turbulent conflicts between his country and China, which resulted in his exile. However, his message of compassion and empathy not only transcends religion and politics, but has been dabbling in neuroscience and psychology, with a lot of influence on studies of mindfulness. Buddhist lessons on self-knowledge pair well with cognitive psychology to teach people ways of thinking that include self-observation, self-forgiveness, and self-awareness.
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” —Miyamoto Musashi
No matter what one’s position, having confidence is important to productivity. Being assertive enough to speak up means not being timid or shy, and could be the start of the Next Big Idea. Whether working alone or in a team, confidence can both move things boldly forward and prevent calamitous mistakes. Here are the thoughts of some of the most confident people in history.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” — Sir Edmund Hillary
“The mountain” in this quote is significant enough to be singled out. It is Mount Everest, the tallest peak on the planet, and Sir Edmund Hillary is credited as the first to climb to the top with Tenzing Norgay as his guide. Why not conquer your own personal Everest with inspiration from the first guy to conquer the real one?
“Never dull your shine for somebody else.” — Tyra Banks
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” —Marcus Aurelius
“Today is the most important day of our lives.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” — Elon Musk
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.” — William James
Credited with being a primary influence on many of our social sciences, such as psychology, modern philosophy, sociology and religious studies as an academic discipline, William James had a keen understanding of human thinking and motivation. As a professor, lecturer, and early experimenter, he helped us understand our minds and what keeps us going.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”— Henry Ford
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
It all comes down to productivity – the quantity and quality of one’s work. How does one work productively? What pitfalls are there to avoid? Productivity doesn’t have to be elusive, as the following producers will tell you.
“Productivity is the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.” — Dan S. Kennedy
“Deal with the big while it is still small.” — Lao Tzu
What does Taoism have to say about productivity? A lot, actually. Principles of Taoism include different ways of looking at time, space, thought and habit. Taoists value being oneself, getting lost in one’s craft, and the usefulness of empty spaces. The philosophy teaches that if we just go with the flow, we can live life to our fullest potential. Lao Tzu was its first prophet, and wrote the Tao Te Jing, the central text of Taoism. Today Taoism is still practices as both a religion and a philosophy, as well as in the form of Zen Buddhism.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” — Bruce Lee
“Stressing output is the key to improving productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” — Paul Gauguin
“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.” – Lee Iacocca
Ruthless entrepreneur, loving husband and father, and trailblazing philanthropist, Lee Iacocca was a captain of industry throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Rising from engineer to president of Ford Motor Company, his high-profile firing by Henry Ford II merely served as an opportunity for Chrysler to scoop him up. There he proved his managerial mettle and is credited with yanking them back from the jaws of bankruptcy.
“Don’t confuse activity with productivity. Many people are simply busy being busy.” — — — Robin Sharma
“Don’t worry about breaks every 20 minutes ruining your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue.” — Tom Rath
“It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.”— Nathan W. Morris
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”― Paul J. Meyer
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32rd President of the United States, despite having been crippled by polio. He governed the US during the Great Depression and the opening of World War II, ushering in the New Deal and paving the way for a new era. His wife, Eleanor, was an activist who was also very involved in American politics, being the woman to put the “first” in First Lady with her social programs. Both of them were amazing orators who inspired an entire country through its darkest economic hour as well as against the darkest forces of history.
Keeping your team’s momentum can be as simple as establishing the right attitude, and having inspiration at hand can do just that. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way for you and your team, so we hope you found inspiration and a little inner fire in the quotes shared above!